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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Best Shot At Making Amanda Knox’s Timeline Alibi Work

Posted by FinnMacCool


Amanda Knox’s first encounters with police and other witnesses the day after go to the very heart of her credibility.

Of her truth-telling or otherwise about events, and of her whole innocence or otherwise in the crime. 

On Sunday 4 November 2007 Amanda Knox wrote an email to a student welfare officer at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Knox related what she said had happened at the house on Friday the 2nd before the communication police arrived to establish why Meredith’s two mobile phones were tossed into a garden a kilometer away.

This email was written while Amanda was alone and under no pressure.

Copies went to various relatives and friends. For many of her supporters, it represents the essential truth of what happened, before Amanda was interrogated by the police and began changing her story.

This analysis covers the period from noon to a quarter past one on the Friday, the day that Meredith Kercher’s murder was discovered.

It compares the claims in the email with cellphone records for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the period.

The contents of the email

According to the email, Amanda and Raffaele were initially at Raffaele’s apartment at noon on November 2nd. The email describes how Amanda spoke with Filomena Romanelli and then tried to reach Meredith Kercher by phone.

It then explains that Amanda and Raffaele returned to the cottage, where they found evidence of a break-in, alongside some bloodstains which Amanda had already noticed.

They also observed that Meredith’s door was locked. After they tried and failed to break down this door, they phoned the police.

After that, Amanda claims she called Filomena once again, who said she would return to the cottage.

Cellphone records do not support this story, and nor do the police.

Two police officers arrived at the cottage to investigate Meredith’s two phones, which had been found in a neighbor’s garden. The police claim they arrived at 12:25, and video evidence appears to support this.

Amanda and Raffaele dispute the video evidence. They claim that the police arrived much later, after the call to the emergency services which Raffaele made at 12:55.

Below, we look first at the scenario described by Amanda, followed by the scenario described by the police, with a view to determining what really happened in that crucial hour between noon and one. 

First scenario: Amanda Knox’s email is essentially true, the police account is essentially inaccurate

If we assume that the police are basically incorrect, and that Amanda Knox’s email is basically correct, in their respective rememberings of what happened on November 2 between noon and 1315, that leaves us with several puzzling questions. Here are some of them:

1. Where was Amanda at 1208?

At 1208, Amanda calls Filomena. Amanda claims that she made this call from Raffaele’s house.

However, in his prison diary, Raffaele describes the same conversation as taking place at the cottage.

Filomena says that Amanda explained, in that conversation, that she was at the cottage, and was on her way to fetch Raffaele.

2. Why didn’t Amanda call Raffaele?

Even though Amanda claims to have walked alone to the cottage, and to have been concerned enough about the bloodstains to want to bring Raffaele to have a look at them, she never attempted to phone Raffaele at all during the whole of that morning.

3. Why did Amanda stop calling Meredith’s phones?

Amanda first tried calling Meredith’s Italian phone at 12:07. At 12:08 she calls Filomena, who advises her to try Meredith’s phones. She doesn’t tell Filomena that she tried the UK phone just a minute ago (nor does she mention this in her email).

In the email, Amanda says she called Meredith’s phones after speaking to Filomena – cellphone records support this claim. But she also says that the Italian phone “just kept ringing, no answer”.

Her cellphone records show this call lasted just three seconds, and the call to the UK phone lasted just four seconds. (The WeAnswer Call service, which prides itself on how quickly it answers its customers’ calls, boasts that their average speed-of-answer is 5.5 seconds.)

Next, Amanda claims that she returns to the cottage with Raffaele.

But why doesn’t she try Meredith’s phones again? If the Italian phone was going to continually ring again – even for just three seconds – she’d now be able to hear it through the bedroom door (assuming Meredith had it with her).

But this doesn’t seem to have occurred to either Amanda or Raffaele.

4. Why didn’t Amanda call Filomena back?

In the 12:08 call, Amanda told Filomena she would try Meredith’s phones and then call her back.

In the email, Amanda claims that she called Filomena back three quarters of an hour later – after Raffaele’s finished calling the police at 12:55.

But cellphone records show that Amanda never called Filomena back at all.

On the other hand, Filomena DOES call Amanda back – at 12:12 and 12:20. It’s not clear whether Filomena receives an answer to these calls, or simply leaves a message – certainly, Amanda’s email makes no mention of having received these calls.

Then Filomena tries a third time, at 12:34, which is when Amanda tells her that Filomena’s own room has been broken into.

5. Why doesn’t Amanda mention that she called her mother in Seattle?

Her cellphone records also show that Amanda called her mother at 12:47 – but she makes no mention of this call in her email.

