Knox, Tied In Knots By Her Own Tongue: Translation Of The 17 Dec 2007 Interview With Dr Mignini #4
Posted by Yummi, Catnip and Kristeva
1. Getting Up To Speed On This Fourth Post
How much serious questioning was Knox subjected to prior to this voluntary interview six weeks after her arrest?
In fact, none. In the early days of November, after Meredith was found dead, she had several less-formal “recap/summary” sessions with investigators on possible leads (as did many others), which the defenses conceded without argument at trial were simply that and no more.
So these were the first serious questions put to Knox - politely, and Knox is essentially not argumentative throughout
The transcript was in the evidence pile and all judges except Hellmann seem to have studied it hard. This was also the first-ever interview of Knox by Dr Mignini, as prosecutor appointed to the case. He had seen her twice at the house and heard her at her strong insistence early on 6 November.
But they had never before really talked.
Prior to this, Knox had already emanated over a dozen differing versions of what she wanted to claim took place and the police and prosecutors and Supervising Magistrate Claudia Matteini had tried to make sense of those.
2. Our Translation Of Approximately The Fourth 40 Minutes
This is the fourth 40 minutes of the voluntary interview which lasted in total about three hours. For a full understanding it would really be best to read (1) our first post and comment thread and (2) our second post and comment thread. and (3) third post and comment thread.
Transcript of Interview 17 December 2007: Statement of Interview Of Ms Amanda Knox (cont)
PM Mignini: After having talked, after you were heard at the Questura, did you go away or did you wait?
Knox: The first day I was questioned I was there for hours… maybe 14…
Interpreter: The first time it seems to her that she had been there a very long time, 14 hours
PM Mignini: But questioned
Knox: No, maybe they questioned me for 6 hours but I stayed at the Questura a very long time…
Interpreter: It must have been more or less 6 hours that Amanda was questioned but staying in the Questura must have been about…
PM Mignini: But was there… were you in the waiting room?
Knox: Yes the whole time together with everyone else we were there in the waiting room…
Interpreter Yes, yes together with the other ones
PM Mignini: And who were the other people?
Knox: The housemates, and later others arrived… After quite a long time our neighbors arrived, after a while some people Meredith knew arrived, her friends
Interpreter: Her housemates and then other people who arrived later, the neighbors after a while… and after, Meredith’s friends arrived, the people Meredith knew…
PM Mignini: But did you speak to them? Did you exchange any confidences?
Knox: Yes we were all there and I said “it appears that Meredith’s body was found in a closet”
PM Mignini: Who said that?
Knox: I remember talking to her friends and I remember telling them that it appeared the body had been found inside a closet…
Interpreter: She remembers having said it to Meredith’s friends
PM Mignini: But friends, who? You must tell us the name… a name even just the name…
Knox: I remember having talked to Sophie… But I don’t know the name of the other friends
PM Mignini: A certain Natalie? From London
Knox: The name sounds familiar but I don’t think I could recognize her face
Interpreter: She can’t tie the name to her face but…
PM Mignini: And what were you saying? What kind of comments were you making?
Knox: I told them what I knew, I told them that I had arrived home and found the door open, and told them what I knew…
Interpreter: She told what she knew that she had arrived home and found the door open
PM Mignini: Did you ever see, did you see in those moments the wound on Meredith’s neck?
Interpreter: Up to the moment?
PM Mignini: In that moment.
Knox: I never saw Meredith dead, I never saw her dead body…
Interpreter: No, she never saw her dead
PM Mignini: Ok, but was there anyone that night who said, anyone who said that she had died quickly? Did someone else say that she must have suffered for a long time… was there anyone who said this?
Knox: Nobody of the people I talked to knew what had happened…
Interpreter: No, none of the people she talked to said something… knew what had happened
PM Mignini: Did you come to know, did you ever come to know, and if yes, when, in what moment, Meredith had died… that is, if Meredith’s death was immediate or if it was prolonged, if there was a death agony… if yes, when did you find that out?
