Friday, June 19, 2009

Trial: Early Report By Nick Pisa On What Was Expected To Be Heard Today

Posted by Peter Quennell

This SkyNews video was just posted. The TV news report in the UK was broadcast earlier today.

Posted on 06/19/09 at 09:29 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009News media & moviesGreat reporting
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Trial: The Testifying Parents Of The Defendants Arrive At The Courthouse

Posted by Peter Quennell



[courtesy AP, click for larger image]



[courtesy ANSA, click for larger image]

Posted on 06/19/09 at 08:49 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesOther witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009
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Trail: TGCOM Reports On The First Of Edda Knox’s Testimony

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report in Italian. A quick translation of the first testimony of Mrs Mellas:

After the murder of Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox never thought of leaving Italy. So said the mother of the young American, Edda Mellas, testifying before the Court of Assizes of Perugia.

The woman is responding assisted by an interpreter. She reported that her daughter had a good relationship with Meredith and the other flatmates…

Edda Mellas spoke of the conversation with Amanda in prison November 10. “She was feeling badly for the fact that Patrick had been dragged into this brutal story,” she explained. “She felt badly for having advanced the name of Patrick”...

Posted on 06/19/09 at 08:00 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesOther witnessesCellphone activityTrials 2008 & 2009
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Trial: Dr Sollecito Testifies About The Human Qualities Of His Son

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click image above for the first brief report from the Associated Press.

The father of an Italian man accused of killing a British student in Italy says his son was never violent and would not “hurt a fly”...

Francesco Sollecito told the court Friday that his son is not violent. He said his son liked to carry “small knives” in his pockets, a habit he picked up when he was younger.

This testimony is of less interest, perhaps, in the UK and the US than the Knox-Mellas testimony coming up. But Italy is following this with some fascination.

Why the interest?

Well, in part because Dr Sollecito and several of his family might come under indictment for interfering with the case.

Added: A quick translation of the testimony from TGCOM

He spoke of “gross errors that are causing his son to be in prison… [He] referred in particular to a shoe imprint attributed initially to his son but then found to be a Rudy Guede print.

“We were always convinced as to the absolute innocence and total strangeness of the allegations against Raffaele. We have been in compliance with the law, to find any way to help him.”

[he] referred to a dossier prepared to show that the scene of the crime was amended by the forensic teams between the first and second visit.

Some images, such as those of the victim’s body were then distributed by Telenorba and that possible illegal action is being investigated by the prosecutor of Perugia for breach of privacy and abetting.

Raffaele pampered Amanda Knox like a baby…. According to the Pugliese doctor “there was a nice story” between the two ex-lovers. “Raffaele talked with Amanda as he had never done with other girls.”

And Nick Pisa reports further in the Evening Standard:

Mr Sollecito, from Giovinazzo near Bari, told the court: “Raffaele told me he had just started a beautiful love story with Amanda. He loved her and he adored her.

“He spoke to me about her in a way that he had never done about other girls. Raffaele had a certain affection towards Amanda.”

Mr Sollecito also told the court that his son had a habit of carrying knives. When he was arrested in connection with the murder a flick-knife was found in his pocket.

He said: “It’s a habit he has had since childhood. He grew up in the country and he always carried a knife. He is not violent, he would not hurt a fly. I had told him not carry a knife around.”

The knife found on Sollecito is not the murder weapon.

Instead, a 30cm kitchen knife found at his house with DNA from Meredith on the blade and DNA from Knox on the handle is said to be compatible with the wounds to her neck.

Mr Sollecito is himself under investigation for leaking material relevant to the investigation to journalists in Bari and defended his actions in court.

He said: “To me and my family it is obvious that some very big mistakes have been made and my son is innocent. He has spent nearly two years in jail for something he did not do.

“Everything I did was in complete respect of the law. Once I saw the film of the scene from the first search after the murder and the subsequent one in December it was clear that mistakes had been made.”

Mr Sollecito also said he knew his son had taken drugs in the past, adding that he had received a letter from police in Giovinazzo advising him about his son’s drug habit.

Posted on 06/19/09 at 07:02 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe defensesEvidence & witnessesOther witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009Raff SollecitoSollecito team
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Second Misleading New York Times Comment On The Case

Posted by Skeptical Bystander



No prizes for guessing that this is Italy’s wonderful Venice.

1. Seattle-ite Egan Gets It Bady Wrong, Again

Timothy Egan of the New York Times came back with a follow-up justification to his first post.

The cat was out of the bag at that point, of course, and the first post was being widely ridiculed as untrue and unfair both in the US and in Italy.

Egan’s second post makes me wonder if he actually even read the comments under his first post before firing off his second round. It also makes me wonder if Egan has any idea of how badly his “contribution” was received in Italy, let alone why.

Frankly, I was surprised that a “Pulitzer prize winning” journalist would make these basic mistakes and write such a shockingly bad article to boot.

I posted this NY Times comment on that second post addressed at his first piece, lamenting the number of basic factual mistakes he made, though without enumerating all of them.