Edda Mellas claims that she told Amanda to hang up and call the police – but Amanda makes no mention of this advice in describing their decision to call the police.

The email describes the decision to call the police as something between herself and Raffaele, after she had tried to see through Meredith’s window, and after Raffaele had tried to break down Meredith’s door.

But in the ten minutes before Raffaele calls his sister (an officer in the carabinieri), Raffaele has received a call from his father (at 12:40:03) and Amanda has made a call to her mother (at 12:47:23) – neither of which calls is mentioned in the email.

Raffaele’s sister gives him the same advice that Edda Mellas gave Amanda: hang up and call the cops.

6. How can the tour of the cottage and the arrivals of first Marco and Luca, and then of Filomena and Paola, all take place between 12:55 and 13:00?

Raffaele makes the successful emergency call (lasting nearly a minute) at 12:54:39.

Meredith’s UK phone is activated at Police HQ at 13:00 – as part of a conversation which the postal police at the cottage are having about that phone with staff at HQ.

This conversation mentions Filomena’s arrival, and the information she’s given them about it being a UK phone.

This means that we need to fit the following activities into those five minutes, if Amanda’s email is to be believed:

  • The postal police arrive later than 12:55
  • Amanda and Raffaele give them a tour of the cottage, including the suspected break-in and the bloodstains in the bathroom
  • Amanda writes down Meredith’s phone numbers for them, on a post-it note which Luca Altieri notices on the kitchen table when he arrives
  • Marco and Luca arrive (and they see the post-it note) and have a conversation with the police about the ownership of the phones
  • A few minutes later, Filomena and Paola Grande arrive. Filomena explains to the police about Meredith’s phones (one lent by Filomena, and the other a UK phone)
  • The postal police make contact with their HQ
  • During this call, Meredith’s phone is activated (at 13:00)

In addition, at some point, Paola sees Raffaele and Amanda emerging from Amanda’s bedroom – but it’s not clear whether this happened before or after 13:00. It could have been after.

But even if we move this emergence from the bedroom to after 1300, there simply isn’t enough time for all those other activities to take place in a period of less than five minutes.

Second scenario: the police account is basically accurate,  Amanda Knox’s email is essentially untrue

Let us take the opposite scenario, and assume that the police are basically correct, and that Amanda Knox’s email is basically incorrect.

This then provides us with answers to those puzzles above, and also fills in some of the gaps that were otherwise missing from the timeline.

We also find that this new timeline is supported by evidence from other witnesses.

1. Where was Amanda at 12:08?

Amanda was at the cottage, and so was Raffaele.

Amanda was not telling the truth when she said she was going to fetch Raffaele – since Raffaele was in the room with her when she made the call.

This matches with the versions of both Filomena and Raffaele, who both believed that the call was made from the cottage.

2. Why didn’t Amanda call Raffaele?

Amanda never called Raffaele that morning because they were with each other the whole time – just as they continued to be with each other every moment until their arrest (except when separated for interrogations).

3. Why did Amanda stop calling Meredith’s phones?

Amanda called from the cottage in the first place, so there is no longer a question of why she called Meredith only from Raffaele’s apartment.

Also, she allowed the phone to ring only for three or four seconds because she knew that Meredith would not (and could not) pick up – she knew Meredith was dead.

The purpose of making these calls was simply for them to appear on her own cellphone record, to help construct an attempted alibi.

4. Why didn’t Amanda call Filomena back?

This question can be answered if we accept the hypothesis that Amanda’s intention was for Meredith’s body to be discovered by Filomena and/or Filomena’s friends.

When the police found the couple outside the property “waiting”, they were really waiting for the one living person that they had called that morning – Filomena.

Amanda ignores the calls at 12:12 and 12:20 because she wants Filomena to arrive at the cottage and to be the one who makes the “discoveries” of the break-in, and the locked bedroom.

So that when Filomena arrived at the cottage, Amanda and Raffaele (at the front of the house) could have said, “Oh, we decided to wait for you. Let’s go in together.”

However, Amanda answers Filomena’s 12:34 call because the police are already at the cottage and have already discovered the alleged break-in.

So now Amanda needs Filomena to arrive as quickly as possible – and at this point she tells Filomena about the break-in and the locked door.

Unfortunately for Amanda, however, Filomena decides to call Marco and get himself and Luca to go there first – knowing that they will be able to reach the cottage much more quickly.

Amanda tries to delay the breaking open of the room by telling the police, and by telling Luca, that it’s normal for Meredith to lock her own door.

She does this because, when it comes to the breaking down of the door, they want the others to be the first ones on the scene - and we can see that when the door is broken down for real, Amanda and Raffaele withdraw to the kitchen.