Knox: The only time when I heard of this was when Luciano [Ghirga] was describing the wound and how deep it was… What kind of wound it was and he said “maybe she died slowly because no big vein had been struck”
Interpreter: So, the first time you had heard talking about the wound and how she died… when was it with Luciano?
Lawyer: The morning of the 8th
PM Mignini: So, after the 6th…
Lawyer: The morning of the 8th
PM Mignini: The morning of November 8th
Lawyer: After the arrest validation [hearing]
Interpreter: And there she found out that no vital vein was directly struck and therefore…
PM Mignini: You say that she came to know on the 8th from the lawyer.
Lawyer: From the lawyers.
PM Mignini: From the lawyers, sorry.
Lawyer: We always came all together
PM Mignini: Either one or the other [of you] could have told her… so… [talking to Knox] I formally notify [for the record, a contradiction] that an Erasmus student and a colleague of this student, they said, on this past December 10th that on the night of the second in the Questura, while having… a girl called Natalie, I won’t tell you her last name but she… she was a friend of Meredith, she had noticed that you were talking at length with Sollecito, and at a certain point, in response to a comment made by one of these girls that they hoped Meredith had died without suffering, you instead said “ with those kind of wounds the death would not have come fast and that therefore Meredith must have died after a certain period of time”. I’ll reread it to you if you’d like, ok?
Knox: The police told me that her throat was cut, and what I know about that topic, I mean when they cut your throat, it is terrible and I heard that it’s a horrible way to die…
Interpreter: Yes the police had told her that Meredith’s throat was cut and what Amanda knew is that it’s an agonizing way to die…
PM Mignini: But this is something we found out after, we too found it out only later… not right away…
Knox: The police told me that her throat had been cut.
Interpreter: The police had told her that her throat had been cut.
PM Mignini: Who from the police? Excuse me I’d like to know… cutting the neck, it can happen in many ways, vital veins can be struck and might also not be struck, therefore one thing is about cutting the throat, and another is about the way how to cut it and therefore make it so that the death occurs instantaneously, or cause a death with agony. On the evening of the second, if it’s true, according to these results, on the evening of the second you knew that, with those kind of wounds, she must have suffered an agony… and the police didn’t know that…
Knox: I thought that a death by cutting the throat was always slow and terrible…
PM Mignini: The autopsy was made on the fourth, two days later
Interpreter: What she thought was that cutting the throat was always a slow death in general
PM Mignini: It’s not like that…not necessarily… anyway, who from the police told you about the neck wound? Tell us.
Knox: It was probably the interpreter…the first interpreter was the person I talked to the most… all information I had came more or less from him…
Interpreter: Probably the translator/interpreter
PM Mignini: Therefore, therefore he told you while you were being heard…
Lawyer: She was in there 12 hours
Knox: When I was in there I was talking to the police and they told me that her throat was cut… the whole conversation was between me and the interpreter. It was him who must have told me, a long time has passed but I think it was like that…
Interpreter: Directly from the interpreter, indirectly from the police
PM Mignini: So [it was] when you were questioned. Not before.
Interpreter: No, before she was questioned she didn’t know how she was…
Knox: No, when I was home the way she died…
PM Mignini: Before being questioned… you were questioned until 15:30, until what time have you been heard? You were being heard since 15:30, until what time were you being heard?
Knox: I don’t know it was a long questioning…
Lawyer: She had been heard in the presence of an interpreter, maybe the interpreter…
PM Mignini: It was D’Astolto… Fabio D’Astolto
Lawyer: The interpreter was present from the beginning or only from the questioning onwards?
PM Mignini: Yes, well he was a policeman acting as an interpreter, translating. Fabio D’Astolto. Assistant D’Astolto. When and how, in what terms did D’Astolto express himself, this translator what did he tell you?
PM Mignini: When and what did he tell you
Knox: I don’t remember when but I asked him how she died
Interpreter: She doesn’t remember when but she asked him how she was killed…
PM Mignini: And he pointed out to you the wound on the neck. The wound on the neck and that’s all. Fine. This translator.
Lawyer: [to the Prosecutor] You referred to an Erasmus student who had said that on December 10th. Ms. Natalie would have said this.
