Friday, December 04, 2009

The Rulings: Meredith’s Family At Their Hotel Waiting For Possible Call To The Court Tonght

Posted by Peter Quennell

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Posted on 12/04/09 at 03:47 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Rulings: Meredith’s Beloved Mom, Dad, Sister And Two Brothers At Perugia Airtport.

Posted by Peter Quennell

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Posted on 12/04/09 at 01:25 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Ruling Deliberations: Updates On Any New Developments Today Friday

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: the main entrance of the court complex]

Update 1: After a brief hearing in the courtroom this morning the judges and lay judges commenced their deliberations on a ruling around mid-morning.

Update 2: The Croydon Guardian reports the departure of Meredith’s family from London for Rome and then Perugia.

The parents of murdered Coulsdon student, Meredith Kercher, are due to arrive in Italy for the verdict of her murder trial.

Arline and John Kercher flew to Perugia today to see the jury deliver its verdict on whether or not Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were involved in their daughter’s murder.

Update 3: The BBC has a brief simulation of the police finding Meredith in her room on the day.

Update 4: The Independent devotes a report exclusively to the Kercher family’s two-year ordeal.

Update 5: Today for the first time ever, Meredith’s family may get to meet face-to-face Raffaele Sollecito’s family and Amanda Knox’s family. During Guede’s trial in October 2008. Meredith’s family were in court, and Knox’s family apparently observed the courtroom from a hillside up above.

Update 6: A video of Amanda Knox making her final statement in Italian has been added to the post below on the wrapping-up of the summations yesterday.

Update 7: Sky News has just posted a written report and a video report.

Update 8: La Notizie is saying that the ruling, barring unforseen circumstances, should come tonight. On Perugia Murder File forum (link just below) they are saying that might not bode well for the defense. 

Update 9: Eight PM in Perugia now, and the judges’ deliberations on their rulings continue. Meredith’s family are waiting at their hotel now, as are Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s families. No further news leaking out. Everybody tense.

Update 10: Nine PM in Perugia and informal word from Perugia is that the rulings are expected tonight some time after midnight, maybe 4 or 5 hours away. Knox and Sollecito are right now back in their cells in Capanne prison.

Update 11: The AGI News Service  is reporting this below.

It has been now more than 8 hours since the Court of Assizes of Perugia began in closed session to reach the verdict against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Deliberating are the presiding judge, Giancarlo Massei, 55 years old, head of the criminal division of the court in Perugia, the judge Beatrice Christians, 52 years old, and 6 lay-judges, three men, 35 , 38 and 57 years… and as many women, 37 43, and 51 years, all residents in the area of jurisdiction of the court in Perugia. (the alternates were set free - ed.)

Posted on 12/04/09 at 07:30 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Summations: The Two Defendants Make Their Final Pleas To The Court

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for a video of Amanda Knox’s final plea.

The Judge had asked Knox if she’d prefer to speak in English. She declined, speaking her last words to the court in Italian - and she neglected to mention Meredith by name, even though she followed some notes.

A fact that apparently escaped few in the courtroom.

Instead it was really only all about her. Nick Pisa reporting the Amanda Knox statement in the Daily Mail

Knox’s voice shook as she told the court in perfect Italian: ’” am confident that my conscience is clear” adding that she was afraid of “having the mask of a killer branded onto my skin”.

The American also said: “I want to thank the accusers because they are only trying to do their job even if they don’t understand. They are only trying to bring justice to someone whose life has been taken from this world.”

“‘I am vulnerable in front of you and decisions are being made about me. ‘People have been asking me how I stay so calm - I am not calm.  ‘These last few days… I was worried that I was not going to be myself and that I am being described as someone who I am not.”

“I feel sad, confused and frustrated. I could face years in prison and this makes me unhappy. ‘I could be pulling out my hair, taking apart my cell but I don’t do these things. I just take a breath and try and be positive in moments like this.”

Knox, who spoke from notes, ended by telling the judge and jury: ‘Now it’s your turn and I thank you.’



Andrea Vogt reporting the Raffaele Sollecito statement in the Seattle PI.

“Why would I commit something so horrible as murder?” asked Sollecito, a computer-engineering graduate. “You are deciding my life. I am not living a nightmare anymore, but something far more dramatic.”

Through it all, Knox has not changed, said the only woman on her defense team, Maria Del Grosso.

“I have gotten to know her during this trial. She is intelligent, sweet, and yes, a bit naive. She didn’t cry to get your attention. She’s like that. She’s genuine, and I think she has shown great dignity through all of this.”

Sollecito also defended her, saying he thought it was difficult to imagine that she was the maneater the prosecution depicted. He added that he did not feel dominated by her.

“I am not a dog on a leash, and I am not Amanda-dependent as the prosecution has argued.”


Richard Allen Greene and Hada Messia report on the CNN website

Before [Sollecito’s] testimony, prosecutor Manuela Comodi offered a rebuttal to defense claims of sloppy evidence-gathering at the crime scene. She focused on the technical aspects of the evidence against Knox and Sollecito and questioned the forensic arguments used by the defense. She also defended the investigators, calling them professionals who stayed out of the media show surrounding the case.

Comodi rejected allegations that Sollecito’s DNA found on a bra belonging to Kercher could have been contaminated. Other than a cigarette butt in the kitchen with Sollecito’s DNA on it, she said, investigators did not find his DNA anywhere else in the house. The bra, the prosecutor said, was found in the bedroom where Kercher was killed. Forensics investigators wore gloves when retrieving the bra, Comodi said.

That proves, she said, that Sollecito was at the crime scene when the slaying took place.

Sollecito also left other traces of having been in the house, including footprints, she said. Some of the footprints were found in the bathroom, Comodi said.


Posted on 12/03/09 at 07:51 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Meredith’s House Seen In One Of Perugia’s December Mists This Mornining

Posted by Peter Quennell

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Posted on 12/03/09 at 06:29 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Der Spiegel Reporting Meredith’s Father Is Writing A Book To Cover Their Considerable Costs

Posted by Peter Quennell


We knew that a book by Meredith’s father John is in the works. We did not know the real reason why.

