Friday, October 15, 2010

Is The PR Campaign Finally Now Pushing Amanda Knox Very, Very Close To The Edge?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Things seem to be getting increasingly tough for Amanda Knox.

We have already posted that she seems increasingly adrift. Now consider all that is about to hit her.

1) Next week a book of interviews with Knox will be release by an Italian politician, Rocco Girlanda (image below), who we hear comes across as more than a little obsessive toward her. 

We are told that an active Italian MP is in fact legally forbidden from meddling in an ongoing case, and it seems he started the interviews with Amanda in Capanne without her even realising she was being recorded. Who knows how this book will come across in Italy, and how she will then be regarded?

2) Next week also the slander trial of Knox’s parents, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, may get under way in Perugia. We have posted repeatedly lately on what seems the real reason why Amanda Knox accused Patrick Lumumba: Sollecito had just destroyed her alibi.

Only very much later did Knox start to claim that she was driven to make her demonstrably false accusation because she was being harrassed by an interrogator. This is supported by no witnesses at all. The tough confident insouciant Amanda Knox who took the witness stand last June did not manage to make this claim sound remotely credible.

In the echo-chamber occupied by such shallow grandstanding self-servers as Steve Moore (Machine’s post below) this belated accusation somehow morphed into Prosecutor Mignini himself leading the harrassment, which was said to go on for hours and hours, with no food, no water, no lawyer, and no interpreter present in the room.

So Amanda Knox herself and her two parents are now facing their separate slander trials - Knox’s own trial will recommence in November. All three seem to be between a rock and a hard place. Either they must look all of the cops right in the eyes and say “Yes you did this” or visibly freeze or melt down emotionally on the witness stand, and end up facing possible legal punishment.

3) The Sollecitos increasingly seem to be going their own separate way. The Sollecito family trial for illegally releasing an evidence video to Telenorba showing Meredith naked at the crime scene (which stirred considerable dislike for them all across Italy) will recommence on 24 February in Perugia. Raffaele’s sister Vanessa, who was fired from her job in the Carabinieri (federal police) for trying to get politicians to use their influence for Sollecito, will also be facing her own hearing.

As we have explained so many times before, Raffaele Sollecito has NEVER endorsed Amanda Knox’s final alibi - that she was with him at his place all night. The Sollecitos do NOT like Amanda Knox or her family, and they have no time at all for the strident anti-Italianism of the PR campaign, which has done them nothing but harm.

4) Amanda Knox is now said to be pretty desperate to talk in person or on the phone with Raffaele Sollecito. This has just been approved. For each, it will be their one approved phone-call a week, and it will be monitored.

Although some of the Italian media have made light of this - that this may be a sign of love’s hot embers - the far more likely explanation is that Amanda herself and the inner Knox team are desperately worried that Sollecito could cut them adrift, and come out at appeal with a show of penitence and even a sort of explanation.

So Knox reaches out to Sollecito now in what seems to be growing desperation.

5) Hayden Panettiere is hanging around in Rome waiting for the shooting of the Lifetime movie to begin, grinning vacuously for the cameras as she thoughtlessly heaps still more pain on Meredith’s family and her friends and shows zero concern for the real victim.

To their considerable credit, Amanda Knox’s own lawyers in Perugia seem to have taken a strong dislike to Hayden Panettiere, and to the timing of the Lifetime movie. We have just now heard that they have said no to a request from Hayden Panettiere to meet with Amanda Knox in Capanne Prison. This film is likely to stir enormous controversy unless it sticks to the facts, and the facts hardly seem to favor Amanda Knox.

6) There is less sign now than there ever was that the US Rome Embassy or the State Department are inclining to intervene, even if there was an obvious way open. They know the case from end to end and they believe last year’s trial was a perfectly fair proceeding.  Just a couple of weeks ago the State Department did move actively to help some other Americans in foreign trouble, but in light of the strident anti-Italianism and the Massei Report, it just isn’t going to happen here.

7) The depth and detail and precision of the Massei Report is a nightmare for the Amanda Knox defence team. Even if all the DNA and other forensic tests are repeated, the result are very unlikely to be fully in their favor, and there’s a real chance new tests will work against them.

And now we are hearing that the opportunistic prisoners Mario Alessi and Luciano Aviello, one of who claims he was a cellmate of Rudy Guede who heard him confess, and the other who claims he is the brother of the “real” murderer, may STILL be the defense’s star witnesses at the appeal starting late in November. Both are very much reviled in Italy for their crimes, and each has a known history of lying.

So good luck to the Knox defense team with this one. Their appeal statement seems weak and disjointed. Amanda surely picks up on their despondent vibes, which hardly helps in her own struggle for emotional stability. 

***

So what do we ourselves hope for here? We hope that Amanda Knox finally breaks. Not calamitously, of course, but in a totally new direction. Maybe a shorter sentence for her. And certainly relief to the thousands this cruel senseless act toward Meredith has so very much damaged.


Posted on 10/15/10 at 12:03 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Crime hypothesesThe psychologyThe officially involvedAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas team
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ten Examples Of How The Former Campus Cop Steve Moore Serially Mischaracterizes The Case

Posted by The Machine




1. The Chronic Chest-Thumper

A couple of weeks ago Steve Moore was frogmarched out of his workplace on the campus of Pepperdine University and told not to come back.

Although Pepperdine apparently offered him a deal for his resignation, he refused, and so he probably departed with only the minimal severance entitlements in his contract. Now he is suing Pepperdine, presumably to see if he can get a little bit more. 

Steve Moore has been rather plaintively claiming since the firing that he did nothing wrong, except to avidly support the innocence of Amanda Knox in his own time. No mention of his confused take on the case or of Pepperdine’s exchange students in Italy who must rely on the police Moore delights in trashing.

We suspect that a lot of things about his confused, hurtful and ebullient campaign reached the front office of Pepperdine University and its Law School, and that some or many of these things may come out in the open when Steve Moore’s suit goes to court. Our next post will contemplate what some of these things may be.


2. Moore Adrift On Hard Facts

It’s not a secret at all to those involved in handling the case in Perugia and Rome (where Moore is much ridiculed) and presumably now at Pepperdine (which has a very good law school, one capable of correctly absorbing the Massei report) is how Steve Moore is serially unable to get the facts right.

His media interviews have followed the very familiar PR script. The presenter or journalist begins by really talking up Steve Moore’s 25-year career with the FBI as one of the FBI’s really big stars! Then going to to emphasize how Steve Moore has REALLY done his homework on this case! On the NBC Today Show, for example, it was claimed that Steve Moore has studied “every iota of evidence”! Reporter Linda Byron stated on Seattle’s King 5 TV that he had obtained the trial transcripts and the police and autopsy records! And Moore had all of them translated into English!

The intended message is clear: Steve Moore is an exceptionally credible professional expert in all the relevant fields! He knows this case inside out because he has researched it absolutely meticulously!

In this piece, we will compare just a few of the many claims that Steve Moore has made - here in interviews with Frank Shiers on Seattle’s Kiro FM Radio, with Ann Curry on the NBC Today Show, with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News, and with Monique Ming Laven on Seattle’s Kiro 7 TV - with the real facts, as described in the Massei report and the witness testimony from the trial.

3. Ten Of The Oft Repeated Lies By Moore


Frequent Moore Lie 1: The large knife doesn’t match the large wound on Meredith’s neck.

Steve Moore has repeatedly claimed in interviews with for example Frank Shiers, Ann Curry and Monique Laven that the double DNA knife doesn’t match the large wound on Meredith’s neck.

Untrue. Prosecution experts, multiple defence experts and Judge Massei in his report have all agreed that the double DNA knife DID match the large wound on Meredith’s neck.

On these matters, the considerations already made must be recalled, which led this Court to evaluate the outcome of the genetic investigation as reliable, and this knife as absolutely compatible with the most serious wound. (The Massei report, page 375).

Barbie Nadeau reported directly from the courtroom in Perugia that multiple witnesses for the defence, including Dr. Carlo Torre, conceded that the double DNA knife was compatible with the deep puncture wound in Meredith’s neck.

“According to multiple witnesses for the defense, the knife is compatible with at least one of the three wounds on Kercher’s neck, but it was likely too large for the other two.” (Barbie Nadeau, Newsweek).

He (Dr. Carlo Torre, defence expert) conceded that a third larger wound could have been made with the knife, but said it was more likely it was made by twisting a smaller knife. (Barbie Nadeau, The Daily Beast).

For someone who has allegedly “studied every iota of evidence”, it seems that Steve Moore is doing nothing more than regurgitating a familiar FOA myth that has long been completely debunked.

He clearly hasn’t studied every iota of evidence. Very far from it.

Monique Ming Laven had a copy of the English translation of the Massei report. Warning bells should have gone off in her head as soon as Moore claimed the double DNA knife didn’t match the large wound on Meredith’s neck, and yet she didn’t challenge him.


Frequent Moore Lie 2: They want you to believe that Amanda Knox inflicted all three wounds on Meredith’s neck

Moore stated in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News that “they” claimed that Knox caused all three wounds on Meredith’s neck.

“What they’re having you, what they want you to believe is that in the middle of a life and death struggle, holding a girl who is fighting for her life. Amanda stabbing someone for the first time in her life, takes two stabs with a very small knife, throws it away and says give me the other one” (5.48 -  6.05)

Untrue. Neither the judges and jury nor the prosecution have ever claimed that Amanda Knox inflicted all three wounds on Meredith’s neck:

“Elements which lead one to consider that the 4cm in depth wound was inflicted by Raffaele Sollecito with the pocket knife that he was always carrying around with him, and was inflicted immediately after having cut the bra…” (The Massei report, page 374).

The following extract is from Mignini’s timeline, which was presented at the trial on 20 November 2009 by the prosecutors:

23.30 ...At this point, the two knives emerge from the pockets of Amanda and Raffaele: one with a blade of four to five centimetres, the other however a big kitchen knife. Meredith tries to fend off the blades with her right hand. She is wounded.

23:40 ...The three become more violent. With the smaller knife, Sollecito strikes a blow: the blade penetrates 4 centimetres into the neck.

The timeline presented by the prosecutors during their summation was published in Il Messagero and other Italian newspapers. It was translated by main poster Tiziano and our other Italian speakers and posted on PMF and TJMK here.


Frequent Moore Lie 3: Meredith had no defensive wounds on her hands

Steve Moore told Frank Shiers on Kiro FM that Meredith had no defensive wounds on her hands.

Untrue. Moore clearly hadn’t read the autopsy report, or its summary in the Massei Report.

“They consist also in some tiny defensive wounds: one on the palm of her [396] right hand of a length of .6cm showing a tiny amount of blood; another on the ulnar surface of the first phalange of the second finger of the left hand, also of length .6cm; another on the fingertip of the first finger with a superficial wound of .3cm, and another tiny wound corresponding to the fourth radius.” (The Massei report, pages 369-370).


Frequent Moore Lie 4: Rudy left his hair and fluid samples on Meredith’s body.

Steve Moore has made this claim in interviews with Frank Shiers and George Stephanopoulos.

Untrue. Rudy Guede did not leave any hair or fluid samples on Meredith’s body. There is no mention of Rudy Guede leaving his hair or fluid samples on Meredith’s body in either the Micheli report or the Massei report.

Steve Moore is simply making things up or relying on false information.


Frequent Moore Lie 5: Amanda and Raffaele didn’t step in blood and that can’t be avoided

In his interview with Frank Shiers, Steve Moore claimed that Knox and Sollecito didn’t step in Meredith’s blood.

Untrue. The Massei report completely contradicts this claim. It notes that Amanda Knox stepped in Meredith’s blood and tracked the blood with her feet into her own room, the corridor, and Filomena’s room:

Even the traces highlighted by Luminol therefore show the existence of evidence against Amanda, making [the Court] consider that she, having been barefoot in the room where Meredith was killed and having thus stained her feet, had left the traces highlighted by Luminol (which could have resisted the subsequent action of cleaning, on which more will follow) and found in the various parts of the house which she went to for the reasons shown above (her own room, the corridor, Romanelli’s room). (The Massei report, page 382).

Judge Massei attributed the visible bloody footprint on the bathroom mat to Raffaele Sollecito and categorically ruled out the possibility that it could have belonged to Rudy Guede:

“Also from this viewpoint it must be excluded that the print left on the sky-blue mat in the little bathroom could be attributable to Rudy.  A footprint that, for what has been observed in the relevant chapter [of this report] and for the reasons just outlined, must be attributed to Raffaele Sollecito…” (The Massei report, page 379).

The bare bloody footprint in the corridor, referred in the Massei report as trace 2, was attributed to Raffaele Sollecito:

In this particular case, they lead to an opinion of probable identity with one subject (Sollecito with respect to trace 2, Amanda Knox with respect to traces 1 and 7) and to the demonstrated exclusion of the other two. (The Massei report, page 349).


Frequent Moore Lie 6: None of the luminol prints or stains contained Meredith’s DNA

Steve Moore told Frank Shiers that Meredith’s DNA wasn’t found in any of the luminol prints or stains.

Untrue. Meredith’s DNA was found in the luminol traces in the corridor and in Filomena’s room.

Amanda (with her feet stained with Meredith’s blood for having been present in her room when she was killed) had gone into Romanelli’s room and into her [own] room leaving traces [which were highlighted] by Luminol, some of which (one in the corridor, the L8, and one, the L2, in Romanelli’s room) were mixed, that is, constituted of a biological trace attributable to [both] Meredith and Amanda…” (The Massei report, page 380).


Frequent Moore Lie 7: The prosecutor through fierce interrogation coerced Amanda into implicating someone else in the case

Steve Moore has made this claim on a number of occasions

Untrue. The prosecutor wasn’t even present when Amanda Knox first accused Diya Lumumba.

Dr Mignini was called to the police station after she had ALREADY admitted that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed and after she had ALREADY made her false and malicious accusation against Lumumba.

Her implication of Lumumba was triggered by sight of a phone message she had denied. She had an interpreter with her at all times, and she had a lawyer present at all times after her status moved to that of a self-proclaimed witness.

Her own lawyers never ever claimed the interrogation was anything out of the ordinary (Italian law requires that lawyers report real claims of abuse), or that for a suspect she was treated less than kindly.