PM Mignini: Yes
Lawyer: And is the Erasmus student indicated [in the records]?
PM Mignini: It is indicated
Lawyer: Do we have a name?
PM Mignini: Capruzzi, Filippo and the other one is a certain, a colleague of his, Chiara, Maioli.
Lawyer: So it was two Erasmus students
PM Mignini: Two Erasmus students who confirmed this confidentiality from this English girl. Some… this is the December 10th hearing report… ok
Lawyer G. She clarified if she had talked with the interpreter, with someone before…
Lawyer C. We have clarified that the interpreter was not an interpreter but was a police officer who speaks English and that apparently was present from the beginning and therefore at this point…
PM Mignini: Wait.. one moment… did you, did you… did you see this person who was translating at the house?
PM Mignini: Perfect
Lawyer: She was approximately 12 hours in the Questura and at some time she heard the first… let’s call it questioning but it was a long time, and before the questioning she heard of this wound on the neck, is that right?
PM Mignini: During the questioning, you said before, during the questioning so much as this policeman translator was present, therefore… no I’m very sorry, who did you hear this from? The translator? The policeman
Interpreter: About the wound? The first time?
PM Mignini: The wound
Knox: I think so
Knox: The first time?
PM Mignini: Yeah
Interpreter: I think the interpreter the first time
PM Mignini: And it would be this D’Astolto… so this D’Astolto told you, please excuse me you told me this “it was D’Astolto” now… therefore this D’Astolto told you this during the course of the questioning?
Knox: I think so…
Interpreter: Yes, she thinks so
PM Mignini: Ok, one more thing, so the… you did, the morning of the… actually no, the night between the fifth and the sixth of November, you did, let’s say partially modify your previous declarations, so then you modified your previous declarations and you made a specific accusation against Patrick Dia Lumumba known as Patrick. You said that you were supposed to meet with Patrick, that you met with Patrick at the basketball court of Piazza Grimana, that you went to Meredith’s house, to your house, and then he had sex with Meredith, then you heard a scream and you accused him even if in terms you say “confusedly” of killing Meredith. Isn’t that so? Why did you make this accusation? … Now remember, I was hearing you, I was present, you were crying, you were
profoundly upset, and you were as if relieved when you made this statement.
Lawyer: Maybe she was stressed?
PM Mignini: Well, stressed or not, in any case she was very she made these declarations
Lawyer: You asked her a question “Why did you make these declarations”?
PM Mignini: Well I also have to…
Lawyer: Eh these are opinions
PM Mignini: I am saying that you made a declaration not in a detached way, in other words in a very involved manner, why did you make these statements?
Knox: I was scared, I was confused, it had been hours that the police that I thought were protecting me, and instead they were putting me under pressure and were threatening me.
Interpreter: She was scared, she was confused, it had been hours that the police were threatening and pressuring her.
PM Mignini: Yes, tell me, go on
Knox: The reason why I thought of Patrick was because the police were yelling at me about Patrick… they kept saying about this message, that I had sent a message to Patrick…
Interpreter: The reason why she thought of Patrick was because the police was asking her who was this Patrick to whom she sent, with whom there was this exchange of messages, they were asking her insistently.
Knox: That was the worse experience of my life
Interpreter: The worse experience of her life
Knox: I had never been more confused than then
Interpreter: She had been so confused or scared
PM Mignini: But in the following memoriale [spontaneous statement around noon 6 November] that you wrote before going to prison, basically you don’t retract this accusation. Even if in terms, still in terms let’s say of uncertainty, between dream and reality, in other words in such a way … still you didn’t … I believe that in this memoriale you say “I still see this image in front of me” and then you see yourself while hearing it, you say that in that first memoriale you wrote “you hear Meredith’s screams and you put your hands over your ears”. Why do you have this image? Your ears… the scream… it’s not like it’s changing much after all isn’t that so?