From memory, there are at least five major errors in Egan’s blog entry still not corrected

1. Egan claims that no translator was present for the Nov 5 questioning. This is false. Granted, Edda Mellas and others have made this false claim on the record, repeatedly, even after the Italian police formally challenged it. (Note to Egan: check the CNN world news website once in awhile.) Finally, Edda and others had to change their tune in light of the undisputed facts, but they did so by shifting the claim from no interpreter to no “professional” interpreter. This too turns out to be false. How can Egan continue to claim that no interpreter was present when at three were called upon by the prosecution to testify under oath as witnesses to the session of questioning where Egan wants us to believe there were no interpreters? Incidentally, they—like all of the other relevant witnesses—have stated under oath the Knox was not physically abused or maltreated. Conversely and as a reminder, Knox is not testifying under oath.

2. Egan also claims that there is forensic evidence against Guede only, and not the other two suspects. This, as everyone else except official FOA spokespeople know, is false. For anyone who is interested in knowing what it is, this non-profit website would be a good place to start. It is too bad that Mr. Egan did not do more than just consult the new afterword to Doug Preston’s Monster of Florence book. In fact, Egan’s blog entry serves as a friendly review in a way.

3. Egan stated that a 6-person jury, with two judges among them, would decide the fate of Knox and Sollecito. Ii shows Egan’s sweeping and sweepingly ignorant indictment of the Italian criminal justice system. In fact, the correct numbers are 6 lay jurors and 2 judges, for a total of 8 individuals - and thereafter two automatic appeals. Does this make a difference? Only insofar as it is definitely better to demonstrate a grasp of the basics of the system one seeks to criticize. Instead of quoting Rachel Donadio, who was in fact talking about Italy’s Prime Minister, Egan would have been better off trying Wikipedia or, better still, a comparative law website. There are tons of them out there.

4. Egan states that Amanda Knox only suggested that Patrick Lumumba maybe killed Meredith Kercher. In fact, Knox did far more than that. She firmly accused him of killing her roommate, twice orally, and then three times in writing. The written statements were not coerced, and testimony from half a dozen other people (again, under oath) refutes Knox’s claim that her oral accusation was coerced. An investigation is underway, ordered by one of the two prosecutors. In fact, Knox admitted on the stand that her third written statement was not made because she was hit - it was a “gift” to the police who supposedly tortured her, whatever that means!

5. Egan failed to point out that two prosecutors are working side by side on this case. If Mignini has to step down because of the verdict in a pending matter, the case will go forward in the able hands of Manuela Comodi who is handling more than half the testimony. I hear she is clean as a whistle: not so much as a slap on the wrist during her career. Instead of just repeating what Doug Preston writes, Egan could have told us in more detail about the charge pending against Prosecutor Mignini.


2.  Enabled By Heavey, Bremner and Ciolino

Allegedly, some individuals—like Paul Ciolino, whom Egan quotes in his rebuttal (?) entry—speak of a “pattern” of misconduct, but I have been unable to find any other example of possible “abuse of office” except for the one related to the Monster of Florence case.

Wouldn’t it be great if an investigative journalist of Pulitzer prize caliber were to take the time to find out what the facts are in the longstanding feud between Mignini and Spezi, Doug Preston’s friend and associate? That would really add substance to this fake debate.

Paul Ciolino’s paid work for 48 Hours on this very case has been laughably poor. Forgive me for not taking the time to count the ways.

In a Seattle fundraiser for Knox he stated that legal experts in the US and Italy believe Mignini is “mentally unstable”.

What this really boils down to is the following: one quote in Italian by an Italian judge that was taken out of context (that’s the Italian legal expert (singular)), and statements made by two people from the Seattle legal community, Anne Bremner and Judge Michael Heavey, who have never set foot in an Italian courtroom but who happen to be members of FOA (Friends of Amanda).

Heavey, a neighbor of Knox’s, actually wrote a letter to the authorities in Italy asking for a change of venue. That letter – which incidentally was written on Heavey’s official Superior Court Judge letterhead—was so full of errors, and was so embarrassing to Knox’s own defense team, that Heavey is said to have written a second letter in apology.

The first letter, after being prominently displayed on Anne Bremner’s website, was then quietly removed. As if it had never existed. Never apologize, never explain, as Flaubert said. Where is that letter of apology? Why is it not displayed on Bremner’s website? Was it too written on official letterhead? As a King County taxpayer, I’d sure like to know.

Where are those Pulitzer Prize winning journalists when you need them?


Prominent Political Commentator Takes Strong Exception To American Reporting

Posted by Peter Quennell


Clicka above for the report.

There is a political angle here. The fiery and controversial right-wing broadcaster and writer Ann Coulter regularly takes potshots at the more-liberal New York Times.

But her takes on the case and the problems the Knox PR campaign and the biased component of the media (which is most of it) are creating are definitely well-informed.

Her reference to the Duke lacrosse case is of course satirical. The New York Times took a notoriously wrong position on that case, and stuck with it to the end.

Friends in Italy, please note?

