Headsup: The first 8 episodes of the RAI/HBO production "My Brilliant Friend" about a supreme alpha-girl and her "moon" of a best friend airing in 60-plus countries are proving amazingly endearing. So many colorful elements of evolving post WWII Italy on display. Yes, some violence too, but peanuts compared to say New York in that era. A real must-see.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

For Sad Third Anniversary of Meredith’s Death, Your Suggestions For Music Videos That Resonate?

Posted by Earthling

The third anniversary of Meredith’s death in Perugia will be next weekend.

As in previous year there will be private services and kind Perugians who cared and care for her will place flowers at the gate of her house. We think the best we can do to channel how readers might feel is to open a new page (from Monday) for your musical video choices of how Meredith and her passing speaks to you. 

These above and below are two videos shortlisted by our main posters as perhaps evoking how far Meredith had already come, where she was headed in the world, and what her needless death cut so brutally short in her infectiously-laughing, ever-more-successful prime of life.

I would like to offer a few words of my own to try to convey what I myself am feeling.

First and foremost, I must say that neither I nor any of us here on TJMK can even begin to imagine what Meredith’s family and her many friends in London, Leeds and elsewhere have gone through and are still going through.  Nevertheless, because we as humans are empathetic creatures, we strain and struggle to understand their pain.

I don’t think many of us reach too advanced an age without experiencing some strong grief. I may even go so far as to say that our shared grief is our wisdom. I myself lost both my parents at the age of 39 – my father to Alzheimers, and my mother, much more suddenly, to cancer. I know for a fact that the more sudden death, my mother’s, was the more difficult to bear. So I can imagine a tinge of what a truly sudden and brutal death of a loved one, through murder or suicide, might be like – although I have never experienced it myself.

Those who have never allowed themselves to feel any strong grief seem the most likely to heap scorn on those who have. In particular, those who most vociferously support the murderess in this sad case seem to me to be people who have long-buried pain and grief that they cannot acknowledge. So they belittle the Kerchers’ pain and support those who caused it.

I was severely criticized recently by a pro-Knoxer as ignoring the thousands of tsunami victims in my focus on one specific victim. Yes, the tsunami was sudden, brutal and tragic. Yet it was an act of God. Aside from helping the survivors, there was no human responsible for the event, so no crime and punishment issues are involved.  It is also human nature to want to ensure justice to the victim and her survivors. Those who refuse to understand this are not playing with a full deck, are not acknowledging the responsibilities of a moral society, and are in essence blaming the victim (see Emma’s recent eloquent post on this phenomenon).

But let’s focus no longer on those poor misguided souls who support murderers, for whom there is probably a special circle in Dante’s Hell, and reflect on our own difficulties in empathizing with what we do not understand and can never fully comprehend.

We are faced with the seemingly impossible task of empathizing with people we don’t know, over the loss of a girl, wonderful, brilliant, loving, and joyous, whom however we also didn’t know.

Even generations of time cannot separate one from those whose heartbeat is in empathy with ours. Is there any doubt that those who heard the first performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony felt any less stirring in their breasts than we do now, over 200 years later? Walt Whitman wrote movingly of the intergenerational affection he felt for those to come after in “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.”

Can those who live in our time, yet on a different continent, or in a different city, yet whom we don’t personally know, merit our sympathy any less, therefore? I think not. As the poet John Donne says:

No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a Clod be washed away by the Sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a Promontory were, as well as if a Manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

Few of us watching the thrilling rescue of the Chilean miners last week on TV knew them personally. Yet, we are involved in mankind; and we rejoiced with them and their families. Shame upon those who think that the grief, as well as the joy, of those whom we don’t know should not touch us. After the Chilean miners were rescued last week, they got together with their rescuers and sang the Chilean national anthem. Our breasts stirred with theirs. Music binds people together.

One of the more sickening aspects of this trial is the way Ms. Knox has appropriated certain cultural icons – good and beneficial in themselves – to herself, as if to use them as a banner. Her sick identification with Harry Potter and the Beatles, especially John Lennon, is a perversion of how a right-thinking person would use such cultural treasures. John Lennon himself was murdered by a deranged individual, and would hardly be supportive of any other murderer. Harry Potter worked for good, not evil, and used minimal violence only when absolutely necessary to defeat that evil. Harry’s own parents were murdered, and he suffered every day because of it.