They never filed any complaint, contributing to her calunnia conviction, and making her situation at her slander trial in Florence in November one that is dire and untenable. 


Frequent Moore Lie 8: Amanda Knox wasn’t given food or drinks when she was questioned by the police.

Steve Moore claimed on the Today Show and ABC News that Amanda Knox wasn’t given food or drinks when she was questioned.

Untrue. Monica Napoleoni testified that Amanda Knox was given things to eat and drink.

“Ms Napoleoni told the court that while she was at the police station Ms Knox had been “treated very well. She was given water, camomile tea and breakfast. She was given cakes from a vending machine and then taken to the canteen at the police station for something to eat.” (Richard Owen in The Times, 1 March 2009).

Amanda Knox even herself confirmed during her testimony at the trial that she was given something to eat and drink.


Frequent Moore Lie 9: Amanda Knox was interrogated in Italian on 5 November 2007

Steve Moore stated in his interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News that Amanda Knox was interrogated in Italian, a language he says she barely knew, on 5 November 2007.

Untrue. Interpreters were present at all sesions on 2, 3, 4 and 5 November and their names appear in the records Knox signed. Knox was provided with an interpreter, Anna Donnino, on 5 November 2007, who translated all the police officers’ questions into English for her and translated her answers back.

In Amanda Knox’s own testimony on the stand in June 2009, she even referred to this interpreter - she claimed the interpreter seemed to give her some advice at one point.


Frequent Moore Lie 10: Amanda Knox recanted her accusation against Diya Lumumba as soon as she got some food

Steve Moore has made this claim in numerous interviews and articles.

Untrue. Amanda Knox didn’t retract her accusation as soon as she got some food at all. In fact, she reiterated her allegation in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007 which was admitted in evidence:

[Amanda] herself, furthermore, in the statement of 6 November 2007 (admitted into   evidence ex. articles 234 and 237 of the Criminal Procedure Code and which was mentioned above) wrote, among other things, the following: I stand by my - accusatory - statements that I made last night about events that could have taken place in my home with Patrick…in these flashbacks that I’m having, I see Patrick as the murderer…”.

This statement, as specified in the report on it of 6 November 2007 at 2:00pm, by the Police Chief Inspector, Rita Ficarra, was drawn up, following the notification of the detention measure, by Amanda Knox, who “requested blank papers in order to produce a written statement to hand over” to the same Ficarra. (The Massei report, page 389).

The Massei court took note of the fact that Amanda Knox didn’t recant her false and malicious allegation against Diya Lumumba during the whole of the time he was kept in prison. Later courts noted that she told her mother she felt bad about it.

4. Verdict On Steve Moore

He is either an incompetemt or a phoney. Either way he is not to be trusted.

His various surfacings smack of a Walter Mitty character making things up as he goes along, with an expression and a tone of voice that suggests he is thinking “Yes, folks, this REALLY is all about ME.” 

He will save Knox! He will save Knox! Come what may!

Steve Moore has never ever addressed the numerous smoking-gun issues, like Knox’s and Sollecito’s many lies before and after 5 November 2007. It seems that perhaps he’s not even aware of them - he certainly seems to think Amanda Knox only lied on 5 November 2007.

Italian authorities worked hard and professionally in Perugia and Rome to get this case right. If he is ever to speak up again with any credibility at all, Steve Moore needs to read and actually understand the Massei report in its entirety.

It’s unforgivable for him to get so many facts wrong on so many occasions in front of large audiences, and then use those wrong facts to make multiple highly unprofessional accusations against the authorities in Perugia and Rome.

He would never have got away with this about a US case. He would have been held in contempt of court for trying to poison the jury pool.

And the journalists who get to interview him REALLY should have alarm bells going off when he comes out with his many fictions.

It was very remiss of Monique Ming Laven and Ann Curry not to challenge Moore over any of his false claims, such as the double DNA knife being incompatible with the large wound on Meredith’s neck. George Stephanopolous did at least make some small attempt to push back.

Steve Moore is not only oblivious to many facts about the case.

He seems totally oblivious to the real hurt that his cowardly, dishonest, self-serving campaign from across the Atlantic is inflicting on Meredith’s family and her friends.


Saturday, October 09, 2010

Meredith’s Europe #3: The City Of Brussels Where She Was Eager To Start Work

Posted by Peter Quennell

In June of last year Meredith’s father John divulged that she had set her professional sites on the international institutions in this fine city.

She would have concluded her stay in Perugia in summer of 2008 and graduated from Leeds in summer of 2009. So right now she’d either be at the end of her first year of postgraduate studies or at the end of her first year living here.

Such a vibrant city. Such an enviable life.

Posted on 10/09/10 at 10:08 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer Europe
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Friday, October 08, 2010

The Firth-Winterbottom Movie Now Seems Headed For A Bizarre And Irrelevant Focus

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: British actor Colin Firth]

Perhaps Italy and the UK and the US could use a documentary-type movie sooner or later that tells all of the facts dispassionately. Especially one that gives Meredith a real presence. 

That looks to us like a compelling focus.

The obvious main source would of course be the Massei Report which was issued last March. The 10,000 or so people who have downloaded and read the English version of the 400-plus-page report (which links to another 10,000 other pages) almost invariably find it a really compelling and very impressive read.

The best two books on Meredith’s case - by Barbie Nadeau and Russell & Johnson - are certainly very good, given their publishing deadlines. But even those authors would probably concede that the Massei Report is far more detailed than their books, and as a source ii is simply unsurpassable.

Now if you have read the Micheli Report for Rudy Guede and the Massei Report for Knox and Sollecito, you will know that the Italian press does not feature. Not at all. The Massei report in particular focuses almost laser-like on the actual evidence presented over six months in court. It shows zero sign of any outside influences.

And in both the Massei Report and the Micheli Report, even some of the arguments of the PROSECUTORS are discounted and brushed aside, in favor of what the judges themselves concluded.

Even if the judges had paid obvious attention to the media, it is hard to see how the Italian media could have resulted in any real bias. Over two-plus year we have quoted translations of literally hundreds of reports from Italian media websites. Readers may wish to check through those to see if they can find EVEN ONE that matches for example the DAILY hyperbole of American crime TV.

There was some rather sensational reporting in the early days of the case (late 2007 and early 2008) but even that eventually turned out to contain truths. Reporting by the entire group of Rome-based foreign reporters with one singe exception (Peter Popham in the early days) was neutral, fact-based, and very rounded. Their lack of bias was little short of amazing. As an entire group, they deserve a Pulitzer.

So a report out today by Katey Rich quoting Michael Winterbottom on what he thinks should be his focus is a real surprise. Here is what Michael Winterbottom had to say. .

[Interested UK actor Colin Firth] won’t be playing anyone involved with the murder, but a journalist covering the case, which was the subject of extraordinary media focus in Italy…

Winterbottom doesn’t seem all that interested in the specifics of the trial itself - “I have no view on whether they did it, the film will not be about that. There is unlikely to be a character playing Knox” - but rather the journalists who may or may not have influenced the trial’s outcome with their constant speculation about the facts.

“The taking sides over the case was extreme here,” he said. “There was no explanation that covered everything and the journalists were drawn in in a way you would not expect.”

It’s unclear if Firth’s journalist character would be Italian or English, and given his promotional duties for The King’s Speech—which many think will be earning him an Oscar come February—he definitely wouldn’t be able to start filming until sometime next year.

OKay. Let us see here.

1) On the one side, there was a massive and very well-funded public relations campaign, with a number of gullible sock puppets, and a generally lazy and compliant American media which often reflected a strident anti-Italianism, and an almost complete disregard for either the real victim or the true facts.

2) On the other side, there was not much more than a few good, honest, objective reporters, all of them based in Italy, who were reporting the truth as they saw it. And a couple of non-commercial websites. Namely Perugia Murder File, and TJMK.

It is hard to see how a movie depicting an “extreme taking of sides” could be anything other than dishonest. It would certainly irritate any informed audience. Unless of course Mr Winterbottom rejects the PR which seems to have taken hold of him, and accurately reflects what really ARE the two sides.

Could he do that? Really? .

[Below: British director Michael Winterbottom]

Posted on 10/08/10 at 03:57 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Controversy Over The Lifetime Movie Seems To Be Stirring Some Needed Changes

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above The President and CEO of the A&E network and Lifetime TV Abbe Raven]

Our various previous posts on this controversial movie can be seen here.

This movie became so controversial so fast because Meredith’s mother Arlene spoke up sharply to the free-lance reporter Nick Pisa (one of the most energetic reporters on the case from Perugia who we often quote from here) about the convicted killer Amanda Knox being idolised like this, while her daughter Meredith, the real victim, was the one long overdue some compassion.

There is still no reporting of reaching-out to Meredith’s family in London. Such arrogant callousness toward the family of a victim who died cruelly and needlessly in immense pain would have caused a firestorm if that victim’s family had been living here in the United States.

But Lifetime and the production team do seem to have come so far as to have realized now that this is not a black and white case, at least not in the way that they were originally thinking. And that the original TV movie concept might do them at least as much harm as good.

The lawyers for Amanda Knox in Perugia are still being quoted in the Italian media as disliking the timing of this film. If it causes Raffaele Sollecito and his own legal team to finally separate (we believe the relationship is now dangling by a single thread) and he hangs Amanda Knox out to dry, she and her legal team would have headaches like nothing they so far imagined.

The Italian authorities - including the Italian equivalent of the FBI in Rome - are clearly very tired of being ignorantly mischaracterized for what the Massei Report shows (in face of an unmistakable crime scene rearrangement and a lot of blown smoke) to have been a very strong case that would have ended in “guilty” in almost any courtroom in the world.

Lifetime have accordingly renamed the movie Tangled rather than The Amanda Knox Story. And there are suggestions that the movie will now depict how the three killers got in over their heads, rather than how two of them were framed in the middle of a blissful love affair.

Lifetime TV say the film is selling well around the world and could be broadcast on the Lifetime channel in the US as soon as next March. It will be shot in Rome and, presumably, in Seattle where Amanda Knox grew up.

Director Robert Dornhelm (image at bottom) in interviews here and here still sounds like he swallowed the “railroaded and framed” kool-aid, and he sounds quite ignorant of Massei. But he says he will not “weave his point of view” into the film’s final result.

Writer Wendy Battles does not seem to have given any interviews, but she works in a fragile occupation as a freelance, and there are many ready to take her place if she slips here. Her filmography is exclusively of the cliffhanger who-dunnit kind of TV series, and character development and love stories don’t seem to figure in it prominently if at all.

The actress Hayden Panettiere, a former child actress,  is now known mostly for one recurring TV role, that of a bubbly and rather ditsy cheerleader in ABC’s long-running and now-concluded Heroes series. Actresses who become prominent so young (she was in her teens for most of the series) seem to have a real problem keeping their life and career on the tracks. There are other actresses with real acting skills and very bright mentalities (Kristen Stewart, Emma Stone, and Anna Kendrick) who’ll leave her in the dust if she gets this one wrong.

The Lifetime channel would seem to be a strange vehicle for this movie if it is intended to have any more clout in the US than the passively-received Oprah Winfrey show - which has twice the audience, by the way. Lifetime is watched mostly by women without college education, and as it often seems anti-men (it is quite rare for a woman to be the villain) it attracts not many male viewers at all.

There is no sign that Lifetime TV has been gaining in audience share lately, and its immediate parent the A&E network is not the respected powerhouse network it once was. Hostility toward Lifetime grew considerably last year, when its anti-man bias caused it to depart wildly from known facts. 

If you are inclined to provide Lifetime with helpful advice to get the movie right, emails are usually not nearly as effective as written letters. The Lifetime headquarters where decisions on this movie are made is located a block or so west of Times Square in Manhattan.

    Lifetime Television, 111 8 Av @W 16th St New York, NY 10001 212-641-3300

The officers of the company are as follows. The President and CEO of A&E and Lifetime is Abbe Raven (image below), the CFO is James Wesley, and the Chief Marketing Officer is Bob Bibb. In the Lifetime operation Neil Schubert is the Senior VP of Publicity, Julie Stern is the VP of Production, and Sandy Varo is the VP of Reality Programming.

Lifetime and A&E are owned 50% by Hearst Corporation (which also owns the Seattle PI) and 50% by the Disney Corporation (which 100% owns the ABC network). The Seattle PI hosts Candace Dempsey’s blog.

It also carries Rome-based reporter Andrea Vogt’s sharp, accurate and incisive reporting on the case. Good source if the team want to get all the facts correct.


Posted on 10/05/10 at 11:04 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Friday, October 01, 2010

1 October 2010: Seattle PI’s Italy Based Reporter Andrea Vogt On Where Everything Stands

Posted by Peter Quennell



Former crack prosecutor Judge Chiari who once took an ex-Prime Minister down

Overview Of This Post

Another of those very useful roundup reports from Andrea Vogt, which contains some new points of real interest.

1) On Judge Sergio Matteini Chiari

When Bongiorno steps into the appellate courtroom to defend Sollecito, the judge will look familiar. Respected magistrate Sergio Matteini Chiari represented the prosecution during the controversial Andreotti appeals trial a decade ago in Perugia over the mafia murder of journalist Mino Pecorelli. Biscotti also defended a Cosa Nostra mafioso in that case.

Biscotti and Nicodemo Gentile, who represented Guede, have picked up a number of other high-profile Italian cases while awaiting Guede’s supreme court trial, scheduled for Dec. 16. The duo also represent the family of a murdered transvestite embroiled in a political scandal, as well as the family of a young girl gone missing from Taranto in August.

2) On the RS & AK appeal

The Knox and Sollecito appeal is scheduled to commence late in November.

Knox’s attorneys are soon expected to file “motivi aggiunti” or “additional motives” for appeal. That can include new evidence or witnesses defense attorneys think should be considered. The lead prosecutor—a substitute sitting in while a while a permanent replacement for the position is considered—will be joined by the two public ministers who originally prosecuted Knox and Sollecito; Giuliano Mignini and Manuela Comodi.