Ann Coulter is THE most prominent and influential American commentator so far on this case. She is much more prominent than CNN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Her column is syndicated in about 500 American newspapers. And she is on TV here every night.

Posted on 06/18/09 at 08:16 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesMedia newsThe wider contexts
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Now CNN Gets It All Wrong - What Will They Make of THIS In Italy?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Part one

Part two

We might given time (a lot of time!) separately list each wrong claim with a correction underneath. Our readers sure could assist us here, by creating their own lists in the Comments.

Added: These lists in the Comments below are really quite amazing. There is a great deal to be learned about the case and the contexts from taking the time to read through them.

We know for a fact (because they kindly told us) that some of the commenters are in Italy and that several are themselves Italian. And at least one is in Perugia - this site is accessed quite a few times a day from Perugia, and so the muddled CNN hatefest is already being seen there.

We wait to see if La Nazione or one of the other fine Italian newspapers takes exception to the CNN broadcast (which is seen by millions) in the way they did to the Tiimothy Egan report in the New York Times (which was read by, at most, a few thousands).

This Jane Velez-Mitchell hatefest does not originate in New York by the way! These YouTubes would and will be highly offensive to all New Yorkers, as well as to all Italian—Americans, and many, many Americans across the country.

As with all cultures, there is a fringe, and somehow CNN USA sees its new role in the US as pandering to this fringe. But they seem to take care that such red-necked radicalism does not spill over into the global broadcasts.

Well, welcome to YouTube, CNN.

Posted on 06/17/09 at 05:21 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009Massei prosecutionKnox on standMassei defenseHoaxers: media groupsCNN Network
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How The New York Times Caused Unneccesary And Unhelpful Anger In Italy

Posted by Miss Represented



[click for larger image]

Another beautiful view of Italy. This one is of Portofino.

How could THE NEW YORK TIMES of all papers enable the ridiculing of this civilized and humane country for its handling of the case?

The Times may deny it because Timothy Egan’s rancid piece was “just” a blog. But ask any good lawyer - all content is ultimately the Times’s. They presumably have rules, and if they don’t have them, then they should.

Let’s look in depth at the content of Egan’s piece, which a huge audience in Italy has now read and found wanting. 

Aside from the very suggestive title “An Innocent Abroad” what becomes immediately apparent is not only the lack of objectivity (surely an essential tool for any self respecting journalist), but also the lack of any in depth discussion about the actual basis of the prosecution’s case.

A case that has been presented in detail twice a week for nearly half a year now.

Instead of discussing the factors leading to the arrest and trial of the defendants, Egan brings up the old, clichéd and unsubstantiated “mad fanatical prosecutor” charge as a reason for the trial. He muses thus:

The case against Knox has so many holes in it, and is so tied to the career of a powerful Italian prosecutor who is under indictment for professional misconduct, that any fair-minded jury would have thrown it out months ago.

My, my, feeling ethnocentric today aren’t we? Egan continues to bandy the “this would never happen in America” claim and appoints himself judge, jury and excuser, in order to make the assertion that he alone knows what the outcome of this trial would be in good old USA.

Egan is clearly suggesting to his readers that the conviction of Amanda Knox would be tantamount to a miscarriage of justice. Can anyone say objective reporting? Nope? I really didn’t think so.

Egan fails to mention that both Knox and Sollecito had many court hearings prior to the trial, and were afforded many legal advantages and some excellent legal representation.

If even one of the judges who presided over the initial hearings had decided there was insufficient evidence to hold or charge them, they would have been released. Every single judge that heard the evidence suggesting their involvement in the murder denied their release - some in very sharp terms.

It’s hardly as if they were at a disadvantage or even in the position to be railroaded. Knox and Sollecito actually incriminated themselves long before the police even got a sniff of Rudy Guede by way of their repeated lying.

Egan also fails to mention neither Knox nor Sollecito have a firm alibi that holds up for the night of the murder. Rather telling.

It seems Egan has opted to pass on the option of providing his readers with an interesting and objective piece, in favor of bandying the PR agenda surrounding the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for their possible role in the murder.

The victim here is of course an afterthought. Egan briefly gushes about Meredith being “high-spirited” before comparing how “high-spirited” (what?!) both girls were. Then he essentially explains that we should forget about Meredith, and focus on poor old Amanda whom this case obviously revolves around:

But it is also about Amanda Knox, an equally high-spirited student whose life has been nearly ruined by this collision of predatory journalism and slipshod prosecution – “the railroad job from hell,” as one outside expert hired by CBS News concluded.

Knox’s life has been nearly ruined by this collision of predatory journalism and slipshod prosecution? Most unfortunate. How inconvenient. Meredith of course now has no life to be interrupted.

Egan forgets to mention that the “outside expert” here is Paul Ciolino, a P-I for hire, whose objectivity and expertise have on several occasions been called into question. His several public forays into the case (Perugia for CBS and Salty’s for FOA) were disasters. 

The following statement is again pretty misleading:

Knox may not feel the same way. She spent nearly a year in jail without being charged. This, despite the fact that the only physical evidence found on the murder victim’s body was from someone else – a drifter with a drug problem named Rudy Guede.