Music is a great source of power. When the Civil Rights marchers of the ‘60s bravely faced water cannons, dogs, and men with clubs for their cause, they sang together, “We Shall Overcome.” I believe that we must re-appropriate the cultural icons that Ms. Knox has tried to steal from us as a mask for her murderous impulses. A murderer saying “all you need is love” is not the latest thing in “Post-modernism”; it is evil, pure and simple. Somehow, I’m confident John Lennon would have mourned the horrific loss of Meredith Kercher and spurned association with her convicted murderess.

We would now like to open it up to YOU the wider audience of True Justice for Meredith Kercher. What videos or songs remind you of Meredith, speak to her promising future, or help you deal with your grief?

Please email or post in Comments below your YouTube suggestions with some words explaining why that video resonates for you. All this week, we are going to add those videos and words on the new Musical Tributes to Meredith page.

We know there will be sad videos, of loss and grief. But we are also looking for the upbeat side. A clear majority of the videos on TJMK that already commemorate Meredith are decidedly upbeat.

Part of recovering from grief is knowing that the loved one’s love is still with us. Where would Meredith be now? And where was she headed in the next half century or more that should have been accorded to her? What do you imagine she would be doing? Where would she be living? Who would her friends be now? 

Let your imagination and empathy run wild, and let us know what you think, and what music you claim for Meredith’s memory. Thank you!

Forever rest in peace, dear Meredith

Posted on 10/31/10 at 10:44 AM by EarthlingClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memory
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

More Anger Toward Hayden Panettiere For Arch-Callousness Toward Meredith’s Family

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above: Another with the symptoms of a charming psychopath, explaining how Meredith was killed?

Panettiere is reported as refusing to mention Meredith by name. In line with the standing orders of PR campaign, she seemingly wants to disappear Meredith. Make her a non-person.

The anger toward Panttiere among those who knew Meredith or closely identify with her, as we do, is growing stronger by the day. Now there is a scathing commentary by Jenny McCartney on The Daily Telegraph’s website

With depressing inevitability, the cameras began rolling last week on a TV movie about Amanda Knox, the young, blonde American convicted in Italy for her role in the killing of a 21-year-old fellow student, Meredith Kercher, in 2007.

Hayden Panettiere, a rising star, is playing Knox. The actress described herself as “flattered” to be awarded the role, blithely adding: “It’s a really great story and a very controversial one.”

Both the comment, and the film, strike me as being in disgustingly bad taste. For it is not, of course, “a really great story”, but an intensely sad and very recent criminal case, in which an intelligent and beautiful British student was murdered.

The Kercher family, who demonstrated considerable dignity through a long and heavily sensationalised trial, must now be subjected to the additional pain of knowing that the circumstances of Meredith’s death are already being converted into entertainment.

Even Knox’s Italian lawyer, who is presently appealing against her conviction, has strongly denounced any such “exploitation of the situation”.

The truth is that the film’s backers glimpsed a case in which both the murderers and the victim were young and attractive, and – in their eagerness for a salaciously brutal storyline – abandoned all other considerations.

I don’t suppose the film industry ever had much of a conscience: the difference now is the confident assumption that the public doesn’t, either.

Click the Daily Telegraph link to read also the well-informed and very critical comments by commenters Jo Jones and Mutley.

Posted on 10/30/10 at 08:15 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer familyThe officially involvedVictims familyNews media & moviesMovies on caseThe wider contextsN America context
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Kercher Family Lawyer Francesco Maresca Confident Appeals Will Fail And Justice Will Prevail

Posted by Peter Quennell





This excellent interview of Mr Maresca by Leonardo Molinelli just appeared in Canada Corriere.

The interview is similar to several others Mr Maresca has just given in Italy. Mr Maresca shows in all of them that he is very confident about the defense appeals not succeeding in any dramatic way.

Justice will be served in Kercher case

“The investigation was carried out very well”: lawyer

By Leonardo N. Molinelli

There’s less than a month to go to the start of the appeal process for the murder of 20-year-old American student Meredith Kercher. The next phase will begin on Nov. 24, which should establish the guilty parties in the death of Kercher, who was killed in Perugia, Italy between Nov. 1 and 2 of 2007.

Charged with first-degree murder, sexual assault, and theft is 26-year-old Amanda Knox and 23-year-old Raffaele Sollecito with whom Knox was having a relationship.

The other person facing charges – Rudy Guede from the Ivory Coast – will not be part of the process since he has already been condemned to 30 years [reduced to 16 at first appeal] at a summary procedure. He will face the Court of Cassation (appeals) for final sentencing [in December].