“We did not request to be involved,” said Mignini, reached by seattlepi.com this week. “In fact we thought we had wrapped up our duties with the conviction in the first trial. But when we were asked, we gave our availability.”

The appeals trial process will differ in many ways from the first trial. Only the makeup of the court—six lay jurors and two professional judges—remains the same. It will likely proceed much faster because the court is mostly debating Judge Massei’s judgment, not rehearing witnesses or re-examining evidence, though the court can specifically request to rehear key witnesses and the Knox and Sollecito defense teams have filed requests for an independent evaluation of certain pieces of contested evidence.

3) On possible outcomes from the appeal

On appeal, the case is once again wide open, as the court could do anything from giving Knox a harsher life-in-prison sentence to turning over her conviction.

“The court can review all the same evidence presented in the first trial, but simply decide that there is reasonable doubt, that they don’t believe it,” explained University of Parma criminal procedure professor Stefano Maffei.

The court also can agree with prosecutors, who are also appealing the 26-year-sentence and asking for life, and give her even more prison time. Or, the court can agree with the murder conviction, but find that mitigating factors outweigh the aggravated ones, which leads to a one-third reduction in sentence.

That is a most likely scenario, court observers such as Maffei say, especially since more than 18 Italian magistrates have reviewed the evidence in the Knox case and come to the same conclusion of culpability, which somehow ingrains the decision into the judiciary. For reasons that are sociological rather than legal—such as good behavior, political pressure, changed public opinion or prison crowding—sentences in Italy are often reduced on appeal.

“The tradition in this country remains that the court of appeal is usually more lenient than the court of first instance,” Maffei said.

4) On Amanda Knox’s slander trial

Knox will leave the prison for the first time in months [today] Friday. She’ll be shuttled in a police van into a protected side entrance to the courtroom, far from the media, which won’t be allowed into the closed-door hearing where “mostly technical” issues will be discussed.

She is charged with slander for accusing the Perugia police of hitting her as she was being interrogated the night before her arrest. During the course of the questioning, police became suspicious and turned up the heat over the course of several hours. Knox testified that they called her a liar and cuffed her on the back of the head twice while urging her to tell the truth. Multiple police officers and two interpreters who were in and out during the questioning deny such abuse took place and tell their own gentler version of how the night unfolded.

Unless one side produces audio or video of the questioning—which police and prosecutors have said does not exist because Knox was just a witness, not a suspect, when questioning began—it is likely to remain her word against theirs.

The presiding judge Friday (Claudia Matteini, the same judge who signed Knox’s original arrest warrant in 2007) could decide to hold an abbreviated trial, where everything is done behind closed doors and only documentary evidence is presented. She could decide there is enough evidence to move forward with a trial (or not). She could also simply choose to archive the case without passing judgment on its merit. Francesco Maresca, who represented the victim’s family during the Knox trial, represents the police in the case.

Here is our own take from trial reporting and the Massei Sentencing Report on what actually happened in the witness interview that night. Amanda Knox was thrown by Sollecito cutting her loose. (He has never since provided her cover.) But she did not confess - far from it. She fingered Patrick Lumumba. And as a suspect, she always had a lawyer present in subsequent interrogations. 

More in the report too, on the movies, the books, and what it is really like to be serving one’s time It sounds punishing.

Posted on 10/01/10 at 12:44 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Knox Slander Hearing Adjourned: Her Lawyers Make It Sound Like She Might Crack - Too Late?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Amanda Knox and her lawyer Luciano Ghirga in court last June]

The slander hearing was adjourned by Judge Matteini to Monday 8 November, after less than one hour.

Amanda Knox now knows she is not only facing the huge and detailed Massei Report and (vital to remember) the really huge volume of witness and expert statements and evidence exhibits and other documents to which it it links, which are for the most part only available in Italian.

Now she knows she is facing a bunch of hostile cops, as she was exchanging stares with all of them today in court. And if she continues to accuse them in court, she will be cross-examined, and pressed very hard to name which one or ones it was - while looking him or her or them right in the eye.

Quite some pressure. Mr Ghirga has just been reported as saying this about Amanda Knox’s state of mind.

“She has hardened herself, she has become more unhappy and less serene,” he said. “I hope we can help her to find her serenity back before Nov 24 and that she doesn’t lose her courage. This would not help us.”

And here is another report from another of her lawyers.

“She’s very down,” said her lawyer, Maria del Grosso of Rome. “I’ve told her to be tough. It won’t help to fall apart now. “

This all seems to imply that Knox just might decide to abandon the hard line encouraged by the PR campaign, which seems to be getting her nowhere except into more hot water, and move from her various conflicting stories and over now to something completely different. 

Something credible and consistent that actually sounds like the truth? Who knows?

Coming so late in the process, with Meredith’s family and friends already put through deep pain for nearly three years, it may not happen - at least not yet. Still, one consistent story if believed could affect her sentence and the conditions of her stay in prison if she does not win her freedom at appeal.

And some peace of mind for all those who have been hurt. All except one: her family’s very precious Meredith. Stay tuned.

Posted on 10/01/10 at 11:54 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Knox Calunnia Hearing: Amanda Knox Enters Court Via The Underground Entrance

Posted by Peter Quennell


Amanda Knox enters the court in the more modern part of town where Rudy Guede was tried last October.

As described by Andrea Vogt in the quotes in the post just below, this is a closed hearing. This is NOT a charge initiated by the prosecution in Knox’s murder trial or for that matter by the State of Italy.

It is initiated by the complaining police (represented by the Florentine lawyer Francesco Maresca, who was also the lawyer appinted to represent Meredith’s family in the Knox, Sollecito and Guede trials) who are denying Knox’s claims that she was maltreated as a witness.

So Mr Maresca and Amanda Knox’s lawyers Mr Ghirga and Mr Della Vedova will go to it toe-to-toe.  Judge Claudia Matteini could put the case on ice today, or she could decide that it goes forward to full trial in one form or another.

Although prison time (up to six years) is a possible outcome of the main trial, if there is one, this is in essence a civil case. Slander cases are not that common in Italy for the simple reason that penalties are very tough - and so there is very little real slander.

Slandering the cops, if Amanda Knox did do that, would seem a singularly ill-advised move. Her own lawyers certainly never advised it, or complained about rough treatment, or even suggested that they believed it was true.

Italian cops generally have an easy relationship with the population, and the crime rate in Italy compared to most other countries is low. The murder rate is only 1/6 that of the United States, for example, and one of the lowest in the world.

Italy also has an impressively cautious and careful justice system described here by our Italian posters Nicki and Commisario and Cesare, which is unquestionably the most respected Italian public institution. The Innocence Project has never helped to overturn a case in Italy, and we believe they do not even have any questionable cases listed.

Amnesty International and the European institutions do occasionally complain of the Italian justice system being slow, but that is essentially a factor of its extreme caution, and all the hurdles that prosecutors have to make their way through.

What the record suggests actually happened in Knox’s brief examination as a witness on the night was described in this post here. 

So not only does Amanda Knox not carry very much credibility here - her charges seem to have been a seriously wrong turn. They perhaps in themselves halved what public sympathy she had left.

As we have often said here, we think her bravado has been very foolishly egged-on

Posted on 10/01/10 at 09:18 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Judge Heavey Admonished: So Another Sock Puppet Hopefully Retires Humiliated

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

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Click above for Levi Pulkkinen’s report in the Seattle Post Intelligencer and a PDF document of the findings.

Judge Michael Heavey - Mr Michael Heavey, maybe we should say, as he concedes he’s a mere private citizen in this case - may prove to be the last of a kind.

The long list of silenced sock puppets - those resolutely naked on the actual facts of the case so searingly exposed by a spotlight on their claims - has maybe now finally stopped growing.

A few named commentators did try to question the verdict of 6 December of last year, but it has been months now since ANY prominent commentators have sought to come out naked under that same spotlight. And in that time Judge Massei’s report has created an entirely new ballpark.

Our first post on Michael Heavey’s claims nearly two years ago was a pretty benign one. We really thought he had been unwittingly set up.

We frankly hoped Mr Heavey would sit down and check out the points in that post and then say to Seattle “Okay, let’s cool it”.  What a valuable service to all concerned, not least Amanda Knox and the Mellas-Knox family and Anne Bremner and others, that might have been.

Instead both Michael Heavey and those he so encouraged just listed above all continued to dig themselves in deeper.

Amanda Knox, with a strong expression of contriteness to Meredith’s family and the court, and an attempt to explain possible mitigating factors (see Janus just below), might have drawn a sentence not much longer than Rudy Guede’s sixteen years.

Instead, she might now be facing more than thirty.

Posted on 09/28/10 at 11:19 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Knox Movie: Hardening Suggestions Panettiere & Dornhelm & Battles Have Been Sold A Total Dog

Posted by Janus



[Above: wannabee Amanda Knox impersonator actress Hayden Panettiere]

For three days the Knox machine in Seattle said nothing about the Lifetime movie.

On Monday Knox’s own lawyers in Perugia had said the proposed Lifetime movie was a bad concept badly timed. and lawyers for Sollecito indicated that this movie would be stopped by legal means as it could hurt them a lot more than it could ever help.

Maria Del Grosso, a lawyer who works with the criminal lawyers Amanda Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova, reached by telephone by Adnkronos, called the idea “at least inappropriate…. you can not think about making a film when the case is judicially still open…. when you remove all this tension, we can work better on the appeals.”

Finally on Thursday there came a very muted claim of denial of involvement from the Knox machine in Seattle in the form of a Facebook Causes message apparently signed by Deanna Knox - a rather sad low-traffic page that, by the way.
.

“to all those who follow my sisters case and have heard about the new lifetime movie. here are some facts that we know now.
1.) yes, as it looks right now lifetime is making a movie about my sisters trial.
2.) yes, it looks like Hayden Panettiere is playing my sister in this movie.
3.) no, Hayden Panettiere has not visited my sister in italy, nor has Hayden or any of the ptoducers have had any contact with the family.
4.) will this movie follow the facts….at this point it is hard to tell, from reading news on it, so far it looks like it wont, calling my sister guiltridden and an infamous killer which none are true, we shall see how the tabloid lifetime comes up with.
till later this is all we know. -Deanna Knox”

Claim 3 would appear at first glance to be unambiguous. However, it does not exclude the possibility that some other people from say Lifetime have, for example, sat with the Knox machine, maybe for many hours. And in any case, which branch of the extended family is Deanna Knox referring to? The Knox branch, the Mellas branch, the Huff branch, or all three? Like many Knox statements, this one begs more questions than it answers.

Claim 4 also seems unambiguous. However, Deanna has clearly not been “reading news” with a great deal of care, since the attributed quotes were not made by the movie-makers - they were made by neutral media reporters writing up the story.

There seemed three possibilities in this instance: Firstly, that Deanna was a bare-faced liar. Secondly, that she is being kept “out of the loop” by other family-members and the Knox machine. Thirdly, that she really was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

But now the CBS website is reporting that, contrary to earlier reports, Amanda Knox’s lawyers are not attempting to stop the movie being made. “Sources close to the case” (most followers of this case could have a good guess about who those “sources” might be) “told CBS News’ 48 Hours producers that Knox didn’t know about the film and has no plans to oppose it.

So it seems Mr Ghirga and Mr Della Vedova might have been told to please shut up. 

It is now only Sollecito’s legal team that wants to stop it - and do they ever; see the post directly below. They have immense powers to do that.

Meanwhile we are hearing from an entertainment industry source that the script may not adhere at all closely to the truth, and may in fact in fact be a conspiracy theory snow job, with Italy and its meanie officials once again as the villains of the piece. (Good luck Lifetime in all the slander suits that will fly in face of such xenophobic and libelous rubbish.).

There are basically three components to the Amanda Knox story.

1) Amanda Knox’s life growing up troubled in Seattle and what the books say about it was described on Thursday here. 

One problem with any movie that Curt Knox and Edda Mellas do not tightly control is the reports that are already out there (including in two of the books) of extreme family friction before and after the divorce - Amanda was not much more than a toddler at the time of the divorce.

Narcissistic sociopathy and narcissistic psychopathy, which psychologists have speculated Amanda might to some degree have (tests done on her in prison during the hearings were not released. but they helped sway a judge to not grant house arrest or bail), can apparently be triggered by early childhood trauma.

Another problem for Curt Knox and Edda Mellas if they do not control the film is the reports of Amanda’s quirky behavior over the years, which continued at the University of Washington and also in Perugia. It was most especially noticeable in the three days after Meredith’s murder, as her sentencing report points out, and again when she was on the witness stand in June 2009. And she has admitted to using drugs - in fact, she used that as a part of her defence.

2) Amanda Knox after she arrived in Perugia, where she had an almost uniquely unstructured and very under-funded student arrangement, where she had only a very light study load (especially compared to that of Meredith), where she was undoubtedly on drugs and possibly hard drugs (cocaine), where she was losing any friends in Perugia fast because of her loud abrasiveness, and where she was in danger of even losing her vital job - probably she thought she HAD lost it on the night, which would have sparked an angry storm in her just when Meredith died. (There are posts on all of these aspects here on TJMK.)

3) Amanda Knox and her team at trial. Amanda Knox and her mother did NOT do compellingly well on the stand, and the defence phase of the trial (unlike the prosecution phase) was weak, halting, indecisive, slow, and absolutely lacking in knockout punches. By the time of the verdict in December, Italian sympathy was hovering around zero.

Told truthfully, none of this - none - make her look like an attractive all-American girl. She was an apparently troubled person on drugs who was, with good reason, found guilty of a very vile murder.

And that’s it.  This is not a patch on Meredith’s inspiring story - the super-achiever Meredith was the REAL victim here, in case Lifetime forgets. The less talented and less focused and less popular Knox was not a victim, ever, in any sense of the word. Except maybe in her own home.

Lifetime really seems to have the victims back to front.

Good film makers like Robert Dornhelm and Wendy Battles should really be taking this description above, and the Micheli and Massei Reports, as their point of departure, not the made up “facts” and ludicrous explanations of conspiracy theorists who have already done so much to anger half of Italy.

Especially if Dornhelm and Battles (and Hayden Panettiere) don’t want to see the lawsuits flying (there are several more slander suits already rumored to be in the works).

