Friday, October 21, 2011
Who Is Behind Repeated Attempts To Make False Claims Of Kercher Suit Against Knox Go Viral?
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Jeanne Sager tweeted and posted “Delusional Kerchers Think Amanda Knox Owes Them $12 Million”]
Is somebody trying very hard to juice the fast-ebbing sympathy for Amanda Knox? Who after three weeks has still not started to explain?
The UK’s Sun (see Google hit below) seems to have been the first to swallow and publish the malicious claim about the Kerchers. Quickly yanked. The UK’s Daily Mail ran a similar report on the malicious claim on the same day. Quickly yanked.
Several other second-tier media websites ran the false story very briefly, and then they yanked it.
Oblivious, the hack reporter Jeanne Sager of The Stir put the malicious claim on steroids with her post “Delusional Kerchers Think Amanda Knox Owes Them $12 Million”. She added some shrill ugly opinions of her own.
It was finally yanked along with hundreds of hate comments Jeanne Sager had managed to provoke.
The Christian Post’s corrections page is here. Both posts have Facebook commenting open below.
Archived in Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets, The many hoaxes
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Thursday, October 20, 2011
The President Of The Italian Republic Lights A Small Fire Under The Prime Minister
Posted by Peter Quennell
[This post was edited Friday to replace an image with this new video report from Rome]
As they are from separate parties, etcetera, etcetera, they are known to not see eye-to-eye.
We posted here on one role of President Giorgio Napolitano. The ultimate enforcer of the Italian constitution with special reference to the justice system.
On the whole he sides with Cassation and with victims and against political meddling. .
He is also entitled to speak out on Italian politics and the management of the economy. The prime minister seems to be moving on the lines his European partners and global markets would like - but only verrry slowly because of his sea of political and legal troubles.
The president has just drawn attention to this. See this video and report from the BBC.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has expressed his frustration at his government’s failure to cope with the country’s worsening debt crisis.
Despite pressure from Italian business and the European Central Bank, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has repeatedly delayed announcing measures to stimulate economic growth.
Speaking ahead of an EU summit, Mr Napolitano said the government had a responsibility to end the delays and take decisive action.
One of a bunch of monkeys has just been lifted off Mr Belusconi’s back. The New York Times reports that a Milan judge has decided not to indict him for tax fraud.
That leaves “only” three pending trials in Milan and his party’s battle with the legal system (which most Italians respect more than any other public institution) is not likely to cool any time soon, even if it is not the most popular or saintly of wars.
Mr Berlusconi takes quite a whack in a polemical new book The Liberty of Servants: Berlusconi’s Italy by the Italian writer Maurizio Viroli . The American monthly Foreign Affairs has an extended excerpt.
Global stockmarkets are already awarding the pending Italian economic measures a small plus. In the stock chart below (set for one year) the red line is the American index (average), the green line is the German index, and the blue line is the Italian index.
Click for a larger image. You can see the Italian uptick in the past several weeks. If you want to follow this chart dynamically in future, save this Yahoo Charts link. You can adjust the time period to suit you.
Italian stocks do remain down 60% from this time three years ago. That could change fast if the current measures work. On global stockmarkets Italy often outperforms Germany and Japan.
Archived in Officially involved, The wider contexts, Italian context
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011
An Open Letter to Steve Moore From His Second Cousin
Posted by Jeff Friend
[Above: Steve Moore’s presentation at Seattle U in April; Candace Dempsey faces the wrong way]
I posted the following letter on Perugia Murder Files upon learning that the former FBI agent named Steve Moore was indeed the same person as my cousin Steve Moore.
I had only been vaguely aware of an FBI supporter of Knox’s until reading recently about Michelle Moore’s incident with Prosecutor Mignini in the courtroom in Perugia. Through tracking down common relatives on Facebook, I was able to confirm that Knox supporter Steve Moore was indeed my relative.
It’s my fear that Steve and Michelle have staked out such an extreme position (with accompanying behavior) even in light of Knox’s acquittal, that their actions will lead to disaster for themselves and/or others.
I could not communicate directly with him as his Facebook page is locked down tight. It’s my hope, that by communicating publicly, the combatants on this one issue can be reminded that their opponents remain human beings in search of justice and should be treated accordingly.
Let me introduce myself. I’m your second cousin. Your grandmother Thelma Lodwig Moore was my great aunt. You can take a day to investigate my real identity! LOL Just teasing. I’ll help you out by putting my name on this for you at the bottom. (Though my guess is that you’d have to ask Gwen or Don or Kathy or Bill or Mark or Lynn or Debbie or Donna or your parents to verify my relational status as I actually don’t expect you to recognize my name.)
First of all, I want to say that I have no intention of disparaging you or debating Amanda Knox’s guilt or innocence. As my reaction to her freedom is quite the opposite to yours…well, if we ever meet up at a family reunion (as if that would ever happen) we’d just have to agree not to discuss the topic. I also have no intention of including Michelle in this letter outside of two public incidents that concern me.
Secondly, let me just answer the question you might have right now which is most likely, “What the hell?”
Though I’m not a close relative, I have to say that I am concerned about you.
I skimmed your blog and, well, let me quote you:
For this to happen, though, pompous prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, forensic perjurer Patrizia Stefanoni, and mind-reading detective Edgardo Giobbi (and others), must be prosecuted for their corruption. The judge who rubber-stamped the lies in the first trial, Massei, must also be called to the bar of justice—or back to law school. That is what will occupy some of my time for the next few years, I’m sure.
You are going to spend years working towards vengeance on people who were most likely just doing their jobs? (Classy name calling there too.)
Combining this with Michelle’s action toward Mignini in a foreign country’s court, I have to wonder what’s going on in your guys’ heads.
Not only that, but when Doug Bremner accuses the people of this site of “pedophilic grooming” Michelle cheers him on.
Is this how Christians love their enemies? It might be a stretch but it’s weird to think that my cousin’s wife was cheering someone calling me a pedophile.
It’s ok if you think Amanda is innocent, but you seem bent on a path to destroy people and are engaging in just as much mudslinging as anyone else. I honestly thought your side of the family was better than that.
(It’s really the thought of you going after innocent people that spurred me to write this.)
I understand that you’re upset that Amanda lost “four years of her life”. However, she was convicted of falsely accusing her boss of the murder. So, we’re talking only one year extra that she had to serve. My question is this: With all that you must have encountered as an FBI agent, why would you choose this one individual as your cause? There was no other social ill or issue as important? She trumps Troy Davis who was most likely innocent and EXECUTED by the state of Georgia?
It’s my hope that you would expand the use of your skills for something more than helping one middle-class white girl. (I also hope that the answer to those questions above isn’t “It doesn’t matter! I got a book deal!” )
If you’re wondering how I wound up here on PMF, let me state that nobody tracked me down or initiated with me. You see, I’ve been reading up on this case from day 1. I don’t claim to be an expert and I haven’t read the Massei report (though I am on page 60 and will read the appellate report as well.)
But as I’ve followed this case I’ve felt the need to filter out certain biases in the media. These biases would range from “Foxy Knoxy is depraved! See the photo of her with the machine gun! She has sex! She’s guilty!” to “Amanda is an innocent! She went to a birthday party when she was seven! See the photo of her holding a soccer ball!” Filtering out these biases is how I found this site. I’ve always been an advocate for a sober account of the evidence.
This site hosts one of the better discussions in that regard. I haven’t posted here in the past, but enjoy reading some of the discussion here from time to time when there’s a development in the case.
I know Peggy Ganong must be one of your mortal enemies, but I’ve corresponded with her even before I knew you (as my cousin) were involved in this. I don’t know what’s all passed between the both of you (though I do know that there was an inference about white supremacist groups that I would disagree with her on your behalf), but from my interaction with her I find her to be an incredibly decent and intelligent person. Not at all who Bruce Fisher and Doug Bremner describe.
In my mind, if they can be so wrong about Peggy, then I worry about what else they can be so wrong about and what they’ve gotten you involved in.
I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here in that I’m hoping you’re sincerely fighting for someone you truly feel is innocent.
But if this is just a way to get on TV?
Then don’t call me for that family reunion.
Archived in Diversion efforts by, Steve Moore
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Monday, October 17, 2011
PM Berlusconi Survives Italian Vote Of No Confidence: Did The Perugia Appeal Outcome Help?
Posted by Peter Quennell
Even some opposition MPS’s voted for Mr Berlusconi last Friday.
They consider him the only leader right now that might pull Italy out of the economic soup. His popularity polling was already down below 30% and his party’s position in the parliament very weak.
Italy and the other so-called PIIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) have all amassed public debt that exceeds what those economies now produce in one year. (So has the United States. Right now, its national debt is around $15 trillion and its annual GDP about 10% below that.)
Most of that Italian debt was racked up under Mr Berlusconi in the past 10 years when his pro-big-biz policies failed to make the economy grow. (In general big biz adds little value and few jobs. Why Europe and the US and Japan are in the messes they are in.)
Below, you can see the current Rome street reaction which is in effect blaming him for running the economy into the ground and for now make everyone pay. They have a point.