Knox and Sollecito spent a year in jail whilst the police built a case, as they are legally entitled to do, while the accumulating evidence was gradually becoming massive.

There were repeated judicial hearings on the evidence, any of which could have released them.

The second statement, about Guede, is technically true, but Egan fails to go into any depth concerning the considerable other forensic evidence - something even the most banal reporter on the case has managed to do.

Equally telling is this:

After being questioned all night without an attorney or a professional translator, Knox said some things in response to a series of hypothetical questions. This was initially trumpeted as a contradiction, or worst – a confession. A higher court later threw out the most damning statements.

Egan at least fails to trumpet once again the accusation that Knox was hit by police, an accusation that has angered much of Italy (see several posts below) and got her into hot water with the Italian authorities.

Amanda was not questioned all night by Mignini, and she freely offered the police Patrick Lumumba’s name. She even made up details about how they had met and when they went to the cottage together.

Egan also attempts to gloss over the significance of the false confession with what is perhaps my favorite euphemism in the whole post:

Knox raised the possibility that a bar owner with an airtight alibi could have been involved.”

You don’t “raise the possibility” that someone was involved in a murder. You either accuse them or you don’t.

If the subject weren’t so serious and the potential for real harm and misinforming the public so great, it could almost be funny. In fact Knox accused Lumumba flat-out, in great detail, and later confirmed it in writing when certainly not under duress.

And Knox was certainly not questioned for 14 hours, it was four or five hours at most, between midnight and sunrise. She was offered refreshments, and she willingly signed a statement.

A lawyer was not present and therefore this statement cannot be used against her. But Egan forgets to mention a handwritten note Knox gave to police detailing her “confession” explaining how she would “stand by” her accusation of Patrick (that she knew was false) which, unlike her first statement, has not been thrown out of court and will be used as evidence in the slander case against her.

Egan further mentions (on details of Amanda’s sex life being leaked):

The Brits, in particular, had a field day. Locked from her house in the first days after it became a crime scene, Knox went to a store one day with Sollecito to buy emergency underwear. The British tabs bannered this as a g-string celebration of remorseless killers.

Emergency underwear that consists of a g-string and a camisole top? Hardly “emergency underwear” would you perhaps agree? Add this to the spectacular scene Amanda and Raffaele made in the Bubbly lingerie store, and it seems the British tabloids were perhaps not far from the truth.

The British papers were certainly not the only papers to have published details about Amanda’s sex life (which in the grand scheme of things is not important). But the press were always going to try and find out this sort of information about her because it’s what all of the press do.

Egan, as a journalist himself, should know this, and attempting to portray Amanda as a sweet and innocent ray of sunshine by criticising those who uncover evidence that she is in fact the opposite is a blatant attempt at shooting the messenger.

Some of you may be asking what the point of Egan’s article is? After all, it sheds no new light at all on the ongoing trial or the evidence that has come out over the last few months.

Well, hidden in Egan’s article is what seems a badly disguised advert for Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi’s book “The Monster of Florence” and as these little “promos” often are, the result seems a transparent endorsement written in extremely poor taste.

Has anyone noticed that whenever any criticism of the case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito surfaces, the same name usually pops up? Often introduced by the synoptic tagline “the prominent best-selling American author” Douglas Preston?  I seriously rather doubt that Douglas Preston could give a fig about Amanda Knox.

Indeed, the only linking factor between Preston and Amanda Knox’s “plight” is the presence of Giuliano Mignini. Preston seems to harbor a grudge and to be using his “experience” of being questioned by Mignini to peddle his book.

Whilst people like Douglas Preston keep bleating on about the “backward” Italian justice system, the Italians have actually presented a very solid case. If people like Timothy Egan now choose to cover it irresponsibly and unethically, sadly, it’s up to them.

But there’s no reason at all for the New York Times to provide him with a vehicle.

Egan explains how ‘haunted’ he is by an observation made by a former Times colleague in Rome:

In Italy, the general assumption is that someone is guilty until proven innocent. Trials – in the press and in the courts – are more often about defending personal honor than establishing facts, which are easily manipulated.

I too am haunted by this statement.

Haunted by the fact that Egan has apparently based his entire article and his understanding of the complex and very fair Italian legal system on the opinion and hearsay of one other journalist.

And one who was absurdly in the wrong, as any observer with a brain can see.


The Letters Between The Women’s And Men’s Wings In Capanne

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Nick Pisa’s report on Knox’s letters to RS on Sky News.

Still, there is conjecture now that Sollecito may (again) just have to cut loose and go his own way on a defense.

It is hard to see how Friday and Saturday really helped him. His people read the same media we do.

Amanda Knox has opened her heart in a series of letters to her co-accused and former boyfriend about prison life and their ongoing murder trial.

The American student, 21, is accused of the brutal sex murder of her British housemate Meredith Kercher, also 21.

In one of the letters to Raffaele Sollecito, 25, she writes a poem in Italian to him called Ho Una Sola Vita (I Have Only One Life).