Meanwhile, in South London, the pain and misery continues for the family of Meredith Kercher, and an arrogant unfeeling Lifetime Television has still not bothered to respond to their very real and heartfelt concerns. 

Common decency dictates Lifetime SHOULD have contacted Meredith’s family before this movie project passed step one. Since they chose not to do so, common decency now dictates that it becomes a matter of priority. That means reaching out to the Kerchers, today.

Their Italian lawyer, Francesco Maresca, has worked long and hard for them. He is easy to contact, and he will surely be happy to discuss the issue with Lifetime, and protect the Kerchers’ interests and make their feelings known.

Posted on 09/25/10 at 06:37 PM by JanusClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Crime hypothesesThe officially involvedNews media & moviesMovies on caseAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas team
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Friday, September 24, 2010

The Knox Movie: Sollecito Reported Angry - Real Risk That His Defense Could Break Away From Knox’s

Posted by Peter Quennell


The Austrian Independent is reporting that Raffaele Sollecito has come out against the Lifetime movie.

Now Raffaele Sollecito – jailed for 25 years for his part in the crime which occurred in Perugia three years ago – announced concerns the film could harm legal appeals he and Knox, his ex- girlfriend are making against their convictions.

The Italian’s lawyer Luca Maori said today (Fri): “We don’t have the final verdict in this case yet. If the film is ready before the appeal is over, we will seek a court injunction to prevent it being aired.”

Sollecito’s lawyers Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori have already said they will go so far as to take Lifetime to court to prevent the making and release of The Amanda Knox Story movie during the appeals - which could go on for years.

Why are Raffaele Sollecito and his lawyers being so angry and so adamant about canning the movie?

Here are two suggestions.

1) The hurtful PR campaign, of which this movie must seem an extension

It has been obvious for a long time in Italy that the Sollecito camp (especially including Raffaele’s father) do NOT like being joined at the hip to what must look to them like a runaway train of a defense campaign.

Barbie Nadeau in Newsweek last week described how very badly the strident and misleading PR campaign is now going over in Italy.

Since her arrest in November 2007 and conviction in December 2009, Knox supporters have repeatedly condemned everyone involved in the case who does not believe in wholeheartedly in her innocence. Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas, ridiculed the ruling judge’s conviction reasoning as a “fictional novel” and a support group called Friends of Amanda regularly called the chief prosecutor “mentally unstable” throughout the trial.

In the wake of the verdict last December, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington (Knox’s home state) promised to get Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to extradite the young American home from Italy (Clinton has said she will not intervene), and Donald Trump has even boycotted Italy and its products.

Amazingly, even the deeply respected Massei Report is coming in for ridicule. Raffaele Sollecito and all of his family and team being of course Italian, this very strident anti-Italianism (actually much disliked by the State Department) is severely hurting Sollecito and his family in the public eye in Italy.

All of this is made worse by the fact that Sollecito’s lead lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, is a prominent member of the Italian Parliament, and she has her own image and popularity to worry about.  Last year, halfway through the trial, it looked like she was getting ready to walk.

2) Possible separating legal strategies from the first appeal in November onward

The movie could paint Sollecito in a bad light or misrepresent him in some way that could really hurt his chances at appeal.
.
Remember Sollecito separated himself from Amanda Knox in all of his alibis after his first alibi. He STILL has it that she was out of the apartment on the night for four hours while he was on the computer and so on at home.

We believe Sollecito is pretty solidly tied to the crime in the Massei Sentencing Report.

But he had less motive than Knox - he barely knew Meredith - and he could now come to claim that he was only drawn in by Knox during the clean-up. The claim could be that only Guede and Knox killed Meredith, and he was not present in the house at that point.

This difference between Knox and Sollecito is a minefield for any film makers. Slander and libel suits might really fly if they seem to get it wrong - and not least of course from Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini if he is misrepresented.

*************

In other developments and non-developments, there is still no word from Seattle - from the Knox family or her supporters or the Seattle media - on whether Amanda Knox’s family had a role in creating this movie. 

Even if the Seattle media sit on their hands on this one (so what’s new?!) Curt Knox and Edda Mellas will be heading for Perugia soon, for Amanda Knox’s slander trial and for their own, and will presumably be asked all about it.

Not least, of course, by Amanda’s own lawyers.

Posted on 09/24/10 at 11:23 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Entertainment Industry Buzz That Curt Knox And Edda Mellas Might Be Connected To Distasteful Movie

Posted by Peter Quennell



[joint images of Panetierre and Knox posted yesterday by Huffington Post]

We’ve heard buzz from a couple of sources in NYC that Amanda Knox’s parents might have had a hand in this Lifetime movie of Amanda Knox which is being raced into production.

One remarked that it was “informed speculation” and that some proof could be on its way to leaking out. Reports like this below in the Chicago Sun-Times that Hayden Panettiere has already visited Amanda Knox in Capanne Prison help to fuel the speculation. It seems very unlikely that she would have gained such access, if she did, without Knox’s parents assisting.

Former “Heroes’’ star Hayden Panettiere has visited Amanda Knox in prison in Italy - part of her preparation to play Knox in a TV movie.

Also fueling the speculation is the deafening silence of Amanda Knox’s family and friends in Seattle, in the face of the various Perugia lawyers’ very strong protests about the movie (see the post below) which we presume was genuine, and not simply blowing smoke in an orchestrated sort of way.

One problem with any movie that Curt Knox and Edda Mellas do not tightly control is the reports that are already out there (including in two of the books) of extreme family friction before and after the divorce - Amanda was not much more than a toddler at the time of the divorce.

Narcissistic sociopathy and narcissistic psychopathy, which psychologists have speculated Amanda might to some degree have (tests done on her in prison during the hearings were not released. but they helped sway a judge to not grant house arrest or bail), can apparently be triggered by early childhood trauma.

Another problem for Curt Knox and Edda Mellas if they do not control the film is the reports of Amanda’s quirky behavior over the years, which continued at the University of Washington and also in Perugia. It was most especially noticeable in the three days after Meredith’s murder, as her sentencing report points out, and again when she was on the witness stand in June 2009. And she has admitted to using drugs - in fact, she used that as a part of her defence.

And another problem is the sheer depraved cruelty of the crime, chillingly described in the Micheli and Massei Reports.

Filming is now said to start next month, although the point of that is not obvious if it is not to be aired before the second appeal, as the Perugia defence lawyers have said they will insist on. On how long that second appeal might take, our poster Cesare Beccaria points out that it could drag on for years.

Appeals should be faster, but not necessarily.  In Italy the problem would be in Cassazione (3rd instance on law) where they can send the trial back to appeal for even a small procedural error. The case could go back and forth from appeal to Cassazione for years. Only Cassazione can confirm the verdict.

Media reports on the movie have all seemed to us pretty cool toward it. They have included phrases such as “all 3 convicted for murder, sexual assault, and obstructing justice”, “killer”, “convicted murderer” and so on. Only one used the inaccurate term “accused”. 

Comments posted under online reports on the movie seem to have been very strongly pro-Meredith and her family, after the compelling outcry from her mother in London, and often strongly anti Amanda Knox, who seems to command almost no online sympathy or support any more.

None of Hayden Panettiere’s fans seem too thrilled. .In fact nobody who is a friend or fan of Hayden Panettiere seems to be speaking up to say this is a great career move for her, and at least some think she is being used - being duped - to misleadingly influence public opinion and maybe the court.

Finally, here is part of the description in Wikipedia of Lifetime Television which is certainly one of the most controversial cable TV channels in the United States for its incessant focus on one or other victim - which, in the case of the present film, may very well NOT be portrayed as poor Meredith.

Because of the obvious feminine slant to the network’s programming, Lifetime is often jokingly referred to as The Estrogen Channel, or “Wifetime” and many criticize the network’s over-reliance on formulaic made for TV movies, including the “women in jeopardy” or “woman scorned” theme common on films produced by the network, archived product which aired on the major networks in the 1980s and 1990s, and outside producers airing their work on the network.

Other comedy programs have satirized Lifetime’s sometimes sentimental programming. Family Guy once parodied their slogan, making it Lifetime: Television for Idiots, and in an episode had one of the main characters make a Lifetime-like film which oversimplified those themes, along with a film starring Valerie Bertinelli, called “Men are Terrible and Will Hurt You Because This is Lifetime”.

On August 27, 2009, A&E Television Networks, the owner of A&E Network, History and others, acquired Lifetime Entertainment Services. Though the channel is owned by another subsidiary company operated as a joint venture, Lifetime and its networks remain under the co-ownership of The Walt Disney Company and Hearst Corporation, though NBC Universal became partial owner of the Lifetime channels as well since NBCU already was a part owner of A&E Television Networks.

This movie REALLY should have been about the real victim Meredith, as her mother compellingly complained. THAT is normal Lifetime territory, not doing special pleading for her convicted killer. Hayden and writer Wendy Battles, please read up about Meredith, and see if you still feel the same way.

Read this post for example about what a super-high-achiever Meredith really was, and what a huge loss to the world her death is. And read the Massei Sentencing Report (link at top here) on how very, very cruel and depraved this crime against her really was.


[Below, second from left, is said to be Lifetime scriptwriter Wendy Battles]

Posted on 09/23/10 at 08:29 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Could Movie Depicting The Real Knox And The Real Meredith Be A PR And Defense Disaster?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Already one movie is in the works. That one will be based on Barbie Nadeau’s excellent little book Angel Face: The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox

That British movie is likely to stay pretty close to the truth, Meredith as the real angel, and Amanda as at least in some degree the scary opposite. Barbie Nadeau seems to be in no doubt that Amanda was fairly convicted, but she also seems to think maybe there were factors going back to Amanda’s childhood (as did Paul Russell and Graham Johnson in Darkness Descending) that could have kinda set Amanda up, and could have been prevented by parents who cared.

Now we have this new made-for-TV movie (post below) by the Lifetime cable channel (with Oxygen, it has the largest ratio of women viewers) which for now at least is starring the popular actress Hayden Panettiere.

In 2003 the beautiful South African actress Charlize Theron (images above) who had previously played super-cool and super-sexy roles, played the Florida serial killer Aileen Wuomos in the movie Monster. If anything, Charlize Theron played Aileen Wuomos as more scary than she really was - and Charlize Theron won an Oscar for the portrayal.   

Kathy Bates, Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman also did very well playing roles strongly against type, along with quite a few others. An actor’s dream, to pull this one off.

Could Lifetime and Hayden Panettiere now have in mind a movie rather like Monster? Playing Amanda Knox as she really seems to be - only more-so?

This has already struck the Knox and Sollecito defense teams as not only possible but a real danger. One that could influence her first appeal late this November, and help to sink her second appeal late in 2011.

From today’s Italian Libero News website.

Lawyers for Amanda Knox and Rafael Sollecito announce a battle with the script of a film for television on the personal life and trial of the two young adults convicted in the first degree for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Maria Del Grosso, a lawyer who works with the criminal lawyers Amanda Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova, reached by telephone by Adnkronos, called the idea “at least inappropriate…. you can not think about making a film when the case is judicially still open…. when you remove all this tension, we can work better on the appeals.”

The same opinion was expressed by Luca Maori, Sollecito Raffaele’s defender with Ms Giulia Bongiorno, who said to AGI “I am absolutely opposed to a movie when the appeal process, expected to be long, has not yet even started.”

“It is unthinkable” added Giulia Bongiorno “to make a film when there is still an open case uncrystallized in truth. If the movie comes out before the end of the process of appeals, we will ask for its seizure,” said the lawyer.

Well, Amanda Knox’s parents and their PR manager David Marriott did want to push Amanda Knox out into the hard limelight, too sanitized to ever successfully pass the giggle test in the long run.

Now they and Knox’s (and Sollecito’s) long-suffering Perugia lawyers may be facing the first of a series of swings the other way.

Posted on 09/21/10 at 09:11 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Gullible, Callous, Or Simply Out For The Money? A Good Reporter Should Ask Her

Posted by The Editor


In fact, please ask actress Hayden Panettiere if she even knows the name of the victim? Does she even know that there WAS a victim?

Click above for the Daily Mail’s report. Meredith’s family are understandably deeply upset, and this decision to play an apparent charming psychopath convincingly convicted of a VERY cruel crime hardly bodes well for Panettiere’s career.

The family of murdered student Meredith Kercher yesterday criticised plans to turn her death into a Hollywood film. The movie will focus on Amanda Knox, the American student jailed for 26 years for the killing.

Actress Hayden Panettiere, best known as the cheerleader in the TV series Heroes, has been cast as ‘Foxy Knoxy’ in the film, called The Amanda Knox Story, which is due for release next year.

The Kerchers’ lawyer Francesco Maresca said the family was unhappy that a Hollywood version of the 2007 murder is being made.  He said: ‘It is inopportune as the trial is still on going with two further appeals.’

Miss Kercher’s mother Arline said it was insulting for the film to be named after her daughter’s killer. She said: ‘I don’t see how they can make a film called The Amanda Knox Story when the story is really all about my daughter. It’s all very odd.’ A spokesman for the Knox family said they had no knowledge of the film, which is being aimed at a U.S. audience.

It will focus on events leading up to Miss Kercher’s death in November 2007 and the subsequent lengthy trial of Knox….

Producers of the film,which is being made for TV, said the Foxy Knoxy story was perfect movie material as it featured an ‘all-American’ girl at the centre of a murder involving sex and drugs.

The script for the Lifetime channel in the U.S. is being written by Wendy Battles, who has penned episodes of CSI New York and the crime show Law and Order.

The 21-year-old is one of the most sought-after young actresses in Hollywood.

An all-American girl? How much do they really know about her? Drug habits and all?  Readers can discuss with fans and Hayden Panettiere’s managers on her forum on the popular and influential IMDB board.

At least one gushing fan there simply can’t wait for the movie. 

Posted on 09/20/10 at 07:11 PM by The EditorClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Explaining The Massei Report:  All Judges, Lawyers And Witnesses At Trial Jan-Dec 2009

Posted by Storm Roberts



[Above: Dr Giancarlo Massei, the president of the Court]

Our intention with this new series of posts is to show how thorough the trial was, and how compelling the Massei Report on the grounds for the Knox-Sollecito sentence is. 