What connection might Mr Berlusconi’s predicament have to the outcome in Perugia? Well, for one thing, it was a small but vital victory for him against the Italian judiciary, with whom he is in the midst of a white hot war. It may well have helped him to survive that vote.
From a very good report by Alessandro Speciale.
Recently, the prime minister’s assault on the courts has taken on renewed urgency. A string of scandals allegedly involving Berlusconi began emerging in the spring of 2009, culminating with the case of Moroccan belly-dancer ‘Ruby the Heart-Stealer’ who has taken part in so-called ‘bunga bunga’ parties at Berlusconi’s villa when she was still underage…
In one wiretapped conversation, he was heard asking Valter Lavitola — a journalist and fixer who took refuge in Bulgaria after Italian police issued an arrest warrant for him — for a ‘suggestion’ on the appointment of the deputy head of the Guardia di Finanza, Italy’s financial police….
“The country is in a critical condition,” warned Emma Marcegaglia, president of Confindustria, the country’s main business association. She urged the government to act “very quickly” or for it to resign….
Despite the urgent nature of the fiscal crisis, Berlusconi has failed to secure a new central bank governor. The outgoing chief of Banca d’Italia, Mario Draghi, will take over the European Central Bank at the end of October. The natural successor for the job, Draghi’s deputy, Fabrizio Saccomanni, has been vetoed by the government’s coalition partners. A weakened Berlusconi stands impotent to overcome the vetoes.
So his remaining allies in the parliament usefully leap in.
Instead of focusing on the fiscal crisis, his allies in Parliament are fighting on behalf of their leader. They’ve been working to curb wiretapping — to thwart the embarrassing leaks to the press – and to make the statute of limitations even shorter. But his majority is now so fractured that even these projects have not progressed. Instead, the prime minister’s troubles have triggered infighting in his government. Lieutenants and would-be-successors are jostling for the spotlight in the event of his downfall.
In a move described by critics as a desperate attempt to protect his boss, Minister of Justice Francesco Nitto Palma has launched an inquiry on the magistrates investigating Berlusconi in Naples and Bari, to make sure they themselves hadn’t breached the law.
MP Rocco Girlanda petitioned the President for an investigation into the Perugia prosecutors, but he did not even get a reply. (The President is no friend of the PM.) Perugia prosecutors are running this national investigation into bribes that Berlusconi’s allies might have taken, and Perugia prosecutors represent perhaps his biggest threat.
Are we suggesting there was a US-Italian conspiracy to spring Sollecito and Knox at the end of the appeal and conveniently make the Perugia prosecutors look fools?
Nah, we really don’t believe in elaborate conspiracies here. But it is amazing what happens at higher levels with just a few winks and nods.
Archived in The wider contexts, Italian context
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Friday, October 14, 2011
John Kercher’s Book “Meredith” To Be Published By The Second Largest Publishing Group In The World
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Above: Giant publisher Hachette Livre’s headquarters is in the 15th Arrondissement of Paris to the right]
London-based publishers Hodder and Stoughton (image below) are an arm of the French publishing giant Hachette Livre.
Editorial director Fenella Bates bought world English rights from Ben Mason at Fox Mason. The book will be published in hardback in April 2012.
Billed as a “celebration of Meredith’s life”, the title is also a father’s story of losing his daughter, and will be the first account of the lives of the Kercher family since her murder four years ago.
Bates said: “Here at Hodder we feel this is an important story that needs to be told. We are privileged that John Kercher has entrusted us with his book, in which he’ll talk for the first time about the case and Meredith’s life.”
John Kercher has had a number of other books published. He completed two books about two two years ago as his literary tributes to Meredith, and his way of conveying her to the world.
We mentioned the other book early this year: The Strange Case of Miss Carla. That book is a collection of children’s tales John created which Meredith loved to hear in her teens.
Her family prefer that proceeds from “Meredith” go toward an Italian remembrance of Meredith which they have not yet defined. They chose this as their goal as Meredith really loved Italy and because Italy is still obviously fascinated with her.
Her case in Italy is always referred to as the Meredith case, not the Amanda Knox case, and her Mediterranean looks, her wide range of talents and accomplishments, her strong sense of purpose, her empathy for other people, and her sense of humor are much admired.
Below: images of the Frankfurt Book Fair, and of the London headquarters of Hodder and Stoughton in Euston Street.
Archived in Concerning Meredith, Her memory, Her family, Officially involved, Victims family, Reporting on the case, Honest reporting
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Thursday, October 13, 2011
Long Lines For Any Amanda Knox Movie? Unlikely - Too Much PR Legacy Taints Her Brand
Posted by lauowolf
The problem is, as has been pointed out, that the PR to date has packaged the product of weeping Edda and her martyred innocent child. There are side excursions into the honor student, the young lovers, and the evil Italians.
And these have been attractive images to the public, providing an easy script for followers. The family was pretty good at staying on script - we’ve all marveled at their ability to seemingly lie themselves blue in order to keep the official story straight.
I won’t say it worked, because I don’t believe the PR effected the outcome of the trial. What it did do was finance itself, Knox’s lawyers, and a lot of travel by her family, as well as turn Knox herself into a closely-watched oddity and tabloid fodder for the rest of her life.
Edda terming the media “a curse” is rich indeed, since without the families’ deliberate choice to go down this road, the whole trial have been an obscure local matter, and with a verdict either way Knox could have held her head up high .
What the PR project has left behind it is another meaningless media hype, up for grabs. Amanda Knox _________ [your product name here].
Knox’s slander conviction and three-year prison term seriously stains things, and limits the options. As does the huge and poisonous ongoing campaign to flame the growing number who think that Meredith has been ill-served. .
It is difficult for them to celebrate the Italian court for getting it right and releasing her, and still argue at the same time that they are Italian and medieval and found “poor her” guilty of slandering an innocent black man.
Especially since that part of things is pretty open and shut.
Besides, even arguing about it opens the door to the rest of what she said in that confession, and they certainly do no want people thinking about her admitting to being at the cottage. The less said of that the better.
So. Does her story have the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster? Probably not.
For one thing, the producer types would have to know that the case is still live. The public won’t be keeping track of that, or at best will be considering it a case of the prosecutor continuing to seek revenge.
But people looking to invest millions of dollars in movies tend to go into all the fine print.
And the looming third trial in 2011 is just the kind of complication they are likely to want to avoid.
And there’s just too much inconvenient information floating around about the story.
Finally, there really isn’t that much “there” there with Amanda Knox herself. What would her storyline be, anyway, and who does it appeal to?
- Is it the story of the young lovers, AK and RS? Nah, AK and RS are not going to complete the story arc for them, so no drama-romance. And you can’t substitute the Seattle boyfriend, because he’d look like a fool.
- Is it the story of Edda, getting her daughter back, a la Not Without My Daughter? Nah, Amanda is getting a bit old for that storyline to work. The PR played out this line in Amanda’s absence, so that it is already stale, and besides, the target audience is wrong. The Lifetime movie worked that thread, and it didn’t really do all that well.
- Is it a story of Amanda suffering, arrested, in prison, on trial? Nah, there really isn’t much filmic going on there. Arrested people end up sitting in rooms, and prison is boring. Even if they wanted to spend a lot of time on AK giving the performance of her life in court, they’d have to deal somehow with the accusations and evidence. And they really, really don’t want to do any of that.
- Is it the story of Amanda herself? Nah, the PR has reduced her to such a little painted doll that there isn’t anything to be done with her. Seriously, weekly mass and the prison choir? Or hanging out with the middle-aged married Italian political type? Who wants to watch a movie of that? They’ve set her up as a frail, pale victim, and it is difficult to create an entire movie focusing on someone being done to, rather than doing.
You can see how they wrestled with the Amanda problem in the works already made or being discussed. The Lifetime movie revolved, emotionally, around Edda’s suffering. The other movie idea that was floated was to feature a reporter-detective (Colin Firth) who uncovers a conspiracy or something in Perugia.
In both of these, Amanda herself is only a McGuffin, an excuse for other people’s emoting, or detecting.
Unless they wanted to portray the REAL Amanda, warts and all? I do think there could be quite a compelling portrayal of the initial behavior, the lying, the family tensions, her downward arc in Perugia, and the final unbelievable acquittal.
Hitchcock could do it - think of Marnie, or Vertigo.
But I can’t see Amanda or her families cooperating with such a project. No, the cashing in will have to be the interviews (QUICKLY) and a book project. They’ll shop around for the best advance and slap something together fast.
But dont expect the movieplexes to be overwhelmed.
Archived in Officially involved, Reporting on the case, Movies on case, Amanda Knox
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Another Prominent US Legal Commentator On The Evidence Points That Simply Won’t Go Away
Posted by Peter Quennell
Now a second prominent TV analyst joins CNN’s Nancy Grace.
Wendy Murphy is controversial, but then, aren’t they all? Like Nancy Grace she is a former prosecutor. This syndicated report is already being carried on 150 media websites.
