The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #3: Targeted Claims On Which Sollecito & Gumbel May Fold

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Dr Giuliano Bartolomei of the chief prosecutor’s office of the Florence court brings the case

1. The Court Contenders

Judge Dolores Limongi will preside over Sollecito’s new trial in Florence this thursday and Dr Giuliano Bartolomei will prosecute.

No word about whether the hapless bungler Andrew Gumbel will attend, but Sollecito has said he will be there.  Sollecito’s defense team seems rather weak. After Sollecito’s own lawyers for his murder trial publicly renounced the most damaging claims in his book (see below) his family turned to Alfredo Brizioli for help.

Brizioli is a Perugia lawyer who was accused of being one of those trying to disguise the murdered Narducci’s involvement in the Monster of Florence killings. That shadowy group has just taken another hit in Italian eyes - a Milan court has ruled that Narducci, the probable murderer in the Monster of Florence crimes, was indeed himself murdered and there exists powerful evidence for this.

2. The Specific Charges

Charges against Sollecito are of two kinds: criminal defamation of both the justice system itself and of some of those who work within it. In US and UK terms criminal contempt of court comes close.

Criminal contempt charges become separate charges from the underlying case. Unlike civil contempt sanctions, criminal contempt charges may live on after resolution of the underlying case.

One charged with criminal contempt generally gets the constitutional rights guaranteed to criminal defendants, including the right to counsel, right to put on a defense, and the right to a jury trial in certain cases. Charges of criminal contempt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, incarceration for contempt may begin immediately, before the contempt charge is adjudicated and the sentence decided. Depending on the jurisdiction and the case, the same judge who decided to charge a person with contempt may end up presiding over the contempt proceedings.

Criminal contempt can bring punishment including jail time and/or a fine.

 

In this case a guilty verdict can open the tidal gates to criminal prosecutions and civil suits against Sharlene Martin and the Simon & Schuster team and all those many who repeated ANY of Sollecito’s and Gumbel’s false claims as gospel in their own books and online in the US and UK.

3. Nature Of The Claims

Typically the modus operandi of Knox and Sollecito and their factions in their US campaign (this falls flat in Italy) is to make some very damaging core claims, while leaving hundreds of pesky truths ignored.

Pesky truths helpfully ignored by most of the US and UK media too who apart from freelance Andrea Vogt have still done almost zero translation of their own. The previous post below shows a good example of this. Sollecito makes 20 false claims in a few pages. Dozens of facts that would belie those claims are simply left out.

The false claims continue (with considerable duplication for emphasis) throughout the 250-plus pages of the book.

Sollecito’s claims were published only in English. That was in the apparent hope that things would be reversed by political pressure from the US. Perhaps the US would let Sollecito come and live and stiff the Italian courts.

The Italian flagship crime show Porta a Porta wrecked that unusual and in-itself damaging strategy only 10 days out - with Francesco Sollecito’s and Luca Maori’s help.

The three worst-case examples quoted here and some others became public when Andrea Vogt and Italian reporters pointed to them after an October hearing. Page numbers are for the hard-cover book. 



Raffaele Sollecito retained Alfredo Brizioli after he burned his trial lawyers in his book

4. Example Claim One

Our brief response to this for now is that this felony attempt to frame the prosecutor for a serious crime was entirely made up. His own father and both his trial lawyers publicly said so. There was never a police or prosecution bias against Knox or toward Sollecito. As was very obvious at trial in 2009 the case against both was equally strong (an example of a key fact left out). Knox herself would seem to have a reason to get mad with Sollecito for this shafting - and in fact she did.

[ Page 219-222] My family was not beating up on Amanda entirely without cause. What I did not know at the time, because they preferred not to fill me in, was that they were exploring what it would take for the prosecution to soften or drop the case against me. The advice they received was almost unanimous: the more I distanced myself from Amanda, the better. The legal community in Perugia was full of holes and leaks, and my family learned all sorts of things about the opinions being bandied about behind the scenes, including discussions within the prosecutor’s office. The bottom line: Mignini, they were told, was not all that interested in me except as a gateway to Amanda. He might indeed be willing to acknowledge I was innocent, but only if I gave him something in exchange, either by incriminating Amanda directly or by no longer vouching for her.

I’m glad my family did not include me in these discussions because I would have lost it completely. First, my uncle Giuseppe approached a lawyer in private practice in Perugia - with half an idea in his head that this new attorney could replace Maori - and asked what I could do to mitigate my dauntingly long sentence. The lawyer said I should accept a plea deal and confess to some of the lesser charges. I could, for instance, agree that I had helped clean up the murder scene but otherwise played no part in it. “He’d get a sentence of six to twelve years,” the lawyer said, “but because he has no priors the sentence would be suspended and he’d serve no more jail time.”

