Friday, November 20, 2009

The Summations: Defendant Leaves Court As Prosecutor Proposes What Meredith Was Subjected To

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the full report in the Sun, once again by Nick Pisa.

Please be warned that this below is very difficult and intensely sad reading. It seems to build upon some expert testimony that was only presented behind closed doors

Murder suspect Amanda Knox broke down in tears as the case against her was summed up today.

The American student was led from the courtroom after prosecutors outlined the horrific violence British student Meredith Kercher suffered before her death.

They claimed blonde Knox, 22, known as Foxy Knoxy, “harboured hatred” for housemate Meredith - and “killed her to take revenge”.

Meredith, 21, was “too serious” for Knox, it was claimed.

When Knox returned to the courtroom in Perugia, Italy, today, she appeared shaken and her eyes puffy…

Summing up the prosecution case, Giuliano Mignini said: “Knox and Sollecito arrived at the house with Guede. Meredith was already there and the evening began to degenerate.

“Meredith and Amanda began to argue over money. Meredith was also upset that Amanda had brought another man (Guede) back to the house they shared.

“They argued about this ugly habit of hers, and the three who had arrived were also under the influence of drugs and alcohol.”

Mr Mignini added: “Meredith was far too serious a girl for Amanda, she didn’t like her or her friends because they were critical of her hygiene and habits.

“Amanda harboured hatred for Meredith and that night the time had come for her to take revenge - and that’s when Meredith’s ordeal began.”....

Mr Mignini outlined the horrific violence Meredith suffered before she died.

He said: “Amanda grabbed her by the hair and hit her head on the floor. Rudy finished what he did (sex) and Sollecito was threatening her with his knife.

“Amanda also had a knife and held it to the left side of Meredith’s throat and as the crescendo of violence grew inflicted the deepest cut.

“Meredith did not want to submit herself to the sexual violence.”

As he spoke Knox appeared to be in discomfort and took several deep breaths.

Her lawyer Luciano Ghirga held her hand reassuringly and squeezed it several times, while a female prison guard behind her stooped down and asked twice if she was ok.

Minutes later Mr Mignini’s closing speech was interrupted as Knox had to be led out to compose herself.

The court heard how Knox “dominated” her relationship with Sollecito, who in turn was “dependent on her”.

Mr Mignini claimed video footage of the couple showed computer studies graduate Sollecito “following on behind her, often kissing and cuddling her”.

Posted on 11/20/09 at 12:39 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Summations: More On How The Prosecution Launched Forth - And On Possible Motive

Posted by Tiziano



[Above: The two prosecutors today - click for larger image]

The TGCOM news service quoted this statement on the theory of the motive.

“Amanda Knox harbored hatred for Meredith… and so it was time for revenge rather than flirting….” According to the prosecutor Amanda wanted revenge on “that girl who was only with her English friends, and who reproached [Amanda] for her lack of cleanliness.” Thus was set under way “the calvary of Meredith.”

And this report from Umbria Journal adds details to the description posted below from Il Mattino

PM Giuliano Mignini spoke of a “unique event” of a trial which has “involved three continents”, opening his summing-up address in the trial of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

“A media trial in which the elements which emerged in court largely vanished,” the magistrate affirmed. “Detectives in search of notoriety, writers, bloggers, and mystery writers alternated with one another in a sort of parallel trial. But the trial is taking place only in this court room.”

Rudy Guede has been the “convitato di pietra” [literally, silent guest] in the trial of RF and AK according to Mignini. “In a way he has always been present,” the magistrate said referring to the Ivorian, already condemned to 30 years in prison by fast-track trial for complicity in the murder of Meredith Kercher with the two young people.

“Supporters of Sollecito and Knox” Mignini stressed “don’t stop at proclaiming their innocence, but they accuse him [Guede] too. They say that they were not at the crime house, but they also say the assassin is Guede. The accused wanted to create a parallel trial without his being able to defend himself.”

The PM then claimed that the breaking of a window in the bedroom of one of the Italian housemates of Knox and Meredith Kercher carried out according to the prosecution to mislead the investigations “is the special key to the event and the mystery. If it was simulated, as is evident, the authors are Knox, and Sollecito who always followed her. And the objective was to turn away suspicion.” The magistrate defined the break-in as “the nail on which the defences of the accused are hanging.”

“A nail” he averred “which has fallen down noisily and with it the the defences.” For Mignini the theft was simulated “from the inside, by someone who wanted to turn away suspicions and maybe direct them towards Rudy.”

Amanda Knox “knowingly accused an innocent man”... The reference is to Patrick Lumumba who, however, he did not expressly name, involved in the investigations of the murder of Meredith Kercher through the statements to the police of the young American and then absolved of any wrong-doing (he has actually nominated as a civil complainant against the American who is accused of defamation against him).

“Amanda” the [prosecutor] stressed “did not lift a finger while he was languishing in prison. Neither she nor her mother who was in her confidence. And what a coincidence” Mignini continued “it was a matter of a coloured person like Rudy”

 


The Summations: Nick Pisa In Daily Mail Has A Late-Morning Report

Posted by Peter Quennell


Please click above for Nick Pisa’s full story. Two key claims made by the prosecution:

Murder suspect Amanda Knox was described as ‘dominant’ in her relationship with co-accused Raffaele Sollecito today, as prosecutors began summing up in the case against them.

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini said Knox ‘dominated’ her relationship with Sollecito who in turn was ‘dependent on her’. He said this was evident in TV footage from the time of the murder, where Sollecito was ‘following on behind her, often kissing and cuddling her.’

Prosecutor Mignini added: ‘The key to this mystery is in the room where the supposed break-in took place’. Mignini added: ‘This break-in is the nail of Knox and Sollecito’s defence, but it was all simulated.  ‘It would have been manna from heaven for them if blood or other genetic evidence had been found on the broken glass or window frame but nothing was found.”

“This hypothetical thief then did something quite remarkable - he didn’t take anything of value. No jewellery was missing, computers were left at the scene as well as designer bangs and clothes. A “very strange break-in” was in fact how the first police officer who arrived at the house described it - they could not believe that nothing of value was taken.”

Prosecutor Mignini also pointed out how fragments of glass had been found on top of clothes scattered on the bedroom floor which was also unusual for a break-in, especially if the wardrobe had been ransacked after the window was broken.

He added that it was also virtually impossible to climb to the bedroom window of Filomena Romanelli and that it was also the most exposed as it was visible to the road and passing traffic…

Posted on 11/20/09 at 08:36 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Summations: The Lead Judge And Two Defendants In The Court This Morning

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]






[Image below: Amanda Knox is comforted by her lawyer Maria Del Grosso]

Posted on 11/20/09 at 08:26 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Summations: The Prosecution Starts To Lay Out The Elements Of Their Case

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Prosecutor Comodi. Below: Prosecutor Mignini.]

The prosecution will take at least two days to complete their summation of their case, drawing all of the threads together.

We have been warned by court watchers to expect at least some surprises. The first seems to be that the prosecution starts off where Amanda Knox seems to be especially vulnerable - her false charge against Patrick Lumumba.

Even if the murder verdict against Amanda Knox early in December becomes “not guilty” she might still face a conviction and sentence just for this.

This first report is from Il Mattino with translation by our poster Tiziano.  .

Amanda Knox “knowingly accused an innocent person”:  Thus said PM Giulian Mignini in his summing- up address under way before the Court of the Assizes of Perugia. 

The reference is to Patrick Lumumba , whom he did not nominate specifically, who was involved in the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher through the statements made to the police by the young American accused of defamation against him, and who was absolved of any wrong-doing (and has in fact now nominated as a civil complainant against her).

“Amanda” the magistrate underlines “did not lift a finger while he was languishing in prison. Neither she nor her mother who was in her confidence.  And what a coincidence” Mignini continued “it was a matter of a coloured person like Rudy Guede.” 

“It is time to draw together the threads of this long debate, an event which is unique of its kind in the panorama of Italian and world justice, which has involved three continents.” Thus spoke the PM, Giuliano Mignini, in his address in the trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher, which sees accused Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

“A straight and sure route for the trial.  The attacks which have accompanied this trial and the continual attempts to delegitimise the police working on it, who however carried out their duties with professionalism, and also their dealings with the court, cannot be passed over in silence,” Mignini stressed. 

Attacks made by persons in Italy and overseas, lawyers not possessing any mandate, detectives looking for notoriety, writers, mystery writers, bloggers who gave themselves the right to undertake a sort of parallel trial, all bound together by lack of accuracy and superficiality.  But the trial is being held only in this court room.”


Posted on 11/20/09 at 07:39 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Summations: A Summary Of The Agenda For The Next Few Days

Posted by Tiziano



[Above: A shot of the courtroom taken this morning]

A translation of the trial agenda from Giornale Online Di Perugia

LAST LINES IN THE TRIAL OF AMANDA AND RAFFAELE. ON SATURDAY SENTENCING REQUESTS.