This news is frankly pretty heartbreaking.

Alexander Smoltczyk in Perugia reports on the health and financial hurt descended upon Meredith’s family..

The announcement of the verdict is expected at the end of this week, after a long trial that has taken its toll on everyone involved, not just the defendants….

Kercher’s mother only manages to cope by taking psychiatric medication, while her husband, a journalist, has been forced to write a book about the case to cover their legal fees.

The publishers’ grapevine has been hinting in fact that the book will be all about Meredith.

Meredith’s family have said through their lawyer that they expect never to see any financial return from the financial awards made by the Italian court against those who are found guilty.

Multi-million-dollar awards are common now in the US and Europe if there is a danger of profiteering from inside a prison cell. And in Italy, those sitting in prison cells often get easy access to the media.

Many of us here - many readers too - have long wanted to organize something financial for Meredith’s memory and for her family by way of this website for Meredith. Maybe now is a good time to begin.

Mind you, if the book IS all about Meredith this could be truly huge. Pent-up demand to find out more about Meredith, which we encounter every day, is now really enormous.

After being overshadowed for so long by obnoxious others, Meredith deserves her day in the sun.


Posted on 12/02/09 at 01:48 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Summations: Ghirga Finishes, Mignini Wraps Up. And Knox May Speak Tomorrow

Posted by Peter Quennell

The conclusion of Mr Ghirga’s remarks from Alan Pizzey’s report for CBS

A lawyer for Amanda Knox wrapped up her defense in the Italian murder trial today with an emotional, at times tearful, appeal to the court to acquit her of charges that she murdered roommate Meredith Kercher.

The lawyer appealed for sympathy for Kercher, but also for Knox. “We suffer for what happened to Meredith,” Ghirga told the jurors, referring to the murder victim, “but also for the future of Amanda.”

Ghirga teared up at the end of his summation and apologized for a little “emotion.” Turning to Knox’s parents, he told the court, “Amanda’s parents ask you for her acquittal. There is no Knox clan, just two desperate parents.”

“The prosecutor is right about one thing, you should not forget the victim, Meredith,” he said. “And there is one thing the prosecution should have done for Meredith, and that is an investigation done well from the beginning, with rigor.”

Ghirga concluded by saying, “Amanda asks you for her life. Give Amanda her life back, by acqutting her.”

And Mr Mignini’s remarks translated from Il Giornale

The Rudy Guede is guilty ploy “does not relieve Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, his co-defendants” in the reconstruction of the murder of Meredith Kercher made by the prosecutor of Perugia….

The magistrate said that “Rudy has been tried” by Knox’s and Sollecito’s lawyers. “Accused of everything without the ability to defend himself…. ”  Amanda and Raffaele claim that they were not in Via della Pergola but that they know everything about how Rudy has smashed a window with a rock as he climbed and as he raped Meredith.

Their defenses have claimed contamination of biological traces that match them but insist they match Guede one hundred per cent. There ‘s been a selective contamination? “.

Amanda was like a compressed spring and “felt resentment” toward Meredith Kercher. “Raffaele Sollecito always followed Amanda and tried to please her. And they were full of drugs and alcohol on the night.”

The defense is allowed to have the last word and Amanda Knox may speak in her defense tomorrow.


Posted on 12/02/09 at 12:28 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Summations: Agence France-Presse Has First Long Report On Ghirga Summing-Up For Knox

Posted by Peter Quennell



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Very on the ball. The first time we have linked to a French media report from Perugia. It is carried by AsiaOne. Excerpts from the report.

Over-zealous interrogators “ground down” American student Amanda Knox to concoct a scenario in which she and her Italian boyfriend murdered Briton Meredith Kercher in a sexual misadventure, her defence said Wednesday.

“Amanda was the victim of a mechanism that ground her down,” lawyer Luciano Ghirga said in impassioned closing arguments two days ahead of a verdict in the year-long trial…

The white-haired Ghirga, frequently resorting to sarcasm and operatic shouting, said a “whiff of racism and anti-feminism” hung over the investigation launched after Kercher was found dead in her blood-drenched bedroom on November 2, 2007.

He suggested that women police officers “clashed” with Knox in four days of questioning following the gruesome 2007 murder in the house Knox shared with Kercher, leading the suspect, then 20, to make false declarations.

Notably, the native of Seattle, Washington, falsely accused her part-time employer, Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba, who was hauled off “like a sack of potatoes,” Ghirga said….

Seated nearby, Lumumba stared ahead, his face propped on his hands, as Ghirga said Knox had no “direct intention” of accusing him….

As Wednesday’s proceedings began, the lawyer held up one of four books he said were published on the case while the investigation was still under way.

The tabloid media, notably in Britain, screamed with lurid headlines, raising concerns over whether a fair trial was possible, he said.

Lawyers on both sides have complained, the defence charging that the media demonised Knox and the prosecution that “wannabe crime writers” were conducting a parallel trial.

The glaring spotlight on Knox eclipsed the role of Rudy Guede, an Ivorian immigrant convicted separately of the grisly crime in a so-called “fast-track” trial limited to evidence from the probe….

Sollecito, an engineering student and the son of a wealthy doctor, appears timid behind his glasses, leading prosecutors to portray him as a follower in Knox’s thrall.

Posted on 12/02/09 at 09:01 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Summations: Knox Lawyer Ghirga Makes A Claim We Hadn’t Heard Before

Posted by Peter Quennell


Fox News reports the Sky News story (they are both Rupert Murdoch vehicles) which is not yet online.

Women police officers investigating the murder of British student Meredith Kercher “had it in” for suspect Amanda Knox because of a sex toy, a court has heard, Sky News reported.

Luciano Ghirga, defending Knox, described a “clash between women from the Perugia flying squad” and his client.

“They had it in for her just because she had condoms and a vibrator in her beauty case,” said Ghirga, according to Sky News.