Lawyer: No, but she says she was very confused… she was under a lot of stress
PM Mignini: Yes, but why does it basically remain the same, this one…
Knox: Yes, I imagined these things…
Interpreter: Imagined this scene
Knox: I was so scared and confused
Interpreter: I was so scared and confused
Knox: that I tried to imagine what could have happened. The police told me that I was probably not remembering well. So I thought of what could be another answer and therefore I imagined it…
Interpreter: She tried to think of what could have happened since the police was saying that probably she didn’t remember well. And therefore she imagined this scene, trying to think how it could have happened
PM Mignini: Well, you, I just tell you, I tell you only that this Dia Lumumba, this Patrick, only comes up in your statements, he wasn’t, he has never been indicated previously in the slightest, I mean why did you, why did you almost feel…
...forced to, so you say, to give this name? While this name had never been, you had never mentioned him previously… in the statements of the 2nd, the 3rd…. Why only at a certain point di this Patrick pop up? I’m telling you, do you realize… excuse me, eh? … excuse me….
Knox: They were telling me “why did you send this message to Patrick, this message to Patrick!”
Interpreter: Because they were always insisting about this message to Patrick and because…
PM Mignini: Well because there’s the message so [it’s] the message but it’s just that, it’s not that there was an attitude, I mean it’s not like there was any reference to a message according to what emerges from the statements. In fact there was a message that you… since there had been an exchange of messages right before the time of the murder between you and this person it’s normal that the police would want to know why, what this message meant, this… therefore it’s not something… why did you threw yourself in this kind of… ? While you had, you had the possibility to…?
Knox: Because I thought that it could have been true
Interpreter: Because she thought it could have been true…
PM Mignini: It could have been true?
Knox: When I was there, I was confused…
PM Mignini: [to the lawyers, ed.] No, no, excuse me, at this point no, I’m sorry. Not the lawyers. The defense can intervene against me but against the person investigated…?
Lawyer Ghirga: But there was no question… Prosecutor there was no question
PM Mignini: It could be true. What does it mean?
Lawyer Ghirga: There was no question
PM Mignini: What? I am asking the question.
Lawyer Ghirga: Then ask it.
PM Mignini: What does it mean, how ‘could it be true’? What?
Lawyer Ghirga: What could be true?
PM Mignini: Excuse me, lawyer
Lawyer Ghirga: It’s like the phone call with her parents
PM Mignini: What could be true
Lawyer Ghirga: It’s like the phone call with her parents
PM Mignini: …Lawyer Ghirga… what…?
Lawyer Ghirga: [seems to Knox] What do you want to say then? Let’s ask her…
PM Mignini: Excuse me, I am asking the questions, I am asking them now
Lawyer Ghirga Yes of course
PM Mignini: Then after you can… I am asking her…
Lawyer Ghirga: Yes of course, we will ask them too…
PM Mignini: Lawyer… she is saying “it could have been true”…
PM Mignini: “it could have been true”. She was telling me why did she accuse Lumumba of this fact? “It could have been true” is what she answered. Gentlemen, here…
Knox: I said it because I imagined it and I thought that it could have been true…
Interpreter: She said because she had imagined it and therefore she thought it could have been true.
PM Mignini: Look, listen… listen, why did you imagine it?
Knox Why?... Because I was stressed
PM Mignini: Why didn’t you imagine…
Lawyer: No she was answering
PM Mignini: Yes; what did you want to say?
Interpreter: Because she was under stress…
Knox: Knox: Why? I was stressed, I was scared, it was after long hours in the middle of the night, I was innocent and they were telling me that I was guilty
Interpreter: Because they were saying that she was guilty
PM Mignini: Who was saying it? Guilty who’….
Interpreter: After hours…
Lawyer: Excuse me, prosecutor, if we can correctly compile this translation, these words that were said in English at the right moment
PM Mignini: She is crying, we acknowledge, I’m sorry, we acknowledge that the… investigated is crying.
Interpreter: Because she was stressed, scared under pressure after many hours, she was… in the middle of the night, they had reached the middle of the night and because they were saying that Amanda was guilty.
PM Mignini: Who was saying that she was guilty?