Maurizio Troccoli November 19th, 2009 15.33

Just one day after the request for a confirmation of the penalty of 30 years against Rudy Hermann Guede, drafted by the Prosecutor General, in the Appeal Court of the Assizes, it’s over to the other first-stage trial against Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, still in the Assizes and for the same murder, accused of being the killers of Meredith.

[Today] is the day of PM Giuliano Mignini and PM Manuela Comodi’s summing-up, which will go back over the whole investigation into the murder of the English student. The hearing on Saturday has also been reserved for the magistrates when they will formulate their requests for the verdict.

The PMs will delineate the framework of the investigations carried out by the flying squad of Perugia, by the SCO [Servizio Centrale Operativo of the State Police], and by the scientific police after the crime which took place on the night between November 1st and 2nd, 2007. The witness statements and the scientific evidence against the the two young people, on trial since January 16th of this year, will be summarised for the college, chaired by Giancarlo Massei, with deputy Beatrice Cristiani, supported by six civil judges.

For the first time they will hear the request for a sentence. The PMs will have to ask the judges for the number of years they believe that the two will have to serve. Then it will be the turn of the defence lawyers to play the last cards to try and dismantle the accusatorial theorem of the PMs.

Sollecito, 25 years old from Giovinazzo, and Knox, a 22 year-old from Seattle, have been put on trial for voluntary murder of Kercher, for sexual assault against her, unjustifiable carrying of a knife, theft (about 300 euros, two credit cards and two mobile phones belonging to the victim) and simulation of a crime (for the breaking-in carried out in one of the bedrooms of the crime house in order to derail the investigations, according to the prosecution).

Only the American must answer as well to defamation against Patrick Lumumba, for having involved him with her declarations during the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher, in which it was recognised on the other hand that he had no involvement. Both have however proclaimed themselves completely extraneous to the charges.

Posted on 11/20/09 at 07:27 AM by TizianoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rudy Guede Appeal: Meredith Family’s Lawyer Very Disappointed At “Lost Last Chance”

Posted by Peter Quennell


Mr Maresca sounds intensely frustrated at what might have been. 

Here was a chance to put this whole thing to rest with a single truth and an act of real contrition and compassion to Meredith’s family - and Rudy really blew it.

“He could have saved her. He could have acted to save her, then he wouldn’t be here asking forgiveness….  Requests for pardon are always welcome, however, in a civilised country. I think that a positive reaction would have at least led to an immediate intervention, if what Rudy said was true.”

Not surprisingly, the lawyers for Knox and Sollecito are critical of Rudy Guede for not letting their clients off the hook - though he really no further implicated the defendants than he did back at his own trial.

His recent mysterious and unprovoked beating-up in his prison may have had an influence on his frame of mind in court today. Amazing though, as the defense teams incessantly paint him as the lone wolf perpetrator (a theory Judge Micheli discounted at great length) which we know burns him up.

Our poster Tiziano kindly translated this final report on the day from Il Messagero. The article is an update of an earlier report.

REOPENING OF DEBATE REJECTED.

The Appeal Court of the Assizes of Perugia has rejected the request of Rudy’s defence lawyers for the partial reopening of the debate.

PG: ACCOUNT NOT CREDIBLE.

According to the Prosecutor General, what Rudy said was a “little tale which was not credible”. According to the PG a “progression of lesions” was found on Kercher’s body, and death came in a much longer time than what Guede indicated.

PG: NO GENERAL REMISSIONS.

Guede was condemned to thirty years imprisonment on October 28th, 2008 by Perugia GUP Paoli Micheli. His defence lawyers, Walter Biscotti and Nicodemo Gentile, have appealed against this sentence. In fact the Ivorian has always maintained that he had nothing to do with the murder.

The Prosecutor has not contested the sentencing report, which actually accepted the reconstruction made by the first stage prosecutors PMs Manuela Comodi and Giuliano Mignini.

Today PG Catalani in his summing-up spoke of “full involvement in all the activities to the damage of Meredith Kercher” on Guede’s part.. Moreover, he underlined that the accused should not be conceded general remissions “because he has made no contribution at all in clarifying what happened in the crime house when Meredith was killed”.

KERCHER LAWYER: HE COULD HAVE SAVED HER

“He could have saved her. He could have acted to save her, then he wouldn’t be here asking forgiveness,” replied Francesco Maresca, the lawyer for the civil claim of the family of Meredith Kercher, to Rudy Guede’s words which he asked him to pass on to the relations of the English student killed in Perugia.

“Requests for pardon are always welcome, however, in a civilised country,” he added. “I think that a positive reaction would have at least led to an immediate intervention, if what Rudy says is true,” Maresca added.

However the lawyer talked about a “lost last chance” on the part of the Ivorian to clarify what happened in Via della Pergola. He continued “His words seemed prepared to me.”

And in court, referring to the fact that Guede claimed to have run away in fear, Maresca affirmed,“We ought to think of the fear suffered by Meredith.” As far as the summing up of the PG, the lawyer defined it as “absolutely exact”.

KNOX DEFENCE: GUEDE’S WORDS IRRELEVANT FOR AMANDA

The spontaneous statement made by Guede is “absolutely irrelevant to the position of Amanda Knox.” Luciano Ghirga, one of the defence lawyers for the American said this. “I’m talking with absolute respect about the position of Rudy Guede and his defence - Ghirga underlined - but when he had the opportunity to respond in cross-examination between the parties, in a hearing in front of the world, he refused. I consider his position to be self-serving.”

Then the Lawyer claimed that in the first stage trial of Knox and Raffaele Sollecito “neither the five interrogations of Guede nor his first stage sentencing report are part of the trial, and much less so can his spontaneous statements of today be considered.”

SOLLECITO’S LAWYER: GUEDE HAS LOST A CHANCE

Rudy Guede “has lost the opportunity to tell the truth”, according to lawyer Luca Maori, one of the defence for Raffaele Sollecito, the young man accused of the crime together with his ex-girlfriend Amanda Knox (the summing-up of the PM in the first stage of their trial is on the agenda for Friday) and the same Ivory Coast man.

“Guede continues the old stereotype - Maori said further - according to which he doesn’t know the male person present in the crime house, even though he saw his face. But it is necessary for everyone, and especially for him, to finally tell the truth and to assume his responsibility before the Kercher family.”

 

Mr Maori’s words at bottom above are very curious - perhaps they are quoted out of context. He’s presumably inferring that Guede should have pointed AWAY from Raffaele Sollecito, his client, and instead toward a mysterious missing Person X.

If so, invoking the best interest of Meredith’s family here seems pretty vile - even for a hard-pressed defense lawyer. He should not be denying their true justice. 


Posted on 11/19/09 at 09:12 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rudy Guede Appeal: Court Adjourned - Defense Closing And Court Decision December 21st

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: The lawyer for Meredith’s family, Mr Maresca, in the courtroom today]

This late report is by Paolo Santalucia of the Associated Press

Later Wednesday, prosecutor Pietro Catalani asked the court to confirm the sentence of 30 years in jail for Guede.

“He is not credible,” Catalani said, adding that wounds on Kercher’s body suggest it took far longer for her to die than Guede’s testimony indicated.

Proceedings were adjourned to Dec. 21, when Guede’s defense lawyers will argue their case.

The court had rejected the request of the Guede appeal team to reopen several components of the investigation, to bring in new witnesses, and to hear testimony on stress psychology and on the towel found beside Meredith.

This does not bode well for his appeal prospects.

Judge Micheli summarised a lot of evidence proving that Guede was throughout a part of the vicious assault on Meredith. He handed Guede a rape conviction as well as a murder conviction and Guede is serving his 30 years in the sex offenders’ wing of Viterbo Prison north of Rome.

Probably the best Guede could have done would have been to come clean, relate the full story, and claim that he was unaware from the other assailants of where events were headed.

But that Guede did not call an ambulance seems to have sealed Meredith’s fate forever. The prosecutor today said Guede had PLENTY of time to call an ambulance while Meredith would still have been alive.

Instead, Guede abandoned Meredith to die slowly and painfully, he went home to clean up, and he went out to a disco.  Thirty years seems pretty light for doing that.

Posted on 11/18/09 at 11:55 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Rudy Guede Appeal: Yes Guede Testimony Does Sound Far From The Full Truth

Posted by Tiziano



[click for larger image]

1) La Stampa runs essentially the same story as Nicki translated and posted jut below, but with this addition.

In court this morning there was also the psychiatrist Alessandro Meluzzi, who together with the criminologist Vincenzo Mastronardi, provided expert testimony for the defence on the behaviour of the accused after the crime.

Guede fled and was arrested in Germany. This was behaviour of “flight and avoidance”, according to Meluzzi, linked to “traumatic stress syndrome” which struck him after the crime.