The evidence still points to Amanda Knox
What’s more galling: Amanda Knox making out with her co-defendant boyfriend hours after Meredith Kercher was stabbed to death, or Amanda Knox crying tears of self-pleasure after being acquitted of murder despite overwhelming evidence of her guilt?
The most horrifying part of this story is the way it proves our collective stupidity. If a guilty criminal spends enough money on public relations, we can be convinced that up is down and a murderer is a national hero….
Here’s a small sample of what Amanda’s obKNOXious cheerleaders don’t want you to know:
Wendy Murphy then summarises four of the evidence points that wont go away. Pesky stuff. Mr Sollecito? Ms Knox?
It seems that lawyers are increasingly not taking kindly to the usurping of the law by P-R.
Added Wednesday afternoon. Wendy Murphy’s article was the subject of a concerted attacked with the usual faux facts on many websites. She came back fighting with this long comment.
Please refrain from posting false information. There is ABUNDANT evidence against Knox and Sollecito.
Guede’s involvement in the murder cannot be questioned. Nor is it in doubt that there were multiple offenders. Guede’s race is irrelevant. That Amanda Knox falsely accused an innocent black man is highly relevant and speaks to her consciounsness of guilt, and her character, as much as her racism. One news report revealed that she once photographed herself in a white supremecist context (claiming it was a joke).
She claimed to make the initial false accusation against an innocent black man (Patrick Lumumba) under stress from police questioning, but when given a chance to clarify her accusation at a later date, she reaffirmed her false claim against him. The man sat in prison for two weeks because of Amanda’s false accusation. She was convicted of lying about police treating her unfairly. One of her lawyers at the first trial told the New York Times her trial was fair.
ONLY THE BRA CLASP WAS ALLEGEDLY ‘CONTAMINATED’ - NOT THE KNIFE
The defense argued that the DNA on a metal bra clasp, which had been severed from the victim’s bra, could have been contaminated when it was moved on the floor, six weeks after the murder, or in the forensic laboratory in Rome. The judge at the trial of Rudy Guede acknowledged that the DNA sample on the clasp was considered small, but described the claim of contamination at the laboratory as making ‘no sense’, since there was no material from which such contamination could have come, and so ‘the risk would have been the LOSS of traces found there, not the risk of somehow discovering new traces’.
The defense has said the knife found at Sollecito’s apartment doesn’t match Kercher’s wounds or an imprint of a knife left on a bedsheet at Kercher’s apartment. They have also said the DNA sample is too small to be conclusive. They also raised speculation that the DNA found on the bra clasp could have been contaminated.
THE DNA EVIDENCE WAS ONLY A SMALL PIECE OF THE MOUNTAIN OF EVIDENCE AGAINST AMANDA KNOX
‘Why do you need to review the forensic evidence when this conviction is based on much more than the knife and the bra clasp?’ Prosecutor Manuela Comodi argued before the court began deliberating.
She then reminded the court that Knox and Sollecito don’t have an alibi for the night of the killing, adding that there was ‘ample’ evidence of a staged break-in.
Kercher’s body was found with her throat cut on November 2, 2007, in the house she shared with Knox in the central Italian city. A knife with a 6-inch blade was later found at Sollecito’s house, bearing traces of Kercher’s DNA on the blade and Knox’s on the handle. The defence teams of both Knox and Sollecito, who pleaded innocent at the weekend, have cast doubt on the DNA findings, saying the samples were too small to prove their provenance. THEY DID NOT CLAIM THE SAMPLES ON THE KNIVES WERE CONTAMINATED. THE DEFENSE ONLY CLAIMED THAT KERCHER’S DNA ON THE BLADE WAS TOO SMALL TO BE A MATCH - BUT EVEN IF YOU BELIEVE THAT - IT IS SIGNIFICANT THAT KERCHER OULD NOT BE RULED OUT!
Guede says he was in the bathroom of the house when he heard Knox and Kercher argue about money [Meredith had several hundred dollars in her room - that went missing - which was likely the motive that sparked the fight] before Kercher screamed and he found her in a pool of blood
FROM THE DAILY BEAST
Forensic scientist Patrizia Stefanoni, who testified as a prosecution witness last spring, wrote too low in English on initial results, assumed to mean that the samples of Kerchers DNA on the alleged murder weapon were only partial strands that needed amplification. [THERE WAS NO DISPUTE THAT AMANDA KNOX’S DNA ON THE HANDLE WAS A LARGE ENOUGH SAMPLE SIZE TO BE MATCHED TO AMANDA KNOX. NOR WAS THERE A DISPUTE THAT THE BLADE HAD BEEN SCRUBBED CLEAN WITH BLEACH AND AN ABRASIVE SUBSTANCE]. Writing too low suggests the expert was copying a reading directly from the machine, while she was continuing to test the sample. The implication, according to the defense, is that Stefanoni then had to amplify the tiny sample found on the blade beyond the protocol to find a match to Kerchers DNA. AMPLIFICATION IS NOT FORENSICALLY INAPPROPRIATE AND IS DONE ALL THE TIME.
Knox and Sollecito were interviewed several times by the police on the day the murder was discovered and the following two days. On 5 November 2007, Knox voluntarily accompanied Sollecito to the police station where he gave a statement, in the course of which he said that he DID NOT KNOW FOR SURE that Knox was with him on the night of the murder. The police then decided to question Knox and began the interview at 23.00 that evening. Knox was interviewed twice during the night of 56 November, firstly by the judicial police and then, later, in the presence of a prosecutor. During these interviews, Knox made statements implicating Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a bar-restaurant named Le Chic, at which she occasionally worked. She said that she had accompanied Lumumba to Kercher’s house and had been in the kitchen and heard screams while Lumumba committed the murder.
Knox was formally arrested later on the morning of 6 November. Some time afterwards she made a written note to the police, explaining that she was confused when she made the earlier statements [IMPLICATING HERSELF], saying ‘I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion’. However, she still seemed to incriminate Lumumba, saying: ‘I stand by my statements that I made last night about events that could have taken place in my home with Patrick [Lumumba], but I want to make very clear that these events seem more unreal to me that what I said before, that I stayed at Raffaele’s house.’ She went on to say ‘I see Patrick as the murderer, but the way the truth feels in my mind, there is no way for me to have known because I don’t remember FOR SURE if I was at my house that night.’
Lumumba was arrested on 6 November 2007 as a result of Knox’s statements. He was detained for two weeks until the arrest of Guede. Initially doubts about his alibi were reported in the press, but ultimately he was completely exonerated.
Knox’s DNA was found on two of the knives kept in Sollecito’s kitchen drawer for cooking, and a small amount of Kercher’s DNA was found on one of the two. At trial, the defence countered that Knox’s DNA would normally be on the knife because she used knives for cooking at Sollecito’s apartment. The defence also challenged the Kercher DNA sample as being too small to be reliable. Knox and Sollecito’s defence teams also asserted that this knife was not the lethal weapon because it did not match two of the three wounds and tested negative for blood. However, a forensic evidence expert for the prosecution testified that it was compatible with one of the wounds on Kercher’s neck, but that two other wounds might have been inflicted by a different weapon;
Mixed samples of Knox’s DNA and Kercher’s blood were found in the apartment, including in the bathroom sink and in Filomena Romanelli’s room. The defence argued that Knox’s DNA should be expected to be present there in the ordinary course of her use of the apartment and bathroom as a resident of the cottage - BUT KNOX HERSELF MADE STATEMENTS TO POLICE CONCEDING THERE WAS NO REASON FOR HER DNA TO BE MIXED WITH THE VICTIM’S BLOOD IN SO MANY LOCATIONS IN THE APARTMENT. KNOX HAD LIVED THERE FOR ONLY A FEW SHORT WEEKS BEFORE THE MURDER.
AN IMPORTANT PIECE FROM THE SEATTLE TIMES ABOUT PRO-KNOX POLITICAL INFLUENCE/POSSIBLE CORRUPTION
Archived in Reporting on the case, Honest reporting
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Excellent Sunday Times Report On The Many Killer Questions The Second Appeal Next Year Might Answer
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Rome: St Peter’s and Vatican in foreground; Supreme Court large white building in right background by River Tiber]
It really ain’t over until it’s over, and knowing the hyper-cautious Italian justice system, maybe not even then.
Now the drama moves to Rome.
Before any verdict and sentence in the case can become final, under Italian law and the constitution the verdict and sentence must be endorsed by the Supreme Court of Cassation.
If either the prosecution or defenses demand that issues be looked at by Cassation (as we know, the prosecution will) Cassation will do so, and it may punt the case back down to the first appeal court to re-examine questions or even run a complete re-trial at first appeal level.
At Cassation level the prosecution is likely to have at least five advantages.
- 1) A confusing Hellman sentence report seems likely which won’t be able to dispose of the Massei and Micheli reports because the Hellman court did not re-examine all issues
2) Cassation’s ruling on the final appeal of Rudy Guede which points to three perps, and Cassation’s general tendency to side with trial courts against first-appeal courts.
3) The likelihood that only the prosecution will file issues for consideration by Cassation and not the defenses and so the prosecution will dominate all proceedings.
4) Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and entourages seem unlikely to be there in person for the Cassation hearings or a retrial, and emotive factors would be less in play.
5) The Italian media and Italian public opinion and increasingly UK and US opinion seem to be taking the position that the Hellman appeal decision was unsatisfactory.
Two days ago, the Sunday Times ran this fine analysis below by their reporter on the case, John Follain, of the open issues that will be facing Cassation and possibly again facing the lower appeal court.
With a dozen books out John Follain has by far the largest and most impressive book publishing record of any reporter on the case.
Publishers Hodder and Stoughton have announced that his book Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher Case will be released first in the UK later this month - on 25 October.
KILLER QUESTIONS; The acquittal last week of Amanda Knox only deepens the confusion surrounding the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher. John Follain, who has investigated the case for four years, unpicks the evidence How could one man pin Meredith down and inflict those injuries?
By John Follain in Perugia.
They may have been coached to hide their true feelings, but the expressions of the judges and jurors were an open book. Surprise and shock registered on the faces of the appeal tribunal in Perugia as they watched a video taken by the forensic police who searched the whitewashed cottage where Meredith Kercher was murdered.
That summer’s day in the medieval, vaulted Hall of Frescoes was the pivotal scene of the 10-month appeal trial of Amanda Knox, 24, and Raffaele Sollecito, 26 — the moment that freedom suddenly became possible, if not probable, for the former lovers.
The rotund, bespectacled Stefano Conti, one of two specialists in forensic medicine appointed by the court to review two crucial traces of DNA evidence, gave a sardonic running commentary on the behaviour of the Roman scientific squad searching for clues in the cottage. They failed to use clean protective gloves to handle each item of evidence or biological sample, Conti pointed out. They passed Meredith’s bra clasp to one another before placing it back on the floor where they had found it. The officer who picked up her bra wore no gloves at all.
As the senior appeal judge, Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, recalled last week after acquitting Knox and Sollecito of sexually abusing and murdering Meredith, the DNA review was “the most difficult moment” of the trial.
“The prosecutors understood that their case was at risk, and it was at that moment that the trial became a battle with no holds barred,” he said.
The courtroom fight over this international cause célèbre ended with a sobbing Knox being rushed out by guards and flown home to a heroine’s welcome in Seattle.
But, far from resolving the mystery of how and why Meredith died, the acquittal has fuelled the unanswered questions over her fate. Are we “back to square one”, as Meredith’s brother Lyle said after the verdict? What are the mysteries still to be resolved? And will we ever know what truly happened? MEREDITH, a 21-year-old language student from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found lying virtually naked, her throat cut, in her bedroom in the house she shared with Knox and two other young women on the afternoon of November 2, 2007. “Case closed,” an overoptimistic police chief proclaimed just four days later.
The investigators thought Knox had handed them the keys to the mystery. Under questioning she placed herself at the crime scene on the night before the body was found. She had been in the kitchen, with her hands over her ears, she said, while Patrick Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner for whom she worked as a waitress, killed Meredith.
Police promptly arrested Lumumba, Knox and her boyfriend. But Knox later went back on her testimony, insisting she had been with Sollecito at his flat all night.
Investigators were forced to release Lumumba after witnesses testified he had been working at his bar on the night of the murder. Knox and Sollecito stayed behind bars.
Forensic evidence then prompted the arrest of another African immigrant, Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast drifter. Part of his palm print was on a cushion under Meredith’s body, his DNA was in her body where he had apparently groped her sexually, and his DNA was mixed with hers in drops of blood inside her shoulder bag.
The prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, accused Guede, Knox and Sollecito of killing Meredith when she resisted their attempts to force her into a sex game.
Certainly, there appeared to be compelling evidence that Knox was lying. She had tried to frame Lumumba. The defence now claimed that an intruder had broken into the cottage and attacked Meredith; but the break-in had clearly been staged. Amateurishly, a room had been ransacked before the window into it was smashed — the glass lay over the strewn clothes instead of under them. Was this to cover Knox’s tracks? There were mixed traces of Knox’s and Meredith’s blood in the bathroom and another room. Bloody footprints had been left by Knox and Sollecito in the bathroom and in the corridor. Knox had behaved bizarrely at the police station after the murder, kissing and caressing Sollecito and doing yoga exercises. Sollecito had said he spent much of the murder night on his computer, but this was disproved by experts.
Still, this was all circumstantial evidence rather than proof. The Rome forensic police came to the rescue of the prosecution team. They reported that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of a kitchen knife found at Sollecito’s flat — and Knox’s was on the handle. This was believed to be one of the murder weapons.
Forensic pathologists said Meredith’s wounds had been caused by two knives, pointing to more than one killer. The team from Rome also reported that Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp. (Only much later would it emerge that the police had retrieved this from the bedroom floor a full 46 days after first spotting it.) The case rapidly became a sensation. The prime suspect was an intelligent and alluringly pretty American, only 20 at the time, who, reporters joyously discovered, had been nicknamed “Foxy Knoxy” back home in Seattle. That this was for her skills on the soccer pitch was lost in the rush to find out more.
Dozens of witnesses and expert consultants passed through Perugia’s Hall of Frescoes during the first trial, which lasted for much of 2009.
Knox was portrayed by the lawyer for the bar owner, Lumumba, as an unscrupulous and manipulative she-devil, and by her defence team as “a wholesome girl” wrongly accused.
The prosecution case was that Kercher, a hard-working young woman from a modest background, had become exasperated by Knox’s slovenly and promiscuous behaviour as a housemate.
She had remarked to her father that “Amanda arrived only a week ago and she already has a boyfriend”. She told friends that Knox left a vibrator and condoms in the bathroom and brought “strange men” to the cottage. Investigators leaked Knox’s diary, in which she had listed seven sexual partners, three of whom she had slept with after her arrival in Italy, including a man she had met on the train on her way to Perugia. On Facebook she had put down as her interests: “Men.” Unable to prove exactly what had happened on the night of the murder, Mignini offered a plausible scenario based on Meredith’s 43 knife wounds and bruises.
He suggested that an argument between Meredith and Knox escalated when Guede and Sollecito joined the American “under the influence of drugs and maybe of alcohol” in trying to force Kercher into a heavy sex game that ended in murder. The sensational 11-month trial ended in guilty verdicts and jail sentences of 26 years for Knox and 25 years for Sollecito.
Some months later, in August 2010, I met Knox briefly in Capanne women’s prison, which is a short drive from Perugia. She had cut her hair and looked younger and more frail than during her trial. She wore a red Beatles sweatshirt, black leggings and silver nail varnish.
When I arrived, she was pushing a trolley down a corridor.
A guard explained that her job was to collect orders from other prisoners for small goods they could buy: newspapers, cigarettes, coffee, magazines and — at that time of year — strawberries. We were allowed to talk for only a few moments, but a guard told me: “She’s pretty well. Amanda’s confident that the future will bring freedom for her. She doesn’t break down in tears. It’s nothing like the night of tears after the verdict, when we had to comfort her.”
I was told she had been reading — in Italian — the 427-page summary by the two judges at her trial, who had dissected the inconsistencies in her evidence.
This summary included the judges’ own reconstruction of what might have happened on the night of the murder, based on the evidence that had been put before them.
They suggested that Knox, Sollecito and Guede had arrived at the cottage at about 11pm. Knox and her boyfriend had gone to her bedroom to have sex, and, excited by a situation “heavy with sexual stimulus”, Guede had walked into Kercher’s room wanting to have sex with her.
Kercher rejected him — she was tired, and had a new boyfriend anyway — but Knox and Sollecito intervened to assist him. According to the judges, they were probably drugged on hashish and seeking “erotic sexual violence”. Forcing Kercher to yield to Guede was a “special thrill that had to be tried out”.
They suggested Sollecito cut Meredith’s bra with a small knife he always carried — collecting knives was a hobby. As Guede sexually assaulted Kercher with his fingers, Sollecito stabbed her in the neck. Kercher screamed — a neighbour heard her — and Knox stabbed her in the throat with a kitchen knife, the judges argued. She took several minutes to die as she inhaled her own blood.
THAT was the lurid and damning case that Knox had to fight when she returned to the Hall of Frescoes last November for her appeal.
Her demeanour had changed. Gone was smiling and self-confident “Foxy”, whose manner may have helped secure her conviction. After three years in prison, Knox was much more demure.
The appeal hearing began auspiciously for her when the deputy judge remarked: “The only certain and undisputed fact is the death of Meredith Kercher.”
The comment prompted prosecutors to complain that the court had already made up its mind, but it was a portent of what was about to be revealed.
The appeal court’s decision to grant a defence request for an independent review of two items of DNA evidence — the kitchen knife and the bra clasp — proved devastating for the prosecution’s case.
The two experts — Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, from La Sapienza University in Rome — said the DNA trace on the knife blade could not be attributed to Meredith because it was too slight. They said Sollecito’s Y chromosome was on the bra clasp, but it could have been the result of contamination by police mishandling of the evidence. From then on, the prosecutors fought a losing battle to discredit Conti and Vecchiotti.