On February 13, 2009, Knox wrote: “It was good to see you again today.

“We got to exchange a few more glances than usual, though I have to admit, I’m not good at reading the subtle messages that one passes through the features of the face, nor can I read lips.

“I know what kind of girl am I?!? Those things are supposed to be my first (underlined) language.

“So, long story short, I must admit that I didn’t pick up exactly word for word what you may have wanted to transmit my way.”

In another letter to Sollecito, a day later on February 14, Knox also writes about life in her cell at Perugia’s Capanne jail:

She asked him: “Are you alone in your cell?

“The thing about women’s prison is there about 70 of us altogether at the maximum and we all live on the same floor, so all of us are mixed together regardless of the length or type of conviction.

“For instance in my very own cell I’m living with a drug addict, a thief and an accomplice to murder… if I have to get down to their crimes they are here for.”

In another letter to Sollecito on February 18 she writes of their relationship and says: “I try not to think about “what ifs” at all but these aren’t sad at all for me to think about.

“We could have really had something special, it’s true.

“Although we still had (and still have) much to learn about each other, we clicked, we made each other happy, we were open to each other.

“We still have an opportunity to click. I’m still here for you.

“I know it doesn’t seem like enough because you want where we were headed before the whole world suddenly threw us into an experience we don’t deserve and we were cut off from each other.”

She added: “This whole experience is frustrating and I understand how you feel like I know you understand me.”

Knox closed the letter by writing: “You know what would be wonderful?

“Do you think they would let us hug each other when the judge absolves us? I’m tired of not being allowed to look at you.

“I hope this letter doesn’t hurt you because all of your letters give me a sense of peace. Thank you, I’m here to hold your hand.

“Your friend Amanda. Let it Be! Here Comes the Sun.”

Posted on 06/16/09 at 09:54 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009Amanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
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Monday, June 15, 2009

It Seems Italy’s Anger Only Grows: Read La Nazione’s Editorial Today

Posted by Nicki



[above: Lake Como north of Milan, click for a larger image]

Posting again from Milan. This looks like becoming an international incident. Perhaps the US State Department should step in.

Timothy Egan, a Seattle journalist, wrote an offensive and largely fact-free blog about the innocence of Amanda Knox on the New York Times website last Wednesday.

This blog by Egan was widely quoted in Italian television and print-media reports and dozens of Italian blogs are now acidly commenting.

We are sure the New York Times will be reporting on what they have provoked. Today La Nazione has this editorial.

Timothy Egan is a former journalist, currently accredited as an authoritative New York Times editorialist, a self-proclaimed “Honorary Italian Citizen” to the point of sending his children to school in our country - how kind of him - a true hero.

Sustained by this pandering premise, the day before his compatriot Amanda Knox’s first deposition, on trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Egan elaborated a sober editorial with a “balanced”  title “An Innocent Abroad” where Egan doesn’t show the slightest doubt when having to choose between national pride and his shaggy fondness for Italy and its democratic principles, let alone judicial.

Amanda is innocent, a victim of an obsessed, powerful and hotshot Italian prosecutor. She is been persecuted and ruined by “vulture journalism and a careless prosecution”.

If this is the balanced approach of someone who is not risking 30 years in jail and has retirement money stacked aside, it is no surprise that Amanda, a student supported by her family, and with a very uncertain future, is holding on to her defense line, and even claiming that she was beaten at the Questura

Leaving aside details of the trial development, in this event there are all the cultural contradictions of an unresolved national tendency to self-harm, which authorizes many foreign observers to look at Italy still wearing the blinkers of mafia, pizza and mandolin.

Shall we try for once to get rid of the oh-so-lovely parodies by Sordi and Villaggio [see explanation at bottom] and declare that we can’t take it anymore?

Prosecutor Mignini did well to decide not to react to the provocations. And the Police Union did even better in reacting, to announce legal action against Miss Knox.

Yesterday Florence woke up with the terrible nightmare of an eighteen year old student, another American, who during the night had reported having been raped next to Piazza della Signoria, furthermore right under the eyes of the city police.

The red alarm only lasted for a few hours. In the end the girl, after recovering from the last effects of the amounts of alcohol she had ingested, fell apart and retracted everything.

Far from wanting to indulge in stupid generalizations, as Egan in his furious attack against Italy does, the story of the young drunk Americans caught urinating in the Nettuno Fountain, right in Piazza della Signoria, has become an example of unbearable lack of respect.

If we really must accept lectures from the Americans, at least they should be lectures in civilization, and not in imported Wild West culture. Differently, we too may use a very, very sober title, in order to stress our reply to Egan’s patriotic reflections:

“An Indecent Abroad”

A.Sordi and P Villaggio are famous comedians known for satirizing Italy’s country’s social mores in pungent black comedies, farcical tales and grim drama in post-war cinema through the 80’s.