2) Corriere della Sera also has essentially the same story but with these additions.

The defence of the young man intends to ask for the partial reopening of the trial debate to hear new witnesses and to hear from others already heard by the prosecution, but who - according to the lawyers - could give a different version from the initial one.

The lawyers also are putting their hopes on the possibility of a new expert report on the towels found next to the English student’s lifeless body, which Guede claims to have used in an effort to help Meredith, staunching the wound to her neck.

The aim of the defence is to show that it was not Rudy to kill Meredith that evening, because as the young man has always claimed, he was at the house at Via della Pergola on the night between November 1st and 2nd, 2007, but when the crime happened he was in the bathroom. 

Once he came out, he clashed with Mez’ assassin for a moment.  He tried to help the girl but then, overcome with fear, he took flight. 

To specifically evaluate this thesis, the defence of the Ivorian has had an expert report done by the criminologist Vincenzo Mastronardi and the psychiatrist Alessandro Merluzzi, who were both in court. 

Speaking to journalists before the hearing began, Merluzzi explained how Rudy, after the facts, was overcome by “post traumatic stress syndrome” in which a ” gentle, weak but mild personality like Rudy’s was able to put into action the flight behaviour, which certainly did nothing for his credibility but which we believe is completely understandable and explained from the psychological point of view, clinical psychology and psycho-dynamics.” 

Merluzzi explained, “We believe that our evaluation will give the judges an element of evaluation which is new and different not only in the facts which have emerged from the supporting proceedings, but also on the reasons and motivations which incited Rudy.”



[click for larger image]

Posted on 11/18/09 at 09:31 AM by TizianoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Rudy Guede Appeal: His Story In His Own Words - Not Sounding Like The Much-Wanted Full Truth

Posted by Jools



[click for larger image]

Translated from the Italian in Il Messaggero:

The process of second-degree [appeal] for Rudy Guede, already sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for the complicity in the murder of Meredith Kercher, commences.

The Court of Appeal of Perugia has decided to have the hearing in public court, admitting the request by the defendant. Guede has asked that the appeal process be conducted in open court “so that all may know the truth.” In attendance reporters were allowed but not photographers or TV cameras.

“I want to say to the Kercher family that I did not kill nor rape their daughter. I’m not the one who has taken her life” he said, addressing Guede’s lawyer Francesco Maresca, who represents Mez family as a civil party. “The single thing that my conscience must answer and for which no court will absolve me, is that of not having done everything possible to save the English student’s life.”

During the spontaneous statement, Guede reconstructed what happened the night of Meredith’s the murder. He explained that he had met the student on 31 October 2007during a party at a nightclub, and that he had made an appointment with her for the following evening.

“I gave her a little kiss on the cheek and then I said see you,” explained the Ivorian, telling the court that on the evening following that meeting, he entered together with Kercher in the house on Via della Pergola. “While we were at home, Meredith began to charge against Amanda (Knox, her roommate, was charged with the murder along with former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito,): “My money, my money, gone, I can not stand her any more,” said Meredith. I had an approach with Mez, but not sex.

After about fifteen minutes I went to the bathroom.

Amanda and Meredith fought. I heard the voices of Meredith and Amanda discussing money missing. I only heard “we need to talk.”  I was not worried because I thought it was just an argument between two girls who lived in the same house.

While I was in the bathroom I started to listen to music from an i-pod, but in the middle of the third song I heard a loud scream. I rushed to see what had happened and in Meredith’s room I saw a male figure.

It was a flash and this person tried to hit me. I reversed and fell down in the living room. Then I heard someone running away outside the house and said “let’s get out, there is a black man in the house”. I did not have the courage to pursue them, but looking out the window I saw the silhouette of Amanda.

I went to Meredith’s room and tried to staunch the blood that came out after being mortally wounded with a knife to the throat. Meredith was dying and sought to tell me something, I held her hand.

Then I went into a state of shock. In my head there were so many why’s unanswered. I was afraid.”

[Below: Guede lawyers Mr Gentile, left, Mr Biscotti, center, and an aide, right]

Posted on 11/18/09 at 08:30 AM by JoolsClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Rudy Guede Appeal: Sky News Italy First Report In Italian

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Micrsoft’s Internet Explorer Version 8 is having a widely reported problem showing these online Flash videos; other browsers all seem to work fine]

Posted on 11/18/09 at 08:16 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Libero Is Reporting, If Guilty Verdict, Life-In-Prison Sentences A Possibility

Posted by Tiziano


Please click above for Libero’s analysis posted tonight on their website. A translation:

MEREDITH, A DECISIVE WEEK, FINAL VERDICTS EXPECTED.

It is a decisive week for the final verdicts for the murder of Meredith.

Indeed the appeal trial of Rudy Guede is listed for Wednesday, while on Friday the summing up by the prosecutors in the first stage trial of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, for whom the verdict is expected in the first days of December, will take place. 

The final judgment is very much anticipated, because it will decide whether the three accused are in fact responsible for Meredith’s murder. Their position is very grave no matter what, as the charges underline. 

In the meantime the lawyers for Guede, Biscotti and Gentile, have explained that their client will make a voluntary statement and that they will ask for the reopening of the investigative debate to allow for the carrying out of an expert investigation on the blood-stained towels with which Guede said he padded the fatal wound to the neck suffered by Meredith Kercher.

The two criminal lawyers thus intend to demonstrate that the Ivorian did indeed attempt to help the young woman who was knifed by someone else, while he - according to the accused’s own version - was in the bathroom.

Thus, while the Ivorian claims he is innocent, the GUP condemns him: “He actively participated in the aggression in the context of an extended sexual game, which was furthermore carried out resorting to strong-arm tactics, ending up in sexual violence and murder in the face of the persistent resistance of the victim”. 

This homicide, according to the judges, also saw the involvement of Rafffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

On Friday PM Manuela Comodi and PM Giuliano Mignini will delineate further the prosecution’s position, and it is not to be discounted that the decision will be life in prison.  About the beginning of December the court will resume for final sittings.

Posted on 11/17/09 at 11:03 PM by TizianoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Monday, November 16, 2009

The Actual State Of Play: The Status Now And What Is Coming Up

Posted by Michael



[above: Meredith’s family gets briefed on the proceedings and prospects last June]

The excellent pro-Meredith LA7 documentary that Nicky reported on below would have moved many Italians.

But, apart from some of the claims from Seattle, it is unlikely to have given them many surprises.

Those in Italy have often been able to watch the court proceedings directly, Amanda Knox’s seemingly misconceived stint on the stand included, and the Italian newspapers and networks have done a pretty exemplary job of the reporting. Those there who follow the case will have a highly informed and very accurate understanding of what the evidence points to - that it pretty well overwhelmingly points to the notion that the right defendants have been tried and the case against them is strong.

For non-Italians, though, arriving at a good take on the case has been very much tougher. UK and US followers have had to rely on far fewer media sources, and the biased ones have often drowned out the few good. Be it due to inherent prejudice within certain national media, jingoism, financial opportunism, a simple desire to sensationalize or turn what should be hard news into entertainment, language and cultural barriers, or sheer laziness, the reporting on this case has fallen very far short of the “duty” of the media to inform.

To make matters worse, the media have been affected by third-party influences. Most notably, the ostensibly pro-Amanda-Knox campaign has tended to muddy the waters with aggressive anti-Italy, anti-prosecutor and anti-investigator propaganda, and some highly peculiar takes on the real facts. The US media in particular has gone out of its way to provide them with a willing platform, and it has too often relied on the campaign for main information on the case.

It seems a sad day for the media and for truth in general when the public is left to rely largely on the families and representatives of the accused for their information. As Commissario Montalbano points out below, the PR campaign and the slanted reporting will actually have zero influence on the court. And we hear from the inside that it is likely to have zero influence on the US government, and in particular the State Department (the foreign office). But it certainly has left in its wake a pool of angry and confused people who think Italy is up to something nefarious. 

So, what is realistically the state of play for the accused, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito? How strong is the case against them, what is the verdict in early December likely to be, and what are the prospects for appeal?

Bear in mind first that the elements of the case of the prosecution had jumped a large number of judicial hurdles on the way to trial for which there is no equivalent in the US and UK systems. Judge after judge after judge reviewed the emerging case, and Judge Micheli showed how formidable it was when he committed Knox and Sollecito to trial in October 2008

And the prosecution seems to have presented at trial a very robust case against the accused, within a very compelling overall framework, comprised of behavioral, witness, forensic, and circumstantial testimony, and self-incriminating testimony of the accused. The real strength of the case lies in the whole damning picture when all the elements are drawn together.

A defense explanation can be attempted for any one piece of evidence taken in isolation, and sometimes such pieces do seem weak. But when they are all brought together, the whole seems too much, too large a wall for any defense team to break down. A regular poster on the case summed it up with this metaphor. Imagine the case against the accused being a swimming pool. Now in that pool there are no sharks - but there are many dozens of piranha fish. They will strip you to the bone far faster and more effectively then any shark. This seems in essence what the response of the defenses now faces.