To their credit, my family knew I would never go for this. It made even them uncomfortable to contemplate me pleading guilty to something I had not done. It was, as my sister, Vanessa, put it, “not morally possible.”

The next line of inquiry was through a different lawyer, who was on close terms with Mignini and was even invited to the baptism of Mignini’s youngest child that summer. (Among the other guests at the baptism was Francesco Maresca, the Kerchers’ lawyer, who had long since aligned himself with Mignini in court.) This lawyer said he believed I was innocent, but he was also convinced that Amanda was guilty. He gave my family the strong impression that Mignini felt the same way. If true - and there was no way to confirm that - it was a clamorous revelation. How could a prosecutor believe in the innocence of a defendant and at the same time ask the courts to sentence him to life imprisonment? The lawyer offered to intercede with Mignini, but made no firm promises. He wasn’t willing to plead my cause, he said, but he would listen to anything the prosecutor had to offer.

Over the late spring and summer of 2010, my father used this lawyer as a back channel and maneuvered negotiations to a point where they believed Mignini and Comodi would be willing to meet with Giulia Bongiorno and hear what she had to say. When Papà  presented this to Bongiorno, however, she was horrified and said she might have to drop the case altogether because the back channel was a serious violation of the rules of procedure. A private lawyer has no business talking to a prosecutor about a case, she explained, unless he is acting with the express permission of the defendant. It would be bad enough if the lawyer doing this was on my defense team; for an outside party to undertake such discussions not only risked landing me in deeper legal trouble, it also warranted disciplinary action from the Ordine degli Avvocati, the Italian equivalent of the Bar Association.

My father was mortified. He had no idea how dangerous a game he had been playing and wrote a letter to Bongiorno begging her to forgive him and stay on the case. He was at fault, he said, and it would be wrong to punish her client by withdrawing her services when I didn’t even know about the back channel, much less approve it. To his relief, Bongiorno relented.

My family, though, did not. Whenever they came to visit they would suggest some form of compromise with the truth. Mostly they asked why I couldn’t say I was asleep on the night of the murder and had no idea what Amanda got up to.


5. Example Claim 2

Our brief response to this for now is that the case against Sollecito was being driven by Judge Matteini and Judge Ricciarelli and Judge Micheli, not Dr Mignini (an example of a key fact left out) and they got their information directly from the police. More than a year prior to Sollecito’s book coming out, a Florence appeal court had totally annulled a vengeance conviction against Dr Mignini [“there is no evidence”] and the Supreme Court had endorsed the result (an example of a key fact left out).

[2. Page 176-177] One of the reasons our hearings were so spread out was that Mignini was fighting his own, separate legal battle to fend off criminal charges of prosecutorial misconduct. He and a police inspector working on the Monster of Florence case stood accused of intimidating public officials and journalists by opening legal proceedings against them and tapping their phones without proper justification.

To Mignini, the case smacked of professional jealousy because the prosecutors in Florence resented his intrusion on a murder mystery they had struggled for so long to resolve. But Mignini’s behavior had already attracted international condemnation, never more so than when he threw the journalist most indefatigably devoted to following the Monster case, Mario Spezi, into jail for three weeks.

Spezi had ridiculed Mignini’s theories about Francesco Narducci, the Perugian doctor whom Mignini suspected of being part of a satanic cult connected to the killings. In response, Mignini accused Spezi himself of involvement in Narducci’s murder - even though the death had been ruled a suicide. It was a staggering power play, and the international Committee to Protect Journalists was soon on the case. Spezi was not initially told why he was being arrested and, like me, was denied access to a lawyer for days. Even Mignini, though, could not press murder charges without proving first that a murder had taken place, and Spezi was eventually let out.

I firmly believe that our trial was, among other things, a grand diversion intended to keep media attention away from Mignini’s legal battle in Florence and to provide him with the high-profile court victory he desperately needed to restore his reputation. Already in the pretrial hearing, Mignini had shown signs of hypersensitivity about his critics, in particular the handful of English-speaking investigators and reporters who had questioned his case against us early on. He issued an explicit warning that anyone hoping he would back off the Meredith Kercher case or resign should think again. “Nobody has left their post, and nobody will,” he said. “Let that be clear, in Perugia and beyond.”