Unfortunately for Amanda, however, she can’t resist boasting later to Meredith’s English friends that she herself was the first on the scene.

5. Why doesn’t Amanda mention that she called her mother in Seattle?

Amanda’s email is essentially fictional.

The police arrived around 12:30, which is when they said, and this is corroborated by the CCTV evidence from the car park (timed at 12:25).

So the police have been in the cottage for about a quarter of an hour when Amanda calls her mother.

Amanda is first called away from the police to answer Filomena’s 12:34 call, just as Raffaele is called away a few minutes later to answer a call from his father at 12:40.

However, it is not until the arrival of Marco and Luca that they are able to escape to the privacy of Amanda’s bedroom, where they make the phone calls first to Amanda’s mother, then to Raffaele’s sister, and then the two calls to the police.

Notice that Edda and Raffaele’s sister both give the same advice: Hang up and call the police. And that’s exactly what they do, in fact.

However, in trying to create a fictional backdrop for making the emergency calls, Amanda forgets that she’s already called her mother.

Now she tries to explain that she and Raffaele called the police because of their panic over the locked room – panic which seems not to exist when Amanda is telling Luca that Meredith usually locks her door.

(Notice that in this version, we don’t need to believe that nobody can understand what Amanda says.)

After making these calls, Amanda and Raffaele emerge from the bedroom, as described by Paola Grande.

Paola’s memory of arriving at the cottage just before one is supported by the activation of Meredith’s cellphone at 1300.

6. How can the tour of the cottage and the arrivals of first Marco and Luca, and then of Filomena and Paola, all take place between 12:55 and 13:00?

It doesn’t. The tour of the cottage takes a more realistic fifteen minutes (roughly 12:30 to 12:45).

The police spend ten minutes talking to Luca and Marco about the phones, and about the suspected break-in, and so on (roughly 12:46 to 12:55), while they await the arrival of Filomena and Paola.

The girls arrive shortly before one, as the girls said, and as the phone records support, and explain the situation of the phones to the police (roughly 12:56 to 13:00).

There follows another fifteen minute examination of the house, culminating in the breaking down of the door by Luca Altieri at 13:15.

Conclusion

This version may or may not be accurate, but at least it is supported by external evidence, not contradicted by it.

It is easy to see why Judge Micheli’s report found that the cellphone records do not support Raffaele Sollecito’s claim to have called the flying squad before the postal police arrived.

It is also easy to see why these timings undermine other stories told by the two defendants – such as Amanda’s December 2007 claim that she thought the postal police were in fact the police that Raffaele had just called.

Such a claim is absurd, given that Battistelli contacts HQ with a status report less than five minutes after Raffaele’s 112 call was made.

The bottom line is that this does not look promising for Amanda Knox.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Plight Of CBS Network: Anti Justice For Meredith Is Increasingly Bad Business

Posted by Peter Quennell



[above: billionaire Sumner Redstone, largest CBS stockholder and big loser]

For the record TJMK, our not-for-profit tribute to Meredith, has been one of the fastest-growing new websites in the world.

At 1,669,013 world-wide now (out of about 7 million) it has more than twice the readership of any other site on the case except pro-Meredith PMF.

But it is less easy being an American television network in this day and age.

In the last three months of 2008, broadcast networks lost nearly three million viewers, or about 7 percent of their total audience. Overall television viewing is up, however, and some big cable networks, like USA and TNT, are attracting new viewers.

Broadcast networks still bring in the largest audiences, but now they are facing a deep advertising recession that is hitting both the networks and their local stations.

That sorta explains why over two years the stock of CBS which broadcast last Saturday’s trashy report has really tanked. 

While the US stockmarket as a whole is down less than 40 percent, CBS stock is now down by MORE THAN 80 PERCENT.

Which may help to explain why CEO Leslie Moonves (image at bottom here) is now running scared for his job.

CBS has a classy and successful lineup among the evening drama shows. But its evening news broadcast (with Katie Couric) is relentlessly at third place, and its prestigious “60 Minutes” expose franchise has seen better days.

And CBS’s tabloid “48 Hours” expose franchise, which broadcast the trashy “Amanda Knox Show” last saturday night at 10, is really down there in the bargain basement.

The “48 Hours” report rarely breaks into the top 20 among CBS’s own shows And it rarely breaks into the top 100 among all US television shows - it was 101 overall last year.

CBS seem to have tried very hard to promote its “48 Hours” on the Perugia case. But there’s zero buzz in the US and, as our poster Nicki reported from Italy, the “48 Hours” was just a tiresome yawn there.