Interpreter: The police
Lawyer: The police was accusing her
Interpreter: The police was accusing Amanda
PM Mignini: Why… why did you accuse Lumumba and not others? How many people did you know who could…
Knox: Because they were yelling Patrick’s name…
Interpreter: She accused Patrick and not others because they were always talking about Patrick, suggesting…
PM Mignini: The police, the police couldn’t suggest…
Interpreter: Yelling Patrick’s name
PM Mignini: Excuse me, what was the police saying?
Interpreter: What did the police tell you?
Knox: The police were telling me that ‘we know that you were at the house, we know that you left the house’, and the moment before I said Patrick’s name they put.. someone was showing me the message that I had sent on the phone
Interpreter: The police said that they knew that Amanda was inside the house, and when she went in, when she went out, that she was inside the house, and while they were asking her this someone showed her Patrick’s message on the phone.
PM Mignini: But this is… But this is normal. You… there was this message… I’m sorry, I’m very sorry. There’s a murder here. There’s a girl whose throat is slit, there was a phone number, there was a call that had been made, you were being heard. There was a call that had been made to you on the night of the murder from this person, you replied to this call in a way that could have been interpreted, according to the meaning in Italian “will see you”. Eh, so what is more normal than to insist? The police are doing their job. They insist to know, what did that mean, what was the, what relationship was there between you and Lumumba. This is normal.
Knox: I didn’t understand why they were insisting that I was lying… they kept telling me that I was lying…
Interpreter: She didn’t understand why they were insisting that she was lying.
PM Mignini: Why are you…?
Interpreter: The police was insisting that she was lying.
PM Mignini: But why did you accuse, then if it was like this…. Again you are, you are crying again, for a long while since you started, I put in the record, I put in the record that… it’s been ten minutes that you have been crying. Why did you accuse a person that, today, you’re telling us he is innocent, but earlier you just told us “it could be true” what does “it could be true” mean? You have told me “it could be true”.
Lawyer: The subject is missing
PM Mignini: No the subject is there, because I asked the question. Why did you accuse Lumumba?
Lawyer: Can we suspend a moment please?
PM Mignini: What reason?
Knox: It means that in the moment when I told Patrick’s name, I thought that it could have been true.
Interpreter: In the moment in which she said Patrick’s name, in that moment, she thought it could have been true.
Lawyer Ghirga: We ask for a suspension… she is calm, you say she is crying, and we think she’s not.
PM Mignini: I put that in the record it because I could see the tears, she was crying and I could hear her too.
Lawyer: It was not ten minutes long
PM Mignini: Well, even more, maybe
Lawyer: maybe, no less
PM Mignini: Let’s interrupt, break off.
Lawyer: You asked her six times…
PM Mignini: For Heaven’s sake, let’s interrupt, break off.
[from this point on Amanda declares her right to remain silent]
PM Mignini: So, at 15:12 lawyer Luciano Ghirga resumes the interrogation
Lawyer Ghirga: In the name of the defensive collegium we submit a reason to confer personally, privately, we mean alone together with our client, for a time not longer than ten minutes.
PM Mignini: So, the Public Prosecutor is pointing out that the interrogation had already been suspended and it’s 15: 13 now, pointing out that the interrogation was suspended several times, and the last time for, how long? Ten minutes on request of the defence, and the defence will be allowed to fully have counsel with the person under investigation at the end of the interrogation. [The Public Prosecutor] orders to proceed, orders to go forward with the investigation procedure. So now I would like…
Lawyer Ghirga: If you may, ask to the suspect, to the person under investigation, whether she intends to go on or to invoke her right not to answer…?
PM Mignini: This is a… it’s a… it’s a… she decided to answer questions at the beginning. Now if she decides to make a statement where she says “I don’t want to answer any more” she’ll be the one who says it, and it’s not that I must ask now, that question was done at the beginning of the interrogation. If now she wants to say…
Knox: I prefer not to answer any more…
Lawyer Ghirga: What did she say?
Interpreter: She doesn’t want to answer anymore.