Outside the courtroom the Knox camp’s media offensive exploited the experts’ conclusions.
Knox’s family — her mother, father, stepfather and friends — had come well primed for battle. Homes had been remortgaged and funds raised.
With the help of a PR company in Seattle, they dominated prime-time shows on the leading American TV networks, dramatically influencing public opinion there — so much so that the prosecutor Mignini thundered in court that he had never seen a convict hire a PR firm to prove her innocence.
Mignini himself was a key target. In what appeared to have been a turf battle with prosecutors in Florence, he had been given a suspended 16-month prison sentence for abuse of office after tapping the phones of police officers and journalists in a separate investigation into a serial killer. It was a reflection of the fragmented and politicised condition of the Italian justice system.
The prosecutors tried but failed to switch the focus away from the forensic evidence by introducing Guede, the third party to the murder. He had been prosecuted separately because he had opted for a “fast track” trial that offers a lighter sentence as an incentive. Jailed for 16 years for murder, he had appealed to the Supreme Court in Rome — Italy’s highest court — which confirmed his conviction, ruling that Guede had sexually abused and murdered Kercher with “unidentified accomplices”.
This was an insight into the mystifying processes of Italian law. How could justice be served by trying Guede separately? Why had he not been brought to give evidence at the first Knox trial? Why were his accomplices “unidentified” when Knox and Sollecito had been convicted of joining him in the murder? The answers lay in the fact that his supreme court appeal started just after Knox’s appeal began in Perugia — and the two cases overlapped, a bizarre way of seeking out the truth.
Once Guede’s Supreme Court appeal had been dismissed he was summoned to the witness box in Perugia, where his contribution was damning yet so limited that it did not sway the judges and jury.
Rather than taking him through the events of the killing, Mignini read out a letter in which Guede had written of “the horrible murder of a ... wonderful girl by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox”. Challenged by one of Knox’s lawyers, Guede stood by the letter, saying: “It’s not as if there is my truth, and the truth of Tom, Dick and Harry. What there is is the truth of what I lived through that night, full stop.”
A lawyer for the Kerchers detailed the injuries Meredith suffered, arguing it would have been impossible for Guede to hold her down, sexually assault her, try to suffocate her, try to strangle her and wound her with more than one knife.
But it was too late. The appeal panel of judges and jurors had made up their minds. A juror confided after the “not guilty” verdicts had been delivered that the court had decided to acquit because of doubts over the forensic evidence, and because it saw no motive for the murder.
Pratillo Hellman explained: “To convict, the penal code says you have to be persuaded beyond every reasonable doubt. The smallest doubt is enough to not condemn.”
But he added enigmatically: “Maybe Knox and Sollecito know what happened that night, because our acquittal verdict stems from the truth which was established in the trial. But the real truth can be different. They may be responsible, but there isn’t the evidence… So, perhaps they too know what happened that night, but that’s not our conclusion.”
The judge’s comments earned him a new nickname, which investigators texted to each other delightedly: “Pontius Pratillo”, after Pontius Pilate, who washed his hands of responsibility for the execution of Jesus Christ.
The prosecution scored one potentially significant victory. The court found Knox guilty of slandering the former bar owner Lumumba by initially claiming he had killed Kercher. It sentenced her to three years in prison, but released her as she had spent almost four years behind bars.
“That’s absurd, absurd,” Mignini fumed. “Knox accused Lumumba to throw the police off her tracks. Why else would she accuse him?” IN PERUGIA, at least, the prosecution can count on overwhelming backing. After the verdict, a crowd several thousand strong massed outside the courts, amid jeers at defence lawyers and chants of “Assassini, assassini!” (murderers, murderers) and “Vergogna, vergogna!” (shame, shame). In bars across the picturesque city, and on the main cobbled street, Corso Vannucci, many dissected the case for days afterwards — the consensus was that Knox and Sollecito were at the cottage when Meredith died, but no one agreed on what role they played.
For the Kercher family no outcome could have been more bewildering. As Knox flew home, Meredith’s mother Arline, her brother Lyle and her sister Stephanie spoke to me.
“It almost raises more questions than there are answers now,” Lyle said, “because the initial decision was that [the murder] wasn’t done by one person but by more than that. Two have been released, one remains in jail, so we’re now left questioning: who are these other people or person?” Did they believe that Knox and Sollecito were guilty? “In a way we have to believe what the police say because they are the ones compiling the evidence,” Arline replied. “We haven’t a clue. I think that’s what he was saying. It’s the police — it’s their job.”
“It’s difficult for anybody to make a valid opinion on any case, not just this one, unless you’re a trained expert,” Lyle echoed. “There are forensics, detectives, psychological profilers and so on, who are trained to do this and read the information and draw the hypotheses from that, which of course no lay person really is. So if that’s the conclusion they come to, then we’re happy to stand by that.”
“We have to accept, don’t we, just like now we have to accept this,” Arline said.
“And that’s why it’s so disappointing, because we don’t know,” Stephanie added.
It is not over for the Kerchers.
Last week’s acquittal is far from the last word on the case. The judges have 90 days to draft a report explaining the reasons for the verdict. Then the prosecution and the defence will have a further 45 days to lodge a new and last appeal. Only rulings by the Supreme Court are considered definitive in Italian justice.
Guede’s lawyers said he would appeal for a new trial if the Supreme Court confirmed Knox’s acquittal — on the grounds that it would contradict the Ivorian’s conviction for killing Meredith alongside unidentified accomplices. “So I’m supposed to be Meredith’s only assassin?” Guede is reported to have told a prison visitor. “I’m supposed to have struck that poor girl with a knife 40 times? I confessed my responsibilities and I accused those who were in the house with me.
“I’m in prison, and the others are free and happy at home. If it wasn’t them in the house that damned evening, who are the other accomplices supposed to be? The money made available to Amanda and the media strategy helped to free her.”
Many investigators and lawyers admit privately that the Italian judicial system may simply never come up with a full and convincing explanation of Meredith’s death.
Italian justice is agonisingly slow. Judges and lawyers attend several trials in the same week, with the result that the appeal trial saw 20 days of hearings over no fewer than 10 months. It is also full of safeguards for defendants, including long preliminary hearings enshrined in the post-war constitution to eradicate the caricature of justice delivered by the courts under Mussolini.
Many of the most notorious cases in Italy’s post-war history have yet to be resolved in court. Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire prime minister, is embroiled in a string of corruption, fraud and sex offence investigations and trials, and claims that leftist prosecutors are plotting to oust him.
This week Berlusconi will push through parliament a bill banning publication of phone and other intercepts before a case reaches trial — a measure that has become a priority for him, as investigators are expected to release within a few weeks dozens of intercepts of reportedly embarrassing conversations between Berlusconi and a convicted drug dealer.
In such a climate Italian justice itself is on trial. The truth of what happened to Meredith Kercher may emerge one day, but it’s no safe bet that it will do so in an Italian court of law.
Archived in Public evidence, The two knives, Crime hypotheses, Reporting on the case, Honest reporting
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Monday, October 10, 2011
Media Starting To Take A Closer Look At The Knox PR Shills, Starting Out With Nina Burleigh
Posted by Skeptical Bystander
In the news media’s frenzy surrounding an Italian court’s decision last week to free Amanda Knox, the American exchange student convicted of killing her roommate in Perugia, the journalist Nina Burleigh was a near-constant television presence. Her face looped in and out of shows like “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “20/20” and “Anderson Cooper 360.” She made appearances on NPR, the BBC and MSNBC.
With her emphatic defense of Ms. Knox (criticizing the “appalling” treatment of her by the Italian courts and news media, insisting “the evidence didn’t exist,” that the “jury rubber-stamped a conviction”), Ms. Burleigh seemed at times to move from journalist to advocate, treading what she knew, as a longtime reporter and author, was a dangerous line.
Nina Burleigh has certainly had a busy, busy week - playing advocate for Amanda Knox, plugging Burleigh’s own book on the case, and helping CBS sell the first of many (many more than anyone wants to see) pre-packaged Knox pieces that dutifully toe the Marriott Party line.
Those looking for facts are advised to watch major league baseball on Sunday night.
Burleigh found herself facing a dilemma before she penned the first paragraph of her book: Team Marriott, firmly in place by then, would only allow access to advocacy journalists. So Burleigh took that path, a disastrous one for everything but television exposure and perhaps book sales.
Burleigh jumped on board late, does not speak Italian, attended only a handful of trial sessions, and even got the birthdate of the victim, Meredith Kercher, wrong. Worse, she used the Knox’s friendly translator as her interpreter! That trail is a loop that leads to a predictable place.
For authors claiming to be journalists, this excellent NY Times piece should serve as a warning: Advocacy is not journalism. It leads to conflict of interest and turns journalists into shills. And this is bad for all of us.
This book should be on the bedside table of anyone who aspires to be a journalist.