At the beginning of the trial, the witness counts were considerable: approximately 90 for the prosecution, 60 for the civil plaintiffs, 90 for the defence of Raffaele Sollecito, and 65 for the defence of Amanda Knox.

However, a large number of witnesses for both Amanda Knox and for Raffaele Sollecito were removed from the witness listing. Thus the actual number of people testifying was lower than originally expected. 

Here is a comprehensive list I have compiled, made by going through the Massei Report, picking out the witnesses, and noting what they testified about. If I had the information available, I have noted where a witness was specifically called by the defence of either of the then defendants.

Officers Of The Court

  • Judges:  Dr Beatrice Cristiani and Dr Giancarlo Massei, the president of the Court.
  • Prosecutors: Public Ministers Dr Manuela Comodi and Dr Giuliano Mignini.
  • Interpreter for Amanda Knox:  Dr Anna Baldelli Fronticelli.



[above: the two prosecutors]

The Legal Teams:

  • For the family of Meredith Kercher:  Francesco Maresca and Serena Perna.
  • For Diya “Patrick” Lumumba: Carlo Pacelli.
  • For Aldalia Tattanelli (the owner of the house): Letizia Magnini.
  • For Amanda Knox:  Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova.
  • For Raffaele Sollecito: Giulia Bongiorno, Daniela Rocchi and Luca Maori.



[above: Amanda Knox’s legal team]

Witnesses


The following is a list of witnesses and a brief note as to the evidence they presented. I am not detailing their arguments here, merely indicating the areas the witnesses were heard in.  For full details of the evidence and the court’s arguments please read the Massei Report in full and the summaries coming up.

  • Amanda Knoxtestified while not under oath at the request of her defence and the legal team representing Diya Lumumba.  Her testimony was heard on 12th and 13th June 2009. Raffele Sollecito made a couple of interventions from his seat beside his three lawyers, but he did not get up on the stand.
  • Mrs. Elisabetta Lana and her son, Alessandro Biscarini.  They discovered two mobile phones, both belonging to Meredith Kercher (one was registered to Filomena Romanelli, Meredith’s flatmate), in their garden at Via Sperandio.
  • Dr. Filippo Bartolozzi - at the time Manager of the Department of Communications Police for Umbria - Dr. Bartolozzi received the mobile phones from Mrs Lana, the first at approximately 11.45 to 12.00hrs on 2nd November 2007, the second at approximately 12.15 to 12.20 hrs.  He traced the first phone to Filomena Romanelli and, at noon, despatched two officers to her address to investigate why her phone was in Mrs. Lana’s garden.
  • Inspector Michele Battistelli and Assistant Fabio Marzi - the two officers despatched by Dr. Bartolozzi.  They arrived at 7 Via della Pergola at a little after 12.30 hrs - they found Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito sitting outside the house.  They gave evidence about the circumstances leading up to the discovery of Meredith’s body and with regards to securing the scene whilst awaiting the Carabinieri and Scientific Police.
  • Filomena Romanelli who was Meredith’s flatmate gave evidence regarding the phone she had lent to Meredith.  She also detailed when she had moved into the flat at 7 Via della Pergola and the living arrangements.  She told of her plans for the 2nd November and how a worrying phone call from Amanda Knox led to her calling her back and returning to her home earlier than planned.  A key point of Ms. Romanelli’s evidence was her disagreement with Amanda Knox over when Meredith locked her door - Ms. Romanelli stated that Meredith had only once locked her door and that was when she had returned to England for a few days.
  • Paola Grande, Marco Zaroli and Luca Altieri - the other young people who were at the property when Meredith’s body was discovered.  Mr. Altieri broke down the door to Meredith’s room.
  • Laura Mezzetti - the fourth flatmate in the upstairs flat at number 7 Via della Pergola.  She testified with regards to the living arrangements and also that Amanda Knox is an early riser, a “morning person”.
  • Robyn Butterworth, Amy Frost, Sophie Purton and Nathalie Hayward - Meredith’s friends from England.  They testified as to when they last saw Meredith and described the behaviour of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the Police Station in the evening of 2nd November 2007.  They also testified that Meredith had no plans after returning home at around 21.00 hrs on 1st November other than to study and have a rest as they had been out late the previous night and believed that they had classes the next day.  Meredith’s friends did not know of Rudy Guede and had not heard Meredith mention his name.
  • Giacomo Silenzi, one of the young men living in the flat underneath Meredith’s flat.  He was Meredith’s boyfriend.
  • Stafano Bonassi, Marco Marzan and Riccardo Luciani the other tenants of the downstairs flat.  Along with Mr. Silenzi they testified as to the the interactions between themselves and the girls upstairs, the gatherings they held, the fact that Rudy Guede was known to Amanda Knox.  They testified as to Rudy Guede’s actions at their house.  They gave evidence of having met or known of Raffaele Sollecito and his relationship with Amanda Knox.
  • Giorgio Cocciaretto a friend of the young men in the downstairs flat testified with regards to knowing Rudy Guede through playing basketball and having seen him at the 7 Via della Pergola house when both Meredith and Amanda Knox were present.
  • Rudy Guede availed himself of his right not to participate in the trial of Amanda Knox and Rafaelle Sollecito.  Judge Massei details Rudy Guede’s involvement based upon the evidence available in order to complete the reconstruction of events of 2nd November as he was charged alongside Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
  • Marta Fernandez Nieto and Caroline Espinilla Martin - two young ladies living in the flat above Rudy Guede, they testified than on the night of 31st October they had been in the presence of Rudy Guede and that the only girl they saw him dance with was a “blonde girl with long smooth hair”.
  • Gioia Brocci from the Questura of Perugia who testified with regards to a trail of shoe prints leading from Meredith’s room to the exit of the flat getting fainter as they went.  Ms. Brocci also testified as to the lack of signs of climbing on the wall below Filomena Romanelli’s window.  She also collected evidence from the bathroom next to Meredith’s room.
  • Sergeant Francesco Pasquale testified as to the possibility of breaking into the flat though the window in Filomena Romanelli’s room.  Sergeant Pasquale was a consultant for the defence.
  • Maria Antonietta Salvadori Del Prato Titone, Paolo Brocchi, Matteo Palazzoli and Cristian Tramontano testified with regards to previous incidents involving or possibly involving Rudy Guede.
  • Edda Mellas , Amanda Knox’s mother.  She testified as to communications with her daughter on the 2nd November amongst other things.
  • Antonella Negri a teacher at the University who taught Amanda Knox and who testified as to her diligence as a student.
  • Francesco Sollecito, father of Raffaele Sollecito.  He testified as to his son’s character and about his communications with his son.  He also spoke of his son’s relationship with Amanda Knox.
  • Antonio Galizia, Carabinieri station commander in Giovinazzo, the Sollecito family’s home town.  He testified that in September 2003 Raffaele Sollecito was found in possession of hashish.
  • Jovana Popovic testified as to the presence of Amanda Knox at Raffaele Sollecito’s home at two points in time on the evening of 1st November 2007.
  • Diya “Patrick” Lumumba was Amanda Knox’s employer at “Chic”.  He testified that he has sent her a text message excusing her from work on the evening of 1st November.
  • Rita Ficcara Chief Inspector of the State Police - to whom Amanda Knox delivered a written statement composed whilst she was awaiting to be transferred to Capanne Prison.
  • Antonio Curatolo - Mr. Curatolo testified as to having seen Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the basketball court in front of the University (the Piazza Grimana) in the evening of 1st November 2007.
  • Maurizio Rosignoli - who runs a kiosk in the Piazza - testified with regards to the timing of buses at the Piazza Grimana thus corroborating times in Mr. Curatolo’s evidence.
  • Alessia Ceccarelli - who worked managing Mr. Rosignoli’s kiosk - gave evidence as to Mr. Curatolo’s presence in the Piazza.
  • Marco Quintavalle, who runs the shop “Margherita Conad”, testified he had seen Amanda Knox at 07.45 hrs on 2nd November, she was waiting for him to open his shop, she went to the section of the store that had items such as groceries, toilet paper and cleaning products but he did not serve her at the till so could not specify what she bought if anything.  He testified that he knew Raffaele Sollecito as he was a regular customer.
  • Officer Daniele Ceppitelli gave evidence with regards to the 112 calls made by Raffaele Sollecito at 12.51 and 12.54 hrs on 2nd November.  In these calls Raffaele Sollecito declared that nothing had been stolen from the flat.
  • Nara Capezzali, Antonella Monacchia and Maria Ilaria Dramis gave evidence of unusual sounds and activity coming from the area around 7 Via della Pergola - namely a scream and the sound of running footsteps.



[one of Sollecito’s three lawyers with Sollecito]

Expert Witnesses

  • Dr. Lalli, the Coroner, he performed the post mortem and ascertained the cause of death and a “time window” when death was likely to have occurred.  He put the time of death between 20.00 hrs on 1st November 2007 and 04.00 hrs the following day.
  • Dr. Domenico Giacinto Profazio was head of the Perugia Flying Squad at the time of Meredith’s death.  He gave evidence regarding the investigative procedures and safeguards including the physical security of the property.
  • Dr. Marco Chiacchiera, deputy director of the Perugia Flying Squad also gave evidence regarding the scene and investigation.
  • Monica Napoleoni, Deputy Commissioner of the State Police gave evidence regarding the scene and investigation.  She also testified as to Raffaele Sollecito’s desire to remain with Amanda Knox.
  • Mauri Bigini a chief inspect at the Flying Squad confirmed the evidence given by Profazio and Napoleoni.
  • Armando Finzi a chief inspector at the Flying Squad gave evidence regarding the examination of Raffaele Sollecito’s flat and the collection of the knife which is now termed “the Double DNA Knife” (Exhibit 36).
  • Stefano Gubbiotti and Zugarini Lorena confirmed the evidence regarding the search of Raffaele Sollecito’s flat.
  • Dr. Giunta from the Scientific Police in Rome directed the detection of latent prints at the scene.
  • Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni from the Scientific Police in Rome collected biological trace evidence for analysis.  She also performed the analysis of DNA evidence and testified extensively on all aspects of DNA - from the background science, through the collection and the testing methods employed to the analysis.
  • Professor Mauro Marchionni, Dr. Vincenza Liviero and Professor Mauro Bacci, the three consultants appointed by the Public Ministers to analyse the forensic medical evidence testified as to various aspects of Dr. Lalli’s report including the cause of death, timing of death, the sexual assault and the wounds.  They reported on the degree of compatibility of the knife - Double DNA Knife, Exhibit 36 - with the wounds suffered.
  • Professor Gianaristide Norelli, the consultant for the civil party, is a forensic police doctor. He testified with regards to the time and cause of death and the sexual assault against Meredith.  He testified as to the degree of compatibility of the Double DNA Knife with the wounds suffered.
  • Professor Francesco Introna, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence testified with regards to the forensic medical evidence (cause and time of death, the sexual assault). His opinion is that the murder was committed by one person and that the Double DNA Knife was not the weapon used to inflict the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.  He hypothesised that Meredith was already undressing at the end of the day when she was surprised by her sole attacker who attacked from behind.
  • Professor Carlo Torre, a consultant appointed by Amanda Knox’s defence testified with regards to the same areas as described above.  In his opinion the Double DNA knife was not the knife used to inflict the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.  He believed a stabbing from the front was the most likely dynamic, and he saw nothing that would lead him to believe there was more than one attacker.
  • Professor Vinci, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, he testified with regards to the stains on the bed sheet -which appeared to be made in blood, outlining a knife.  Professor Vinci also testified with regards to footprints found in the flat.
  • Dr Patumi, a consultant appointed by the defence of Amanda Knox, testified with regards to the neck wounds suffered and also with regards to the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Professor Anna Aprile, Professor Mario Cingolani and Professor Giancarlo Umani Ronchi, all independent consultants appointed by the judge (GIP) at the preliminary hearing. Professor Aprile testified specifically on the question of the sexual assault, Professors Cingolani and Umani Ronchi again considered the evidence with regards to the cause and time of death and the compatibility of the Double DNA Knife with the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.
  • Dr. Torricelli, the consultant for Meredith Kercher’s family, testified and gave her opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Dr. Sarah Gino, a consultant appointed by the defence of Amanda Knox, testified and gave her opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Professor Tagliabracci, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, testified and gave his opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.  He also gave evidence with regards to the effects of certain drugs.
  • Marco Trotta, Claudio Trifici and Gregori Mirco officers of the Postal Police, gave evidence with regards to the seized computer equipment and also with regards to internet activity at the home of Raffaele Sollecito.
  • Mr. Fabio Formenti, the technical consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence - observed the Postal Police’s analysis of the computer equipment.
  • Dr Michele Gigli and Dr. Antonio D’Ambrosio, consultants appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, testified with regards to the computer and internet evidence.
  • Chief Inspector Letterio Latella gave evidence with regards to mobile phones and how they pick up signals from base stations which cover certain areas, he also testified with regards to the call records of the mobile phones of the defendants, victim and others.  He detailed how a connection to the network was picked up by the base stations and how the location of the phone can be approximated through knowing which base station was used.  He was able to tell the court which connections to Meredith’s two phones were made from her own flat and which from Mrs. Lana’s garden.
  • Assistant Stefano Sisani provided evidence with regards to both landline telephone services and mobile phone services.
  • Bruno Pellero an engineer appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence to give evidence with regards to telephonic communications.
  • Dr. Lorenzo Rinaldi, Principal Technical Director of the State Police, director of the three sections which compose the Identity Division of the ERT, gave evidence regarding shoe prints and footprints (including those highlighted by the use of luminol.
  • Chief Inspector Pietro Boemia, who worked alongside Dr. Rinaldi.
  • Chief Inspector Claudio Ippolito a consultant who reported on shoe prints - appointed by the public minister.



[Background: the Judges and jury (lay judges) for the trial]>


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report: Its Reasons For Existence And Its Significance In The Appeals

Posted by Storm Roberts

Inroduction

What is the “Massei Report”?  Put simply, the Massei Report is a document produced by the two professional judges, Dr. Beatrice Cristiani and Dr. Giancarlo Massei, who presided over the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the Court of Assize in Perugia from 16th January to 5th December 2009, which explains the judgement and sentencing.