Convictions and sentences for both defendants early in December do seem to be more or less assured. 

So what does a well-informed and fair-minded native Italian who really understands the Italian legal system think of the chances of acquittal for the accused? Our frequent commenter Yummi, who writes from Italy, was asked about the prospects for a guilty verdict, and the likelihood of a prosecution appeal in the case of an acquittal. Yummi had this to say:

A trial in the Italian justice is an event in which the most important part is played by the written sentence (so called “sentence report”). The prosecution would give up the appeal only if the written motivations appear to them obviously unassailable, so to make it easy to predict a second failure. But in all other cases appeals by the prosecution are frequent, sometimes even on guilty verdicts. In this case an appeal by the prosecution would be real and almost certain in case of acquittal.

But it is extremely unlikely that AK and RS are found innocent in the first instance. Not because there is any proof 100% good, any single piece of evidence alone won’t be able to produce a guilty verdict, but even if the pieces of circumstantial evidence are not a decisive proof taken one by one, they are too many, and too systematic. There is practically no way to come out from such a web of physical indicators, the defendants are implicated.

Yummi is not alone in this view. Most tellingly, Amanda Knox and her family are said to have been warned by her Italian lawyers, Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Della Vedova,  to expect a guilty verdict. And Knox’s family are now more than ever talking about an eventual appeal in the US media. These are remarks by the mother of Amanda Knox. 

There’s been many people that have told us that’s not how it works. Just because you’re innocent, you’re not found innocent, at least…  at this first level, and that normally true justice doesn’t happen until the appeals process.

By ‘“first level” Edda Mellas means the current trial. In effect, she seems to believe that, in the Italian process, almost everyone is found guilty in the main trial, and the real business and the acquitting is done in the appeal. This happy talk about the appeal has been quite common from the Knox camp of late. This suggests that the supporters of Knox and Sollecito are expecting a guilty verdict and are now hanging all their hopes on that appeal.

Is it in fact correct that the appeals court is where the real business is done? In effect that it is almost automatic that Knox and Sollecito would be found guilty in the trial, and that then it’s almost a done deal that they will be freed on appeal?

First, it must be noted that we’ve heard similar happy talk before. Leading up to and during the early stages of the trial, the line was that Amanda will prove her innocence in the trial itself, most especially by getting up on the stand. That clearly hasn’t worked out that way, and as the trial is almost at an end, the supporters are turning their attention instead to characterizing the appeal process.

What is the reality of the appeal process? This is how our Italian watcher Yummi describes it:

Appeals are usually very similar to first degree trials in their overall figure. Basically it depends on what are the aims and strategies of parties in the appeal. If the outcome in the first degree is obvious, most likely it will be obvious in the appeal. Many appeals in Italy don’t take place just to overturn the first degree - i.e. the fact that a defendant is guilty often is not questioned - often they are made just to introduce minor corrections to the first sentence.

So what do the actual appeals statistics say? The statics on the success rates of appeals in Italy are in fact not good news for those convicted. 

  • 70% of appeal cases end with the confirmation of the original verdict: 25% of these with a confirmation of the sentence at the original trial, and 45% with a reduction in the penalty.
  • The other 30% of appeals cases end with 10% of them lapsing due to expiration, 8% for NDP procedural reasons and only 12% overturning the verdict.

So the reality is that only a mere 12% of all appeals result in the overturning of a guilty verdict. This seems very out of step with what Edda Mellas has been claiming. The facts of the matter in this case seem to be that (1) the returning of a guilty verdict at the end of the trial is very high, and that (2) there is a negligible chance of that guilty verdict being overturned on appeal.

The reality therefore is that things are not looking at all good for the defendants, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

And even worse, because there are three appeals, one each, they may really tear apart from one another now and on appeal go their different ways - as, seemingly, will Rudy Guede.

We are now coming to the end of what has been a very long sad tough process indeed, most of all for the family and friends of Meredith Kercher. I can only hope, that whatever the outcome, they are given the truth and repentance they seek. And that they finally are able to find some closure and truly lay their daughter to rest in peace.

The Kercher family on the second sad anniversary of Meredith’s death a few days ago expressed their heartfelt desire that eventually, finally, soon, they and the world can stop remembering Meredith as a victim and news item, and instead as a whole person - the truly wonderful person that she was.

It is my reading here that we will reach that point early in December of this year, in that Perugia courtroom.

Posted on 11/16/09 at 08:41 AM by MichaelClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Meredith’s Perugia #20: The Old City In A Wistful, Perhaps Might-Have-Been Mood

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Posted on 11/15/09 at 10:57 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer Perugia
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Why The Italian Judiciary’s Probably Less Prone to Pressure Than Any Other In The World

Posted by Commissario Montalbano



Image above: The Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura in session

Some of the very best lawyers in the UK and USA and around the world are learning a lot about the Italian system by way of the Perugia trial - and are in many, many ways impressed.

Italian magistrates enjoy an extraordinary level of autonomy from the other powers of government (executive and legislative) and the point of this post is to explain why. This autonomy is above all due to the Italian constitutional framework.

That framework is intended to guarantee such an exceptional level of independence so as to avoid the abuses that occurred during Mussolini’s fascist regime, when Italian magistrates were forced by the executive to prosecute (and persecute) political opponents to the fascist dictator.

The source of such independence is set forth in Title IV of the Italian Constitution which in particular provides for an independent body [image at top here] which is called the “Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura” or C.S.M. (Superior Council of Magistrates). This is the self-governing body for Italy’s judiciary, and it comprises ordinary (civil and criminal) judges and prosecutors.

Its competence is based upon Articles 104 and 105 of the Italian Constitution, as well as several ordinary laws. Article 105 says that the C.S.M. is responsible for the hiring, training, assignments, transfers, promotions, appointments to the Supreme Court of Cassation, disciplinary actions and terminations of all Italian judges and prosecutors.

Article 104 opens with the statement: “Magistrates constitute an order autonomous and independent from any other power”. The article then proceeds to provide norms relating to the composition of such a self-governing body.

In order to guarantee the independence of magistrates and in accordance with the general principle of the balance of powers, the constitution establishes a mixed composition of the members of the CSM.

According to the constitution, two thirds of its components are in fact judges elected by all magistrates (judges and prosecutors) in special nationwide elections of the CSM (these are called “membri togati”, i.e. judicial members).

And one third is chosen by Parliament among law professors and attorneys with at least 15 years of experience (these are called “membri laici”, i.e. lay members). And in addition, there are three so called ‘De Jure’ members:

  • the President of the Republic, who is the President of the CSM
  • the President of the Supreme Court of Cassation
  • the General Prosecutor before the Supreme Court of Cassation

The CSM then elects the Vice President of the Council choosing among its lay members appointed by Parliament. The Vice President is the real acting President of the CSM, since the role of the President of the Republic is primarily symbolic. The current Vice President of the CSM is Nicola Mancino [image below} who is a former Speaker of the Italian Senate.



Image above: Nicola Mancino, Vice President of the C.S.M., addressing the Council

The constitution establishes the above mentioned proportions, but not the number of members. However a law passed in 2002 sets the number of elected members at 24. Therefore at present there are 16 members (all judges) elected by magistrates and 8 members appointed by Parliament. With the three “De Jure” members the total is therefore 27 members.

The position of member of the CSM is incompatible with that of legislators, therefore CSM members cannot be members of Parliament or members of the Regional Assemblies.

Art. 107 reiterates the extraordinary independence of magistrates (judges and prosecutors) by stating: “Magistrates are not removable. They may not be dismissed or suspended or transferred to other locations or functions if not after a decision of the CSM, adopted either for reasons and with the guarantees established by law or with the magistrate’s consent.”

Ordinary laws also confer other powers to the C.S.M. including the power of giving opinions to the Government and to Parliament on proposed laws affecting the order of magistrates and the judiciary in general.



Image above: Palazzo dei Marescialli in Rome. The Seat of the C.S.M.

The extraordinary independence of Italian magistrates, especially considering that Italy is probably the only country in the world where not even State prosecutors report to the executive power, has created a lot of tensions between magistrates and politicians.

The Italian Prime Minister, Mr Silvio Berlusconi, who is indicted and undergoing prosecution in over twenty separate cases, some of which already concluded (for bribing of judges, illegal campaign financing, tax evasion, fraudulent accounting) dating back to the time before he entered politics in 1994, has often accused magistrates of having proceeded against him for politically motivated reasons.

His pressures on the CSM to discipline those magistrates whom he alleges are politically motivated in their prosecutions against him, have not succeeded, and the CSM has always defended the actions of magistrates against the frequent attacks from the executive power and from the many politicians who are under investigation for corruption and other crimes.