All three of the accused have always declared their innocence and the upcoming process promises to be controversial and sensational. The defence for Sollecito and Knox, in fact, has requested access to all forensic investigation from the Court of Cassation.

They’re requesting the analyses of all the principal exhibits, maintaining that the two were not present at the murder scene and thereby placing the blame squarely on Guede.

“The Kercher family has taught the world the dignity of silence.” 

With these words, the family’s lawyer Francesco Paolo Maresca outlines the trial that went beyond the usual standards in legal battles in Italy, moving from the courtrooms to TV and newspapers.

Corriere Canadese/Tandem recently spoke to Francesco Paolo Maresca about the trial.

Has there been any new developments since the preliminary sentencing and the appeal?

“No, let’s say that the defence requested the appeals court for a review of all forensic findings, following the defence line in the preliminary trial, in which they contested all the assessments.”

Accusations that were discredited with the preliminary sentencing.

“Yes, so much so that the preliminary sentence is based on all these laboratory results accepted as fully reliable in the presence of the parties, and no one ever contested anything on that basis.”

So what is the defence’s objective in this case?

“They’re requesting, in substance, the detailed analyses of all the main exhibits, therefore the bra hook containing Sollecito’s DNA and the bathroom rug with Sollecito’s footprint.”

Do they intend to demonstrate the non-involvement of the two youths in the murder?

“They’re aiming to demonstrate the total non-involvement, unloading everything onto Rudy Guede.”

So Guede would have killed Meredith by himself while Amanda and Raffaele were in the wrong place at the wrong time?

“Actually, they say they were at Sollecito’s house after having smoked hash, made love, and woken up early the next morning.”

So they would have been connected to the crime scene as part of a conspiracy?

“They got there by coincidence based on test results. They say that the DNA on the bra isn’t Sollecito’s and if it were, it would have been found in other parts of the house, that the footprint on the rug isn’t Sollecito’s), that the DNA on the knife isn’t Knox’s, and so on.”

Instead, what are the facts as pieced together by the preliminary sentence?

“The facts pieced together would be a sexual attempt gone wrong, with a series of progressive and worsening knife wounds, with intimidation and threats and with three very serious wounds to the neck, of which one was fatal. We – and the sentencing acknowledges this – maintain that the facts cannot be viewed as a premeditated theft but as a crime of violence.

They probably attempted some sort of sexual game, Kercher refused, they threatened her, wounded her, blood spilled, and they panicked. Knox knew everyone so if they had called an ambulance or the police, they would have had to justify their presence, which is why they finished her off.”

So it wasn’t premeditated?

“There’s no premeditation. There is no premeditation. The event needs to be examined using the approach of a contingent situation, of the fear of being discovered, of the fear of making noise. Kercher screamed horribly from the pain, the simulation of a theft was to throw the research on the wrong track.”

America insists there were leaks in the Italian justice system, a conspiracy against Amanda, and so on. What impression did you get during this trial? Are there any deficiencies in this trial?

“The investigation was carried out very well, and forensic science and the police did a good job. There was just the one deficiency – and un-influential – of this blessed (bra) hook that was left behind and discovered 40 days later, but it was proven that it could not have been contaminated, using a series of technical valuations.

One must consider that 368 exhibits were gathered if I’m not mistaken, and above all we made an enormous commitment of deliberating for about a year (Editor’s note: January to December, 2009), which was very quick for Italian trials. Rudy Guede was examined with a summary procedure within a year of the act, and the other two to three years from the act, but with a deliberation that involved 170 witnesses and technical consultants.”

An exemplary trial considering that Italian justice system is often blamed for being slow.

“It gets blamed because they have completely different parameters and have juries and courts that dedicate themselves to a single trial – they begin and end that trial over three-to-four consecutive months, doing nothing else. In our system, the criminal court does this while the judges concurrently do another 20, 30 or 40.”

A difference in systems that could be the reason for these accusations.

“They were astounded because we didn’t have daily hearings. We pointed out that having weekly hearings on Friday, Saturday, and Monday – that is three days out of six – is a very unheard of commitment. We all risked our families because we couldn’t see them anymore…”

The defence for this case is reminiscent of the one used for the Cogne case, with the victim who disappears from the media, and the likely murderer who becomes a celebrity of sorts.

“From a theoretic interpretation, I’d say that’s justice, and I must say that Meredith Kercher’s family taught the elegance of silence to the entire world. Because as the families of Knox and Sollecito organized foundations, associations, sought funds, gave interviews, requested political help, Meredith Kercher’s family remained under the radar screen notwithstanding the offers, including financial (ones).”