In reality this document is far more than that.  It examines the evidence laid before the court; it discusses both the prosecution and defence cases in great detail - referring back to both the documented evidence produced to the court and to witness testimony; it explains who the witnesses are, it evaluates their reliability and precisely what their evidence tells the court; it gives a detailed analysis of how the court came to it’s verdict.  This document is a careful and considered analysis of the entire trial, from opening procedural arguments through to the final sentencing.

The most important aspect of this report is that, despite the need to be cool, dispassionate, focussed on evidence and cold, hard fact, at no point do the authors loose sight of the fact that this report is about a human being: Meredith Kercher. 

The Massei Report comes at the end of the initial trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher (and other charges - see below).  It is not however the end of the judicial process.  The Italian system gives two appeals to those convicted at their first trial.

The first appeal can be an appeal from the defence, the prosecution, or both, and is a review of the merit of the decision of the first trial and is heard by different judges and lay judges - it is not a full review of the evidence, it is a review of the merit of the decision of the first trial and is heard by different judges and lay judges.

The second and final appeal is to the Italian Supreme Court and is on matters of errors in procedure or in the application of the law, it is not a review of the evidence.  The appeals process is described by Commissario Montalbano here on TJMK (link to post of 17th August 2010)

The Massei Report is the basis of the appeal, to be heard later this year, by both the prosecution and the defence teams of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.  Both defence teams have submitted their appeals and they will be heard in due course.  I note, for the sake of clarity, that, it is the job of the defence teams to question the Massei Report - simply because the defence teams have questioned the report does not, at this stage, mean that the Massei Report is incorrect.  As of today, prior to the appeal court’s judgement, the Massei Report is the definitive discussion of the case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and the judgement passed against them.

For those who wish to have a detailed knowledge of evidence presented in the case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito there is no substitute for reading the Massei Report in it’s entirety - it is available, thanks to the work of a dedicated team of volunteers, both here on TJMK and on the PMF forum, in English (Please see the link in the menu on the left of your screen).  Here I am going to highlight some areas considered in the report, my hope being that, in highlighting certain evidence, it will be possible to address the areas most often called into question by those who do not have full information on this sad case.  This is not a full review of the Massei Report.

Even for those who have followed this case the Massei Report has some surprises.  For example, I knew that both the prosecution and defence teams had appointed experts in forensic medicine and science, but I had not realised that, at an earlier hearing the Perugian court had appointed it’s own forensic experts, thus there were three sets of experts heard at the trial - the prosecution’s, the defences’, and independent court appointed experts.

N.B.  In the following review the references to page numbers relate to the above mentioned translation of the Massei Report - specifically the first published version - v1.0 - dated 8th August 2010.

The charges.  [Pages 10-13]

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were charged, alongside Rudy Guede, with the murder of Meredith Kercher at the flat Amanda Knox shared with Meredith and two Italian girls at number 7 Via della Pergola, the murder was committed for trivial reasons whilst Rudy Guede, in concourse with Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, committed the felony of sexual assault. 

Additionally Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were charged with carrying a knife without justified reason - this is what is known as the “double DNA knife” to which we will return later, with sexual assault (in complicity with Rudy Guede who is held to be the material executor), with theft of approximately €300, two credit cards and two mobile phones from Meredith Kercher, and finally with the staging of the scene to make it appear as if the flat had been broken into. 

In addition Amanda Knox was charged with the crime of calunnia - as explained below there is no direct equivalent in English or American Law - this is the crime of falsely implicating Diya “Patrick” Lumumba in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

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.

Some Details from the Report:

The Massei Report deals with the various declarations made by Amanda Knox; her statements to the police, her email to friends and family, and also her testimony to the court on 12th and 13th June 2009.  Knox’s memorandum to the police does form part of the body of evidence - it was not “thrown out”.  The memorandum she wrote on 6th November 2007 was admitted into evidence during the opening arguments and as such this is detailed in the first part of the Massei Report.  Additionally it is worth noting that Knox’s police interviews when she was being interviewed as a witness have not been “thrown out” - as per Italian Law, statements when made as a witness (i.e. prior to becoming a suspect) are only admitted as evidence against others.  When interrogated as a suspect Knox had both a lawyer and an interpreter - the interpreter, Dr Anna Donninio, actually testified at the trial.

Many claims have been made by Knox’s supporters that can be directly countered by the evidence in the Massei Report.  Let us consider just a few of these claims:

1) Amanda Knox did not know Rudy Guede.

This is clearly untrue as Knox herself, when questioned during her trial, admitted to knowing Rudy Guede and to having met him on several occasions during the month of October 2007.  They were not “best friends” but they knew each other to speak to and they had socialised in the same group (a group which included Knox’s flatmates and the boys from the flat beneath her’s). [Page 67]

2) Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox have maintained the same story throughout.

Clearly this is not the case.  Just two examples highlighted in the Massei report are as follows:

a) Knox’s reactions at the scene, namely her indifference to the problem of Meredith’s locked door, run counter to her email sent to friends and family in the USA where she indicates the locked door caused her to panic [Pages 31, 32 and 91 - 95]; and,

b) During Knox’s testimony on the stand she changed details of her story from the first day to the second day.  On 1st November Sollecito and Knox ate dinner at Sollecito’s flat and, whilst washing up, a pipe under the kitchen sink leaked and caused water to pool on the kitchen floor.  Dr. Sollecito (Raffaele’s father) telephoned his son at 20.42 hrs - during this conversation Raffaele told his father about this leaking pipe, thus fixing the time of the meal at before 20.42 hrs .  On 12th June 2009 Knox timed this meal at 21.30 - 22.00 hrs, on 13th June she changed her testimony moving the timing of the meal even later, to around 23.00 hrs. [Page 78]

3) There is no evidence against Amanda Knox or Raffaele Sollecito.

Having heard all the evidence and arguments from both the prosecution and defence teams the court reached the following conclusions (NB.  These are the ‘headline’ points of the evidence, for the entire bank of evidence (including the DNA trace evidence) please read The Massei Report itself) - Page numbers refer to the detailed evidence and arguments.

a) The Double-DNA Knife (Exhibit 36) [Page 264 also Page 287]

The knife had Meredith’s DNA near to the tip of the blade; Amanda Knox’s DNA was on the handle.  This knife, the court concluded, was compatible with the large wound on the left side of Meredith’s neck.

b) The Bra-clasp (Exhibit 165) [Page 266 also Page 294]

Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was on the bra-clasp.  The bra-clasp was not contaminated.

c) Computer evidence (including internet usage) [Page 299].

The last interaction with Raffaele Sollecito’s computer on 1st November 2007 was at 21.10 hrs and 32 seconds.  There was no further interaction with the computer nor with the internet line at Sollecito’s flat until the computer was used to play some audio files at 05.32 hrs in the morning of 2nd November 2007.  Thus the computer usage and internet connection do not support the notion of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito remaining in Sollecito’s flat all night.

d) Telephone evidence (both land line and mobile) [Page 311].

Raffaele Sollecito’s father telephoned him at 20.42 hrs on the 1st November and this gives a time for the washing up after dinner as Raffaele told his father about the leaking pipe in this call.  His father sent him a text message at 23.14 hrs 1st November which was not picked up by the phone until 06.02 on the 2nd November - the court concluded that this was due to the phone being switched off between 20.42 hrs 56 seconds on 1st November and 06.02 hrs 59 seconds on 2nd November. 

On 2nd November the following activity on Raffaele Sollecito’s phone is noted:

12.50 hrs a call to Raffaele’s sister from the area of Via della Pergola 7, followed by two calls to 112 (the Europe-wide emergency number) the first at 12.51 hrs and 12.54 hrs.  (Note: The two Postal Police officers noted their arrival at Via della Pergola 7 at approximately 12.30 hrs.)

On 1st November Amanda Knox claimed to have turned her phone off after having replied to Diya Lumumba’s text message at 20.35 hrs 48 seconds.  There was no further activity on her phone until 12.07 hrs 12 seconds on 2nd November.

This call was the first to Meredith’s English phone - it was of 16 seconds duration and connected through a cell covering Sollecito’s flat.  The court held the opinion that this call was to check that the phone, and the second phone that was disposed alongside it, had not been discovered.

There was then a flurry of activity:

12.08 hrs - Amanda called Filomena Romanelli again from Sollecito’s flat.
12.11 hrs 02 seconds - Amanda called Meredith’s Italian phone.  This call lasted 3 seconds and again was made from Sollecito’s flat.
12.11hrs 54 seconds - Amanda called Meredith’s English phone for a second time.  This call lasted 4 seconds and was made from Sollecito’s flat.
At 12.12 hrs. 12.20 hrs, 12.34hrs Filomena Romanelli called Amanda, the first two calls connected through the cell covering Sollecito’s flat the third a cell covering the flat at 7 Via della Pergola.

At 12.47 Amanda Knox telephoned her mother in America.  This is the call during which her mother, Edda Mellas, testified that she told her daughter to call the police.  Mrs. Mellas detailed this call in her testimony; her daughter testified that she did not remember making this call.  (Again, note the two Postal Police officers noted their arrival at the flat at approximately 12.30 hrs.)

A further call to her mother was made at 13.24 hrs - this call, Mrs. Mellas testified was when her daughter told her that a foot had been seen in the room, Mrs. Mellas said that there was yelling and that her daughter was upset.  In her testimony, Amanda Knox claimed this was the first call to her mother that she could remember.

e) Prints - shoe prints and footprints [Page 332].

The footprint on the blue bath mat in the bathroom shared by Meredith and Amanda is attributed to Raffaele Sollecito, and barefoot prints two compatible with Amanda Knox and one compatible with Raffaele Sollecito were highlighted using luminol.

4) Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were not under the influence of drugs on the night of 1st November 2007.

The Massei Report clearly states that both then defendants were “accustomed to the consumption of drugs and the effects” and Amanda Knox stated that she and Sollecito had consumed drugs on that evening. [Page 367]

In Conclusion

Above I have considered just a few areas of the Massei Report,  for those new to TJMK I hope that this has given an insight into the incredible detail provided by the judges and I hope it will have encouraged you to read the Report for yourselves in order that you may fully understand this sad case.

Shortly I will be looking at sections of the report dealing with the medical forensics.

 

Posted on 09/18/10 at 01:25 AM by Storm RobertsClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009The Massei Report
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Newsweek Report From Italy On Damage From Knox/Marriott Campaign To Knox Interests & US Image

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Newsweek’s new report.

Only Newsweek, the ABC News website, the Daily Beast, and Seattle PI among the American media have reporters in Italy telling us how it really is.

A pity. Perhaps the five main American TV networks and the press services and main newspapers like the New York Times should charter an aircraft, and go check out the major distaste that is now being expressed across all the Italian media, and among the Italian public generally to the nasty misinformed Knox campaign.

This campaign is now being waged by EIGHT conspiracy-theory websites and in a gullible mainstream media by sock-puppets like the increasingly hapless Steve Moore and Michael Scadron, whose Facebook friends seem to be all Knox family and other sock-puppets (he forgets to mention that). 

We have already reported one reaction to the ill-informed claims of Steve Moore, and our own posters and other contacts in Italy and our own daily reading of the Italian media suggest that Newsweek here is if anything downplaying the distaste being evoked.

Amanda Knox must surely cringe every time she hears that another vocal supporter in the United States has taken up her cause.

Knox does not ask for this kind of attention. Instead, prison guards and inmates say she bides her time behind bars studying and reading, careful not to say anything that would be held against her during her appeal, scheduled to begin later this fall. It will be heard by a new judge and jury who have not been protected from the firestorm around her case, so anything she says publicly could be construed as criticism against the system she is hoping will free her.

She has a job in the prison commissary, taking orders and delivering goods to prisoners in her wing. She is a “model prisoner,” according to Bernardina di Mario, director of Capanne. “She does nothing to stir things up. She just keeps to herself.”

The same can not be said for her supporters. Even the most banal headlines in the United States claiming miscarriages of justice and maltreatment of Knox are inevitably translated, along with snide comments defending the Italian system that impute to the American press a sense of American supremacy.

Since her arrest in November 2007 and conviction in December 2009, Knox supporters have repeatedly condemned everyone involved in the case who does not believe in wholeheartedly in her innocence. Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas, ridiculed the ruling judge’s conviction reasoning as a “fictional novel” and a support group called Friends of Amanda regularly called the chief prosecutor “mentally unstable” throughout the trial.

In the wake of the verdict last December, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington (Knox’s home state) promised to get Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to extradite the young American home from Italy (Clinton has said she will not intervene), and Donald Trump has even boycotted Italy and its products.

“Amanda has become an affair of the state,” wrote La Repubblica months before the verdict. “Italy blames the American conspiracy.”

Newsweek tried checking out what investigations if any were done by Steve Moore (who, as the post below shows, still seems blissfully unaware of the minefield that is the Massei Report) and they came up with this. 

And most recently, retired FBI agent Steve Moore accused the Italians of “manipulating evidence to make Knox look guilty” based on an “independent investigation” he conducted using what he calls “raw materials.” When asked by NEWSWEEK, neither the Italian state forensic department, the coroner who conducted the autopsies on Kercher, nor the homicide squad in Perugia had been contacted by Moore for original reports and documents, calling into question just where Moore’s “raw materials” came from.

And Amanda Knox herself and her lawyers repeatedly undercut, contradict and distance themselves from the campaign.

Various times throughout her yearlong trial in 2009, the prosecutor and members of the jury told NEWSWEEK they were “offended” by American criticism of the case. At the time of her verdict last December, when many Americans were shouting about what they saw as an unfair conviction, Knox herself felt compelled to tell a member of Italian Parliament that she was actually treated fairly, in part to appease the Italians and, according to her lawyers who defended her comments, to protect herself. “I still have faith in the Italian justice system,” she told Walter Verini, a member of Italy’s center-left government. “My rights were respected.”

