Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dear Ken Jautz Of CNN: Full CNN Interview With Mignini That CNN SHOULD Have Reflected #2

Posted by Skeptical Bystander


The previous post is here.

CNN’s report is downloadable here. Our contexting and the first hour are posted here..  Final post Tuesday. Our translators were PMF posters Clander, Yummi, Jools, Thoughtful, TomM and Catnip.

0’40’’ English question [Translator’s note: These words are in English in the Italian transcript of which this document is a translation.]

0’48’’ CNN: You didn’t interrogate Amanda?

0’50’’ Mignini: Oh, the police interrogated her. I was told about it. I wanted to explain this. I remember that I had gone to sleep and the director of the flying squad, Dr. Profazio, called me, because he tells me: “There are developments; Raffaele in fact has denied what he had said before”. So I went down* [Translator’s note: This seems to imply Mignini was not sleeping at home but instead somewhere on a higher floor at the Questura.] and the head of the flying squad told me what had happened. At some point they tell us that Amanda has made this statement.

And thus her interrogation as a person informed of the facts was suspended by the police in compliance with Article 63 of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure [c.p.p. - Codice di Procedura Penale], because if evidence appears that incriminates the person, the person being questioned as a person informed of the facts can no longer be heard, and we must stop. “Everyone stop! There must be a defense attorney [present]”. And thus the police stopped and informed Amanda, who had placed herself on the scene of the crime and who said that she had accompanied Lumumba and let him in and that then Lumumba, in the other room, allegedly committed a sexual act and killed Meredith. This is what she said.

2’11’’ Then I was called, I was informed about this, I went to Amanda who, I remember how she was, what she looked like, I remember her very well, she remained imprinted in my memory, I still remember then two things about Amanda that struck me at the time: first, she looked like she was relieved of a burden and second, she was like, and this is another detail that was impressive, it seemed as if she was terrified of Lumumba.

20’48’’ Then I, as I had in some way to, let’s say… this police interrogation had been suspended. At that point I remember that… they made me notice that Amanda, because she wanted to go on talking, I remember she had, like a need to. So I told her: “you can make statements to me; I will not ask questions, since if you make a spontaneous statement and I collect it, I will collect your statement as if I were in fact a notary”. She then repeated [her story] to the interpreter, who was Mrs. Donnino, I remember there was a police woman officer who wrote the statement down [verbalizzava], I did not ask questions. She basically repeated what she had told the police and she signed the statement. Basically I didn’t ask Amanda questions. Not before, since the police asked them and I was not there, and not after, since she made spontaneous statements. Had I been asking her questions, a defense attorney should have been there. This is the procedure.

05’24 CNN: She had an interpreter during the whole time?

05’26’’ Mignini: Yes.

05’29’’ CNN: She says no.

05’32’’ Mignini: Look the interpreter was there, when I heard her there was the interpreter. The interpreter Anna Donnino, who is an interpreter for the police; she was hired by the police.

Just like I believe that there was [before], I do not have the minutes now, but yet now this is a fact, it is undisputed that there was an interpreter.

06’02’’ CNN: Amanda Knox says she was interrogated for 14 hours…

06’11’’ Mignini: No, look, absolutely not. At 1 a.m., the minutes of Nov 6th has started at 1 a.m. and I arrived, 14 hours that cannot be, we are really… that’s absolutely impossible. So the minutes were done at one o’clock, then the minutes of the spontaneous declaration was taken at 5.45, it maybe lasted half an hour because no questions were asked. She made her statements; they were translated; then at around 8 a.m., I think, at approximately 8, I drew up the detention order. Thus it is… well, she had been heard earlier, so she had been questioned as a person informed of the facts at around one forty-five a.m. She had previously been heard by a female police officer, but [that’s] because she had gone voluntarily to the police and she reported that, she said things quite relevant to the investigation of Raffaele and was heard by the inspector [Rita] Ficarra. However this [event] ... I was not there, I do not know [about it]. But remember, there are the minutes. Then the minutes in which she was questioned as a person informed of the facts starts at 1:45 of November 6, and cannot have lasted 14 hours ... in no way whatsoever. Then she was arrested at around 8 a.m. or at about 9 a.m. or so.