Knox “had suffered as a result of this antagonism,” Ghirga told the murder trial, being held in Perugia.

 

 

Posted on 12/02/09 at 08:49 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Summations: La Nazione On Arguments Of Knox Lawyer Della Vedova

Posted by Tiziano


Final report on Mr Della Vedova yesterday while we wait for the first reporting on Mr Ghirga today. This is from the report of Il Tempo translated.

By Marino Collacciani

Knox comes into court.  Beautiful, very beautiful, with a magnetic gaze.  And what if she were Eva Kant instead of Amélie from Seattle?  No, the magnificent companion of Diablik is probably in some secret hideout in Clermont, and Amanda Knox today appears further and further away from the clutches of Inspector Ginko.  And then Raffaele Sollecito doesn’t look like Diabolik at all…

There is certainly a great distance between the life imprisonment of the prosecutors and and the complete liberty demanded by the defence.  The Giussani sisters, creators of the cult crime comic, would have certainly drawn and dramatised a better trial, with proof in hand.  Because it really isn’t absolutely simple to take the side of either the “innocentisti” or the “colpevolisti”: those two, Raffaele and Amanda, could be our children, brothers or sisters.  The problem is that Meredith Kercher could be too…  And so therefore what?  The best thing for now is to prepare the crime news.  And to look forward to the third and final stage of the Perugia trial.

Today, indeed, another defender of the American girl will take the stand, then the rejoinders which will continue tomorrrow: then the arrival of Friday, when the judges could go into deliberations and hand down the verdict.  Which will certainly be appealed.  So, two families, two states of mind.  Knox’s, all present in court, optimistic about the the judgement expected for the first time.  Amanda’s father, Curt Knox, spoke of “another step in the right direction”.  Then he explained how Amanda was: “She bearing up quite well.  Today was good for her (yesterday, ed), hearing the truth instead of fantasy.”  But the members of the Kercher family stay silent, for they have put their trust completely in lawyer Maresca.  However, they will be there on Friday in court to listen to the judgement.

The address of Dalla Vedova started with a 360 degree turn around from an assumption: that is, the involvement of Amanda Knox, a “wholesome student overtaken by a tsunami”, was all the outcome “of a mistake”.  Because the initial statements made to the police by a girl “in difficulty and totally confused” which linked her herself to the house of the crime and Patrick Lumumba (who turned out to be comletely extraneous to the event and thus exonerated) “had to be checked”.  And Amanda had to be freed as he was.  In court in black jumper and pants, her hair pulled back in a plait, Amanda confided, in a note left on the desk and written in English, the fear of “losing myself, of being condemned for something I have not done”.

The lawyer spoke then of “absolute lack of motive” or, rather of the “illogicality” of the theory of the prosecution about a crime linked to a vendetta or a sexual assault.  But also of the “unlikelihood” of the kitchen knife seized from the residence of Raffaele Sollecito, with the DNA of Knox and Kercher on the blade, indicated by the prosecution as the weapon of the crime.  “Why take it to the house in Via della Pergola - he asked - when there were so many there?”  And finally for Della Vedova the group violence “is not proved”, just by virtue of “lack of space” available for the attackers (Knox, Sollecito and Guede, according to the PM) in Meredith’s bedroom where traces of Knox are “equal to zero, because she was not there”.

Posted on 12/02/09 at 06:41 AM by TizianoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Summations: Andrea Vogt Summarises Knox Defense By Della Vedova

Posted by Peter Quennell


Andrea Vogt has a report in the Seattle PI that adds significant detail to that of ABC’s Ann Wise below. Key excerpts.

“Amanda Knox never should have been arrested. And everything that has happened since then has been part of an attempt to maintain an accusation, that, bit by bit, has disintegrated.”

It began with “psychosomatic” observations of one powerful cop, he said, Edgardo Giobbi, the former director of the violent crimes division of the central operations unit in Rome, who on “investigator’s instincts” suspected Knox from the beginning.

“Immediately after the crime, they focused attention on her,” said Dalla Vedova. “They started recording her conversations. They were quick to say ‘case closed,’ but it was a mistake the police made in the beginning, then they couldn’t let it go.”

He played tapes of secretly recorded conversations between Knox and her other roommate in the days after the slaying. They comforted each other in broken Italian and English….

Like his colleague Giulia Bongiorno the day before, Dalla Vedova spent considerable time countering attacks on Knox’s character, reading letters from the owner of a Seattle art gallery where she worked and citing former teachers. He described her as a “regular girl leading an ordinary, serene life with positive values.”

“I’ve known her for two years. She is ‘soap and water’” he said, using the Italian phrase to describe someone as wholesome. Knox, in a conservative black turtleneck sweater and with her hair pulled back from her face in a neatly woven French braid, appeared concentrated on her lawyer’s every word.

Knox is also expected to make a statement to jurors, at whom she nods and makes eye contact with each time she enters or exits the courtroom. On Thursday, the prosecution and the Kercher family attorney will be allowed to give rebuttal remarks before the case goes to the jury for deliberations.

Francesco Maresca, the attorney representing the Kercher family, said the attorneys intend to remind the jury of the “ample and massive” amount of forensic and circumstantial evidence behind the prosecution’s case. But the defense has one more day to sow more seeds of doubt.

Posted on 12/01/09 at 07:16 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Barbie Nadeau Cracks The Mystery Of Why Sollecito’s Lawyer Was Arguing For Knox

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report in the Daily Beast.

Yesterday’s strategy by Ms Bongiorno had been puzzling us behind the scenes. Even the Italian media seemed confused. Some thought she was subtly saying that Knox had framed Sollecito. This analysis sounds authentic.

American murder suspect Amanda Knox was nervous Monday morning when she entered the courtroom in Perugia…

Sollecito’s co-counsel Giulia Bongiorno…. surprised court observers and spent most of the morning ignoring her own client. Instead, she defended Knox even though Sollecito is the only of the two with DNA evidence in the room where Kercher was murdered…

By doing the work of Knox’s defense team, Sollecito’s own defense took a calculated risk that it will be harder for the jury to convict them both. But in doing so, she paved the way for the two to be judged as one, meaning they will either both be acquitted or both receive life sentences.