Despite the heavy criticism from abroad, Knox’s own Italian lawyers have never been part of the frenzy and have repeatedly had to distance themselves from most of the most vocal voices. “There has been a lot of criticism of this case in America, but it is important to remember that no one speaks for Amanda except her lawyers here in Italy,” says her Perugian lawyer, Luciano Ghirga. “The Americans do not represent her here in Perugia, nor does the constant criticism represent her own views.”

So. Over to you, Ted Simon and David Marriott, to try to apply the brakes on this runaway train.

And please insist that EVERYONE including Steve Moore (if we are to actually hear from him again) knows the Massei Report back-to-front before attempting any new spin.

Posted on 09/16/10 at 07:42 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxes Knox & team20 No-PR hoaxHoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamHeavey, BremnerNews media & moviesGreat reportingBruce FischerSteve Moore
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Steve Moore Really, Really Believes Amanda Knox’s Alibi #5! Or Was That Alibi #7?

Posted by Peter Quennell




Added later: Video report from KGW8 Portland Oregon has been removed, as with others featuring Steve Moore; however below see key quote.

1. The KWGA Report

What Steve More is wildly building from is Amanda Knox’s highly self-serving claims made on the witness stand last June (not under oath so she was free to lie) which both she and her lawyers had previously often contradicted and even she wound back on the stand.

“Listen to what she’s saying. ‘I was very scared. I plugged my ears. I do not remember anything. I was upset, but I imagined.’ If you take all those prefaces to her sentences, what she’s saying is ‘none of this is really true to me,’” said Moore.

Moore says Knox was interrogated over 10 hours, using tactics just short of waterboarding and was bullied into telling police what they wanted to hear.

“Two new detectives would come in every hour. Three in the morning, four in the morning, five in the morning. And what they were trying to do is not get information. They were trying to break her,” said Moore.

Amanda Knox took the stand for two days in June to try to explain why she fingered Patrick Lumumba for Meredith’s murder. She was not under oath, so she could say what she wanted, and by prior agreement broad areas were kept off-limits to prosecution cross-examination.

Other than the puppylike Steve Moore, who amazingly seems to have never encountered a perp who lied on the stand, Amanda Knox appears to have failed to convince just about everyone. See our posts at the time by Fiori here and by Nicki here.

If Steve Moore still foolishly refuses to read (or even acknowledge) the very precise, very damning Massei Report, perhaps he could at minimum read Amanda Knox’s various alibis and also Raffaele Sollecito’s various alibis both nicely summarized by the Machine.

They provide the context to the claims Amanda Knox made on the stand. 

These and passages in the Massei Report (summaries and analyses of which we are about to start posting) make it obvious what led to what Steve Moore calls Amanda Knox’s “confession” in which she actually fingered Patrick Lumumba and actually claimed to be an accidental bystander (that is a confession?!).

At the first, relatively brief, session with and investigator on the night (she was then not even a witness, and no lawyers or prosecutors needed to be present) Amanda Knox was ONLY helping to build a list of suspects.

In his own interrogation Raffaele Sollecito had been confronted with evidence of mobile-phone traffic that showed that he had been lying. He then switched to his own alibi number two, which meant that for a period of time Amanda Knox had no alibi or explanation whatever. (Mignini has said he thinks she came very close to confessing.)

When she was then shown the numbers she had recently dialed on her own mobile phone, they included Patrick Lumumba’s number there.

And in the blink of an eye, Amanda Knox made him the chief suspect, kept repeating this for hours, and didn’t retract this, except to her mom, for the entire time Patrick was kept in custody.

No wonder Knox needed to make things up in her testimony on the stand in June.

Neither of Knox’s lawyers have ever supported those claims of breaking down under fierce interrogation, or of rough treatment. She had lawyers present at her only real interrogation - one she herself had asked for - by Dr Mignini on 17 December 2007.

No official complaint of pressure was ever lodged. And at the trial a number of police witnesses confirmed that Knox was actually very well treated.

And for making claims about the interrogators very similar to Steve Moore’s, both Amanda Knox AND her two parents Curt Knox and Edda Mellas were charged, and these trials will be coming up soon.

Guede’s lawyer said Steve Moore could be charged with slander if he visits Italy, the Perugia police and prosecutors have not yet said they will arrest him, and who knows? They may even be tickled to meet him.

2. The KVAL Report


In this KVAL interview Steve Moore seems totally unaware that all the DNA analysis WAS DONE IN ROME! It was collected and analyzed by THE ITALIAN COUNTERPART OF THE FBI who are rated among Europe’s best.

Good grief. He doesn’t even seem to know who he is accusing.

In this video, he kinda reminds us of an actor in one of those comedy movies who just knows that the great scam is falling through. He says he had some good laughs with Amanda’s family.

No doubt at the expense of the victim, Meredith Kercher, whose name he pretty well always forgets.

Posted on 09/14/10 at 05:26 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesHoaxes Knox & team15 Single alibi hoaxHoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamHeavey, Bremner
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Ultimate Immorality And Intense Hurt Of Blaming A Victim

Posted by Emma


Recent comments on boards frequented by supporters of Amanda Knox have taken an ugly turn. In desperation some have started playing the lowest game of all - the ‘Blame the Victim’ game. Not content with championing the murderers of Meredith Kercher, they now seek to denigrate the real victim of this crime after her death. Comments made about how she ‘messed up’, about how she must have let Rudy in to the house and, unbelievably, even about her family’s accent, have shown the real class of the Friends of Amanda, clearly frustrated at the recent publication of the damning Massei report. It cannot be emphasised enough what a powerful impact the Massei Report has had on public opinion. Meticulously translated over many weeks by a group of professionals at the Perugia Murder File, the Report has shown up the lies being propagated by Amanda’s out of control supporters. A number of previous innocenti journalists have privately admitted to now believing in the guilt of Amanda and Raffaele having read the report, distribution of which via all channels is more than 7,000 and continuing. The word is spreading; the evidence is overwhelming. All that is left now for the FOA is the empty rhetoric and tired arguments which have been repeated over and over. The desperation is showing in the latest outing of the hopelessly ill-informed ex-FBI ‘expert’, Steve Moore, who seems to be following a different case altogether. In his recent ABC interview he was not even able to name the victim, preferring instead to call her ‘the girl’.

But let’s consider the morality of those who post against Meredith in support of Amanda Knox. These are people who are not beneath smearing the memory and good name of a young girl who was brutally murdered. How did Meredith ‘mess up’? How is it that she, or any victim, can be said to be ‘responsible’ for what happened to them? All the evidence suggests that Meredith merely wanted to return home for study that night, prior to her lecture the following morning. She borrowed a book that she promised to return to her friend the next day. She was tired, having been up into the small hours having fun at a Halloween Party. She wanted a quiet night in. But if she had let Rudy into the house, invited him in, shared a drink with him? How does this show her having ‘messed up’? How would she be to blame in any way for what happened to her? The answer, as any card-carrying member of the human race will testify, is that she would not.

Victims are a favourite target for some. They ‘must have’ invited the attention…if they hadn’t been walking home in the dark alone…on and on. The fact is that Meredith was wholly innocent. She made no mistakes, she lived a good life. She was kind, warm, funny, studious, with a firm sense of her own moral boundaries and many good friends who were left devastated by her death. Recent comments about how she couldn’t have screamed, and she didn’t fight are deeply offensive. During a violent assault it is common for victims to freeze entirely. Perhaps it is a biological protective mechanism, as often seen in animals who sense overwhelming danger. Maybe it is simply the logical response to a situation where one is simply unable to fight back. Being physically restrained by another human being, and realising there is absolutely nothing you can do is an emotionally overwhelming experience. The brain is ‘flooded’ with sensations of terror and horror, which it is impossible to process at speed. Victims speak of an almost near death sensation, of ‘leaving their bodies’ and escaping into their mind during an attack. The instinct for many is to submit, in the hope that the pain will be over soon, that it is their best chance of survival. Often this leads to feelings of deep shame and guilt if the victim survives the assault. Blaming themselves for their ‘weakness’ in not fighting back deepens already severe mental scars. Perpetrators also use the victim’s inability to fight back as a form of defence ‘I had no idea!’ etc. This is why the victim blame game is so harmful. In order for justice to be done, and civilised society maintained, there must be a supportive climate for victims. Otherwise crime will not be reported and violent criminals will walk free, endangering everyone.

For a man to subject a woman to a violent assault is the most cowardly of acts, as the woman has no ability to fight back. For three individuals to attack a woman is utterly repugnant, particularly when one is a woman herself. The evidence is that Meredith screamed. The evidence is that she was unable to fight because she had her arms held behind her back while she was beaten and stabbed, for the amusement of others. Terrified and confused she must have felt a deep sense of betrayal and incomprehension as this attack escalated. Make no mistake, Meredith suffered in a way that is almost too distressing to contemplate. But to truly put ourselves in the position of the victim - the real victim - then we should perhaps, in a strong moment, make ourselves go there. It is only then that we can truly accept the full horror of this crime, and that the sentence handed down to the three convicted murderers is the only correct response of a moral society.

After the reporting of a crime it is essential that no blame be apportioned to victims, already struggling to recover from the trauma of assault. Suggesting that victims of violent crime are ‘to blame’, that they ‘messed up’, can only deepen the mental anguish they are feeling. In the case of a murder victim such comments cause untold distress to their shattered relatives. It is a cruelty of the highest order. A second assault.

What sort of person would blame Meredith for what happened to her? You be the judge.

Posted on 09/11/10 at 09:05 AM by EmmaClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Knox-Mellas teamMore hoaxers
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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Conspiracy Theorists Follow A Well Known Pattern - They ALL End Up Out Of Steam And Ignored

Posted by Stilicho



[above: conspiracy theorists don’t want you to believe that is an aircraft]

Conspiracy Theories And Those That Surround Meredith’s Murder:

What do the Apollo moon landings, the JFK assassination, the 9/11 attacks, and Meredith Kercher’s murder all have in common? 

They have each attracted the vigorous cult-like attention of conspiracy theorists.  Despite the cold hard fact that in each case there has been ample documentation to support what might best be called the official story. 

We know from independent and highly credible and very respected sources that the Apollo missions were successful, that a lone gunman shot and killed the US president in Dallas, that a terrorist group was responsible for hijacking of four aircraft, that the World Trade Center complex was destroyed by the subsequent fires..

And that Knox, Sollecito and Guede attacked and killed Meredith in her rented room in Perugia on the first of November in 2007.

Among the dozens of similarities between the Meredith case conspiracy theorists and others, we will focus on those made most apparent by the words and actions of those advocating for Knox and (occasionally) Sollecito.

A Commonality: Lack Of Any Coherent Alternate Narrative:

The court was obliged to create a logical narrative supported by the evidence.  That narrative, briefly, states that Knox and Sollecito encountered Guede after they found they had no obligations that evening, consumed drugs that lowered their inhibitions, and entered Meredith’s room. 

What followed was a sexual assault upon the young British woman, the active participation of each of the three accused, Meredith’s attempts to scream for help, and the silencing of the victim by covering her mouth, throttling her and finally stabbing her in the throat.  The three assailants then departed after locking Meredith’s bedroom door. 

Her mobile phones and keys were taken by Knox and Sollecito to be discarded in a remote location. Once it was apparent that the authorities had not responded to Meredith’s screams, Knox and Sollecito returned to the cottage to stage a break-in and to obscure as much evidence of their presence as was possible.

Those advocating for Knox and Sollecito have never supplied a coherent narrative to refute the official story.

Similarly, 9/11 truthers have never been able to agree on much apart from their strident belief that the official story simply must be wrong.  Various hypotheses have been advanced and withdrawn in the face of objections by scientists, engineers, and even rival truther factions. 

There is a no-planer faction that argues there were no planes hijacked and that all the video and film evidence was created in a government production studio.  There is a controlled demolition faction that argues government agents secretly wired unknown explosive devices in one of the busiest office buildings in the world while nobody noticed.  There are others who believe the leaseholder of the site ordered the demolition because of concerns about asbestos replacement.

When asked how Guede gained entry to the cottage, conspiracy theorists promote three main theories without selecting the one they all agree upon. 

They argue that Guede entered through Filomena’s window OR that Meredith let him in the house herself OR that he entered by unknown means and was there before she returned home at roughly 21:00.

Because conspiracy theorists are not constrained by the requirement for a logical narrative they will pick any of the three available and contradictory claims.

A Commonality: An Aversion To Respecting Good Science:

The Apollo moon landing hoaxes have a lot in common with the advocacy sites proclaiming the innocence of Knox and Sollecito. 

Apart from the development of the atomic bomb, there has likely been no human technological achievement so intensively documented as the Apollo programme.

Among the many claims of the conspiracists is the position that late-Sixties technology and instrumentation was insufficient or too bulky to allow the moon landings to take place.  They compare the size and power of 21st century computing hardware and software with that of 1969 and make their conclusions based on a perceived inadequacy of the previous era’s equipment.

In Meredith’s case there are several advocacy sites that criticise the scientific police on exactly the same basis. 

The techniques employed by (mainly) Dr Stefanoni, in determining the presence of Meredith’s DNA on a knife found in Sollecito’s drawer, are attacked partly because the equipment had not been used this way before. 

Just to be sure of their position, however, they add confidently that she simply could have faked the results or kept her tweezers in a beaker of Meredith’s DNA accidentally left in the laboratory.  It matters little to the unscientific mind of the conspiracy theorist that Stefanoni’s techniques were fully documented and observed by an independent party as required by law.

A Commonality: Lack Of A Credible Alternate Suspect:

Wrongful convictions happen.  There are dozens of them documented on a site operated by The Innocence Project, an American advocacy group.  Its banner proudly proclaims that 258 convictions had been overturned. 

The foundation seizes upon several important facets of wrongful convictions including DNA evidence and improper defence counselling. In almost all the 258 cases there is another common feature:  a credible alternate suspect.

JFK conspiracy theorists have never been able to establish a credible alternate suspect - and neither have Knox/Sollecito advocates. 

The latter have not yet gone so far as to accuse the Mafia, Fidel Castro, the Teamsters Union, LBJ, Nixon, the CIA and a man carrying an umbrella in Dealey Plaza.  But their attempt to establish Guede as the sole perpetrator accomplishes the same thing. 