Recently Mr Berlusconi’s coalition passed a law to guarantee immunity from prosecution to the four highest offices of the Republic, including that of the Prime Minister, but the Supreme Constitutional Court struck it down as unconstitutional.

Currently out of 945 Members of Parliament in the two houses, there are about two dozen convicted felons and over 70 more under investigation by Italian magistrates. They’re all holding to their seats very tightly, since all members of the Italian parliament are immune from arrest, if not from prosecution.

Pressure on this extremely powerful and immune judiciary has not worked where real heavy-handed political and media persuasion was attempted. Be assured, the judiciary in Perugia will take no notice of it at all.

Posted on 11/13/09 at 10:06 AM by Commissario MontalbanoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe judiciaryTrials 2008 & 2009Italian system
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Best Meredith-Case Documentary Ever - One Intensely Compassionate To Meredith

Posted by Nicki


As many here know, I am an Italian-American who lives and works in Milan in northern Italy and who follows the case closely in Italian.

On TJMK here I have posted repeatedly on the DNA dimension and on the public perceptions in Italy of Meredith, Amanda Knox, and the campaign.

A week ago today, those public perceptions sharpened very noticeably.

One of the three largest national TV networks here, LA7, broadcast a one-hour documentary on the case. This was months in the making, the most costly production to date, and compelling for the depth and objectivity of the reporting.

And absolutely compelling for its extreme compassion toward Meredith, a loved and revered figure in Italy, for whom the cruel and untimely nature of her passing has led to a lot of outrage and sadness. 

If there were any dry eyes among the very large Italian viewership of LA7 by the end of the broadcast, it would be quite surprising.

The production’s power to move comes from its placing of Meredith right at the beginning (her church and her chaplain), repeatedly in the middle (people in England who knew her, including one who was with her in Perugia) and right at the end, where there is a scene in the cemetery where Meredith was buried of almost transcendental beauty and sadness.

The documentary (so far) is only watchable online in Italian, with Italian voice-overs of the many interviews that were carried out in English in the UK and in Seattle. 

The arguments of the Knox supporters in Part One came across as tired, weak, clutching at straws, playing on emotions, and avoiding hard facts, and well-informed Italian viewers probably tuned out the droning and confused Ann Bremner. Sympathy shown for Meredith and her family was around zero.

In sharp contrast, the Croydon and Leeds segments on Meredith in both parts, especially the second with the deeply-hurting Samantha Rodenhurst, sounded new, fresh, authentic, interesting, and very moving, and would have had Italian viewers transfixed. And Charles Mudede in Seattle was extremely effective in puncturing FOA hype.

For those with no Italian, which seems to be the huge majority of our readership, we have posted below a large number of still images from the broadcast, to convey the ground that was covered in Italy, the United States, and England..

The producers were largely guided, we believe, by the Italy-based American journalist Andrea Vogt, who appears several times to give effective commentary and who is credited at the end.

There is nothing really new on Amanda Knox, who herself does not feature very prominently, and virtually nothing at all on Raffaele Sollecito or Rudy Guede.

New in the Italy segments is an interview with the prosecutor, Mr Mignini, who observes that the FOA’s claims about the true strength of the case are simply flat-out wrong. He notes that they are not based on a thorough knowledge of the evidence presented or of the Italian judicial system.

New in the America segments are interviews with four University of Washington students, only one of whom thinks Amanda Knox is innocent and then with no great conviction. Interviews with two of Amanda Knox’s teachers at Seattle Prep, who found her to be pretty normal at the time. And highly insightful commentary by the Seattle journalist Charles Mudede.

And new in the England segment are interviews with Meredith’s chaplain at her former school, who also conducted her funeral service, and with Kirsty Whalley, a reporter for the Croydon Guardian. Also with a Croydon caféteria owner who served Meredith many meals of cheeseburgers and chips, and with four students at the University of Leeds, who were keen to see the thing over and properly reported upon so the Kercher family could perhaps find some peace.

Perhaps most moving of all were the many short segments with Samantha Rodenhurst. Samantha and Meredith became very close friends in the few weeks they were together in Perugia, and Samantha was one of the girls Meredith shared a pizza with on a bed, watching the movie The Notebook, before Meredith headed home to her final cruel fate.

We will later add some translations to the three posts directly below. [Many are now added.] The overwhelming sentiment of the program seems to me this: May Meredith finally rest in peace now, and her family be given respite from the Knox hype of the cruel campaign.

I doubt that many Italians feel any differently. Amanda Knox herself and the campaign have ensured that.

Posted on 11/10/09 at 09:44 PM by NickiClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Crime hypothesesGreat reportingMovies on case
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LA7 TV’s Documentary On Meredith’s Case #3 The English Segments

Posted by Nicki

Below: Very moving scene from Meredith’s funeral, as her coffin is brought to Croydon Parish Church

Below: Croydon Parish Church (St John the Baptist) where 400 attended Meredith’s funeral mid-Dec 2007

Below: Reverend Colin Boswell conducted Meredith’s funeral service, and tells of pain at its long delay

“It was a very sad day, sad because of her horrible death, for the pain her family were experiencing at that time - pain they are still feeling right now. The family had to wait for six weeks before they could bury her, she was only 21 years old. Her family showed great strength and courage. We gathered together here in the church. There were many friends from school, teachers, university companions, friends, neighbours. We tried to play down our sadness as much as we could, to reflect upon the goodness of her life, her beauty; trying thus to concentrate on the positive characteristics of Meredith and of her existence which we had shared.”

Below: One of several shots of the Kercher family in Perugia, their only direct presences here

Stephanie: “Mez was so important for so many people for her spontaneous, smiling and altruistic personality. We are trying to understand with great difficulty why she was taken away in such a cruel way.”

Below: Several images of Meredith appear late - documentary could have used fresh images in first part

Below: Image from a segment on Meredith’s starring in a music video, linked at top-right here

Below: One of many intensely moving segments on Meredith’s Perugia friend Samantha Rodenhurst

“I’d only known her for five weeks, but when you are in a foreign land, you become friends very quickly. You depend on each other for so many things, emotional support, language support, advice, information. We became close rather quickly, even though we didn’t ever have the opportunity to know more about each other’s pasts. I think at first she reminded me of the friends I used to have at home… In fact we became good friends at once.”

Below: Start of a long segment on University of Leeds where Meredith’s activities were described

Below: One of various scenes at the University tending to show women students Meredith’s age

Below: First of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

Yes especially in the beginning it was talked about a lot. But now it’s almost disappeared. I don’t think it was excessive; I think the media concentrated just on some aspects, just the ones they thought would make interesting news, like the war in Afghanistan, the news which create a sensation they keep showing. But probably they don’t report the whole story. I think that in the case of Meredith they concentrated on just a few things exaggerating them, leaving out others. And now, for the family, it’s been going on for too long. They’re going back over the same things.

Below: Second of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

She is remembered here. Services have been held and there is a memorial to her. There is much sadness.

Below: Third of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

It’s think that for the family it’s been going on for far too long. The media can’t just talk about it the same way they did in the beginning.

Below: Fourth of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

Our media pass very quickly from one thing to another. Sometimes they are very mistaken: perhaps they don’t give some things the attention and depth that they really deserve.

Below: Another intensely moving segment on Meredith’s Perugia friend Samantha Rodenhurst

“Horrible -  it was a horrible, terrifying moment.  I was in a complete state of shock I couldn’t feel anything - I think that when you are in such a state it’s almost impossible to feel anything. I didn’t cry much that evening; I was in too much shock.  I couldn’t do anything.”

“After the funeral service, we planted a tree at the school: a symbolic place where people can come to remember her and pray for her.”

Below: Storefront sign in Coulsdon, Croydon, in south London where Meredith lived till she was 18

Below: Wider shot of Coulsdon, Croydon, in south London where Meredith lived till she was 18

Below: A cafe in Coulsdon, Croydon, in south London where Meredith often ate out

Below: The owner of the cafe describes often serving Meredith cheeseburgers and chips

She was always a very striking girl - a very beautiful girl.  Now it’s a been quite a while, because she went off to college.  She used to come here once a week, sometimes with her family.  She would order a cheeseburger with chips and a milkshake.

Below: The newsroom of the Croydon Guardian which has provided the best coverage in the UK

Below: Croydon Guardian reporter Kirsty Whalley who we have praised here for her outstanding articles

“Meredith’s background is solid, very proper middle-upper class. She was a girl from a very good family. Meredith’s family is reserved and their friends are acting according to the family’s wishes: no publicity. The family was surprised by the number of people attending the funeral, friends, neighbors, and former classmates. They like to remember her happy smile, because she was a happy person. She went to Croydon Old Palace School, very exclusive, prestigious and very expensive, where she made many friends.  She loved to write and loved the media; and certainly she wanted to travel and to have experiences of new places. Her brother gave an address in her honour in which he said he wanted to always remember her so jovial, happy, always ready to make people laugh; that he wanted to remember her smile.”