So far, I haven’t seen any report of the scandalous 48 Hours show on this side, and this indifference speaks volumes to me… In the collective imagination, the FOA PR machine has done a great job in representing America at its lowest: arrogant, xenophobic and unreasonable.

Evidently the Italians have got past indignation and are bored of being lectured about the serious flaws of their judicial system and their third-world-country incompetence level. They’ve got more important thing to worry about, like the recent earthquake and the economic crisis to name a few.

So, let the Perugia trial take its course, and the guilty be sentenced to the maximum penalty. This is what the general feeling is on this side of the ocean.

Viewers of the trashy “48 Hours” were few in the US, probably below 4 million. And by the look of the advertising that the show carried, they were mainly elderly and of lower income.

Very nice people of course, but not really the demographic the networks would now die for.

In strong contrast, the prestigious NBC Dateline expose franchise did a wonderful job of explaining the case while remaining highly objective.

  • Meredith’s memory was respected by Dateline, rather than repeatedly trashed with the use of very sick images
  • There was no one-note Captain Ahab on a manic vendetta, obviously way out of his depth on the actual evidence
  • There was no spurious recreation of what a witness heard that got the basic facts about her very seriously wrong.
  • There was no piling on to Italy and all things Italian - and some real live Italians were interviewed for the piece.

And guess what? The audience for NBC’s Dateline was MORE THAN TWICE AS LARGE as CBS’s. And a lot more upscale and sought-after.

NBC very deservedly came out ahead on the heavy investment in its painstaking report. And NBC certainly did not have to get down into the gutter to achieve it.

Learn something from this please, CBS, before you become a dinosaur in the tar-sands.

There is no longer a profit to be made out of trashing poor Meredith.



[above: Leslie Moonves, the beleagured CEO of the CBS network]

Posted on 04/15/09 at 08:38 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Monday, April 13, 2009

CBS Report Sets New Record For Trashing Of Meredith, Xenophobia, Multi-Inaccuracies, Possible Libels

Posted by Peter Quennell



[above: the CBS producer Doug Longhini]

Those who really know the case well were widely appalled at this vicious and highly misleading piece of propaganda.

A number of complaints have been registered. In the next several days, we’ll be analyzing the CBS report and the reaction at length.

Meanwhile, for those who did not see the CBS report and would like to, try clicking on the image above. It should just open and play.

And if it does not work for you, please tell us, or download and play this zipped version.

Posted on 04/13/09 at 03:22 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Meredith’s Perugia #8: Heart Of A Humane And Very Civilized Part Of The World

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Posted on 04/12/09 at 08:04 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer Perugia
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Saturday, April 11, 2009

CBS Reporter’s Bizarre Claims About Prosecutor And Reporters

Posted by Skeptical Bystander





Peter Van Sant of CBS is the slightly confused-looking reporter in the images above and below.

In promoting his “48 Hours” report tonight, which by all accounts seems intent on equaling CBS’s record for worst report on the case, Mr Van Sant has come out with an interview which is an absolute classic for how not to do such things.

First, consider Mr Van Sant’s remarks about one of the prosecutors in the case. 

As for the accusation that Kercher was killed over a sex game, Van Sant cites an Italian blogger for putting that notion into the prosecutor’s mind. Van Sant said the blogger claims that she speaks to a dead priest who tells her what happened at crime scenes.

The blogger told the main prosecutor in the Knox trial, Giuliano Minnini (sic), that this was a satanic sex game and that’s how the theory started, Van Sant said.

Sliming of a prosecutor in this fashion has already been strongly protested against by Amanda Knox’s own defense team.

And the prosecutor in question, one of two (real name: Mignini), many weeks ago made clear that he had NOT listened to the Rome blogger (had locked her up in fact), is NOT especially pushing any particular theory of motive for the crime, is NOT especially central to the continued momentum of the trial - and has actually started a lawsuit against PRECISELY this kind of libel!

Second, consider Mr Van Sant’s remarks about the reporting of the case.

Among the many (actually rather neutral and non-inflammatory) journalists on the case that Mr Van Sant seems intent on sliming is of course Andrea Vogt of the Seattle PI. He all but refers to her by name and it seems rather obvious who he had in mind.

Ms Vogt is the reporter from the Pacific Northwest who is based in Bologna, Italy and who has been covering this case for the Seattle PI for over a year. Many observers have been impressed with her thorough, objective and factual reporting, particularly since the trial phase began.

Anyone who has been following the case knows how non-objective and pro-defense much of the reporting has been in the US, and how much fluffy air time has actually been arranged by the family-hired PR firm Marriott and company.