Posted on 10/29/10 at 08:50 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedVictims familyTrials 2008 & 2009Hellmann 2011+Amanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lifetime’s Knox TV Movie: Is A Shallow Callous Narcissistic Girl Being Played By…

Posted by Peter Quennell


Is a shallow, callous, narcissistic girl being played in the movie by another shallow, callous, narcissistic girl?

It is certainly looking like that right now.

Hayden Panettiere, now involved in the filming of the Lifetime TV movie in Milan and Rome (they are avoiding Perugia - it seems too many people there take strong exception to this film) has STILL not reached out to Meredith’s family or her friends.

Or showed the slightest concern for the real hurt that this misleading glamorizing of Amanda Knox, the convicted killer of the REAL victim, Meredith, is causing here.

This is Andrea Magrath in the Daily Mail.

In an interview with BBC Newsbeat, Panettiere said she had not met Knox, who is appealing her conviction.

‘I wish. I know the Italian government is being pretty protective of her, her lawyers are being protective of her, which is pretty understandable. ‘It’s something I would like to do (meet her) but I’d be more surprised if it happened than if it didn’t.’

Panettiere said she was ‘floored’ and ‘flattered’ when she was asked by director Robert Dornhelm to play Knox in the film. She added: ‘They called me up and asked me to do it.

I’m so privileged to play the role. It’s a really great story and a very controversial one. ‘The way the script is written is very well done, in a way that I don’t think anyone is going to have a problem with.

‘I’m looking forward to it. I’m really excited about it. It’s going to be a really tough project to do but it will be good.’  Panettiere revealed the film will only show events up until Knox’s conviction.

It is NOT just “a really great story”. It is actually for-real, and a highly talented woman-on-the-go, Meredith Kercher, who was outstripping Amanda Knox in all possible dimensions, died very horribly here.

And what exactly is so controversial? Apart from the thousands of mistruths about the hard evidence spread around by a million-dollar campaign? Hayden should try reading the Massei Report.

Also it was Amanda Knox’s own lawyers who banned Hayden from Capanne. Sollecito’s lawyers continue to threaten to sue to stop the movie dead until after the second appeal - which might drag on for years.

Alistair Foster in the London Evening Standard also has a brief report. The post is notable for the sharpness of the comments of Kermit who is a frequent poster here. Most of the comments under both these reports are very critical of the film.

Will the Lifetime TV movie try to reflect the actual cold hard facts, as detailed at great length in the Massei report? A good question for some journalists to be asking of the actors, writer and director. 

Along with why, precisely, doesn’t Hayden Panettiere reach out to the Kercher family? And to Meredith’s friends? 




Posted on 10/28/10 at 12:11 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Crime hypothesesMovies on case
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rocco Girlanda’s Strutting Manic Grinning Intrusion Now Makes Him A Target In Italian Politics

Posted by Cesare Beccaria


This below is the statement made by Maurizio Ronconi, an Italian parliamentary of UDC (elected in the electoral college of Umbria) after the announcement of the upcoming publication of a book on Amanda Knox written by Rocco Girlanda, a fellow parliamentary of the political party of Berlusconi.

Amanda Knox should be spending her time in prison, as she was sentenced to 26 years on first instance. There is no need to manipulate and exploit an event (that is still to be fully clarified) that has seen the tragic death of a young girl, an attempt to blame an innocent person and that has also inflicted a very serious damage to the image of Perugia University

The Honorable Maurizio Ronconi is right. Writing a book on a convicted murderer, portraying the “humane side” of the killer, just weeks before the beginning of her appeal process, is simply tasteless. To say the least. Writers usually write books on the killer’s life, trying to understand their mental state and the reason behind their actions. Instead Girlanda writes something close to an imaginary love story with a young woman convicted on first instance for the worst of crimes. Mr Ronconi added:

As of today, Amanda Knox is not a heroin but a murderer and as such she should be treated, without begging for forgiveness and certainly not claiming that she was a victim of anti-Americanism”, affirmed Ronconi. He also added that “members of Parliament are allowed to visit prisoners [in order to hear about their living conditions behind bars], but it’s outrageous to report the contents of such visits in books and publications when [personal] opinions have already been verified and judged by a court of law.


Mr. Girlanda claims that his book does not discuss the trial and that he does not enter into the merit of the judicial case. He claims that he never met Amanda’s family nor has he ever met her attorneys. He does however acknowledge that the Knox family has hired a PR team, but claims that he never met them either.