Below: The entrance to the church, Croydon Parish (St John the Baptist) where Meredith’s funeral was held

Below: The floral arrangement at the funeral of Meredith (Mez) put together by her friends

Below: One of the several intensely moving images of the cemetery where Meredith hopefully lies in peace

Below: Another of several intensely moving images of the cemetery where Meredith hopefully lies in peace

Below: The final of many images of Meredith in the documentary which rises to linger in full-screen

Below: Three images of the conclusion of the dcumentary, for which a translation is provided above

Merdith Kercher was killed in Peruga on 1 November 2007. Amanda Knox e Raffaele Sollecito were arrested on November 6th 2007. They have been charged with voluntary murder and sexual violence.


The verdict of the Court of Cassazione is expected by December 2009. The Ivorian citizen Rudy Guede has already been sentenced to 30 years by the GUP of Perugia in a fast track trial.


Patrick Lumumba, accused by Amanda Knox, was cleared of all charges after two weeks of detention in the Perugia jail.

Posted on 11/10/09 at 09:38 PM by NickiClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer England
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LA7 TV’s Documentary On Meredith’s Case #2 The American Segments

Posted by Nicki

Below: One of many good images of Seattle which included some specially taken from the air

Below: The home of the Knox family where Curt Knox and daughter Deanna were interviewed

Below: Curt Knox being interviewed and showing four childhood photographs of Amanda Knox

These are childhood images of Amanda. The FOAK is quite independent of our family. They concentrate on analysing the case and raising money for us. They are nothing to do with the family! The Kerchers lost their daughter, but we can still hope to get ours back.

Below: One of the childhood photographs shown of Amanda Knox, seen here playing a guitar

Below: Amanda Knox’s sister Deanna Knox being interviewed in the garden of her father’s home

Below: Segment with part of a YouTube video showing Amanda Knox aopparently a bit drunk

Below: A Seattle street with crowd; many lively crowd scenes here and in the UK were included

Below: First of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

Everything is possible. It’s always a possibility - you have to study her personalty in depth and the eventual psychological motivations which could have led her to commit the murder. It’s the only thing I can say. I don’t know whether she took part in the crime.

Below: Second of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

The story changed so many times that I think she is guilty.  She changed versions several times.  I’ve stopped following the story because the media try to take away attention from it and then go back to make the interest in it rise again. But I think that she is guilty.

Below: Third of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

I knew her, yes, we were at high school together at Seattle Prep. [Q: And you were in the same class?] Yes, in the same class. [Q: And what do you remember?] She was very nice - a nice person, I didn’t know her very well ...  I could never have imagined that she could be involved in such a thing.  It’s a tragedy because I believe she didn’t commit the murder. I follow the trial and it’s sad because for me, she seems innocent.  I don’t really believe that she committed the murder.

Below: Fourth of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

I don’t know - I haven’t any idea. I think that this case has been manipulated too much by the media.  It’s very difficult to discern between media sensationalism and the truth.  So it’s difficult to express an opinion.

Below: Dr Taso Lagos of UW spoke weirdly of cultural differences - and Knox somehow being the real victim

Below: Offices of Seattle magazine The Stranger where campaigner for truth Charles Mudede works

Below: Charles Mudede, perhaps first US journalists with an in-depth piece sympathetic to Meredith

Here we don’t talk enough about Meredith, and that is always because of the distance.  We don’t talk about who this wonderful English girl really was.  I don’t know whether you’ve noticed it, but in the American press, yes, Meredith is named as the person killed, but they talk very little about her and about what her parents are undergoing. You have to consult the English papers to read this; you don’t find it in the American ones.  This is the result of an attitude which is favorable towards Amanda, because you don’t have a connection with the victim as you would have, say in England.

Amanda was a bar attendant and also worked in an art gallery in the university area.  She was a student of European languages.  She practised yoga and played soccer: all characteristics of a normal American education. Amanda grew up in a middle class family in West Seattle, differently from how the British press described her as a rich girl.  She isn’t.  Amanda belongs to the middle class, typical of this city.  Here there aren’t many poor people, or rather there are, but not a whole lot as in other cities. While the rich tend to not make themselves very visible.

There seems a dark side to Amanda’s personality.  I think this dark side is the same as in many young people of her age.  She wanted to experiment, at times with drugs, at times with sex.  When I did research on her I found a police statement where it was written that Amanda had taken part in a party that ended up badly. She had to defend herself in court on charges of disturbing the peace, but it was nothing sensational.  I don’t believe that her dark side is something exceptional even. The idea that she was beaten up and maltreated by the Perugia police makes me laugh - it’s an exaggeration. I mean the police have to do certain things which may seem a bit nasty but this is not unusual - it happens here too.

Below: One of various shots of grounds of Seattle Prep where Amanda Knox went to school

Below: Two of Amanda Knox’s teachers describe experiences with her as seemingly normal

Below: Andrea Vogt, American reporter based in Italy, provides some excellent in-depth commentary

“She was a girl like so many others here in the Pacific north-west. She was sporty, she liked playing sport, going out. She spent so many of these beautiful days running or playing football. That’s what the girls here in this area do.”

Posted on 11/10/09 at 09:35 PM by NickiClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextGreat reportingAmanda Knox
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LA7 TV’s Documentary On Meredith’s Case #1 The Italian Segments:

Posted by Nicki

Below: The Corriere newspaper’s headline reads “Justice for Meredith” reflecting dominant public opinion

Below: Perugia students sitting by the fountain in the Corso Vanucci, as they do every night of the year

Below: The pressroom adjacent to the courtroom which many journalists prefer as they can type and call out

Below: Amanda Knox on the witness stand presenting testimony on her accusations against Lumumba

Below: Meredith’s mother making a statement; thereafter the family is shown being seated in the court

Below: Prosecutor Mignini is shown several times in an extended interview on misleading by FOA and US media

“The American commentators with no in-depth knowledge of the case and little if any understanding of the Italian justice system are severely clouding the issues. They show an extreme lack of knowledge of the facts of the case and of the Italian system. In this case the accusation of the prosecution is based on the existence of serious indications of guilt, and this hypothesis has been supported by the GIP (the judge heading the preliminary investigation), by the court which confirmed the remand in custody, and by the Appeals Court.”

Below: Andrea Vogt, Italy-based reporter for the Seattle PI and the Independent, comments on the process

Below:  Andrea Vogt draws attention to “blog wars” and shows the camera TJMK and PMF forum

Below: Patrick Lumumba makes some sharp remarks about the false charges against him by Knox

On Meredith: “Very reserved, a very kind person, I think. Every time when I met her she had a smile and “Ciao! How are you?” We talked like this. There was always this group of English girls. I first noticed her because she spoke to me about a Polish vodka. She to me, “Ah, you’ve got some here.” I asked her if she knew it and she replied yes, that she used to work in a bar in England where they used this vodka for making Mojitos.”

On Amanda Knox: “In this month and a half, two months that I knew Amanda, I can’t claim that I got to know her that much. But at least I spent that time with her at the bar ... and therefore I’m in the position to understand that… when she’s lying…. And I don’t believe her. She tried it, but it didn’t work.”


Below: Mention of Rudy Guede’s conviction last October and his upcoming appeal in November

Below:  Just this one brief shot of Meredith’ s house, after dark, as it was on the night in question

Below: Gates of Capanne Prison where Amanda Knox has been held during the hearings and trial

Posted on 11/10/09 at 09:34 PM by NickiClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe prosecutorsGreat reporting
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Saturday, November 07, 2009

What Seattleites Are Thinking: A Sample Of Views On Meredith’s Case

Posted by Professor Snape





I am a Seattleite, and I feel very passionate about supporting the quest for justice for Meredith Kercher and her family. 

I usually never wander up and intrude upon people. But I have been tending to pick Europeans out of crowds and talk with them about the case. I have also inquired about how people feel about the case while waiting in long lines at Disneyworld in Orlando and at Disneyland in California and most recently at Whistler in British Columbia on the gondola. 

Recently I have found myself apologizing for my even being from Seattle. I have a real sense of community, and I am embarrassed by how low the Knox PR campaign actions have brought Seattle.  And I am sickened over the mischaracterizations of the lovely and spirited Meredith and of how she was brutally and excruciatingly murdered. 

Seventy-five percent of the people I have talked with elsewhere expressed zero knowledge of the case. The other twenty-five percent indicated they knew of the people in the case, found it shocking and were sympathetic to the murdered girl’s family and wondered, as we all do, how anyone could do such a horrible thing. Some expressed opinions as to guilt and others didn’t.