So the particular focus of Mr Van Sant’s criticism is really surprising. After claiming that Italy has the most irresponsible tabloid press on the planet and that local Seattle papers like the Times and the PI can’t afford to send reporters to Italy to cover the story, he explained that they hire “stringers”. Apparently these stringers simply translate articles from the Italian tabloids into English and, via the local newspaper circuit which publishes them, they get recycled and become legitimate news.

Mr Van Sant actually uses the terms “filtered” or “laundered”, as if he were talking about Mafia money being invested in life insurance policies.

The Seattle PI has enough problems without having to deal with this irresponsible and possibly defamatory remark. And Andrea Vogt, who to our knowledge is the only “stringer” working on this case who is filing stories for the PI, has been providing some of the best coverage of this case to US readers.

There are many good reasons for this: Ms Vogt is fluent in Italian and lives in Italy for much of the year; and she is a talented writer and an intelligent reporter. But most important, she has been making the trek from Bologna to Perugia and back, and spending Fridays and Saturdays in the courtroom for hours on end.

She recently wrote a piece on the mood in Seattle for Panorama, an Italian publication. For that article, she interviewed people in Seattle—including friends of Amanda Knox.

I would imagine that as soon as each daylong court session ends, she sits down - like the other serious reporters covering this case - and tries to turn out a fair and accurate report of the day’s event under very tight deadlines. Her reporting for the PI has been excellent and fair.

It is not only unfair, it is also dishonest to imply that Andrea Vogt is translating Italian tabloids and trying to pass it off as original reporting. If this interview with Mr Van Sant is any indication, then CBS viewers tonight may be in for an evening of fiction.

In which case, I think I’ll watch “The Greatest Story Ever Told” or “The Sound of Music” instead. Closer to reality than is CBS….



Friday, April 10, 2009

Rumors In Manhattan About Ludicrously Bad CBS Report

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Click above for the CBS promo for a “48 Hours” report this Saturday night.

Early in the case CBS seriously shot itself in the foot. Now Manhattan lawyers and media people who are following the case are really amused that CBS seems to be about to do it again.

And CBS is said to be very, very nervous at putting itself out on such a limb. The best report by a US network so far would have to be that put together by NBC. And the worst report by a US network so far would have to be that put together by CBS.

The previous CBS report was confused on many of the basic facts of the case. And CBS tried to trash a key witness who gave some very convincing testimony a few weeks ago.

The apparent mainstays of this new report? The old chestnuts again. Prosecutor Mignini is REALLY evil!  And Amanda Knox was somehow coerced into fingering Lumumba - and that in the course of a 14-hour interrrogation.

Talk about time-warp.

Not only have the claimed hitting of Knox and the endless interrogation already been discredited at trial by a number of witnesses. But the “evil” prosecutor has initiated an investigation into whether she committed slander against the interrogators.

More after the CBS broadcast. This should be most interesting.

Posted on 04/10/09 at 01:23 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Meredith Stories In Croydon Guardian Now Top Ninety

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Above: the new shot of Meredith that the UK’s Croydon Guardian is now running with its stories which appear about weekly.

Meredith was not born in Croydon half an hour south of the center of London. But she went to school there, and she lived most of her first 18 years there.

Although she made many friends during her two years at Leeds University, and quite a few in Perugia, those friends she would have known longest all lived in this area.

In our early days, a Croydon Guardian reporter reached out to us, and the paper ran a story on TJMK. We got to be labeled “conspiracy theorists” whereas our main role is just the opposite, but the story meant well and we keep an eye on the website.

The paper’s reports on the case have all been factual and sympathetic Even if they were the only source of news on the case locally, Croydonites would be better informed on the case than most Brits. Nothing in-depth written about Meredith herself, though, and no friends of Meredith ever quoted as of yet.

She appears to be wearing braces in the shot above, by the way. Setting herself up for a lifetime of nice smiles.

Posted on 04/08/09 at 09:43 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Trial: Judges And Jury To Visit House On The 17th - What Can We Expect?

Posted by Arnold_Layne

[click for larger image]

Having seen and heard the autopsy evidence, the judges and jury will now see the actual crime scene.  What might we expect from this? 

I think this will have an emotional and lasting impact on them.  Until now, everything has been pictures and talk. Seeing the actual site of the brutal murder right after the autopsy information will cement the enormity of the crime in their minds.

For one thing, they will most likely try to reconstruct the crime in their minds.  When might Meredith have eaten mushrooms?  With whom?  What was the sequence of events in the attack?  What was visible from the park?  Where did the sexual assault take place?  The torturous stabbing?  The final thrust to the neck?