Just as he had in the Monster of Florence case, Mignini used every tool at his disposal against his critics and adversaries. He spied on my family and tapped their phones. He went after Amanda not just for murder, but also for defaming Patrick Lumumba - whom she had implicated under duress and at the police’s suggestion. He opened or threatened about a dozen other legal cases against his critics in Italy and beyond. He charged Amanda’s parents with criminal defamation for repeating the accusation that she had been hit in the head while in custody. And he sued or threatened to sue an assortment of reporters, writers, and newspapers, either because they said negative things about him or the police directly or because they quoted others saying such things.

Mignini’s volley of lawsuits had an unmistakable chilling effect, especially on the Italian press, and played a clear role in tipping public opinion against us. We weren’t the only ones mounting the fight of our lives in court, and it was difficult not to interpret this legal onslaught as part of Mignini’s campaign to beat back the abuse-of-office charges. His approach seemed singularly vindictive. Not only did we have to sit in prison while the murder trial dragged on; it seemed he wanted to throw our friends and supporters - anyone who voiced a sympathetic opinion in public - into prison right alongside us.


6. Example Claim 3

Our brief response to this for now is that this was long ago revealed to be a hoax (an example of a key fact left out). Neither the police nor the prosecution were in any way involved. A fake positive for HIV turned up, Knox was warned not to be concerned, and she was soon told that a new test showed her fine. Her list of recent sex partners was her idea, and its leaking to the media was demonstrably a family and defense-team thing (an example of a key fact left out).

[Page 101-102] The prosecution’s tactics grew nastier, never more so than when Amanda was taken to the prison infirmary the day after Patrick’s release and told she had tested positive for HIV.

She was devastated. She wrote in her diary, “I don’t want to die. I want to get married and have children. I want to create something good. I want to get old. I want my time. I want my life. Why why why? I can’t believe this.”

For a week she was tormented with the idea that she would contract AIDS in prison, serving time for a crime she did not commit. But the whole thing was a ruse, designed to frighten her into admitting how many men she had slept with. When asked, she provided a list of her sexual partners, and the contraceptive method she had used with each. Only then was she told the test was a false positive

To the prosecution, the information must have been a disappointment: seven partners in all, of whom four were boyfriends she had never made a secret of, and three she qualified as one-night stands. Rudy Guede was not on the list, and neither was anyone else who might prove useful in the case. She hadn’t been handing herself around like candy at Le Chic, as Patrick now alleged. She’d fooled around with two guys soon after arriving in Italy, neither of them at Patrick’s bar, and then she had been with me. Okay, so she was no Mother Teresa. But neither was she the whore of Babylon.

To compound the nastiness, the list was eventually leaked to the media, with the erroneous twist that the seven partners on the list were just the men she’d had since arriving in Perugia. Whatever one thought of Amanda and her free-spirited American attitude toward sex, this callous disregard for her privacy and her feelings was the behavior of savages.


7. Looking Forward

More posts to come.  We are going to open the floodgates on our own analysis of the book if the court on thursday takes a significant step forward.

Note that Sollecito has to contend with negative Italian public opinion as his claims bitterly disparaging to Italy itself (see the post below) are finally repeated in translation by the media and so become better known - at a disastrous time for him and Knox, two months before Cassation decides on their failed appeal.

In late 2012 after the book came out the TV crime show Porta a Porta gave Dr Sollecito quite a roasting on the first claim here and anger continued for some days more. He and Sollecito’s sister may be in court but no surprises if they are not. Knox could also react - the second and third claims above also appear in her book. 




Comments

Nice piece, well done to all. Fun fact: Alfredo Brizioli isn’t a qualified lawyer.

Fun fact #2: Alfredo Brizioli was up in court in his youth, on suspicion of being part of a rich kid burglary ring known as the Cameleoni or chameleons.

Posted by Corpusvile on 01/18/15 at 11:01 PM | #

Brizioli not qualified? Good grief! It looks like the radioactive Sollecito is scraping the bottom of the barrel here.

Maybe call this Bongiorno’s and Maori’s revenge for the humiliation his false claims heaped on them.

Francesco Sollecito is also known to be extremely ticked and to despise the lunacies of Chris Mellas and his thugs which hurt AK and RS both.

If Gumbel doesnt turn up for trial, it will be like Amanda Knox: Too scared to attend her own appeal, part deux.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/19/15 at 12:43 AM | #

Pete,

Actually, it would be more like Knox (and far more amusing), for him to lose at trial, and THEN skip out on his own appeals, while hitting the talk show circuit.

Just for my curiosity, (you may not know), did Gumbel write these things maliciously, or is he really that clueless—and such a poor fact-checker—of a writer?