Archived in Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets, Reporting on the case, Dishonest reporting
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Sunday, October 09, 2011
“Wrong To Capitalise On Any Murder. Not Just For Us, But For Anyone”
Posted by Peter Quennell
Helen Weathers reports on a face-to-face interview with Meredith’s father John in the Daily Mail.
On John’s memories of Meredith which haunt him daily:
‘Meredith was extremely intelligent and humorous as a child. She had an almost adult sense of humour, and was always very thoughtful and considerate — sensitive to other people,’ says John, who was divorced from Meredith’s mother in 1997 after 20 years of marriage.
‘Meredith was very witty. She had quite an original line in humour, what you might call a barbed wit, I suppose, but not hurtful; never hurtful.
‘I remember once coming back from a holiday in Egypt and showing Meredith a photograph of myself wearing a floppy sunhat I’d bought. She took one look and said: “Dad, just tell me you didn’t pay any money for that hat.”’
Amanda Knox cries following the verdict that overturns her conviction and acquits her of murdering her British roomate Meredith Kercher, at the Perugia court in Italy
Like her father, Meredith loved the relaxed Mediterranean way of life. Indeed, her love of Italy started on family holidays to Rimini and continued on school trips and exchanges. John was not surprised when she chose to study Italian and European studies at Leeds University.
‘The irony was that after two years at Leeds she found they’d accidentally put her on a three-year course which would have excluded the year in Italy, so she fought to get put back on the four-year course and get out there,’ says John.
‘She had the choice of going to Rome, Milan or Perugia. While she loved Rome and would have liked Milan, she felt she’d have a better chance of making friends more easily in Perugia than in a large city.
‘Meredith was very excited about going. For the first three days she stayed in a small family-run hotel until she found the cottage. She told me her room was a bit small, but the views were beautiful.’
John last saw his daughter a month before she was murdered. She’d returned to Britain on a flying visit to buy some clothes for the Italian winter and arranged to meet her father for coffee at an Italian restaurant in Croydon.
‘Meredith had bought a new pair of boots which she wanted to show me. I think they were leather with a small heel. And that’s the image of Meredith I want to remember: my daughter smiling, laughing and showing me her new boots.’
On the media speculation about the megabucks that Amanda Knox and her clan could make.
‘I think it would be more sensitive to Meredith’s memory if Amanda Knox maintained a low profile,’ says John, a freelance journalist, in his first in-depth interview.
The Amanda Knox cult insults my Meredith’s memory: Victim’s father says it’s wrong to capitalise on murder in his first interview since the verdict
‘I don’t want to say anything confrontational, but I believe it is wrong to capitalise on any murder. Not just for us, but for anyone.
‘This cult of celebrity is demeaning to Meredith’s memory, disrespectful. I don’t think Amanda Knox has actively sought out celebrity status; I think that has been created for her. But then again, she hasn’t actively rejected it.
‘It is distressing that all this will go on for a long time and that all the focus is going to be on the defendants for some time yet.
And at the shock of the U-turn first appeal verdict
‘I thought the judge might uphold the conviction but possibly reduce their sentences to be more in line with Guede’s — but not this,’ he says.
‘We thought the original evidence would be upheld, so it is a huge shock. You hope the appeal jury is going to recognise what was established in the first trial. In this case, it wasn’t.’
Archived in Officially involved, Victims family, Diversion efforts by, Reporting on the case, Honest reporting, Amanda Knox
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Saturday, October 08, 2011
Another Spotlight on Raffaele Sollecito’s Different Versions of Events
Posted by willsavive
Aside from Knox’s voluntary spontaneous statement to police claiming that she may have been at the home during the murder and heard Meredith screaming while Patrick Lumumba was killing her; Raffaele’s versions of events on the evening of the murder are undeniably the more conspicuous of the two suspects. Perhaps that is why he decided not to testify!
Story # 1
Just two days after the murder, Raffaele Sollecito gave an interview to Kate Mansey of the UK’s Sunday Mirror in which he explained his first version of the events.
“It was a normal night. Meredith had gone out with one of her English friends and Amanda and I went to party with one of my friends.”
Raffaele has never identified this imaginary friend or party since this interview, nor has he ever spoken of this version since.
Raffaele also claims in this interview that Knox was afraid when she noticed that spots of blood in her bathroom, and “she ran back” to his flat in fear. This is quite contrary to what Knox said on the witness stand during trial. From Amanda Knox’s testimony (June 12, 2009):
“At first I thought they had come from my ears. But then when I scratched the drops a bit, I saw they were all dry, and I thought ‘That’s weird. Oh well, I’ll take my shower.’”
After that, she dried her hair, got dressed and calmly returned to Raffaele’s apartment.
And from Amanda Knox’s testimony (June 12, 2009):
“…Then he came out and we made breakfast, and while we were preparing it and drinking coffee, I explained to him what I had seen, and I asked him for advice, because when I went into my house, everything seemed in order, only there were these little weird things, and I couldn’t figure out how to understand them.”
This is hardly the panicked girl that Raffaele described.
A few days after the interview, police intercepted a call between Raffaele and his father. During the call, according to police, Raffaele’s father said to him, “Raffaele, don’t walk about with a knife; if police find it on you who knows what they may think.”
Raffaele responded by saying, “Well, they have already questioned me and they didn’t find it on me, those stupid policemen.” Raffaele was speaking of a small flick-knife that he was known to carry around. This conversation prompted police to call him in for further questioning, which ultimately led to his and Knox’s arrest.
Coincidentally, experts for the defense argued that the Marietti knife that the prosecution offered up as the murder weapon was too big to have caused the wounds on Kercher’s neck, and that a smaller knife, such as a flick-knife probably caused the fatal wound.
Story # 2
Raffaele told police that he and Knox stayed at his flat the entire night of November 1, 2007 (night of the murder).
Story # 3
During his November 5, 2007 interrogation and subsequent arrest, Sollecito wanted to come clean, and he told police that his previous version to them was “un sacco di cazzate” (a load of rubbish).
“In my former statement I told you a load of rubbish because I believed Amanda’s version of what happened and did not think about the inconsistencies.” (The Times, 7 November, 2007).
In this version, he told investigators that he and Knox returned to his flat at approximately 8:30pm, and that Knox left his apartment, while he stayed there, and she returned at around 1:00am. He claimed that he believed that she went to see if she had to work that evening.
This was seemingly an attempt to exonerate himself from any culpability, as Knox had received a text message from her then boss, Patrick Lumumba, at 8:19pm that evening informing Knox that it was slow at the bar and she would not be needed to work that evening.
Story # 4
Some like to point the finger at police and say that they were forceful during their interrogations with Knox and Sollecito and that is why they both changed their stories so much.
However, after his arrest, Raffaele wrote several letters to his father while in prison. One letter to his father explained in detail the version above. This was written under no duress.
In the letter, Raffaele explains to his father that he and Knox had arrived at his flat at about 8 – 8:30pm on the night of the murder. “Amanda had [then] left for work,” he writes, but he could not remember how long she was gone—but he writes that he is “certain” that Knox had stayed with him the “entire night.”
Explaining Amanda to his father in the letters, Raffaele wrote of her:
“She lived her life like a dream, she was detached from reality, she couldn’t distinguish dream from reality. Her life seemed to be pure pleasure; she had a contact with reality that was almost non-existent.”
Then, he shows uncertainty whether or not Knox had committed the murder (or knew something about it) and blatantly calls her a liar…Raffaele writes to his father:
“I try to understand what Amanda’s role was in this event. The Amanda that I know is an Amanda who lives a carefree life. Her only thought is the pursuit of pleasure at all times. But even the thought that she could be a killer is impossible for me. I have read her version of events. Some of the things she said are not true, but I don’t know why she said them.”
Archived in Officially involved
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Friday, October 07, 2011
US And UK Media: Make RS & AK Answer The HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS Of Open Questions
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
It seems Judge Hellman has begun sweating.
Maybe Judge Hellman already sees as much of the Italian public and commentators do that he’ll have a REALLY tough time answering all the open questions in his December sentencing report as he is required to.
Constitutional requirement of Ministry of Justice never met?
That so many questions exist but are not generally even known about, especially in the US and UK, is because a key requirement of the usually very careful Italian justice system seems to have been (illegally) ignored.
The key requirement is built into the justice system by the Italian constitution. It is that trial and appeal sentencing reports MUST be made available to the maximum extent, so that the general public (usually only the Italian public) can readily check on the legitimacy of trial outcomes.
Italy is the only country in the world that has that public check and balance on trials. Under that requirement, if it existed in the US, Barry Scheck of the US’s Innocence Project would likely find that most of the travesties of justice his team uncovers would never have happened in the first place.
Here is how things are meant to work.
Back when the Micheli Report on the Rudy Guede sentence was released in January 2009 with Judge Micheli’s reasons for remitting Knox and Sollecito to trial it was released in THREE formats.
- 1) It was released digitally (in a Word Doc) to the media with the one requirement that it not be posted in full. We translated most of our copy and posted an extensive summary (scroll down) in English in four parts (three by Brian and one by Nikki) in September 2009.
2) It was released in printed document form by the Ministry of Justice in Rome and anyone in Italy could buy a copy.