The defense will also have to present images that are more consistent with what the jurors have actually seen.  It will be much more difficult for them to create a fuzzy mental picture of someone breaking in when they have actually seen the window.

A question still for me is where the actual attack took place. 

We know it ended in the bedroom.  But why did Knox and Sollecito seemingly spend the entire night cleaning up the common areas?  And if Guede was voluntarily with Mez, why did he not use the bathroom adjacent to her room?  Why was there so little DNA evidence in Meredith’s room after such an epic struggle?

When the jurors leave this murder scene, they will be very different people.  This crime will be much more real to them, and rendering a verdict will no longer be just a civic duty. 

When they next meet in court, I have to wonder what their impression will be of a smiling, carefree Amanda Knox.

Posted on 04/07/09 at 11:42 AM by Arnold_LayneClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Meredith’s Perugia #7: The Rap-Music Scene…

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Posted on 04/05/09 at 06:54 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Newsweek Interviews The Kercher Family Lawyer Francesco Maresca

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for another fine report by Barbie Nadeau.

Ms Nadeau is one of only two Rome-based Amercan reporters (the other is Andrea Vogt, see post below) on the case. In contrast, there are half a dozen British reporters on the case, at least one (Nick Pisa for Sky News) with a cameraman, and there are rarely less than several dozen Italian reporters.

This report nicely positions where we are now in the course of the trail.

Now, 17 months after Kercher’s brutal murder, the theatrics are over. The two judges and six jurors are finally getting to the meat of the trial: the scientific evidence.

Experts say it will make all the difference in this case against 21-year-old Amanda Knox and 25-year-old Raffaele Sollecito, who stand accused of sexual assault and murder.

Francesco Maresca, the attorney representing the Kercher family, equates the prosecution’s case so far to preparing a fine meal. “Up to this point, we have seen the equivalent of the side dishes,” Maresca told NEWSWEEK in his office in Florence. “From this point we will start to see the real substance”...

With the theatrics now out of the way, this scientific evidence will finally bring the circumstances of this murder into better focus. The prosecution has always maintained that Knox, Sollecito and Guede tried to initiate a sex game that went awry.

Maresca says that while he is sure the accused did not go into Kercher’s room with the intent to kill her, there is ample evidence proving that what started as a game ended in her tragic murder.

“Kids this age are all into quick thrills,” he told NEWSWEEK. “What started as a threat or a game to scare Mez escalated to violence and ended in murder.”

We suspect that here, Mr Maresca may be reflecting what the Kerchers also think: that nobody in the world would have knowingly set out to murder someone so precious as Meredith.


Trial: Witness Rudy Guede Appears On The Stand But Choses Not To Talk

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Ruede Guede at a hearing in September 2008]

Rudy Guede chose to remain silent in court today. The Associated Press reports:

Rudy Hermann Guede, from the Ivory Coast, took the stand in Perugia in the trial of US student Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

Under Italian law, he had the right not to answer as he has been convicted…

Escorted by prison guards, he appeared tense and did not look at Knox and Sollecito.

Guede has acknowledged being in Kercher’s apartment when she was attacked.

He said he tried to rescue her but got scared and fled.

There had been speculation for months that his lawyers were seeking some sort of a deal for Rudy Guede’s testimony at this trial. The stated grounds for his appeal seem weak and, although Prosecutor Mignini only asked for 25 years last October, in fact he was handed 30.

Guede attempted some poetry in prison and it was thought might be inclining to some repentance or remorse - something that for the sake of the Kercher family we would seriously like to see.

Brian posted on Judge Micheli’s very careful assessment of the evidence against Guede and the improbability of the lone wolf theory.

Judge Micheli started from what was found in Meredith’s room, settled on a minimalist motive, and concluded that this was a cruel and depraved murder that had definitely involved Rudy Guede and two others.

At this trial Guede really needed to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or face the kind of slander charges that Amanda Knox has been attracting and a possible six further years in his cell.

He also needed to come out of it looking in some way better. So he passed.

Posted on 04/04/09 at 06:55 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009
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Friday, April 03, 2009

Trial: Andrea Vogt Reports On Patrick Lumumba’s Testimony

Posted by Peter Quennell


Andrea Vogt is still providing her usual fine reports on the trial on the Seattle PI website.

Click above for her report late today on what Patrick Lumumba told the court of his experiences. He was the one fingered by Knox as the perp, and it took two weeks to get that charge refuted.

Knox is being prosecuted by the Republic of Italy, not by Lumumba, on a calunnia charge. 

Explanation of calunnia

The charge of calunnia (art. 368) has been commonly translated as “slander” in the English/US media. This translation is incorrect, however, as calunnia is a crime with no direct equivalent in the respective legal systems.