Ever since Edda Mellas first hung up the phone with Amanda very early on the morning of 2 November 2007 Seattleites have been the main subject of the aggression of the Knox campaign and its plot to spin webs around the media in a grand attempt to discredit anyone who speaks out against their (to me seemingly immensely disturbed) hero and, in too many cases, meal-ticket.

When the likes of the fatuous Linda Byron of Seattle’s KING 5 have propagated their ill-informed stories on the case, too many Seattleites have concluded at a very superficial level that they know everything there is to know about the case. And so they look and think no further. “Those meanie Italians… “

I don’t believe most of the people I talk with in Seattle actually outright support Knox. It is a shallow thing, and most people claim to be reserving their judgment.

That was of course also the case with OJ Simpson. Many thought OJ was probably guilty and yet they wouldn’t say it, and then it was devastating when he got off. Then everyone proclaimed they just knew he was guilty, and what a joke about the decision. They blamed the injustice on a shoddy judicial system, not on their poor monitoring of the system and the case..

While I cannot reveal who the Seattleites were, to avoid their becoming targets of payback (names are changed), I would like to share the following comments. These were made by colleagues, service providers and friends around Seattle who fell into the same percentage of interest as the other citizens and non-residents I also spoke with, so this is something of a valid sample.

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

Seattle Editor Harry Perkins said, “My impression of the Amanda Knox trial is one of mystified amazement — the willingness to give her the benefit of the doubt at an elevated level because of her youth, her background, and her physical attractiveness shouldn’t have taken me by surprise…but it has.”

Washington State Certified Public Accountant John Dutch had a strong opinion about the case and listened fairly to what I know about it.  He wanted me to keep him up on the case and he had this to say,

“A few weeks ago I read an article in a national newsmagazine that indicated that the Italian prosecutor in another case had issues around evidence and even accused a defense attorney of being guilty of withholding of evidence when, in fact, he wasn’t. My impression, based on the article, was that the Italian process around crime scene investigation was poor and that, based on their legal tradition of Napoleonic Law, that it would be hard for a defendant to get a trial that we, in the USA, would consider fair. So, how does that relate to the Amanda Knox case? Same prosecutor, same legal tradition, ergo Amanda Knox is probably not getting a fair trial.” 



[click for larger image]

Washington State Juvenile and Criminal Psychologist Calvin Richardson wrote, “I’m not sure how average I can be with regards to being a Seattleite. While I’ve lived in this state my whole life, I’ve never really considered myself a Seattleite - although I’ve worked in downtown Seattle.  I can recall the first moment I heard about the Amanda Knox case.  My memory of hearing about this incident is when it was reported that the foreign media was calling her Foxy Knoxy.”

“It made me think of how Michael Jackson was referred to as “Wacko Jacko”.  And, quite honestly, that turned me off to the entire matter.  The rest of the information I have unfortunately absorbed is that there was some sex-crazed, multi-partner-swapping party that ended with a girl being stabbed to death and American Amanda Knox is a bi-sexual, homicidal nympho.”
   
“At the point of the story reaching a sensational level where a catchy headline or title is used, the story becomes about entertainment.  My proof? Didn’t the story have a little spot on the TV. show “Entertainment Tonight”?  Help me out here: when did horrific murder scenes become entertainment (excluding Steven Segal breaking someone’s arm at the elbow - which, come to think of it, isn’t entertaining either)?”

“There can be no bigger disservice to Meredith Kercher’s family, the Knox family, or the Italian system of justice, than to turn a horrific crime into a sassy, Dr. Seuss catch-phrase so that papers can be sold.” 

“I don’t know what the “evidence” is that damns Ms. Knox; I don’t know the circumstances which profess her innocence.  And I certainly know nothing about the judicial procedures of the Italian court system.  But I do know that if Ms. Knox is found guilty, she will have to suffer the consequences of her actions.  It will be a verdict that I will probably not lose sleep over. If Amanda Knox killed Meredith Kercher, then she absolutely deserves whatever comes her way as a consequence.”

“Moreover, if Amanda Knox killed Meredith Kercher in some sex-play game gone wrong, then I am thankful that she’s being tried in Italy.  My perception of foreign judicial systems is that they keep their punishments punishing.  In my opinion,  American justice is like spending the weekend at your grandma’s house: it’s not your favorite place to be, it’s not really fun and exciting, it seems to last forever… but in the long run, it ain’t so bad.”

“I feel American Justice has lost sight of the importance of punishment.  “Justice” must maintain its punitive element of retribution, else it ceases to be just. If Amanda Knox didn’t kill Meredith Kercher, then a small part of me wants to say “That’s what you get for going to a foreign country!”  And yes, I admit, that’s not a fair statement.  But I have to be honest: I’m sick and tired of hearing about citizens from one country going to another country and then complaining about the treatment they receive.”

“Would I like to travel to Italy?  HELL YES!  It looks fantastic, I have distant family that originated from Italy, and the whole romantic aspect of Verona is very fetching.  Will I go to Italy?  Probably not: I don’t know the language, or the customs, and I would probably screw something up, get in trouble, and then I’d be just another crass American complaining that a foreign country is not more accommodating to my personal desires.  And I’m pretty sure the entire World is sick to death with hearing about it.”

“Which makes me think there might be another crime happening because of all of this.  I think that Americans are being presented as loud mouth, over-weight, egocentric, self-righteous Imperialists who feel that it is their birth-right to be entitled to Diplomatic Immunity the moment they step off their front porch.  Deserved or not, you have to know that our biggest calling card as of late is a government that manufactured evidence to gain approval to invade a foreign country and “liberate” the people with Democracy - whether they wanted it or not.”

“ I can’t think of anything more offensively pretentious… unless you want to consider Benito Mussolini’s quote: “Let us have a dagger between our teeth, a bomb in our hands and an infinite scorn in our hearts”.  In which case, I appeal to the people of Italy: I forgive your Mussolini, if you forgive my Bush.”

“And I’m sure the press will find a way to make that as salacious as possible.”



[click for larger image]

Ian Kendrick, an aerospace compliance officer stated, “The difficult part in understanding the trial is the sensational and sound bite manner in which it is presented.  The limited information I have seen regarding the facts on TV is encapsulated into a 3 minute sound bite at best.  The focus is then on the lurid details, and as the trial progresses it is only the oddities (she smiled in court - gasp!) that are reported not as facts, not as information, but just sensationalism.”

“This gets to the deeper point of news is it truly news any longer?  I’d argue it is simply reality show entertainment now broken down to the most sensational bite sized stories possible.  You only focus for 2 minutes on any local horror, then off to the next.  The follow up is limited and becomes ever shorter as the story grows older.”

Twenty year law enforcement veteran, Jack Bishop, summarized, “Although my law enforcement experience is limited to here in the United States and I have little knowledge of the Italian processes for jurisprudence I do believe I can comment to some degree on the phenomenon of what I call narcissistic innocence.”

“Although I believe it to exist almost everywhere it seems to be quite prevalent here in the Seattle area. When the world rotates around your mere existence and others reinforce that belief how could you be guilty of a crime? Of course not everyone gets it that you are special so you only choose to be with those who worship or at least appear to worship you.”

“These days I have both the good fortune and misfortune of working with people much younger than me. Their energy level is something I willingly try and tap into when mine is low but their level of self absorption is unbelievable.”

“This just feeds into their justification for their inappropriate actions and although I am treated with respects our culture of overvaluing youth is quite apparent. Unlike many Asian cultures that value the older members of the family here we have turned our children loose with the keys to the castle and then spend much of our time justifying our failings by justifying theirs.”

“That the Knox family would try and raise the level of the conversation on a political premise should come as no shock. In fact I would almost be surprised that they wouldn’t, what else could they do? That a community of like-minded narcissists would fall in line behind them is also not a surprise, I have seen it before when someone of affluence or power is charged with a crime in this environment.”

“People of affluence are determined to get their way; they always have and believe they always will. Only in this case they won’t. I can all but guarantee that Amanda Knox will be found guilty of this crime. The sad part is that much of the world will once again be exposed to what we should be most ashamed of, our arrogance.”

“I say let the Italians handle their own affairs. If they can make a clothes processor that serves both functions of washing and drying in one then I’m confident they can sort through the Amanda Knox trial without our help.”

“So what do I think about the case? Nothing.  I do not have enough in depth information to make a reasoned statement about it.  Instead it only serves to illustrate how poorly what we call “news” informs us.”

Karen Reid, a veterinarian working for a rural animal hospital said, “What do I care about the trial? Nothing except for the way the girl died was so shocking. I would hope the Italians will lock up whoever had anything to do with it.  It’s as bad as all the kids being killed by their own families, sick.  I hope the Italian courts are better than ours.”

“I’ve only seen news reports about the girl from Seattle. Her father is like always looking like he’s going to cry, it seems pretty staged if you ask me.  And why is she always smiling?  Geez, who has a big grin on their face in court particularly when charged with murder?  That’s pretty spooky though I don’t think that alone makes her guilty.”