And by defending Knox and attacking the forensic evidence against her…. [Bongiorno] is banking that Knox’s lawyers will also do their bit to defend Sollecito later this week when it is their turn.

“She is not Amanda the Ripper,” Bongiorno told the jury, which at times must have been wondering when she would get to Sollecito. “She is a little crazy, extravagant. She does the cartwheels in the police station because reality for her is too strong to deal with. She is spontaneous, immediate, and imprudent.”

It was a moment of obvious relief for Knox. The last few weeks have been particularly arduous for her. Two weeks ago, Rudy Guede, the man who has already been convicted for his part in Kercher’s murder, testified in his appeals trial that he saw her silhouette in the window of the crime scene the night of the murder.

The same week, the prosecutor painted a disturbing picture of Knox as a drug-fueled vixen who called Meredith Kercher “prissy” before threatening her at knifepoint to have group sex with Guede and Sollecito. Then last week as the civil plaintiff’s closing arguments against her concluded, Knox was called a “dirty minded she-devil” by lawyers for Patrick Lumumba….

[Monday] was the best day the defense has had in this trial. Bongiorno’s oratory was a tribute to criminal defense. The jury didn’t take their eyes off her as she weaved a story separated by her own self-titled chapters. And when Knox’s defense lawyers begin their summation, they are expected to do their part and pick up where Sollecito’s defense left off.

“We are really four lawyers with two clients,” Knox attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova said after court. “We are all in the same boat.” Soon the jury will decide whether it will stay afloat.

Posted on 12/01/09 at 01:58 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Summations: Today’s Arguments For Amanda Knox By Her Lawyer Della Vedova

Posted by Peter Quennell


Ann Wise reports today’s arguments for Knox on the ABC news-site. Key excerpts:

Amanda Knox’s lawyer told the jury today that Italian prosecutors abruptly switched the alleged motive for what they charge was Knox’s murderous assault on her British roommate Meredith Kercher.

“The motive is fundamental,” attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova told the jury in Perugia, Italy, where Knox has been jailed for the last two years. “But today the motive has been changed at the last minute.”...

“At the very end of the trial the prosecution has changed the motive, not in the course of the trial and supporting it with evidence,” Dalla Vedova said. “It is no longer the result of a sex party gone wrong. Now it is Amanda who organized the crime out of vengeance.”..

“Amanda stayed in Perugia, she did not run away. She did not go to Germany when her aunt told her to come. On the morning of the 5th, the day she was interrogated, she went to school. She wanted to be in Perugia,” Dalla Vedova told the jury. Knox, he said, was a “clean-faced young girl. I know her well. And she was swept away by a tsunami” of events.

He described the police investigation as an “incredible evolution of facts that led to the arrest of Amanda Knox. It was a sort of rush.” The lawyer said police looked at Knox as a suspect because she behaved oddly in the days after the murder, including doing a cartwheel in a police station while waiting to be questioned, behavior he explained by saying she as “a girl who was alone on the other side of the world from her family.”...

Dalla Vedova challenged some of the evidence presented by prosecutors, particularly the claim that a knife found in the kitchen of Knox’s co-defendant and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito had a speck of Kercher’s DNA on the blade and Knox’s DNA on the handle. Prosecutors claim the knife is the murder weapon….

Knox, he said, “has been the object of a trial through the media, of slander, of violation of privacy… You have to keep in mind the great influence of the press on this trial.”

In the courtroom, Dalla Vedova also lashed out the prosecution’s demand that Knox be sentenced to life in prison. “Remember,” Dalla Vedova said, “that life in prison is the most severe punishment in our country. There is nothing worse than what the prosecutor has asked for Amanda.”

Ann Wise also adds that the jury could get the case as early as this Thursday - two days earlier than we have heard previously.





Posted on 12/01/09 at 11:31 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Summations: Sollecito’s Defense As His Home Town Media Outlet Described It

Posted by Tiziano


Giovinazzo Live is a media outlet in Raffael Sollecito’s home town just to the north of Bari in the south-east of Italy.

Below here is a translation of their report on Ms Bongiorno’s remarks yesterday. Ms Bongiorno, Raffael Sollecito, his father, and his sister are seen in the images above and below.

A Probing Address by Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyer

By Gianluca Battista

There was a bit of everything in the defence address by Giulia Bongiorno, well-known criminologist, part of the defence team for Raffaele Sollecito, from Calmandrei to Socrates, and passing by Sergio Endrigo.

Yesterday before the court of the Assizes in Perugia, one of the most noted female lawyers in Italy took the stand in the first-stage trial which sees her client and Amanda Knox accused of the murder of the English student, Meredith Kercher.

“In this trial Raffaele Sollecito seems to be a silent “little attachment” of Amanda and one doesn’t really understand what use he is,” Bongiorno attacked. “In this trial nothing is made known about him.  His motive is not known.  Amanda is seen as the witch (sorceress), but Raffaele?”

“According to the lawyer for the information sciences engineer from Giovinazzo, who also quoted a song by Sergio Endrigo, the prosecution reconstruction is devoid of elements which are essential to support it.”

For the Sicilian lawyer, “(It is) a murder trial without a motive, a trial which leaves one stupefied.“The lawyer recalls that on the morning of November 2nd it was Rafaele Sollecito himself who alerted the Carabinieri.“It’s a surprising idea - Bongiorno said - that an assassin should call the Carabinieri and say: come and get me, I’m at the crime scene.  Raffaele called the Carabinieri and together with Amanda awaited their arrival sitting on the steps in front of the crime house.”

Then there were many references to the other co-accused of the crime, Amanda, depicted by many as a perverse spirit. But for Bongiorno “Amanda Knox is the “Amelie from Seattle, she looks at people with the eyes of a little girl, fizzing with energy and has a spontaneous and rash attitude to life.”