The equivalent of “criminal slander” is diffamazione, which is an attack on someone‟s reputation. Calunnia is the crime of making false criminal accusations against someone whom the accuser knows to be innocent, or to simulate/fabricate false evidence, independently of the credibility/admissibility of the accusation or evidence.

The charges of calunnia and diffamazione are subject to very different jurisprudence. Diffamazione is public and explicit, and is a more minor offence, usually resulting in a fine and only prosecuted if the victim files a complaint, while calunnia can be secret or known only to the authorities. It may consist only of the simulation of clues, and is automatically prosecuted by the judiciary.

The crimes of calunnia and diffamazione are located in different sections of the criminal code: while diffamazione is in the chapter entitled “crimes against honour” in the section of the Code protecting personal liberties, calunnia is discussed in the chapter entitled “crimes against the administration of justice”, in a section that protects public powers.

 

 


Trial: The Closed Court Sees Graphic Photos And Video Footage Of The Autopsy

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the first English-language report, by Richard Owen of The Times.

Lawyers at the session, which was held in camera, said that Ms Knox, 21, Ms Kercher’s American flatmate, had refused to look at the footage, keeping her head down and at times burying it in her folded arms on the table in front of her. Mr Sollecito, 25, Ms Knox’s former Italian boyfriend, occasionally glanced at the screen in the courtroom.

The image of Amanda Knox that the Times used here may be a bit misleading. She was talking with Mr Ghirga a week ago in court when it was taken.

here is an additional report just posted by Nick Pisa on Sky News.

Posted on 04/03/09 at 09:10 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Trial: Agenda Is Closed Court For The Autopsy Report, And Maybe Testimony From Guede

Posted by Nicki

Part of the Friday court hearing will be closed for the autopsy evidence.

A just decision on the part of the Italian Court, and a due act of respect for Meredith and her grieving family. The murderers didn’t “simply” stab her. She was sadistically tortured before she was left to die in a locked-up room, without her mobile phones and thus robbed of even the slightest chance to call for help.

The medical findings that I have actually been able to get through in Judge Micheli’s report (itself toned down from the autopsy report) are truly shocking. Multiple bruises were found on the face and jaw-line - at least eight - in a clear attempt to muffle her screams. There were more bruises on her elbow and arm, all ranging from 1 to over 4 cm diameter (up to a bit less than two inches).

The genital area was also bruised, as well as her leg and her hip. Multiple bruises and scratches were found on her neck, plus four cuts on her hand. Someone DESPERATELY fighting not to be raped - and then for her life.

I can only pray that the medical examiner evidence on Friday will not reveal additional horrific details that we are not aware of from the Micheli report. All of the above is very far from suggesting a “consensual” intercourse, as the Guede defence tries to claim.

And by the same logic, the medical findings unequivocally indicate that the murder was committed by multiple aggressors. So, unless Rudy Guede is a four-armed God Vhisnu, and therefore able to silence Meredith’s screams with one hand, wave a knife to stab her neck with the other, and at the same time try to rape her, the logical conclusion is that the attack was carried out by more than one aggressor.

Perhaps the other attackers were not Mr Sollecito and Ms Knox and if they are able to prove that in Court, good for them. But so far, there are two unassailable truths: Meredith had been savagely raped and killed, and Guede sure didn’t do it alone.

The smiling portion of the trial will probably be behind us now, after this demonstration of just how depraved Meredith’s death really was.

The court will be re-opened to the public when Carlo Maria Scotto di Rinaldi, who owns an underwear store where Knox was seen buying lingerie with Sollecito shortly after Meredith was killed, takes the stand. Point is to describe even more of what was apparently a cold and uncaring demeanor on the part of the defendants.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Criminal Charges Almost Certain For Serious Disrespecting Of Meredith

Posted by Jools



[above: the Telenorba reporter who may soon be among those facing charges]

Raffaele Sollecito comes from Bari. Precisely one year ago, the local Bari TV station Telenorba did the almost unthinkable.

It broadcast some crime-scene video of Meredith. They showed her lying half-naked on her back on the floor, with the wounds to her throat clearly visible.

The footage was then picked up by the Italian state broadcaster, RAI, and it was rebroadcast a number of times.  Still shots ended up in a number of newspapers. And a video of the broadcast ended up on YouTube where (as of this morning) it still remains.

All of which now appears almost certain to attract a number of criminal charges.

Here is Richard Owen of the London Times describing the broadcast one year ago.