But Mr. Girlanda has recently posted a couple of videos on his own account on YouTube under the name “StaffGirlanda”. In one of the videos he posted Girlanda appears right after Steve Moore, who claims he was an FBI Special Agent, when interviewed by NBC.

Why is Mr. Girlanda associating himself with a person (Steve Moore) that has clearly proven to have a very superficial knowledge about this case? Why is he posting, on his own YouTube channel named “StaffGirlanda”, a video from NBC that immediately connects his image with a person that constantly appears on American television to bash and accuse, with silly arguments, an entire country, without knowing the basic facts regarding the murder of Meredith Kercher?

There obviously must be some sort of connection between the two. He could have chosen to post the NBC video of his interview and cutting out the other individual, but he didn’t. The video can be viewed here:

Mr. Girlanda claimed that his actual intention was that of regaining ties with the United States, which, according to him, have been weakened after the conviction of Amanda Knox. But Girlanda should know that, although the family of Amanda Knox have hired a PR team to spread lies and misinformation to the American public, their effort had almost zero impact on the American public at large - very few people in the United States have heard of Amanda Knox or are able to associate her to an event - and no impact at all on the Federal Government..

Although the Knox PR campaign team managed to procure interviews on national television, they were never able to obtain the support of ANY reputable American or international professional and expert in criminology, genetics, forensics and comparative law.

Rocco Girlanda added that he hears “echoes of anti-Italianism from America”, and that was one of the reasons for writing the book. If that was even the case what good would it do to write a love novel about an American girl convicted for murder? Does Mr. Metternich really think that his book is going to improve the diplomatic ties of the two governments (which, obviously, have never been even slightly touched by this case)?

Girlanda should know the U.S. Embassy has followed this trial from the very beginning and has already spoken to State Department. The Knox family was told that the trial was obviously fair and that the Italian criminal system is very accurate and very pro-defendant. They know that she was lucky to have been trialed in Italy, where criminals receive short prison sentences and sometimes (unfortunately) literally get away with murder.

Mr. Girlanda should read some books on international relations instead of writing novels. He should also learn some basic concepts of the principle of the division of power. He will understand that the executive (and legislative) branch is completely independent from the judiciary and that politicians must not interfere in any judicial procedure, directly or indirectly.

With his novel praising an American convicted murder, Mr. Girlanda, from his personal perspective, tries to gain some “sympathy” from the United States. This “useful idiot” has a hard time understanding that in America no one knows who he is and that no one cares about him nor about Amanda Knox. If he wants to do something useful in his life he should write a book about the injustice perpetuated against Carlo Parlanti and Chicco Forte: two clearly innocent people convicted in California and Florida without the slightest proof whatsoever. In Washington State, Amanda Knox would be on death row by now with only one tenth of the evidence.

Amanda is lucky to be trialed in Italy. She has excellent attorneys that are doing a great job in defending her difficult case in a court of law. She does not need the help of politicians, marketing companies, alleged ex-FBI agents and other bizarre characters. At first, her attorneys ignored and reluctantly tolerated this media circus orchestrated by the PR company engaged by the Knox family, as long as it was kept out of the Italian media. Recently, on several occasions, Amanda’s attorneys have expressed their explicit disapproval of all this media folly, which is certainly not helping Amanda’s case in court (which is where she will be judged on appeal).

Italy should be having general elections within six months. For the disgraceful content of his book, Mr. Girlanda, as a politician, will soon have to respond to his constituency, which in Umbria are not exactly sympathetic to Amanda Knox.

PS: Steve Moore said that he’s “not going to gain anything out of this. I’m not going to write a book. Anybody who gains off of this has some answering to do”. And he adds “I cannot imagine somebody who gets a book deal or a movie deal over this”. Does Mr. Girlanda approve this message?

Posted on 10/26/10 at 12:46 PM by Cesare BeccariaClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas teamMore hoaxers
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rocco Girlanda’s Strutting Manic Grinning Intrusion Seems A Major Danger To Sollecito/Knox Harmony

Posted by Peter Quennell


We will be having several posts on this whole new development.

They will go further than what is published into the politics (as Girlanda is a politician), and the law.(as Girlanda may be subject to reprimand, and legally liable if his intrusion weakens Knox in any way).

We have been observing during the legal process of the past two years a series of what our psychologists believe are minor sexual deviancies or perversions all masquerading as the Amanda Knox White Knights. None of them ever really help Amanda Knox, and all of them heap hurt on Meredith’s friends and her for-ever-suffering family.