08’16’’ Mignini: Look, I remember what I saw when I saw her personally, because she said, I told her: “you can make, if you deem it [necessary], a spontaneous statement, because Italian law provides for this. If a person is aware that he/she is suspected [under investigation], may request to speak before a magistrate, it happened many times, they came also to me, and they say “I want to make a statement”. Very well, I listen. If I listen, I wanted this to be highlighted…. to be clear, I listen and that’s all, and I ask no questions, the defense attorney may be not present. But if I ask questions and I object to the facts [of your answers], it is like an interrogation and thus we would need a defense attorney.

09’10’’ CNN: was [Amanda Knox] scared?

09’11’’ Mignini: Well, I recall this feeling that I had in that moment which, [as] I am explaining to you, in the spirit in which I am doing this interview, to explain to you the acceptance [adozione] of our requests [provvedimenti], what was, why the trial went in a certain way. [Translator’s note: The Italian in the CNN transcript is nearly incomprehensible. We have provided the foregoing on a best effort basis.]

09’36’’ She was, she seemed to me like she was uplifted, freed of a weight, and terrified of Lumumba. That’s an impression that has stayed with me, yet I don’t understand. I remember that there was a policeman who was called, from the SCO [Servizio Centrale Operativo] in Rome, who made an impression on me because he was very fatherly. She was crying as though freed of a great weight, and he was trying to console her. I remember there was also a policewoman who, well, she…[missing word?] and I’m sure that.. [missing word?] .. well, all that picture how it was described later… at that moment it wasn’t like that. Right then, there was a situation in which I was trying to console her, to encourage her, because actually we believed that she had told the truth.

11’03’’ CNN: No one hit her?

11’06’’ Mignini: No, look, absolutely not. I can state this in the most positive way, and then, let’s say… I wasn’t there when she was being questioned by police, the rooms are quite far away… you don’t know but I was… it’s quite far, there’s a corridor, and I was with the director, Dr. Porfazio, and she was being questioned in a different place. I also remember that passing through, I also saw Sollecito who was alone in a different room; he was also being questioned, as I recall. I don’t exclude…well…it’s clear that I wasn’t there, but I don’t believe that anything whatsoever happened, and in my presence absolutely not.

11’55’’ On the contrary, there was an attitude of… I mean they gave her [some] ... [missing word?] then she was like, you know, like someone crying from a sense of liberation, as though she had been freed. That was the attitude.


12’51’’ CNN: Why wasn’t there any video or transcript of those hours?

13’00’’ Mignini: Look, that’s, I was at the police station, and all the…let’s say…when I made investigations in my own office, I taped them. I taped them, we have an apparatus for that, and I transcribed them. For example, there’s the interrogation of the English girls, Meredith’s friends, it was all taped. The interrogations of Amanda in prison were taped, and then transcribed, and we have the transcripts of… But in a police station, at the very moment of the investigation it isn’t done, not with respect to Amanda or anyone else. Also because, I can tell you, today, even then, but today in particular, we have budget problems, budget problems that are not insignificant, which do not allow us to transcribe. Video is very important…I completely agree with you that videotaping is extremely important, we should be able to have a video recording of every statement [verbale di assunzione di informazioni] made Because what is said is very important, but it’s maybe even more important how it is said, the non-verbal language. Because from the non-verbal language you can [missing words].

15’14’’ Mignini: It isn’t only Amanda, it’s always like that. But I wanted to say that I agree with him that it’s fundamental, only there’s a problem, especially when the witnesses are so numerous, and in fact just recording, I mean recording the sound, isn’t enough according to me.

15’38’’ CNN: It doesn’t cost much, he says.