The defender of the young man from Giovinazzo thus recalled the protagonist of the film “The Fabulous World of Amelie” with whom her friends compared the American girl.  The same video which Knox and Sollecito claimed to have seen in the hours while Meredith Kercher was being killed.

Then an important reference to the statements made by Knox during the questioning at police headquarters, the same which led to the arrest of the innocent Patrick Lumumba.  “Amanda was denied the right of staying silent,” she stressed.

Bongiorno then recalled that Knox, at the time barely twenty, had just arrived in Italy, did not speak Italian and did not know the laws.“Does it seem so strange - she asked, referring to the police interrogations - that she fell into despair, put into statements things which were not true and then did not have the courage to change them?  You must decode Amanda.”

The lawyer then said that Knox has been described as a female “Jack the Ripper”.  “But to me - she commented - it is difficult to think of her in this way.  I see her in the way Amanda’s friends do, that is,  she looks at the world through Amelie’s eyes.”

As for the marking of Meredith’s bra with the prints of Raffaele, collected 46 days later by the investigators, Bongiorno has no doubts: “It should have been discarded from the outset,” she thundered.“Either the prosecution explains how it was moved - she added - or you must have the courage to consign it to the rubbish bin.  A just verdict could be contaminated by a fastener collected in this way.”




Posted on 12/01/09 at 10:51 AM by TizianoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Germany’s Der Spiegel Posts An Analysis Of The Case

Posted by Peter Quennell


Please click above for Der Spiegel’s analysis in German

The case is being followed closely in Germany. Many Germans take vacations in Italy and they know the country well, and of course Rudy Guede was arrested there. Reporting is good, and TJMK see a number of hits daily from Germany.

With thanks to Has-Georg for the heads-up..

Posted on 12/01/09 at 08:49 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Andrea Vogt Asks Some Useful Questions Concerning The Legal Process

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click here to read all of this well-researched report on the Seattle P-I website.

After presenting an overview of the system similar to those posted here by Nicki and Commisario Montalbano Andrea Vogt asks two experts on the system these questions.

Do jurors have to find Knox guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?

Yes. The concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt has long been a part of Italy’s justice system. It was formalized and passed into law in 2006.

Knox’s defense lawyer Luciano Ghirga said his team will remind jurors that, even after more than 40 hearings, everything is still in doubt.

The court’s ruling (which is not called a verdict in Italy) is made by an eight-member jury: six laymen and two professional judges. They will vote, and the majority rules. In the case of a 4-4 tie, acquittal overrules.

Could Amanda Knox have plea bargained?

Knox maintains her innocence.

However, while not completely analogous to plea bargaining, Italy does have a similar alternative to trial, also a part of the 1988 reforms. The alternative is not applicable for serious crimes, such as murder, punishable by more than five years in prison.

Suspects who cooperate fully with the police, however, may become eligible for a bundle of mitigating circumstances that would lower prison sentences. A judge may also choose to apply aggravating circumstances to increase a sentence.

Negotiation on the evidence—in which both sides agree what can be admitted—is also available when defendants choose a fast-track trial, as did Rudy Guede, sentenced to 30 years last year for his role in the case for which Knox is on trial. Guede is appealing his conviction.

Why does the figure of prosecutor seem so powerful in Italy?

The prosecutor is a powerful figure in Italy connected to the judiciary, not elected or appointed. While there is a career separation between judges and prosecutors, the qualifying examination and training are common, That has made judges and prosecutors close both culturally and professionally.

In the U.S., prosecutors are appointed in federal system and typically elected in the state system, hence it is common to hear cases referred to as The State vs. X.

In Italy, protections were put in place precisely to prevent the state from pursuing or persecuting, hence the independence of prosecutors.

As a result, prosecutors haven’t shied away from taking on politicians. Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, for example, faces a series of criminal procedures in the courts.

That independence , some argue, is precisely the protection needed as a check against government power, and without it, corruption could not be exposed, said Maffei. But others argue that prosecutors wage their own political battles. using their independence to attack political opponents.

Another major difference: the prosecutor supervises the investigation rather than letting police handle it.

Further, he or she also has no discretion over the decision to seek charges. There is a constitutional principle of mandatory prosecution. If there is sufficient evidence to build a case against a defendant, a prosecutor must seek an indictment.

In the U.S. prosecutors can and do drop cases for such reasons as workload or because the defendant has agreed to help with a criminal investigation.

Was it legal for Knox not to have an attorney present when police questioned her?

Yes and No.

Amanda Knox’s interrogation falls into a gray area of the law because she came voluntarily to the police station and was being interviewed in the beginning as someone who could become be a witness, not a suspect.

Then, in the course of questioning by police in November 2007, she blamed Patrick Lumumba for the slaying, and said she was present at the scene of the crime. Lumumba was innocent. Knox has since denied she knows anything about the slaying and says she wasn’t in the flat the night Kercher was killed. Limumba is suing Knox for slander.

The law is very clear: A suspect must not be interrogated without a lawyer.

Once a suspect, an interrogation must be interrupted, the suspect read his or her rights to remain silent and be provided a lawyer. Italian law does not allow waiver of one’s right to counsel. Even if a suspect doesn’t want a lawyer, the authorities are required to appoint one.

If a suspect’s freedom of movement is hindered, the interrogation must be videotaped.

In Knox’s case, a video or audio recording of the entire police interrogation (authorities have denied that any such recordings exist) could identify when police began treating Knox as a suspect and what procedures were followed.

In fact, Italy’s Supreme Court has already said that some of her early statements may not be used against her because they were made without an attorney present.

 

Posted on 11/30/09 at 08:38 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Appeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+Cassation 2013Florence 2014+News media & moviesGreat reportingItalian system
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The Summations: Sollecito’s Lawyer Says Knox Was Not The Sort To Commit Murder

Posted by Peter Quennell


TGCom’s headline that Sollecitos lawyer claimed Knox was framing Sollecito is not born out by this longer report from Richard Own in The Times.