Just in case the ‘lone wolf’ doesn’t make any sense, they are not beyond implicating even Filomena, falsely claiming that it is only her word against that of Knox that Meredith did not normally lock her bedroom door.

There was only one attempt to identify an alternate suspect and that was made by Knox herself.  She told police investigators that Patrick, her boss, was the killer. 

She is one step ahead of those proclaiming her innocence; she knew better than they that without another explanation it is she and Sollecito who remained the prime suspects.  She also knows, more than her supporters, that naming Guede instead would invite reciprocation.

Conclusions About Conspiracy Theorists

As briefly illustrated above, the length and depth of those being falsely implicated by the mostly anonymous Knox/Sollecito conspiracy theorists, untethered by the 80,000 pound gorilla in the room, the Massei Report, now knows few bounds.

This has now reached such levels of absurdity that they are increasingly being laughed at or, for the most part, ignored.  Nobody - really nobody - in either the Italian or American governments is paying them even the slightest attention. 

Meredith’s case is showing to the clear-thinking and objective world that Italy has an enviable justice system, that it is very careful and very humane, and that its scientific and forensic techniques are among the vanguard in applied criminal research.

And with no obvious way of obtaining special gains for themselves (or for that matter of hitting back against the anonymous attacks) the very fine police and investigators and prosecutors and judges and juries in Italy are doing the very best they can for Meredith.

Posted on 09/09/10 at 09:40 AM by StilichoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The wider contextsN America contextThe psychologyMore hoaxers
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Monday, September 06, 2010

Steve Moore Is Baffling Informed Case Observers On Both Sides Of The Atlantic

Posted by Peter Quennell





We posted a week ago querying claims first made by Steve Moore to Seattle investigative reporter Linda Byron.

Now everybody seems to be doing it.

Our own well-informed posters have been going through the various claims made to Linda Byron and reporters on the morning shows in the light of the Micheli and Massei Sentencing Reports. They have apparently not yet encountered even one Moore claim that can credibly be considered legitimate.

The lone wolf theory Steve Moore is trying retroactively to espouse was first ridiculed by our poster Kermit in his much-viewed Spiderman Powerpoints late in 2008.

And then it was methodically demolished early in 2009 by Judge Micheli, and again by Judge Massei in his own report released in Italian last March.

Our legal and law enforcement supporters in New York and Washington who have long followed Meredith’s case are also scratching their heads over Moore’s claims.

Why did he fail to master the Massei Report (which all of them have now read - and admire) before so vehemently going live?

Several also question the professional ethics and legal wisdom of accusing THE ITALIAN COUNTERPARTS TO THE FBI without hard proof of having fabricated evidence to prove his case. 

And in Italy, there have been several sarcastic rebuttals.

The latest comes from Walter Biscotti as reported by Ann Wise for ABC.

Mr Biscotti is the effective lead lawyer for Rudy Guede - who, it should be noted, ended up with a sentence of only 16 years for acting smart and somewhat penitent, while Sollecito and Knox may eventually face up to thirty.

After former FBI agent Steve Moore came forward in the United States last week, appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and other U.S. shows to defend Knox’s innocence, Italian newspapers picked up on the interviews with banner headlines.

“Amanda, new accusations from the U.S.,” read the leading daily Corriere della Sera Saturday. “A former FBI agent, who carried out a private investigation, tells American TV: ‘Rudy Guede is the murderer and evidence was manipulated to make her [Knox] look guilty,’” according to the subtitle.

That was too much for Walter Biscotti, a lawyer representing Rudy Guede, the third person—along with Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito—convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007.

An indignant Biscotti contacted ABC News in Rome today in response to the headlines.

First of all, he said, he wanted to speak in defense of the Italian judicial system.  “I think it is only right that I speak out in favor of the Italian justice system, of which I am a part,” Biscotti said, “and of the courts of Perugia in particular….

Biscotti took offense with statements made by Moore, a 25-year FBI veteran with international experience, implying that evidence was planted during the crime scene investigation.

“He said that investigators manipulated the evidence, an affirmation that would get you arrested in a minute, if you said it in Italy,” Biscotti told ABC News.

“It is a serious accusation against the Italian legal system and, as a man of the law, I cannot accept this,” Biscotti added…

Biscotti also took issue, as he has done repeatedly in the past three years, with attempts to put the blame for the murder solely on his client, Guede, whom, he says, he is defending pro bono.

He said lawyers for Knox and Sollecito told the media after every hearing in their year-long trial “there is no point holding this trial because these two are innocent, the only guilty person is Rudy,” and he criticized a list of U.S. legal experts who have spoken out about the case in the United States.

We know of not even ONE similarly qualified person who has READ the Massei Report and is not impressed and convinced by it.


Van Der Sloot’s Attention Seeking Antics In A Peruvian Prison Are Continuing

Posted by Peter Quennell


We have periodically focussed on Joran Van Der Sloot now awaiting trial for murder in Peru because it was noted in the media that he and Amanda Knox both seem to be reveling in their prominence.

In Knox’s case, it tends to drive a new wave of media stories every few weeks (the stories now are about a new book which talks about baby adoption, and a movie) which re-energize a hard-line white knights movement that demonizes Italian officials for framing her to save face or because they don’t like Americans.

There is a present crescendo of such claims as an apparent attempt to divert attention away from the very impressive Massei Report (link at top here) the distribution of which from all sources is now pressing toward 10,000 and which seems to be convincing almost all readers that this really was a fair trial and outcome.

In Van Der Sloot’s case, the new wave of media stories every few weeks also seem aimed at attracting white knights to raising questions over his guilt and how the authorities are handling his cases in terms of competence and fairness.

1) Van Der Sloot has now gone so far as to confess now on Dutch TV that he did try to extort money from the family of disappeared Natalie Holloway - because they had been making his life hell.

“I wanted to get back at Natalee’s family — her parents have been making my life tough for five years,” the paper quoted him as saying from prison in Peru. “When they offered to pay for the girl’s location, I thought: ‘Why not’?”

He has previously repeatedly hinted that he knows where Natalee’s body was disposed of and that he had some role in her killing. An extradition move by US law enforcement is expected.

2) Van Der Sloot seems to have posed willingly  in prison with several other inmates for a photograph that then appeared in the Peruvian media.

3) Van Der Sloot is receiving visits in prison from an apparent white knight who he is referring to as his girlfriend. 

4) There also appears to be a movie in the works by another white knight who has a history of taking the side of those who attempt to exonerate Van Der Sloot, in part by demonizing Natalee Holloway and her family.

On one side….defenders of Joran van der Sloot and the Aruban authorities who consider him a prime suspect in Natalee’s disappearance but have never charged him. That defense consists mainly of character attacks on Natalee and her mother Beth Holloway Twitty.

Prominent among those pressing that case is Renee Gielen, a film maker from Curacao who produced a 2008 documentary entitled “Natalee, The Unrevealed Time Lines"….a title that morphs on screen to “Natalee, The Unrevealed Time Lies.”  The film was widely attacked on line as a cover up and vicious attack on Natalee and her family. Others saw it as a defense of both the van der Sloot family and Aruban authorities.

And so we get to read about them periodically, at least until they grow somewhat older. The customary trend then is for such stories to drop dead.

Posted on 09/06/10 at 08:39 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Other legal processesThose elsewhereThe psychology
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Deja Vu All Over Again: In A Time Warp Linda Byron Is STILL Actively Misleading Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell





Click above for the “scoop” by Linda Byron and an out-of-date and unrelated video.

Linda Byron has in fact had the extraordinary Massei Report on the evidence and the sentencing reasons for Knox and Sollecito for THREE WEEKS and she even acknowledged it with thanks and said she would be sure to read it.

But apparently not yet. Amazingly, Linda Byron does not even MENTION Judge Massei’s Report here.

Linda Byron’s “scoop” on an FBI agent turns out to be about (surprise, surprise)  a claimed ex-FBI agent “Steve Moore” who (if he actually exists) seems to have zero track-record and reputation among current federal and local law enforcement who are watching the case.

Precisely these same few shoot-from-the-hip claims were made by “Steve Moore” several months ago on a website. Nothing new, nothing corrected, and still riddled with errors and false claims. They are so easy to shoot down that the posters over on PMF hardly even bothered to laugh at them before moving back to their usual careful in-depth discussions.

The Massei Report that Linda Byron studiously ignores now contradicts in very great detail the same few claims that “Steve Moore” makes - the evidence collection, the possible motives, the scenario on the night, the physical evidence, and the true nature of the interrogations.

And he simply leaves out altogether huge areas. Perhaps 80 percent of the whole.

The multiple alibis that contradicted one another and STILL contradict one another. The allegations that Knox made IN WRITING against Patrick when alone in a cell. The extensive luminol evidence and the extensive mixed-blood evidence. The telling behavior on the several days after. The sad facts of Meredith’s autopsy. The very extensive and very damning mobile phone records and transcripts. The computer records and recorded times it was switched on and off. The various eye-witness accounts. The facts and the reasoning that showed that there is no way that Rudy Guede could have acted alone. 

The few supportive comments below Linda Byron’s piece seem desperately grateful, and ultra-shallow on the real facts.  More hate-speech about Italy, of course. “The italian government and (in)justice system is regarded as one of the most corrupt in the first world. she would have gotten a fairer trial in mexico.”  Both those claims are untrue. Also as usual, very heavy promotion of a tainted and misleading FOA website apparently paid for by Curt Knox.

Ex FBI agent “Steve Moore” really should download and read the Massei Report and see why ALL of his claimed former colleagues consider this case to be closed.

Posted on 08/31/10 at 12:31 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedPolice and CSINews media & moviesTerrible reportingThe wider contextsSeattle contextKnox-Mellas teamMore hoaxers
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

From Shortly Before Last December’s Verdict: Our Poster Hopeful’s Moving Tribute To Italian Justice

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




We have dozens of posts on TJMk illustrating how the Italian justice system is among the best in the world. Careful, humane, and in fact hardly ever wrong.

In part because police and prosecutors are very painstaking - read here of all the hurdles they have to get through.

In part because judges have to put their careers on the line with each judgment, as with Judge Massei now, and not simply hide behind an unexplained jury decision from 12 amateurs of random education levels.

Six weeks before the December 2009 verdict, Hopeful paid them this kind tribute.

Moved By Italian Justice: Doing The Very Best It Can For Meredith And Her Poor Family

Crestfallen and broken, Amanda and Raffaele react in visible distress in the latest courtroom photos.

Amanda looks sad, smitten, perplexed, astounded, with anger not far under the veneer, yet overall truly sorrowful for the first time in 2 years. Raffaele is weeping as the court denies more evidence do-overs. He feels the weight of this blow.

These two are probably guilty, but it still makes me sad to see what prison can do to human beings. Why, oh why, couldn’t they have let Meredith live and simply enjoy her sweet life? Mercy to her would have been multiplied back to them so very many times over.

I believe Prosecutor Mignini and his assistant, Mrs. Comodi, and all the Perugia homicide cops want to see JUSTICE done above all.

Surely they take no pleasure in the misery that native-son Sollecito is undergoing. They had to arrest him to redress a huge evil. I’m sure they regret the repercussions this has meant to his father, a fine medical doctor, an upstanding citizen of Italy. Despite this, and America’s loud outcries, they have proceeded.

I think the Italian police and prosecutors have acted with more intense caution and discretion in handling the evidence against Amanda because of her U.S. citizenship. I don’t think this is a case of two innocents being railroaded.

If the Italian police had wanted to score points politically, they could have closed the case after the arrest and conviction of Rudy Guede. The police saw undeniable proof to their practiced eyes that Amanda and Raffaele were very guilty.

And I don’t think forensic scientist Patrizia Stefanoni of the Polizia Scientifica in Rome is in the prosecution’s back pocket. I believe she acted in good faith. Patient and careful analysis of forensic lab samples requires real intelligence and excludes quick passion.

“To be or not to be??”. From Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Methinks Amanda does look a little Danish.

It wasn’t fish blood or cat’s blood or pierced ear blood on their hands, it was the blood of honor. Meredith was defenseless in a foreign land. She was a great asset to her own family, to the Erasmus program, to Italy, and eventually to the world. She deserves the best efforts of her host country, and she’s receiving them here.

It now feels like justice is not only happening here - it’s convincingly SEEN to be happening. We all owed you this one, sweet Meredith. May you forever rest in peace.

Posted on 08/28/10 at 11:43 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is The Campaign That Ranted Against Italy For So Long Now Fearing An Italian-American Backlash?

Posted by Peter Quennell


This bizarre Seattle PI blog post suggests that the Knox PR campaign may now fear a major Italian-American backlash.

Really?!

Not exactly surprising, after first stirring up so much anti-Italy hate - remember “third world country” and “keystone cops” and “kangaroo court” and “saving face” and “anti Americanism” and “tabloid journalism” and on and on?

Not to mention “evil Mignini” hoodwinking everyone in Italy all the way up to the Supreme Court with “satanic conspiracies” that work easily in a “catholic country” implying everyone there is too prudish or simply not very bright?

When did they ever say anything about Italy that was actually nice? Or restrain their forces from being over-the-top nasty, as with the venom the white knights STILL direct toward Mr Mignini?

Really GOOD PR people seek to merely shade the truth.

They don’t ever build a campaign around a really big lie, because when the really big lie comes down, it really comes crashing down and ALL is lost. A result worse than if there had been no campaign at all.

Proof?  Read the many hard, angry and incisive comments right under that blog post. And we know that Italian Americans now are showing some sure signs of having had more than enough.

Not exactly a PR man’s dream. 

Added: Important Breaking News

We all already know that the US State Department up to and including Hillary Clinton not only finds the Knox campaign ludicrous and very unhelpful -  they also regard it as xenophobic.

Now the chief of staff of an Italian-American member of the US Congress in Washington DC (not, obviously, David Wu’s chief of staff) has sent us this request.

He would like to get every possible example of the sliming of Italy and the Italian officials on Meredith’s case, including the sliming of Giuliano Mignini.

Please could our readers email or post here below any examples you may know of? We may create a new TJMK page just for them.

This may factor into political races in November, and there may be a political motion in the US Congress to stop this vile anti-Italy campaign dead.


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