15’40’’ Mignini: Well we have significant budget problems, that’s what it is.

15’38’’ CNN: So in the end, you did get a confession. But then, everything that was written in the confession became a lie?

16’16’’ Mignini: But then, there was the fact that she placed herself at the scene of the crime, and Lumumba wasn’t there, together with the three of them, the two of them, but Rudy was there, according to the facts that emerged later. But the fact of having accused…and she’s even accused of calumny in regard to Lumumba, was an element that was very important from the point of view of her legal position at the trial. Why accuse someone of participating in a crime, placing yourself at the scene of a crime? Because with those declarations, she placed herself at the scene, at the place of the crime. And she placed someone there who was a complete stranger to it. Why did she do that? There is one detail that’s particularly significant. Above all when Lumumba was arrested and no one – if it hadn’t been for the Public Prosecutor’s Office that conducted the investigation, and that is mandated to seek elements in favor of the accused, Lumumba would have stayed in prison. But we investigated, and we saw that Lumumba wasn’t involved, that he was the object of calumny and so he was freed and the case against him was archived.

18’15’’ CNN: Was she asked to imagine what might have happened?

18’24’’ Mignini: No, absolutely not. Either you saw a person or you didn’t. I can’t ask someone what they imagine because it would be a question that doesn’t mean anything, that I even don’t understand.

18’44’’ CNN: Do you think Amanda Knox is bad?

18’46’’ Mignini: Look, by the way we did make some personality assessments, we usually do make them, but they are only for investigative purposes. About Amanda I can tell you that she is a very, extremely intelligent girl, I always said so, about being bad, I don’t .... I wouldn’t, I couldn’t say anything. It seems to me that going beyond this would be a personal judgment, devoid of significance. What is important is the fact, what is important is why an event takes place which is a crime, a crime accomplished without premeditation. So I don’t… any… I mean, I don’t want to do it, I don’t think it would be right to say that someone is good or bad, absolutely not.

20’09’’ This means the assessments that we did make were made only in order to ascertain responsibility, but what someone’s personality is, the personality of the accused, that deserves great respect and we don’t, the evaluations that we do we only make them to ascertain responsibility and then for the sentencing. At that stage in fact the personality of the criminal is taken into account, for the purpose of establishing penalty, in Italian law, but we did that in the request for a guilty verdict. There, there was one element that has some relevance to the psychological aspect; it was the fact that a crime was alleged that was committed for futile motives, which is an aggravating circumstance. And we did hold that this was an aggravating circumstance, but it was only for this purpose that we made personality assessments, not for any other purpose.

21’26’’ During the investigation, I heard them being made, and I read articles, they kept attributing judgments to the investigators that were never made; certainly I never made judgments like that. I have the greatest respect for the persons of the accused.

22’30’’ CNN: The accusation [Translator’s note:  non-grammatical question] is like: once it was proven that Lumumba was basically a lie of Amanda’s, you should have started again from scratch. Once all the DNA evidence of Rudy Guede came out, you should have said we’ve found the culprit, because of the fact that there just wasn’t any trace at all inside the room, and then, according to the defense, the defense says that you became fixated on Amanda and Raffaele, almost obsessional.

23’19’’ Mignini: No, absolutely not. I did what I did and now I’m talking about the past, about what the investigation showed, about what happened at the first instance trial, because I am, I was and I am, I did what I did because I’m convinced, on the basis of the evidence collected, that they were responsible, in the most absolute way. There isn’t…how was Rudy involved? Rudy was one element, but the crime, I repeating, one can’t say any longer that this crime was committed by a single person. Now we have a judgment from the Court of Cassation, the Supreme Court, saying this crime was committed by Rudy together with other people, and it then indicates, by confirming the verdict and sentence of the Court of Appeal which condemned Rudy, that it is incidentally speaking of Amanda and Raffaele. So from now on, this crime must be seen as having been committed by more than one person, one of whom is Rudy.