A lawyer for the defence today told the judge and jury Ms Knox was not “Amanda the Ripper” but more like Amelie, the wide-eyed innocent played by Audrey Tautou in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 hit film of the same name.

Giulia Bongiorno, defending Mr Sollecito, said “Throughout this trial I have heard Amanda described as someone who nursed a hatred, someone who was a maneater and someone who was a diabolical witch. But she is not Amanda the Ripper. She is a fragile and weak girl.”

She said Ms Knox, 22, was like “a little girl who looks at people and the world with child-like eyes, full of energy, spontaneous and imprudent ... If anything, she is similar to the character Amelie, the French girl in the film of the same name she was watching with Raffaele the night of the murder.”

Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito claim they spent the night of the murder at his flat, smoking cannabis. However Mr Sollecito has testified that he cannot remember if Ms Knox was with him all the time….

Ms Bongiorno, an incisive front-rank Italian lawyer, said that Mr Sollecito, 25, an information technology student, could not have taken part in the murder and sexual assault of Ms Kercher since it was he who had “raised the alarm and waited for the investigators on the doorstep of the house of the crime. Would a killer do that?’‘...

In an impassioned address Ms Bongiorno said that Mr Sollecito barely knew Ms Kercher, and did not know Guede at all. The prosecution had “failed to establish any link” between Mr Sollecito and Guede. “In this trial there are many doubts, but one certainty, that the two did not know each other at the time of the crime,’’ she said. “The only link between them is the charge sheet.’’ The prosecution reconstruction of the crime was “incomplete, with the essential part missing”.

Ms Bongiorno, who successfully defended Giulio Andreotti, the former Italian Prime Minister, against charges that he was linked to the Mafia, said a bloody footprint at the cottage was not Mr Sollecito’s, as the prosecution had claimed, but came from a shoe belonging to Guede.

She used quotations from Socrates to the late Italian singer-songwriter Sergio Endrigo to support her case that the prosecution had failed to prove Mr Sollecito’s guilt “beyond reasonable doubt”. She said that the prosecution had also failed to establish a motive for the crime….

On Saturday Mr Sollecito told the court that Ms Knox was “not manipulative or violent or diabolical, as she is made out to be. She does not have a dark side, she is a girl like many others”. Luca Maori, another lawyer defending Mr Sollecito, said that Guede’s DNA was “on Meredith’s sweatshirt, it’s on her handbag, it’s on her bra. Only one person carried out this crime and it was Guede.”

He said that the bespectacled Mr Sollecito, who comes from a well to do family at Bari in southern Italy, was “a calm, quiet and reserved young man” who when he met Ms Knox in Perugia as a 23-year-old student had had “little sexual experience”.


Posted on 11/30/09 at 09:02 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe defensesTrials 2008 & 2009Massei defenseRaff Sollecito
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The Summations: Sollecito’s Lawyer Ms Bongiorno Makes It To Court To Sum Up

Posted by Tiziano


This report is translated from Corriere. It predates the report warned of just below on the claimed framing of Sollecito.

Back after an ailment linked to an inflamed appendix, Bongiorno has completely recovered….

Sollecito’s lawyer is claiming the possibility of the contamination of the DNA traces….  Also that the prosecutorial reconstruction “has the flavour of an unfinished opera with the essential part missing”. 

The lawyer also stressed that the proof of an acquaintance between the young man and Rudy Guede is lacking. Bongiorno said, “It is certain that the two did not know each other at the moment of the crime.  The only element linking them is the prosecutor’s charge.”

Referring to what she claims is the incompleteness of the prosecutor’s reconstruction, the lawyer quoted a verse from one of Sergio Endrico’s songs: “it was a such a pretty little house but it had no roof and no kitchen”. 

Bongiorno said, “Sollecito was close to graduating and was nurturing his own dreams when he stumbled over a footprint which tore them away from him.” Then she spoke about the bloody footprint from a shoe, found next to Kercher’s body and initially attributed to Sollecito, but then revealed as belonging to Guede.  “Raffaele - his defence lawyer underlined -  was fitted into the scene of the crime by that footprint and he went to prison because of that footprint.” 

Bongiorno then went on to speak of the morning when [Meredith’s] body was found, November 2nd, 2007.  “Sollecito gave the alarm and waited for the investigators on the step in front of the crime house.  Does it seem credible to you that a murderer would do this?” she said.

Posted on 11/30/09 at 08:22 AM by TizianoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe defensesTrials 2008 & 2009Massei defenseRaff Sollecito
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Meredith’s Europe #1: Meredith’s Bright, Cosmopolitan Generation That Will Surely Remake Europe

Posted by Earthling



To the left of this page, we see the many faces of Meredith - Mez, as she was known to her friends and family - seemingly always smiling, a happy girl, blossoming into womanhood.

The product of an East-West marriage, she embodied many cultures, many interests. Meredith had worked hard to win the prestigious ERASMUS scholarship which funded her year in Italy.  Her sister Stephanie said Mez was “excited at the prospect of … studying to improve her language skills, meet new friends, and immerse herself in the culture” of Italy.

Perhaps because of her dark beauty, she felt at home among Italians whom she so physically resembled. Once in the country, already with an excellent knowledge of the language, she loved to hang out with her English girl friends, other Erasmus students, and Italians – the new cosmopolitans of Europe who have so much in common and so many things to look forward to, in their year together in the sun-drenched ancient hills of Italy, and in the many years ahead of them across Europe.

Together, they are part of what one social scientist has called the ERASMUS Generation - a generation that will surely re-make Europe in the years to come.

Although we still anticipate the final meting of justice in the sad case we all follow here, we need at times to rest, contemplate, and consider Meredith the person, the friend, the student, and the appreciator of culture, music, and dance. With utmost respect, therefore, we present some music videos in memory of Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher.