Relatives of Meredith Kercher, the British student murdered in Perugia in November, were said to be shocked and distressed last night after images of her bloodied corpse were broadcast on Italian television…

Telenorba, which showed the footage late at night, warned viewers that it was disturbing and suitable only for adults. It showed police scientists in white protective clothing pulling back the duvet to reveal Ms Kercher’s body and slashed throat, and turning the corpse over to examine her bloodied back.

Her eyes were covered by a mask. RAI did not include this part of the footage in its news broadcasts.

And here is the report in the Daily Mail also one year ago.

The Kerchers’ lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said: “This is an example of gross journalistic misconduct, which evidently violates all the rules of how to report a story….

Anna Maria Ferretti, the director of the leading Italian TV programme Antenna Sud, said: “For five minutes of television, the ultimate taboo has been broken without any shame.”

Italy’s Order of Journalists has asked for the video to be confiscated so that it is not shown again and a repeat of the programme that had been due to air on Tuesday night was cancelled…

Enzo Magistra, the editor of the programme, defended the show and insisted it had not meant to cause offence.

He said: “When I decided to transmit the images of Meredith’s corpse, I did not have the least intention of violating anyone’s dignity, but merely to do my job with respect to an important event.”

Sparked by a complaint from Mr Maresca for the Kerchers, the Perugia prosecutor initiated a one-year investigation.

And yesterday the outcome was announced. This is a translation of the report in La Nazione.

The prosecutor of Perugia has served notice of the completion of four investigations into Raffaele Sollecito’s family members and two journalists of the TV station Telenorba on the transmission of a forensic video in which the body of Meredith Kercher wa shown…

The report on the investigations (usually a prelude to a request for trial) indicates crimes were committed of defamation, invasion of privacy, publication of arbitrary acts of investigation and publication of gruesome acts.

According to the reconstruction by the Perugia prosecutor, the father and sister of Raphael Sollecito had legitimately obtained the scientific survey of the police, and had then illegally provided it to Telemundo.

The report also cites a journalist and the editor of Panorama for the publication of an article in which they reported that blood samples from Meredith had revealed an alcohol concentration above the legal norm - implying she was drunk when she was killed. This claim was proved a lie in the course of the forensic tests.

And this is a translation from the AGI news-service website.

Eight “notices of termination of the investigations” have been reported by the public prosecutor of Perugia…  Four Sollecito family members, the TV journalist on Telenorba and the director of the station, are accused of the crimes of defamation, invasion of privacy, publication of documents during the investigation, and publication of gruesome acts….

According to the reconstruction, the Sollecito family members delivered to Telenorba the video and photos of the crime scene survey carried out by the forensic team on November 2 of 2007 in Meredith’s house. Telenorba then put the material on the air.

Other investigations are on-going.

The YouTube video of the Telenoirba broadcast as of this morning had had over 9,000 looks. It is in an area for adults only, and it requires registration to get in.

Notwithstanding, these are typical of the angry comments in Italian that appear right under the video.

This video is a disgrace to every individual. There’s a girl who is no more, a family suffering for this, and now has to suffer public humiliation ... Let us never forget that the right to dignity and decency of the victims, especially if already dead.

*********

The video should be removed. The right to record is in conflict with the respect and devotion of the deceased. The publication of such images add nothing to the journalistic chronicle

Mr Maresca, who is in legal practice in Florence, appears to us to have fought hard for the rights of Meredith and the Kerchers.

He put the case for a closed trial (which the Knox and Sollecito forces bitterly fought) and he won the court’s agreement that the most disturbing segments at least would be closed to the journalists and the public. 

Here is the Times report on his battle then with the defendants’ families.

Mr Maresca said Italian law provided for trials in cases of sexual violence to be closed to the public, at the discretion of the judge. He said that showing graphic photographs and video footage of Ms Kercher’s body and the murder scene in open court could do injury to her memory.

Mr Maresca said that 280 journalists had been accredited for the pre-trial hearings, which were held in camera. This led to reporters and photographers trying to snatch pictures of the accused as they arrived and left the court, with defence lawyers and prosecutors besieged by the media outside the courtroom.

And to counteract the massive and pervasive spin being put on every development in the trial, Mr Maresca has been sharp and outspoken on what the growing body of evidence implies.

Other apparent attempts by the Sollecito family to interfere with the course of justice, as suggested in telephone intercepts, are still being investigated by the Perugia prosecutor. Mr Mignini is famous in Italy for fighting for victims’ rights to the maximum.

Mr Maresca is clearly doing a fine job in protecting Meredith’s dignity and the peace of mind of her poor family.

And this throws a MAJOR shot across the bows of the families of the defendants, if they incline to further disparaging of Meredith.

[below: the Kercher family lawyer Francesco Maresca; his office is in Florence]




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