24’36’’ So what has been assessed was held, I want this to be clear, precisely for the purpose of reconstructing the facts: I am called[C1] , I issue the warrant of arrest, for the arrest of Amanda, Sollecito and Lumumba, it goes in front of the Judge for the Preliminary Investigations who rules on the grounds of the warrant for arrest, so there’s a request to validate the arrest and permit a precautionary measure; the judge for the preliminary investigation validated the arrest and allowed the precautionary measure. Then Lumumba was removed from the picture because we conducted our investigation and saw that he wasn’t involved, so he was out. So, when we had collected the elements that convinced us, me in particular since I was the one who made the request, the archiving request, first his release and then the archiving of the proceeding against him.

25’37’’ If that had been, but I don’t accept that attribution, there isn’t any, there isn’t any [missing word?]. If the magistrate, if that attribution were true, having started with Lumumba I would have had to continue with Lumumba. But in fact, it isn’t that way because Lumumba had nothing to do with it. So, the precautionary measure was challenged before the re-examining tribunal, where three judges preside for each of the accused. On the order of the re-examining tribunal, Sollecito, Rudy and Amanda appealed the precautionary measure to the court of Cassation, but the court of Cassation confirmed it [Translator’s note: i.e., denied the appeal]. The measure was also taken for Rudy, and the court of Cassation confirmed it.

Then there was the judge of the preliminary hearing who sent the case to trial, condemned Rudy, rejected a request to revoke the measure, and finally the first instance trial ended with a guilty verdict. Here, eight judges, i.e., two magistrates [giudici togati] and six lay judges, recognized that the accusations were well-founded. So, when there are elements that had to be archived, we did request that they be archived. So there is no such attitude [Translator’s note: i.e., obsession], absolutely not. This is what I can [do?]. If there were, if there were some true or even just credible elements, because I would need something like that, which hypothetically could prove that they had nothing to do with the crime, I would take account of it and would act accordingly, I would have acted accordingly. In the most absolute way.

27’48’’ I’ll tell you what happened, and please believe me, because around this event there have been a lot of things which are unfounded, to say the least. According to me, intellectual honesty is the main quality in a magistrate.


29’53’’ CNN: Is Antonio Curatolo a trustworthy witness?

29’59’’ Mignini: But the witness takes an oath and assumes his responsibility, if he says something false then he is committing the crime of perjury and calumny, at the limit, if he’s explicitly accusing an innocent person of a crime, so in our, in Italian law, the witness is considered to be trustworthy, authentic, until the point at which you can’t prove he said something false. Unfortunately, however, or fortunately, we don’t know, the person who was in the piazza, who has lived in that piazza for ten years, at least ten years, who knew everything about that piazza, was this homeless guy. So the homeless guy is a bum so that’s no good. But that’s not right, he’s a witness like the others. The woman what’s her name, the witness who lived there, near the house, the one who heard the scream, is a totally credible person, a very normal lady who told what she had heard coherently. The school teacher, the one who lived nearby, is a totally credible, trustworthy witness.

With witnesses, it’s not that we can choose their testimony. Witnesses are the people who are, by chance, able to give some indications. And for that matter, Curatolo is someone who actually lived there, and his declarations are altogether pretty credible, and confirmed by other people. Other witnesses were also heard, who were, I don’t know, for example Gioffredi, a perfectly normal person. So I don’t see…basically, it’s the testimony of a perfectly normal person which has to be weighed according to what it says, and its coherence with a reconstruction [of the events, translator’s note], and we have to believe it unless it’s proven wrong.

32’26’’ Because if he says that he saw something, he exposes himself, he’s under oath so he exposes himself to an accusation of perjury if he’s not telling the truth, so we have to believe him. Otherwise justice, without witnesses…it’s not as though we had a film of the crime, if only that could be the case.

33’30’’ CNN: Was Toto being investigated [sotto inchiesta] when he gave his testimony?