At top here, in remembrance of Meredith’s being a beloved sister of Lyle, John and Stephanie, you can see New Zealander Hayley Westenra singing, with her younger sister Sophie, a touching rendition of Across the Universe of Time: “You turn around, looking at me, laughter in your eyes, and now I can see.” 



Above here, in honor of Meredith’s love of Italy and its culture, here is one of its greatest operatic arias, Signore, Ascolta! from Puccini’s Turandot, as sung by Renata Tebaldi, the great Italian lyric soprano:

Stephanie remembered her sister as “one of the most beautiful, intelligent, witty and caring people you could wish to meet…. a 21-year-old student who was into her studies, worked hard, and enjoyed spending time socializing with her friends and family…. We feel it is no exaggeration to say that Meredith touched the lives of everyone she met with her infectious upbeat personality, smile and sense of humour.”

On the recent sad second anniversary of Meredith’s passing, her family said: “We can only hope now that a conclusion is reached in the next five weeks, so that we can finally dedicate ourselves to remember Meredith for the person that all of us knew and not as a victim or as a news item.”



And above here, a song that combines purity and passion, like Mez did, as well a reference to the Father of the Italian language: Dante’s Prayer, by Loreena McKennitt: “Cast your eyes on the ocean, cast your soul to the sea… When the dark night seems endless, please remember me…. please remember me….” 

In memoria di Meredith, con la speranza di giustizia e di pace.

Posted on 11/29/09 at 08:41 AM by EarthlingClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer Europe
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Summations: Lawyer Luca Maori Sums Up All Day Today In Sollecito’s Defense

Posted by Peter Quennell


This first report translated by Tiziano is from the news-service AGI.

The trial before the Court of the Assizes of Perugia of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher, has resumed this morning at the Palazzo di Giustizia , with the address of one of the lawyers for Raffaele Sollecito, Luca Maori. The two accused are present in court.

“Defending an innocent person is always more difficult than defending a guilty one” lawyer Maori said “Raffaele has been described as the worst of young men, he has been insulted and wounded in his dearest affections.” Maori continued,

“Raffaele is the second victim in this event. He is twenty-three years old and he has spent two of these years in prison. They have wanted to tailor him “a suit of clothes” which does not belong to him, he has been described as a fellow addicted to drugs, porno films and the search for strong emotions. His past has been morbidly delved into and that of his family, as has the premature death of his mother.”

The lawyer continued, “There is one fact that must not be forgotten in this trial, and that is that there is already a guilty person: Rudy Hermann Guede, condemned to thirty years for the crime.” Lawyer Maori played in the court room the audio recording of a conversation via Skype between Rudy Hermann Guede, who was at that moment in Germany, and the friend of the Ivorian, who was speaking from an office in Perugia police headquarters.

Mr Maori included the hope that Sollecito’s other lawyer, Ms Giulia Bongiorno, who apparently has an appendix problem,  would be well enough on Monday to argue her part of the summing-up.

And this is from Ann Wise’s report for the ABC website.

Maori placed the responsibility for the crime squarely on Rudy Guede, and then spent six hours rebutting the evidence presented against Sollecito by the prosecution.

“We already have the guilty person,” Maori told the court, “and that is Rudy Guede. The DNA is his, as are the fingerprints, and the footprints,” Maori said.

Maori defended Sollecito’s character, saying he is a person friends describe as a “quiet, shy and romantic” young man. Sollecito “is the second victim in this affair,” Maori told the court.

Sollecito’s lawyer meticulously reviewed the evidence and witness testimony presented by the prosecution, including the two main pieces of evidence investigators say put him on the scene of the crime: his DNA on the victim’s bra hook and a bloody footprint police say is compatible with his foot.

He reiterated what was said repeatedly in the course of the trial: that the DNA on the bra is probably due to contaminated evidence, and the footprint, according to Maori, belongs to Guede.

Maori also introduced a new bit of evidence he says defense experts discovered: a biological substance visible on the pillow found in the victim’s room, which Maori’s experts believe to be semen. He said the substance was never tested by the forensic police.

“Why were the two spots visible on the pillow found under the victim not tested?” Maori asked when speaking to journalists outside the courtroom. “The crime against Kercher was sexual,” Maori added, “but no one tested those stains.”

In the course of the trial, investigators said no semen was found on the scene of the crime, though injuries to the victim, and the fact that she was found naked from the waist up, indicated she had been sexually assaulted.

Rudy Guede’s DNA was found on Kercher’s body.

And this is from Nick Pisa’s report on the Daily Telegraph website.

“Despite what has been claimed Sollecito is a calm, quiet and reserve young man. He was just 23 when arrested and he is now approaching his 26th birthday.

“He is the second victim in all this - someone has wanted to sew him a suit which just does not fit him. He is not as the prosecution say a man looking for a strong experience.

“He is a young man of little sexual experience and who had just met a young lady and was in the first week of their relationship.”

Posted on 11/28/09 at 03:54 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe defensesTrials 2008 & 2009Massei defenseRaff Sollecito
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More On Investigation Of Family For Possible Defaming Of Perugia Flying Squad

Posted by Tiziano


It is worth recalling that Amanda Knox herself may be investigated for so-far-unsubstantiated claims that the police forced her to point to Patrick Lumumba as the possible murderer.

There were various witnesses to at least parts of the two interrogations of Amanda Knox on 6 November including a high-ranking police official from Rome who watched from behind one-way glass.

Here is a translation of what Repubblica is reporting 

The parents of Amanda Knox have also been investigated for defamation by the Prosecutor of the Republic in Perugia.

Edda Mellas and Curt Knox, who arrived in the Umbrian capital yesterday in order to follow the last stages of the trial of their daughter, accused with Raffaele Sollecito - her ex-boyfriend - and Rudy Guede, (already condemned to thirty years last year at a fast-track trial) of having murdered Meredith Kercher, her English housemate, found themselves notified of an accusation of having defamed the Flying Squad of Perugia.