Posted on 06/15/09 at 12:28 PM by NickiClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesTerrible reportingThe wider contextsItalian contextKnox-Mellas teamMore hoaxers9 Mignini v Knox hoax
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Italy Shrugs: Why Amanda Knox’s Testimony Seems To Have Been A Real Flop

Posted by Nicki





Posting from Milan (image below) where we also have been watching Knox testify in Italian.

Here are just three of the disbelieving headlines on the testimony that have been appearing in the Italian press.

  • All of Amanda’s wrong moves (La Stampa)

  • Amanda growls but Patrick bites (Il Giornale)

  • Amanda: I am innocent. But many “I don’t remembers” start popping up (ANSA)

As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public.

It is true that the Italian media and public opinion in general have not been very benign with Knox. But not for the reasons that the American media seem to want to push.

Let’s make it clear, Amanda Knox is not on trial because Italians are unaccustomed to or even “jealous” of her freedom and lifestyle… The first time we read these “explanations” we found them quite laughable.

But for many or most Italians the initial amusement has now given way to a profound irritation. Amanda Knox’s lifestyle is shared by hundreds of thousands of Italian girls, who like partying and sex as much as she does - or even more - and they live a happy carefree life with no fear of being perceived as “bad girls.” They behave no differently from any other girl of the same age in America or in any other Western country.

Dear American media, welcome to the 21st century and to globalization!  Please put aside pseudo-romantic and passè vision of a country where all men chase American girls because Italian women are not as approachable for “cultural” reasons: Italian men are into foreign girls no more but no less than Italian girls are into foreign boys.

They generally greatly like Americans because of their great interest and curiosity for a country and its people that many Italian youngsters have only known through books or movies. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”. She could even be from the North Pole as far as Italians are concerned.

What really matters to them is to find the truth about Meredith’s murder and to do real justice for her terrible death. Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence - and they perceive this even more-so after this last week’s court hearings.
 
In addition, the US media’s seemingly endless bashing of the Italian justice system, and of the whole country, most recently by CBS and ABC, has definitely made things worse.

The Italian police are NOT known to be particularly violent - although, agreed, it may happen when they’re dealing with violent males suspects from Eastern Europe or Africa, or in the streets when they have to deal with a riot. Violence is NEVER used with white, female college students from Italy, America or elsewhere.

And Italy is a sovereign state with a great juridical tradition. Receiving condescending lectures by the media of a country where the death penalty is still applied in many states comes across as more than insulting - it is utterly ridiculous. Before you judge the “backwardness”  of the Italian justice system, you should at least first read Cesare Beccaria’s amazingly humane Of Crimes And Punishments (written in 1764) and perhaps you’ll reconsider.

If the American media just cannot understand that there are alternatives to the “American way ”, that may not be so bad after all. But they should at least show some respect for a foreign, sovereign state and its people.

If the media can’t even manage to do so - and they really want to help Amanda - the best thing to do now is to go quiet and let the Italian justice work at its pace and according to its own principles. If Amanda is only guilty of arrogance, callousness and narcissism, she will be free soon.

Dear American followers of Meredith and, for that matter, also friends of Amanda Knox. May I speak right to you, and right past the media?

There has been no character assassination, no demonization, no great wave of hate and revenge, no mad prosecutor, no Satan theory of the crime, no invented evidence, and no massive bumbling.

What there has been is a whole stack of evidence and a VERY careful process. Kernit in effect described all the evidence in his extraordinary 150 questions.

And on Friday and Saturday, Amanda Knox for better or worse chose to answer NONE of them.



Saturday, June 13, 2009

Knox Testimony Does Not Seem To Have Gained Much Traction Here In Italy

Posted by Fiori





Posting from Florence (image below) where we have all been watching Knox testify in Italian.

I don’t believe her. It is interesting to see Amanda Knox being cool and self-confident, but testifying about how disturbed she became when the police became pushy during her interrogation. It doesn’t fit.

And it comes across as untrustworthy and contradictory that when asked about her drug use, she puts on a “schoolgirl”’ attitude: In effect “Sorry, daddy judge, I was bad, don’t punish me for being young”.  This seems definitely out of order with the rest of her performance.

“Performance” is the impression I get from viewing the segments shown from the court - a well-rehearsed performance. I suppose that the jury will wonder how this cool person can forget whether she has replied to a sms-message, how she can get so confused that she names Patrick, afterwards “is too afraid to speak to anyone but her mother”, and so on.

Most striking is that Amana Knox’s defence seems to stick firmly to the strategy of “mistreatment”; in effect that the only reason for AK being arrested is false statements produced under “illegal” pressure from the police.

By making “the ethics of police interrogation” the core question of her testimony, the defence - probably deliberately - creates a lot of associations to recent public debates of torture and interrogation techniques applied at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq.

By doing so they seem to want to try to turn the jury’s attention away from the point that AK knowingly participated in a murder investigation, and that any person with her intelligence will know that anyone who is called as a witness is required to show respect for the authorities - regardless of their nationality!

With reference to a variety of public materials from the US (“48 Hours” by CBS and many other reports), the way in which the Italian police have conducted Knox’s interview does not significantly differ from similar type interrogations made by US police. (This is not a stamp of approval, but removes the reason for any serious critique of the conduct of the Italian police.)