33’42’’ Look, I know that at the moment in which he gave it, I believe that there were some lawsuits against him, but in the stage of appeal, I think he had been condemned but was appealing, so, then later the sentence became definitive, but he gave his testimony when the sentence wasn’t definitive yet. I don’t know, those are details that I wouldn’t know about exactly…but I know for certain that the sentence was not definitive, so was still being contested.

34’34’’ CNN: Did Toto give his testimony hoping to obtain some kind of favor?

34’36’’ Mignini: Non, there was no favor, absolutely no favor. This didn’t happen…the witness presented himself and made his declarations, that’s all. We took note of them, because they were relevant declarations.

35’17’’ CNN: So, you believed the testimony of a heroin-addict bum?

35’25’’ Mignini: Well, on let’s say the legal position of this person, I have nothing to say because he was judged for something different, for a true and totally different fact, having nothing to do with the present one. For this one, he was a witness. And it’s true that it’s completely different in that he was heard as a witness, with no lawyer. If it had been a related fact, he would have had to be assisted by a lawyer and he would have had the choice to abstain from making declarations. But for this event, he is a plain and simple witness. Then, also, I wouldn’t want to, because the witness, it’s not that we ask the witness if he has a previous record, previous condemnations. We can ask that to the accused, to the accused, amongst the other questions that we ask the accused, we ask him if he has a previous record, but we don’t ask witnesses this question, except during the defense’s investigations. This is the…so he’s just a witness who made declarations. His declarations have remained quite, rather credible.

There’s also for example the fact that, well, take for example the rain. Curatolo remembers that the evening during which he saw the two young people, it wasn’t raining, and it’s true that on the evening of the crime it wasn’t raining. Vice versa, and they say this, also other witnesses say this, on the previous night, only in the town of Perugia, there was a limited weather phenomenon; in the late afternoon of October 31, it rained. And even I remember that, because I remember that the street was wet. So, this is to say that this is a detail which was confirmed by…there. I’m giving an example to tell you that also a person who has a criminal record…and then, one would have to go see all the witnesses who were heard at the first degree trial, all of them, to see if they had them. We don’t do it because it isn’t relevant.


38’45’’ CNN: From the response of the bum, I assume that you took the responses of the two ladies as valid, and never went to check in their apartments if it was possible to hear footsteps with the shutters closed.

39’04’’ Mignini: So, the question of Curatolo is one thing, the declaration of Mrs. Capezzali, what’s her name, I think Capezzali, is something else. You say, she’s quite an elderly woman, she said she heard a scream, the scream that… She lives, I don’t know if you know the area, but, I don’t think you know it, she lives above the garage and looks over the house on via della Pergola, where there’s a kind of, something like an amphitheater. So the sounds coming from below can be heard with particular clarity and she heard the scream perfectly. She said so. And that same scream was heard by a very young teacher who lives lower down, in a street in the direction of, towards, let’s say towards via Pinturicchio. And around the same time, she also heard a scream like that. Then she went down to her parents who were in a different part of the house and they said they hadn’t heard anything.

40’26’’ CNN: He wants to know if you went to the house.

40’28’’ Mignini: Did I go? I have taken note of this witness’s statement and also of the other and, being two statements from persons who had no reason to lie and being these statements entirely credible since they are very similar to each other, the houses are very close to Via della Pergola, this statement was deemed fully reliable. There was then a request for an expert opinion, now I will not go into the merits of the trial events, but this thing was assessed during the investigation, by the Gup, and by the Assize Court that heard this person, who was cross-examined, she said, she repeated what she said. An absolutely believable person, who obviously [missing words]...further, as here [missing words]…an experiment on the possibility of hearing was not done. We are, we took note of the fact that she told about this, about the scream that she heard. She confirmed it, she gave her, her, we say word, that she took an oath in court, to have heard this scream.