The professional psychological take across the board seems to be that if Curt Knox and Edda Mellas take the notion of kind parenting seriously, they would certainly allow no more of these damaging posturing phonies - each with an agenda they cannot possibly fulfill - within 100 miles of their daughter at this time.

Amanda Knox is clearly somewhat emotionally fragile, and she will have a very tough time getting through her trial for slander and then her appeal. There is in fact very little wiggle room for the defenses within the very tough constraints set by Judge Massei.

The defenses have a tough enough time of it already. They don’t need these deviant White Knights repeatedly trying to leap to the front of the parade. We now have the ugly smirking intrusion of Rocco Girlanda, yet another one intent on buoying Knox up to think she is some sort of goddess on the point of stepping out into an adoring world. And he, Mighty Rocco Girlanda, is her savior.

And for what? For Amanda to then come crashing back down at her next hearing, or back in the grim environment of her cell. Lift her up, crash her down. Lift her up, crash her down. Lift her up, crash her down.

Way to make Amanda Knox a basket case for life. She could even become completely catatonic.

And then what, Mr Girlanda? Would THAT be good for your career?

For the sake of Knox’s threatened remaining sanity, her parents should put in place some serious expectations management. Dont believe us? Ask ANY good psychologist and they will tell Knox’s parents the same thing. She does NOT need all these phony promises - where everybody else gets rich and famous. And she lingers on in her cell.

And after the damage he has already done, Rocco Girlanda should make a point of going far away. And if he doesnt, his wife and five children should make him.

Posted on 10/20/10 at 11:41 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas teamMore hoaxers
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Today In Perugia: Another Sign of Extreme Nervousness In The Knox-Mellas Camp?

Posted by True North



[above: successful former prosecutor and respected judge Claudia Matteini]

Edda Mellas and Curt Knox were expected to show up for their day in court today. But they didn’t.

Presumably their lawyers warned them in advance that Judge Matteini’s ruling on whether there is to be a libel trial would be going against them. Perhaps not one of the most perfect press-conference moments when loose tongues already seem to have got them in hot water. 

Their defamation trial hearing was postponed by Judge Carla Giangamboni to 15 February. This is today’s court report from the Italian news service AGI.

Five police officers from the Perugia Flying Squad have launched a civil party libel action suit against the parents of Amanda Knox.

Curt Knox and Edda Mellas were not in attendance for this morning’s hearing which has been postponed to February 15.  Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, who are divorced and remarried, have always stood together in defense of their daughter.

They are accused of defaming the officers of the Perugia Flying Squad in an interview made to the Sunday Times in June 2008, in which among other things, they claimed that Amanda had been interrogated for 9 hours without the aid of an interpreter, was kept without food and drink,  and that she was threatened and hit on the back of her head.

Meanwhile on November 24 the appeal hearing will commence in the Court of Appeal in Assize for the two former lovers, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito who were sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

Posted on 10/19/10 at 11:04 AM by True NorthClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas team
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Friday, October 15, 2010

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

Posted by Peter Quennell


Things seem to be getting increasingly tough for Amanda Knox.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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


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

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

Posted by The Machine




1. The Chronic Chest-Thumper

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

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

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

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


2. Moore Adrift On Hard Facts

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

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

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

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

3. Ten Of The Oft Repeated Lies By Moore


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Steve Moore has made this claim on a number of occasions

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Verdict On Steve Moore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, October 09, 2010

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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

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

Such a vibrant city. Such an enviable life.

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

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: British actor Colin Firth]

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

That looks to us like a compelling focus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OKay. Let us see here.

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

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

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

Could he do that? Really? .

[Below: British director Michael Winterbottom]

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

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

Overview Of This Post

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

1) On Judge Sergio Matteini Chiari

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

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

2) On the RS & AK appeal

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

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

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

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

3) On possible outcomes from the appeal

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

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

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

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

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

4) On Amanda Knox’s slander trial

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 10/01/10 at 12:44 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Appeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+The wider contextsSeattle contextKnox-Mellas teamSollecito team
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Knox Slander Hearing Adjourned: Her Lawyers Make It Sound Like She Might Crack - Too Late?

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

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

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

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

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

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

And here is another report from another of her lawyers.

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 10/01/10 at 11:54 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe defensesNews media & moviesMovies on caseAmanda KnoxMore hoaxers
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Knox Calunnia Hearing: Amanda Knox Enters Court Via The Underground Entrance

Posted by Peter Quennell


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 10/01/10 at 09:18 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxThe officially involvedOther legal processesKnox followupKnox-Mellas team
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