Her calmness and cool attitude, including her performing in two languages, does not, in my view - contrary to what the defence and her father expect - help to bring about an image of “another Amanda Knox” or a “more true Amanda Knox”.

Mostly her performance seems to contribute to shaping her image as complex, manipulative, intelligent, attention-seeking, and with only vaguely defined limits of identity.



Trial: The UK’s ITN News Posts A Video Report On Trial Events

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 06/13/09 at 12:42 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009
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Trial: The BBC Posts Video Of Defendant Arriving For Today’s Cross-Examination

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 06/13/09 at 12:33 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009
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Trail: Newsweek Reports On Friday’s Testimony By The Defendant

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Barbie Nadeau’s Friday report from Perugia.

Posted on 06/13/09 at 11:41 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009Amanda Knox
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Trial: Nick Pisa Files An Overview Report For Sky News

Posted by Peter Quennell

Now 5:00 pm Italy time. Nothing new so far from the UK media sources.

Even the Italian reporting is slowed now as they try to provide historical context, and we are still seeing reports of the claimed night at Sollecito’s. There should be a good description soon of Amanda Knox on the morning after at her house.

This is intensely difficult material for the reporters to write up, because every fact and timeline now offered has a history in itself. The reporters sometimes know the history but it is tough to write up on the fly.

There are two things to look forward to here later today.

  • Poster Nicki will post late but extensively from Italy on what the Italian media - and public - are now saying.
  • And Andrea Vogt and Ann Wise will presumably be filing their usual excellent end-of-the-day reports.

Want to try your hand at Google translation? They are not fully satisfactory but certainly much better than nothing.

Click here for a Google News roundup of all stories in Italian. Important: click top left on the Past Hour or Past Day for the very latest.

Click here to cut and paste articles into Google Translation. They will emerge in 5-10 seconds in rough English.

We have quite a few speakers of Italian in the group, by the way, and three or four posters in Italy, but good translation does consume time.

Posted on 06/13/09 at 09:03 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009News media & moviesGreat reporting
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Trial: Associated Press Reporting Testy Exchanges In Court

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report.

In a testy exchange, Mignini questioned Knox’s assertion that interrogators had extracted false statements from her by bullying her, calling her a “stupid liar” and even hitting her on the head at one point.

Knox gave a description of hours of questioning in which she said that she was told that if she did not tell the truth they would “throw me in jail for 30 years.”

Defence lawyers repeatedly objected during Mignini’s examination, accusing him of badgering the witness and asking her leading questions.

Mignini focused on Knox’s assertions that her false statements—notably, that her part-time employer Patrick Lumumba was the killer—were the result of “suggestions” during aggressive police questioning.

“Was Patrick’s name indicated after they saw (her SMS) message (to Lumumba) or just like that?” Mignini asked, sparking a heated row with the defence team that judge Giancarlo Massei had difficulty quelling.

Knox said she became so confused after “a steady crescendo ... of ‘I don’t know,’ ‘you’re a stupid liar,’ ‘maybes,’ and ‘imagines’ that ... I was led to believe I had forgotten things.”

She added: “When I said ‘Patrick’ I actually started to imagine a kind of movie, images that could have explained the situation, Patrick’s face, then (Perugia’s) Grimana square, then my house” on the night of the murder.

Posted on 06/13/09 at 07:48 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxThe officially involvedThe prosecutorsTrials 2008 & 2009News media & moviesGreat reporting
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Trial: Sky News Italy Video Of The Defendant’s Opening Statement Today

Posted by Peter Quennell

This is the court CCTV camera feed to the press-room, which is legitimate for the reporters there to capture.

Posted on 06/12/09 at 04:22 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxThe officially involvedThe defensesTrials 2008 & 2009Massei defenseHoaxes against Italy3 No evidence hoax
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Trial: Andrea Vogt Reports Knox’s Recounting Of The Night

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Andrea Vogt’s story on the Seattle PI website.

She described how the two spent the night of Kercher’s death at Sollecito’s house, checking her e-mail, reading Harry Potter in German, smoking pot, watching “Amelie” and making love, before going to sleep.

Forensic experts have testified that Kercher’s blood mixed with Knox’s blood were found in the bathroom and back bedroom of the apartment they shared.

Knox herself said she arrived at her apartment the next morning to see the door wide open and drops of blood, which she thought “strange,” but assumed one of her roommates had left in a hurry or was having menstrual issues. She took out her earrings (she had recently had multiple piercings and one was infected) on the sink, then took a shower, scooting from the bathroom to her bedroom on the bathmat, which she also noticed was stained with blood.

Prosecutors have argued that the footprint on the bathmat made in Kercher’s blood, is compatible with Sollecito’s footprint. Knox and Kercher’s DNA was also found on a kitchen knife believed to be the alleged murder weapon.

Concerned by feces left in the second bathroom’s toilet, she went to fetch Sollecito. When roommates, friends and the police arrived and knocked down Kercher’s door, she heard her roommate cry out “a foot, a foot!”