3) It was also posted on the website of the Ministry of Justice in text and Acrobat document format. It appears that this Internet version was checked out by hundreds of thousands and quite possibly even by millions.
Now when the Ministry of Justice in Rome released the Massei sentencing report for Knox and Sollecito (links at top of this page) in March 2010, they released it in only ONE format.
The Ministry of Justice released it ONLY on paper, and it was obtainable ONLY by the press and by those in the general public who managed to figure out how to buy a copy of the book-sized document from the Ministry.
To our knowledge the Ministry of Justice never ever posted the required Internet version.
The effect of this serious and seemingly illegal shortfall by the Rome Ministry has been that even in Italy few people have ever read the Massei Report. The number of Italian readers might be only in the hundreds and at most in the low thousands. Way, way less than ever read Micheli.
As a result only very few people in Italy may have ever realized how powerful, logically complete and conclusive that report is. Probably few or no peers of the lay judges in Perugia have ever read it. The most important document in the entire case is essentially unread.
In August 2010 a PMF team finished translating the Massei Report and made available the Masssei report in English in Acrobat format on the PMF forum and on TJMK.
In June 2011 Skeptical Bystander and a PMF team posted a Massei summary in text on TJMK and PMF.
This English language version has been downloaded close to 30,000 times and there are many people in the US and UK who are very well informed on the conclusions. Every lawyer we know who has read the report has agreed that it arrived at the right conclusions. Many say and several do right here in these posts (scroll down) that the case would have been way more than enough for a US or UK conviction.
A slam dunk in effect. Evidence overkill.
But few of the busy people in the US and UK media have read the Massei Report and no one in the media to our knowledge has extensively analyzed or quoted from it. None of the books out so far go into the Massei Report in depth.
WHY did the Italian Ministry of Justice fail to fully distribute the Massei Report, and in particular not post it on their website? And is the Supreme Court of Cassation aware of this huge shortfall in its distribution?
This is such a serious mistake that our Italian lawyers believe that the Supreme Court or even the President of the Republic of Italy if he is petitioned could throw out the entire Hellman proceedings, verdict and sentence.
The hundreds and hundreds of open questions
Arising from the Massei Report are literally hundreds of questions for the released defendants and their teams. They have been around since early 2010. The defense teams and PR campaign have never ever tried to answer these questions, or for that matter to produce a convincing alternative scenario that hangs together implicating Guede but not Knox or Sollecito.
Here are four lists of the many, many outstanding questions.
- 1) Kermit posted this list of 150 questions for the prosecutors to put to Amanda Knox halfway through the trial in 2009. Still unanswered.
2) The TJMK Main Posters submitted several hundred questions to the Italian MP Rocco Girlanda in November 2010. Still unanswered.
3) Main Poster and trial lawyer SomeAlibi posted a list of 25 outstanding questions in this post in February 2011. Still unanswered.
4) And now the Daily Beast has reposted its own list of ten questions, none of which it reckons have yet been answered.
Here from the Daily Beast are those ten questions with the Beast’s annotations showing how they are STILL unanswered:
1. Why did you and Raffaele Sollecito turn off your cell phones at the same time the night of Nov. 1, 2007, and on again at the same time the next morning? You told the police that you and Raffaele slept late the morning of Nov. 2, 2007, but phone records show that you both turned your phones back on very early that morning. How could that be? This question was never addressed fully in the appellate process except when Giulia Bongiorno for Sollecito said that perhaps the cat stepped on the phone and turned it on. At that time the prosecutor Manuela Comodi quipped, “I’ve got a dog and he has never done that.”
2. Why were you bleeding? Your lawyers agree with the prosecution’s findings that at least one of the spots of Meredith’s blood found in the house where she was killed had your blood mixed with it. Your mother told me that you had your period. Your stepfather told others that your ear piercings were infected. Which was it? Even if this mixed blood drop is contentious in its genetic makeup (all blood or blood mixed with DNA), the appellate court was shown a picture of a drop of blood attributed entirely to Knox on the faucet.
3. Once you realized your mistake in blaming Patrick Lumumba for Meredith’s murder, why didn’t you tell the authorities? You told your mother that you felt bad about it, so why didn’t you alert an official so Patrick could be set free?
4. Why did you go with Raffaele to the police station on Nov. 5, 2007? You were not called in for questioning. Did you realize at that time that you were both under suspicion?
5. Why weren’t your and Raffaele’s fingerprints found in your house after the murder if the two of you had spent time there that morning and the day before? Only one half-print on a glass in the kitchen has been attributed to you, yet you have claimed that you took a shower there that morning. How did you spend so much time there and leave virtually no trace? Much of the crime scene has since been determined to have suffered from sloppy investigative work, meaning the absence of fingerprints in any room of the house may be due to that rather than any sort of cleanup.
6. Why did you take the mop and bucket from your house over to Raffaele’s house? You told the prosecutor during your testimony in June 2009 that you took the mop and bucket to his house to clean up a leak under his kitchen sink. But by your own testimony, the leak was minuscule and could have been easily cleaned up without it. What were you really doing with the mop?
7. What would you do differently if you had a chance to rewind the clock back to Nov. 3, 2007? Would you go to the memorial service for Meredith? Would you still have gone to the police station with Raffaele? Would you have left for Germany when your aunt asked you to?
8. What do you think happened the night Meredith was killed? You have professed your innocence. Who do you think killed her and under what circumstance? Your supporters say Rudy Guede was the lone killer. Do you agree? Or do you think there are still others out there who were involved in your roommate’s murder?
9. What do you really think of the Italian justice system? You told an Italian parliamentarian that you got a fair trial, and you even thanked the prosecutors for trying to solve the mystery of Meredith’s death, but your supporters at home in Seattle maintain that the Italian system is corrupt and unfair. In your appellate hearing you said you lost faith in justice and the police. Now that you are out, what do you really think of the system that has both convicted and acquitted you?
10. Is there anything you wish you would have said in court during your (initial) trial (in which you were convicted)? You talked about your vibrator and about how you did not want an assassin’s mask forced on you. But in your final appeal after the closing arguments on Dec. 4, 2010, why didn’t you say the words, “I did not kill Meredith Kercher”? Raffaele did when it was his turn to speak. Why didn’t you? You have said on many occasions during the appellate trial that you did not kill her and you have never hurt anyone. This question has been addressed with your denials. What about the rest?
Judge Hellman may be able to answer all of these unanswered questions AS HE MUST under Italian law in his sentencing report. He cannot simply address points defense raised about small parts of it. He must be able to explain the totality of the evidence or his report risks being thrown out by Cassation and a retrial at the first appeal level ordered.
Possibly Judge Hellman might be able to achieve this. But why do we seriously doubt it?
Archived in Crime hypotheses, Reporting on the case, Media news
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Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Nancy Grace’s “Miscarriage Of Justice” Observation Goes Viral, Google Says It’s On 38,000 Sites
Posted by Peter Quennell
Nancy Grace says there is NO innnocent explanation for Knox’s second written confession placing her at the house (with Patrick Lumumba) and including observations that only someone who really was there could have known.
We have noticed that time and again commentators have come out batting for Knox, read the evidence, and then gone quiet. Nancy Grace’s CNN colleague Jane Velex-Mitchell had swallowed the Kool Aid at one point, but now she is ambivalent and careful.
Here is Huffington Post Media’s version of what Nancy Grace said last night.
Nancy Grace issued a typically blunt verdict on Amanda Knox during a Monday interview.
The outspoken HLN host and fierce ‘Dancing with the Stars’ competitor declared her true feelings about Knox when she spoke to Access Hollywood following her waltz performance Monday night.
“I was very disturbed, because I think it is a huge miscarriage of justice,” Grace said. “I believe that while Amanda Knox did not wield the knife herself, I think that she was there, with her boyfriend, and that he did the deed, and that she egged him on. That’s what I think happened.”
In Knox’s final plea, she told an Italian appeals court that she was not present the evening her British roommate Meredith Kercher was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered in their shared apartment. Grace said she did not think Knox is telling the truth. “I believe her original statement to the police - that she was there in the home when her roommate was murdered was true,” Grace told Access Hollywood.
Social networks like Twitter and Facebook exploded with celebratory messages on Monday as the judge proclaimed Knox’s innocence, allowing the study abroad student to finally return home to Seattle, Washington after four years in an Italian prison.
Grace was not one of those supporters, saying that while she would love to believe Knox innocent, “I just happen to know the facts.” Grace was even harsher when asked if her show would compete with other networks to get the first Knox interview.
“I’m not trying to get Amanda Knox’s first interview because… my show does not pay for interviews…Second, I don’t think she’s going to tell the truth anyway, so what’s the point?” Grace responded.
THAT will get the noses of thousands of new followers firmly into the REAL evidence. Not all that made-up stuff. Other legal commentators may follow Nancy Grace’s lead, because she is the real pace-setter and power broker in that community.
The equally popular Fox News political and legal commentator Bill O’Reilly discussed the verdict on Monday night with Judge Andrew Napolitano, another prominent commentator. This is from the the summary on Bill O’Reilly’s website.