“And I heard there were no finger prints in the house.  Come on, that’s a no brainer how that most likely happened!  I think whatever the outcome Italy should not be bashed, it’s not like pro Italian and anti American.  It’s a horrific crime and someone did it.”

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

My own conclusions from all of this?

Most share a common thread of perceiving the Seattle media as being nothing short of a farce. So it is not surprising that few can form a true opinion of to the trial. 

If it is also the Seattle media who are on trial here, then they are seventy-five percent guilty of dishing out slander and uninvestigated PR spin, and only twenty-five percent reporting accurately and fairly. 

That is not a good ratio for a city that is meant to make a good living from its smarts.

Posted on 11/07/09 at 01:37 AM by Professor SnapeClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009The wider contextsSeattle context
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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Is “Victims Rights Advocate” John Q Kelly Hiding Behind A Wall Of Silence?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

We do hope not.

That would seem a very cowardly thing for New York lawyer John Kelly to do. And intensely disrespectful to the real victim here, Meredith Kercher, and her poor family.

We discussed this post on some wild-eyed claims John Kelly made on CNN’s Larry King (the YouTube of which has now been disappeared) with a dozen or so successful and very ethical lawyers who follow the case.

They all in effect concluded that John seemed to them to have acted either incompetently or unethically in sliming the judges and the prosecution and mis-stating the hard facts of the case. And that John really seemed to them to owe the Kercher family and the Italian authorities an explanation or an apology. 

They remarked that if the victim and her family in this case had been American and not British, then John Kelly would probably have been in front of a camera again within a day to say how very wrong and how sorry he was.

Of course the family are across the Atlantic in London and perhaps easy for John Kelly to ignore. But ignoring them WOULD seem to be rather cowardly.

Plenty of space here for you, John. When you decide to do the decent thing.


Posted on 11/05/09 at 02:25 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007More hoaxersHoaxers: media groupsCNN Network
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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Half A U-Turn In Guede’s Appeal Grounds? Perhaps Guede IS Growing A Brain

Posted by Peter Quennell


A week ago we posted that Guede’s intended claims were really ugly.

Guede then was still intent on claiming consensual intimate relations with Meredith as his reason for being in the house at the time, even though nobody, especially not Judge Micheli, seems to believe that.

Now we seem to be getting a new and revised version from Guede’s lawyers [image below]. Il Messagero has the interview in Italian (links here and here) and the translation below is by our poster Tiziano.

Though there is no new explanation why Guede was there, this version seems to drop the very ugly claim that he was there for consensual relations with Meredith. It also seems to admit that he was a part of the struggle with Meredith, even though he still says he saw Knox only in silhouette.

And he never saw the final event coming, he was slashed by one of the others [see image at bottom], he attempted to save Meredith’s life with some towels, and he then fled in a panic. (He then of course went home, cleaned up, and headed out to a discotheque.)

For this to be a full U-turn to the truth and serious time off his 30-year sentence, Guede still presumably has to admit that (1) he was in the house nefariously, (2) he did see the attackers very close-up, (3) he can give a PRECISE accounting of the motive, and (4) he has VERY serious remorse.

He should look the Kercher family right in the eyes and say how infinitely sad and sorry he is that he played a part in Meredith’s passing.

Perhaps Rudy is getting there. He still has two weeks to do so. By the way, it is interesting, as in the image below, how often Guede’s two lawyers are being seen together these days with Mr Maresca, the Kercher family’s lawyer.

Verrry interesting.

RUDY ON THE ATTACK: “AMANDA WAS THERE, I TRIED TO SAVE MEZ”

Tuesday, November 3rd 2009

By: ITALO CARMIGNANI and VANNA UGOLINI

PERUGIA - Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, the young girlfriend and boyfriend, are the murderers of Meredith. “That night I was attacked by a young man who was armed, I heard the voice of Amanda and I saw her outline from the window.”

A little more than two weeks before Rudy Guede’s appeal, the young Ivorian already condemned to thirty years for the sexual assault and murder of student, Meredith Kercher, continues to defend himself, going on the attack.  He does so above all denying having “exonerated” Amanda during that chat, the Internet exchange with a friend while he was on the run in Germany.

He does so in an effort to explain why there are mainly traces of him in that room, dirtied by blood, where Meredith was slowly dying: his genetic imprint on the victim’s body and other articles, the print of his shoe with its bloody sole.

The prosecution has interpreted these signs as a type of signature from the murderer, but according to Rudy’s lawyers Nicodemo Gentile and Valter Biscotti [images below] the presence of these traces must be read in a different way.

“The explanation is clear,” says lawyer Nicodemo Gentile.  “The judge [Micheli] does not take the trouble to face up to this situation in his reasons for condemning Rudy.  But the only plausible explanation is this:  the other two accused strike the fatal blow to Meredith and almost simultaneously run out of the house, frightened by the victim’s harrowing scream.  On the other hand, Rudy stays in the room after struggling with one of the attackers, he plays for time in the attempt to staunch the wound with towels, he moves around the Meredith’s bleeding body.  This is why Rudy leaves traces and the others do not.”

Well then, why does Rudy flee instead of calling the police?  “Because he is afraid, he’s distraught.”  The lawyers have foreshadowed the fact that they will call for a psychiatric report about Rudy’s behaviour after the murder, about his disorganised and “disassociated” flight, which is regarded by the judge, however, as a serious indication of guilt.  “This is the disassociated flight of a young man who is overcome by what he has seen, not that of an assassin.”

According to Gentile, the two young people then “run away straight after the mortal blow, and then come back to alter the scene of the crime with all the precautions of the case.  The fact that the two move around bare-footed proves this, as is evidenced by the discovery of sole prints enhanced by luminol which belong to Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.”  Furthermore, “this reconstruction is perfectly compatible with the accounts of Mrs Capezzali and Curatolo.” 

The former gave evidence that she heard a scream and then the noise of someone running on the gravel in front of Meredith’s house (but a further four witnesses say that neither saw nor heard anything).  Curatolo claims that he saw Amanda and Raffaele in Piazza Grimana between 9.30 and 11.30 PM, in a way giving the two young people an alibi.  Yet the accused do not confirm this alibi: they claim that they were at home on the night of the crime.

[A problem for Guede is that] when the police entered the house at Via della Pergola and discovered Meredith’s lifeless body, there were no signs of the aggression Rudy claims to have sustained from the murderer… That is, there were no overturned chairs nor was any blood found in the living room of the house in Via della Pergola.  This is another reason the judge did not find Rudy’s confession credible. 

But, according to Rudy and his lawyers, among other things the cuts on his hands, still visible when he was arrested in Germany, are evidence that there was an attack by the murderer…  For Gentile “the wounds photographed and described at the time of the arrest in Germany are unequivocal signs left by the attacker’s knife.” 

So Rudy will present himself at the Appeal Court on November 18th with the intention of talking and he will say: “That night I was attacked by a young fellow armed with a knife, I heard Amanda’s voice from outside and I saw her silhouette through the window.”



Posted on 11/03/09 at 11:24 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009Guede appeals
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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Two Years Since Meredith Was Taken From her Family And A World In Need Of Her

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[click above for her video]

Italy’s AGI reports that the Kerchers will attend a mass only for themselves in south London, and then place some flowers on her grave. This statement was released by the family.

The two years since the death of Meredith have gone fast. We miss her more than ever, and we still find it difficult to understand what happened and why.

We can only hope now that there is a final outcome in the next five weeks so that we can finally dedicate ourselves to remember Meredith for the person we all knew, and not as a victim or a news item.

The anguish in that speaks volumes. This thing has taken a terrible toll. Our condolences to the Kercher family, and to Meredith’s many grieving friends.

None of us here ever knew Meredith. And yet we so very much miss her.

Posted on 11/01/09 at 12:11 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer family
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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Those Who Reach Out For Meredith Are Now From 130-Plus Countries

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Click above for our readership statistics by country of reader for the past one month

.

Posted on 10/31/09 at 07:46 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyThe wider contexts
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Meredith’s Perugia #19: A Song As A Tribute To Meredith By Perugian Rodolfo Susta

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


This is a touching story, which seems appropriate to the day.

Redolfo Susta is a talented and popular songwriter and singer in Perugia with a big heart who was deeply saddened by the loss of the bright promise that was Meredith and the media chicanery that clouded her memory..

As we have done by way of this website, to try to even the balance in Meredith’s favor, Redolfo has done by way of a song which he has repeatedly sung in Perugia. His audiences all know of Meredith, and they in turn have been moved and inspired.

The link to his song “Meredith” is presently at top-center of Rodolfo’s MySpace page and the story of how the song was created is at bottom here (click for “more”)..

He has offered the song either virtually through the web or perhaps in person one day to Meredith’s grieving family.


Click here for more

Posted on 10/31/09 at 07:45 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer PerugiaThe wider contexts
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