PM Mignini: So, at this point, at 15: 15, on a question asked by the defence lawyers, about whether the person under investigation intends to go on answering or not…
Lawyer Ghirga: To your questions
PM Mignini: To a question by lawyer Ghirga… yes, well, Lawyer Ghirga asked her that
Lawyer: He didn’t first ask the question
Lawyer Ghirga: But what question did I ask?
Lawyer: We told you to ask her…
PM Mignini: Yes, you asked me, and I did follow the request. But…
Lawyer Ghirga: She made a declaration, and we took note, unfortunately, about forbidden suggestions… but on what request…?
PM Mignini: Now at this point, at 15: 15 the defence lawyers… Let’s put like this, the defence lawyers ask this Prosecutor about whether he intends to ask the person under investigation if she intends to go on answering questions, but then, after my decision, Lawyer Ghirga said…
Lawyer Ghirga: Who said? You said
PM Mignini: You asked her, I put in the record what happened, it’s recorded anyway, this is what I perceived you asked her, and she answered “I do not intend to answer”, she said, and then the interpreter…
Lawyer Ghirga: I asked whether she intended to make a statement, and she made a statement
PM Mignini: You indicated that to her, it changes nothing, doesn’t change… I must only put in the record what happened. The public prosecutor points out that…
...the warning about the right not to answer was explained to the person under investigation at the beginning of the interrogation, as provided by the Code, and that same [person under investigation] declared she wanted to answer. It is not possible now to invoke the duty to inform the suspect about her right, because such requirement has been already fulfilled. Anyway the person under investigation can, if she decides to, declare that she doesn’t want to answer any more. Such option has been shown to the person under investigation by lawyer Ghirga.
Lawyer: ...by the defence lawyers
PM Mignini: By the defence lawyers, to the person under investigation. What do you want to do?
Lawyer: What do you mean by “It was shown?”
PM Mignini: It was shown, because you said… I need to put in the record what happened. The lawyer… Facing my warrant which I described, the notice was provided at the beginning of the interrogation as the code requires. She said “I want to answer, I do not intend to invoke my right not to answer”. That answer had been given already, I informed her, and she answered. Now to this, at this point, however, I said nothing prevents her from wanting, from declaring “at this point I do not intend to answer any more”. I put it in the record and I don’t ask why, at that point, at that point.
Lawyer: You should not put in the record “the defence lawyers have shown…”
PM Mignini: “at that point”
Lawyer: We did not show anything, we asked to be allowed to, well… and you said no.
PM Mignini: So… lawyer, lawyer?
Lawyer: And you said no, and we didn’t have the possibility to show her…
PM Mignini: Lawyer Ghirga… Lawyer Ghirga…
Lawyer: that she might invoke her right to not answer. It’s not that it’s we who’ve shown this possibility this is what I want to explain…
PM Mignini: Lawyer Ghirga told her something, so…?
Lawyer Ghirga: No, no, I only said, if you could give us a ten minutes suspension
PM Mignini: You told her something, now come on… I need to put that on record
Lawyer Ghirga: what did I say…
PM Mignini: You have shown, I don’t know if the other lawyer did too, you told, Lawyer Ghirga, you told the person under investigation about… You said, if you can, if I remember correctly, we’ll hear her again…
Lawyer Costa: It was me who told her, Mr. Prosecutor
PM Mignini: So I understood Lawyer Ghirga… Lawyer Giancarlo Costa declares he explained that, I didn’t say anything else
Lawyer Costa: ... To Ms. Amanda Knox to use her right to invoke her right not to answer
PM Mignini: ... And she herself declares so, she is supposed to declare what she wants
Lawyer: She has already said that
PM Mignini: Let’s repeat it since with this superimposition of voices… the interpreter will translate faithfully word-by-word what you say.
Knox: At this point I don’t want to answer any more
Interpreter: At this point she doesn’t want to answer any more
PM Mignini: So “at this point I don’t want to answer any more”. We put on record that the current transcript was recorded entirely.
Lawyer Costa: Mr Public Prosecutor, we lawyers may renounce to our own time terms of deposit if Your Honour would give us a copy
PM Mignini: Yes, no problem… at 15: 22. The parties demand a transcription, I mean the defence lawyers request the transcription of the recording.
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