The same thing was said by another witness. What should we have done? Have an expert [perizia] ascertain, under different, not repeatable conditions, that which was heard at the time? The witness said what she heard. And, then, neither I nor the Court of Assizes considered submitting [missing words]. The Assize Court decided instead to do something very important. And this is a detail which I consider [missing words]. When I inspected the house on Via della Pergola, which in my opinion was a very important initiative, very crucial for the decision. That is, that was an opportunity to make an inspection to see that house as it was, how was this window through which this unknown subject would have climbed, which then would have been Rudy. And the court was aware that this reconstruction was, in my opinion, unlikely.

43’35’’ CNN: Would it have been easy to conduct [fare] the experiment?

43’38’’ Mignini: But let’s say if a person has made these statements and it was this way. Because, you see, I’ve listened to this person, she was recorded, among other things, she was cross-examined during the trial. She was very precise. She said that she constantly used to hear, even during other nights, that she used to hear the noises of the youngsters who made quite a noise in the garage, in the parking lot. So. ... These things, these noises, she was used to hearing them. She stated this. There was no reason, she did not know the victim, she did not know the accused, what reason could she have had to [missing words]?

44’44’’ CNN: not that she lied but this is a fundamental question for your work. Is your job finding the truth and solving the problem or is it following your intuition and trying to incriminate the first person you find suspicious?

45’16’’ Mignini: Well this is, in the Italian legal system, the prosecutor is not a lawyer for the accusation. He/she is an organ of the judiciary who must also seek evidence in favor of the suspect. Which we have done, particularly in the case of Lumumba. And all the people, all the witnesses who were suggested by the accused, were heard in cross-examination. A very long preliminary investigation was made, extremely thorough, verifications of all kinds were made, [including] verifications on the phone cells. I have not spoken of the phone cells, for example, but that is another point that showed people’s movements, people’s location, that were confirming the accusatory hypothesis, as we say. So, [after] all these evaluations, the prosecutor, made a few requests. I did nothing. I made an order of detention, I asked for [its] confirmation. Then the judges had to confirm everything. And the Preliminary Hearing judge should have considered, he would have had to, if there had been any grounds of non-credibility of witnesses, they should have been pointed out, they should have highlighted this. But the Preliminary Hearing judge evaluated the indictment request, I asked for an indictment but is was the GUP Micheli who [actually] indicted the defendants.

There was the trial before the Assize Court, which took place, it was a proceeding that lasted a year, a trial that lasted a year, during which the case was examined thoroughly from every possible angle and therefore this is the [missing words]. The magistrate, the prosecutor has an obligation, let’s say, in the current legal system, to seek, he is an impartial body, that has the obligation to seek the truth and if new elements emerge which make [a person] appear to be credible, which make a person appear to be unrelated to a crime, [then the prosecutor] has the obligation to request that all charges be dropped or, if during the trial, [to ask for an] acquittal. I myself have come across many times, during a trial, in light of witnesses, new witnesses, who were produced again in other cases, I asked for an acquittal. Anyone who knows me knows that this has occurred many times. But in this case I had, let’s say, during the investigation phase and during the trial, I made, we made our requests, we explained them, we justified them, and the court gave, acknowledged the validity of this case. Then there is an instance of appeal. There is the appellate level. Now, I will not discuss this because it is on-going.

49’11’’ Mignini: The phone call, for example, another thing that had a considerable influence on the investigation was the phone call that Amanda had with her mother in the middle of the night in Seattle, even before [the body] was discovered. This is another element that comes to mind, even before the body was found.

49’52’’ There is a call that is made in an hour, now I do not remember, it was I think, I do not remember exactly, I think it was 3 AM in Seattle, I think.