In an interview granted months ago to the Sunday Times, Curt Knox and his ex-wife in fact declared that their daughter had been brutally ill-treated during an interrogation on November 6th, 2007 at police headquarters, which ended up in the confession in which she accused Patrick Lumumba, now an injured party in the trial.

Reporting what Amanda had told them when they had visited her in prison, the two had accused the Italian police of having extorted her confession with threats and even with several blows. “And when she asked for a lawyer she was told that the intervention of a legal advisor would have worsened her situation,” Edda Mellas and her ex-husband said to the Sunday Times.

Inspector Monica Napoleoni, head of the Murder Branch of the Perugia Squad and her men, after reading the couple’s affirmations, decided to lodge a complaint.

Amanda Knox herself, during the questioning before the judge of the Court of the Assizes, repeated that she was the object of heavy pressures in the course of that night at police headquarters. “They kept repeating to me that I would spend thirty years in prison if I did not confess,” she said in court, adding that she had received a “cuff” to the neck. These accusations have always been denied by the Perugian police and they finally decided to take legal action.

The interrogation on the night of November 6th, 2007 was furthermore at the centre of the hearing yesterday in the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, which has now reached its last stages.

It was reconstructed by lawyer Pacelli, the representative of Patrick Lumumba, who was arrested on November 6th after Amanda had indicated him as the murderer of Meredith Kercher. Lumumba is now an injured party in the debate, after having been absolved of all accusations, thanks to the testimony of a Swiss teacher who gave him a cast-iron alibi.

Pacelli, in an address judged by many as over- the-top, accused Amanda of being “dirty inside and out” and described her as “half Maria Goretti and half demon”.

By the way some of our own commenters and emailers also found Mr Pacelli’s religious imagery applied to Amanda Knox (he asked if she is a “she-devil”) to be way over the top.

Posted on 11/28/09 at 09:23 AM by TizianoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe wider contextsAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas team
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Could The Italian Authorities Be Starting A Wave Of Libel + Slander Investigations?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Nick Pisa’s report on Sky News about the charges Amanda Knox’s parents are being investigated for.

The sliming of the prosecution, the police and investigators, and even the many judges in the process, never seemed to our legal contacts like a particularly good idea.

The CIA operatives trial we referred to in this post (over which the United States and the Italian prime minister could exert ZERO influence, please note) shows that Italy has a long arm and tough laws.

And the very independent judges and prosecutors are willing to take a very hard line to enforce them.

A Seattle lawyer who propagates what seems to us a pretty daffy and unfounded view of the case, made statements in the recent report by Italian network LA7 which don’t seem to have gone over very well in Italy. They may have attracted some official attention.

We dont know if the many statements made to an American audience on for example the ABC, CNN and CBS networks (most recently by New-York-based lawyer John Q Kelly) could attract investigations. But we do hear they might have all been taken note of, and it is possible the US networks might be monitoring their coverage of the case from now on.

ABC and KING-5 Seattle, both highly negative about Italy in recent months, may be particularly vulnerable.

And if and when the one administrative charge against Mr Mignini is dropped, an American crime-fiction writer and wannabe real-crime reporter might also perhaps find himself in the Italian legal cross-hairs for some very odd things he has said and written.

it will be interesting to see if any of the US-based media pick up on and report objectively on this development in Italy. Someone taking bets?

*******

Update #1: The Associated Press has just fed the defamation story to its client media outlets in the United States.

Update #2: The AP report has now gone viral. As of right now (2:00 pm New York time) Google is returning over 1500 hits. So the word is out: watch one’s tongue where Italian justice is concerned, or there may be consequences.

Update #3: Here is a safe bet based on some insider buzz. This development will make the US State Department and the American Embassy in Rome very happy. They have long wanted the sliming of Italy to stop.

Update #4: It sounds like it might make several million citizens of Seattle very happy too. They have long wanted the Mellases and Knoxes to simply stick to the truth - and address, you know, the hard evidence.


The Summations: Saturday Is Confirmed For The Start Of The Defence On Sollecito

Posted by Tiziano


Giiven the sorry state of his alibis we do look forward to this one. This below is translated from Perugia News.

Mauro Sedda • 25th November, 2009 16:33

Saturday has been confirmed for the beginning of the Defence addresses for Raffaele Solleecito, accused together with Amanda Knox and Rudy Hermann Guede (condemned to thirty years in a fast-track trial) for the murder of the English student Meredith Kercher. The first lawyer to speak will be Luca Maori.

The lawyer Giulia Bongiorno, affected by symptoms of appendicitis with fever, has requested on the other hand that the President of the Court of the Assizes of Perugia list her appearance at a time later than Saturday. In fact, only on that day will Bongiorno know whether she will be in a condition to deliver her address on next Monday, as arranged, or whether it will be necessary to postpone it for a few days.

The verdict in the trial of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox is expected on December 4th and 5th

Posted on 11/28/09 at 01:59 AM by TizianoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009Massei defenseRaff Sollecito
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Friday, November 27, 2009

The Summations: Court Session Concludes After Lawyer Speaks For Meredith’s Family

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above: Mr Maresca is getting robed in court this morning.

His stark and very moving remarks for the family were the last item for the day. Mr Maresca spoke extensively of the remarkable qualities of Meredith, the supreme dignity and discretion of her family, and the enormous damage done by this very callous crime.

Listening to these remarks were various members of Amanda Knox’s family and the father of Raffaele Sollecito. Meredith’s family were not present in court. It is never seems easy for them to be there.

The Italian papers still only have short-form descriptions of Mr Maresca’s speech, and the English-language media dont yet have any. We will post again later, when all stories are filed and online.

Saturday update: We are gathering all the reports of Mr Maresca’s remarks - each has one or two points the others do not - and will post on them on Sunday.

Posted on 11/27/09 at 01:44 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedVictims familyTrials 2008 & 2009
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The Summations: The Defendants And Their Families In The Courtroom Today

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]




Posted on 11/27/09 at 09:30 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009Amanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
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