Yes, Raffy deserves extra time, but is Gumbel just a dupe?

Posted by Chimera on 01/19/15 at 01:02 AM | #

Again, for my curiosity, don’t all ‘normal’ publishers or co-authors take reasonable steps to ensure their collective asses are covered?

Do they not insist on keeping copies of some documents for themselves?  Or making some recordings? Or at least making someone like RS or AK swear in writing that everything they say is true, and they are liable for inaccuracies?

And in the case of Knox, even Hellmann upheld her calunnia charge.  Did anyone ever stop to ask why?

If you are accusing police, prosecutors, and jail guards of assault, coersion, sexual harassment, perjury, suborning perjury, false and malicious prosecutions, etc ... It must be in the back of your mind that SOMEONE may fight back.

Gumbel seems like a twit, Linda Kuhlman too.

Posted by Chimera on 01/19/15 at 01:34 AM | #

Hi Pete,
Yep apparently he never passed the actual bar or finalized his exams. Found this out from Yummi and checked it out, turned out to be true. Brizioli’s quite shady from what I’ve been able to gather. Odd how several players from the Monster of Florence case keep popping up. Francesco Introna, Pa Sollecito’s defence pal, is also a mate of Spezi’s and appears in he and Preston’s pathetic excuse for a book.

Posted by Corpusvile on 01/19/15 at 01:43 AM | #

“If it had grown up, it would have made a dreadfully ugly child; but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think”- Alice

Posted by chami on 01/19/15 at 10:41 AM | #

Speaking of Spezi it is just another indication that these people gather round them a cadre of yes men/woman who shield them from the eventual truth of conviction and imprisonment.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 01/19/15 at 11:52 AM | #

@ Corpusvile

Brizioli was definitely part of the Camaleonti gang, which was made of 41 mobsters, and was not merely a youth burglars gang in Rome, but actualy a lower articulation of the “Banda della Magliana”. It was actually considered a link between the Banda della Magliana and its interface among the upper class sectors (all politicians and Freemasonry).

Posted by Yummi on 01/19/15 at 06:00 PM | #

@Yummi
Thanks very much for the info, I had no idea it was made up of actual mobsters and assumed it was more of a petty thing.
Thanks very much also for your info re Cassazione ruling that Narducci was murdered and Micheli’s ruling reversed, I had no idea about this & much obliged. smile

Posted by Corpusvile on 01/19/15 at 10:10 PM | #

@ Yummi
Btw, was I mistaken about Brizioli not being qualified as a lawyer? It’s just that I remember you saying before that he was a salesman/trader & had only worked on about three or four occasions as a lawyer before, mainly for the Narduccis and unpaid? I thought I read before on Ansa that he wasn’t actually qualified?

Posted by Corpusvile on 01/19/15 at 10:20 PM | #

Great info & comments, just looking at the picture above, Sollecito looks like a virgin (hell, he may still be) next to his “attorney”.

Posted by Bjorn on 01/19/15 at 11:52 PM | #

@Bjorn

“Sollecito looks like a virgin” - you said it!!

Extra virgin- smooth and slimey- I would say

Posted by chami on 01/20/15 at 05:04 AM | #

Gumbel knew exactly what he was doing by following the blood money trail, I’m going to have a party when he gets sent down.

Posted by Urbanist on 01/20/15 at 08:24 AM | #

Seeing RS’s smug mug, all I can think is, March 25th can’t come soon enough.

Posted by Earthling on 01/20/15 at 10:07 PM | #

It seems Amanda Knox is appearing on some show this evening:

“Special guests for my show tonight in Seattle include Amanda Knox, Eddie Vedder and Mary Kay LeTourneau.”

https://twitter.com/Adam_Cozens/status/557956814424125440

Posted by The Machine on 01/21/15 at 02:05 PM | #

The last (and it was some time ago) I read was that Gumbel had appointed some lawyer to represent him and had no intention of attending the 22 Jan hearing.

A little snippet I recall reading from the Narducci case (well before there was any connection made with the MOF) was that his ‘drowned’ body, when recovered from Lake Trasimeno was immediately spirited away in a car (I don’t think it was a hearse). That’s definite: my further recollection (which could be faulty) is that this was permitted by the ‘authorities’ because the car belonged to a medico-legale. I’ll try and trawl this up. It’s not strictly relevant of course!

Posted by Sallyoo on 01/21/15 at 04:19 PM | #


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Or to next entry The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #4: Chimera Examines The Most Inflammatory Angles

Or to previous entry The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #2: False Accusations From The First Few Pages