]Bill O’Reilly] concurred that Amanda Knox likely knows what happened on the night British student Meredith Kercher was murdered; therefore, we shouldn’t really be happy with this outcome since a terrible crime is unsolved.
Pity that Judge Napolitano claimed that Amanda Knox was interrogated as a suspect for 56 hours without an attorney. That did NOT happen. She had an attorney present at all times. Someone please correct him. .
Archived in Officially involved, Appeals 2009-2014, Hellmann appeal, Hellmann outcome, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Reporting on the case, Media news, Amanda Knox
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Andrea Vogt’s Interview With Meredith’s Family In The First Post
Posted by Peter Quennell
They miss the most ordinary things - the way she used to come dancing into the living room or rugby tackle her brother… her quick-witted sense of humour.
“It’s so sad. At the age she was killed, there was still so much ahead. We had so many laughs and good times ahead that we will never have.”
Archived in Concerning Meredith, Her family, Officially involved, Victims family, Reporting on the case, Honest reporting
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Barbie Nadeau’s Interview With Meredith’s Family In The Daily Beast
Posted by Peter Quennell
They say they haven’t had time to digest the news that Knox and Sollecito weren’t part of the scenario they’ve played over in their minds so many times. They say they will wait the 90 days until the appellate judge’s motivation for acquittal is released before deciding whether to alter what they really think happened that night. In the meantime, they remain in an unimaginable state of limbo, caught somewhere between the hyped celebrations of Knox’s release and their own bottomless void.
Archived in Concerning Meredith, Her family, Officially involved, Victims family, Appeals 2009-2014, Hellmann appeal, Hellmann outcome, Reporting on the case, Honest reporting
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The Kercher Family And The Knox Family Go Their Separate Ways As The Tough Questions Mount
Posted by Skeptical Bystander
This report is cross-posted from my personal website where I may add more commentary later.
1) The Kercher Family
The Kercher family had a press conference in Perugia this morning and then headed back to London. And Meredith’s father John Kercher had this reaction to yesterday’s news:
While Amanda Knox’s family wept with joy after seeing their daughter’s murder conviction overturned, the father of the victim was incensed. Speaking from the family’s home in Surrey, England, John Kercher called the judge’s decision to free Knox and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito “ludicrous,” saying last night’s drama had made a “mockery” of the original trial. “I thought the judge might play it safe and uphold the conviction but reduce the sentence,” he said. “But this result is crazy.”
Both Andrea Vogt (The First Post) and Barbie Nadeau (The Daily Beast/Newsweek) sat down with Arline, Stephanie and Lyle for a face-to-face interview. TJMK will post excerpts and links tomorrow.
The Kerchers’ own words are far more eloquent and gracious than anything I could ever produce. Sympathy for them is building, slowly but surely. Lots of discontent online over a verdict that appears incomprehensible to many informed observers, for reasons that Maundy Gregory (post below) has clearly explained.
2) The Knox-Mellas Family
There was a brief press event at the Seattle airport. It can’t really be called a press conference, since no questions were asked in response to several invitations.
First up, David Marriott, who masterminded the PR campaign that set Knox free and has destroyed any hope of closure for the Kerchers for some time to come. He gave the order of appearances and said Knox would not take any questions, “as is her right”.
Then Ted Simon, the Philadelphia lawyer and specialist in extradition, walked up to the podium and shouted rhetorically for a few minutes, signifying nothing. He was followed by the parents, briefly, and then Knox.
It may have lasted ten minutes. I watched it via a live stream. At one point,the reporter apparently did not know he was being live-streamed. He went ON AND ON about needing “crowd cheering” for the 6:30 newscast and how “We got DICK! We may need to dub something in.”
Then “It’s your wife’s birthday, what the hell are you doing here?”
And the feed just went dead…
I don’t know if it was the same guy who interviewed two fellow passengers on the flight. Having little to say, since Knox and Co disappeared right away, leaving the media to make chit chat, he decided to talk a bit about how not everyone thinks Knox is innocent.
The camera panned to a discarded tabloid, the headline of which said something like Foxy Knoxy Now Free to Make Fortune. He opened it, to a two-page spread with a huge headline that said something like Our Meredith is Forgotten.
Oops! Cut to the chopper, quick! Yes, that’s right, a KIRO chopper followed the motorcade as it made its way down the Burien freeway. Did I not mention the police escort. I suppose they all got rock star parking too!
I got a Facebook message today from my niece, a student at the University of Washington. This is a sad day for Seattle, she wrote. In their brief statement, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas asked the media for some privacy and space. But I guess the media, having gotten used to covering the coverage of the family, wasn’t listening.
Because they followed the chopper that followed the police escort that led the family to an undisclosed location that turned out to be Curt’s house and called out to Curt for an interview. Well, he couldn’t say no. They really wanted to talk to Amanda and one had the temerity to ask for her, but he was ignored.
I wonder if the crowd cheers got dubbed into the 6:30 newscast. And I also wonder why the television media wonders why fewer and fewer people believe much of what it has to say.
Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009
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Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Understanding Yesterday’s Knox/Sollecito Verdict
Posted by Maundy Gregory
For those who have been reading my blog Maundy Gregory it will not come as a surprise when I say I am less then wholly satisfied with yesterday’s acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
I’m very much with the unruly mob shouting “shame!” outside the courthouse this evening. In spirit, you understand.
I don’t even believe this is a case where a court has erred with two left feet on the wrong side of the fine line between technical and reasonable doubt. I’ll not go into the detail of the evidence, since, over the next few days, that will undoubtedly be done thousands of times with greater inaccuracy than I could ever achieve. But perhaps it suffices to give the view that it is such that no acquittal could have been possible under normal circumstances.
It won’t be possible to know how the decision of the court was reached until it publishes its detailed motivation report. But I find it hard to imagine how it will make sense. The disheartening expectation I have, which I think others will share, it that it will offer the reasoning of a court that has crumpled under the pressure of a public relations campaign. A humiliating day for Italy.
And, of course, a heartbreaking tragedy if you are able to spare a thought for the Kercher family. Tomorrow, one of their daughter’s murderers will fly home to ticker-tape and a small fortune. Another, like the drummer in successful rock band, will take a smaller share of the royalties, but the proceeds, taking into account possible government compensation, may still be enough so that he is at liberty to choose whether or not he ever wants to work in his life or not. Merdith Kercher’s death seems almost reduced to the level of a smart career move.
Yesterday’s verdict will undoubtedly, however, be appealed. That’s more than a speculative exercise, since it does happen than people are acquitted at first appeal and then found guilty by Italy’s supreme court. But the focus of the second appeal will be much narrower, restricted only to questions of law and logic. Although that is construed fairly widely in the Italian system, what it means is that the decision of the appeal court can’t be corrected simply because it is wrong.
It will have to be shown to be legally unsound before any evidence can be re-examined. Until the motivation report from the appeal is published, it is impossible to say what the chances of the prosecutors succeeding in a further appeal might be.
The case, because it has had such a high profile, may have ramifications in Italy for two reasons.
Firstly, even though the reasons for the decision will not officially be known for a few weeks, it can be assumed that the court has rejected entirely the forensic evidence provided by the police. That’s not a small matter. As in most European countries, forensic testing in Italy is centralised, so an implication of the verdict may be that the entire forensic science set-up in the country is simply not fit for purpose or, at least, it wasn’t at the time of the investigation.
A modern forensic science service ought to be able to handle DNA evidence that, as in this case, comes from a very small sample or from an item that had lain in situ for some weeks without difficulty. The Italian police would undoubtedly claim that their forensic teams are as capable as any in the world. I’m not in a position to deny that. But, from a practical point-of-view, if the whole of the scientific aspect of a prosecution is capable of simply crumbling in court, it must be important to try to understand why that happened.
Secondly, reform of the judicial system in Italy is a very live issue, in no small part because Silvio Berlusconi stands accused of various crimes and so he has made judicial reform a priority. I think it is unlikely that Italian public opinion will be behind yestrerday’s verdict and it will be seen by many as an example of how Italian justice is far too lenient with defendants.
Personally, I think Italy should take caution before making too reactionary an interpretation of the Knox/Sollecito case. It may be fair to point out that Italian appeals can tend to be slanted so that the focus for live examination is selected aspects of the defence case, so that much of the prosecution case takes a back seat. And there may be some room for quibbling about certain evidentiary rules applied in the case (the exclusion from evidence of Knox’s false allegations against Patrick Lumumba, for example).
But the decision yesterday can’t just be about a systematic problem. The automaticity of appeals in Italy may indeed favour defendants. But, surely, a guilty person ought to remain guilty regardless of how may re-trials are granted.
If, like me, you’re disheartened by yesterday’s verdict, then I don’t really have much to offer by way of consolation, except the observation that justice is not always done and that’s something we have to live with. And at least you know, next time you kill someone, to think about who is going to do your PR before you think about who your lawyer is going to be.
Archived in Appeals 2009-2014, Hellmann appeal, Hellmann outcome
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