The group of friends all got into a car to warm up and talked about what police were saying might have happened. Upset and in shock, she cried then, she said, as Sollecito held and consoled her.

Posted on 06/12/09 at 03:54 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxTrials 2008 & 2009
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Trial: Knox Claimed Not To Have Been At The House On The Night

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

New York’s Daily News from various wire services.

Knox said she last saw Kercher on the afternoon of Nov. 1. Knox testified the two talked about what they had done the night before — a Halloween night out — and Knox said Kercher still had a bit of her vampire makeup on, the AP reports.

Knox went on to say Sollecito then arrived at the house; he and Knox had something to eat while Kercher remained in her room.

“She left her room, said ‘bye,’ walked out the door,” Knox said, who switched from speaking English to Italian. “That was the last time I saw her.”

Her testimony on the stand was markedly different than the statement she gave police days after her roommate was found dead.

Originally Knox claimed to have been at the house she shared with Kercher on the night of the murder. She later retracted that story and said she was not there.

Sollecito flip-flopped on his story as well. He had told police he was at his apartment watching a movie with Knox and she spent the night with him. Later, he claimed to not remember if she had spent the night.

Posted on 06/12/09 at 01:02 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxTrials 2008 & 2009
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Defendant Testifies: Is This A Prosecutor’s Dream Come True?

Posted by Arnold_Layne



[click for larger image]

To my knowledge, in the past when Amanda has spoken on her own behalf she was not challenged by the prosecution.  Friday will be different.  On Friday, she will be asked to reconcile discrepancies in her statements.  She will not be a sworn-in witness so it is not clear which lines of questioning will be allowed but the prosecutor will certainly try to impeach her.  If she is a psychopath, things could get knarly.

You’ve all seen it many times on crime shows.  On cross examination, the witness offers some testimony, for example, the fact that she has never been married.  The lawyer then asks to offer into evidence a marriage certificate.  Reducing the credibility of a witness in this fashion is known as impeaching the witness.  There are special rules that apply which allow the attorney to ask questions not normally allowed.  To discredit a claim made by the witness, the prosecutor could, for example, enter new evidence not presented previously during the prosecution phase of the trial.  The jury is then instructed to use the evidence only as it reduces the credibility of the witness but to ignore it when otherwise considering the guilt or innocence.  That’s expecting a lot.

One characteristic of a psychopath is the ability to lie with facility.  This does not mean the ability to spin a yarn or to make up a good story.  Most of us can do this.  It also doesn’t mean that the lie is particularly bad (a boldface lie).  When asked a question when the truth is not going to yield a desirable outcome, most of us will pause a little, maybe lift our eyes upward, as we weigh the consequences of the lie.  Someone who can lie with facility speaks the lie as fast as they would the truth and with the same conviction.

The problem, of course, is that without the pause there is no weighing of the implications of the lie.  There is little checking for consistency.  In social situations this can easily be maneuvered around by saying something along the lines of, “Aw, I was just jokin’”.  Guede adjusted his story to meet the facts as they emerged.  Amanda now also knows the evidence against her and she’s had plenty of time to create a story to match it.  She will be on stable ground here as the Judge and jury weigh her statements against those put forth by the prosecution.  This is a good reason to only have one of the two defendants testify.  They can’t trip each other up.

Cross, on the other hand, is going to be a minefield for her.  Not only will the prosecution point out discrepancies but they will challenge her on them and she will be under pressure to correct them.  She will be up against a trial lawyer’s strong suit.  Mignini will be trying to impeach her.  If she steps on one of his mines, she will probably step on many – and he’ll be laying even more as she speaks.

Other incendiaries include her basking in the attention and notoriety she is getting.  Additionally, she is a creative writer.  Who can say what this might lead her to say if she strays from the straight and narrow.

I give her credit for doing this but I certainly don’t envy her.  I can’t say that I have ever done anything tougher myself.  I wouldn’t eat for two days, just as a precautionary measure. Btw “can you smoke on the witness stand?” I’d bring a carton, of Luckies.

Posted on 06/12/09 at 12:26 PM by Arnold_LayneClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Crime hypothesesThe psychologyPondering motiveDefendants in courtAmanda KnoxThe officially involvedThe prosecutorsTrials 2008 & 2009
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Trial: Lunchtime Video Report From The Daily Telegraph

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 06/12/09 at 11:39 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxTrials 2008 & 2009
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Trial: BBC Posts Video Of First Words Of Knox Testimony

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above. Preceded by a brief bit of advertising.

After the testimony shown (it was in the first two minutes) all cameras had to leave the court.

Posted on 06/12/09 at 09:10 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxTrials 2008 & 2009
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Trial: Reuters And Getty Images Of The Defendants In Court Today

Posted by Peter Quennell




Posted on 06/12/09 at 08:36 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Trial: CNN Reports Defendant Claimed Questioned While On Drugs

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the report by CNN Rome’s Hada Messia.

Posted on 06/12/09 at 08:12 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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