50’58’’ CNN: In 2006, you were found [missing words], let’s move on now to the other case, the prosecutor of Florence said that you would do anything to defend yourself in front of those who criticize the way you investigate…

51’43’’ Mignini: Well, I will not comment on this statement, I do not know when it was made. The proceeding that this person brought against me and Dr. Giuttari, ended in part with a full acquittal because no crimes had taken place [i fatti non sussistono], for one part. And this is a final acquittal because the prosecution did not appeal. So, this part of the allegations that were made, which were formulated, which was the most important part and led to the searches in the offices of the prosecution and also in Giuttari’s police offices, this part has totally collapsed. A search was carried out, a seizure was made, which had already been annulled by a court in Florence.

Then the court of Florence acquitted us because no crimes had been committed, with a full acquittal. And this acquittal is final. A part of the charges formulated against us remains, that I honestly find hard to understand, because they say [si dice], we were accused of having carried out investigations that had no relevance according to the theory [impostazione] of the Florence prosecutor’s office, I make this distinction, they had no bearing on the investigation we were conducting. I say that they had a full relevance and among these files there were interceptions that were all authorized by the competent magistrate. So this conviction was based on alleged offences [ipotesi di reato] to which we object, we have appealed, objecting to the jurisdiction of the prosecutor of Florence that conducted a trial although magistrates from the very same Florence Public Prosecutor’s office were involved in this very trial. And this cannot be done.

54’26’’ Because when there is a magistrate who is involved for different reasons in a matter, the trial must be moved [to another city]. So, if there is a magistrate from Perugia, the trial is moved [si va] to Florence, but if there is a magistrate from Florence, one goes to Genoa. And if there is a magistrate from Genoa involved as the offended party, as it was in this case, you go to Turin. And this is not what they did in Florence. We have objected to the jurisdiction of the Court of Florence for the violation of article 11 of the c.p.p. and if this jurisdiction should be recognized, everything comes to be nullified, and everything goes to Turin.

55’14’’ In addition there are other aspects that I do not wish to, well, you asked me the question about Preston, then I spoke, and I would like a moment

56’05’’ Mignini: Then I would add one thing, listen well to this. If I want to do something intimidating, meaning that I want to do an investigation that has an intimidating purpose [carattere] against a person because that person speaks against [me], no? If I want to do an act of intimidation, I have to do an act which that person feels, that that person understands, knows, perceives. I must, hypothetically, carry out a search, make a seizure, do an inspection ... Instead, I performed [faccio] a wiretap that was secret, I heard a witness who remained secret. How can I intimidate a person if I carry out an investigation that remains secret? Because the investigation must be secret. This activity is not like a search that is immediately known by the person. If I want to intimidate a person do you think that I carry out an investigation that remains secret? And how can I intimidate him? It’s a contradiction in terms. So someone will have to explain to me the meaning of this accusation.

57’32’’ The problem is that at the origin of these proceedings there was [missing words], I do not mean the whole Florence Prosecutor’s office with which I have very good relations. I’m talking about a time when [missing words] I talk about a conflict between offices, a conflict that has ended up in front of the Supreme Court Prosecutor General’s Office because the Prosecutor General of Florence. That is, the Florence Prosecutor’s Office wanted us to hand over to them a case we had,  the one regarding the death of doctor Narducci. We said no, the competence is ours. The prosecutor general of the Supreme Court, Dr. Febbraio, on July 29, 2005, agreed with Perugia.

So at the origin of this matter there is a conflict of jurisdiction and there is an indictment brought by us, I would like to make this clear, the Perugia Prosecutor’s Office had indicted the Florence Chief Prosecutor at that time, and this proceeding, at the origin of this proceeding, there is this fact. And this person also filed a civil lawsuit against me and Dr. Giuttari. This is the ... there is a contrast between offices, there was.

The next post is here.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

So The Two Pressed Defense Teams Decide To Go Eyeball To Eyeball With The Supreme Court Of Cassation

Posted by Peter Quennell


The appeal is not looking very pretty for the defenses. There seems no single brick in the wall of the prosecution’s case that, if pulled, will place the entire structure in doubt.

The Supreme Court ruled last December that Rudy Guede’s trial judge Micheli had it right in saying that three perpetrators killed Meredith, one of which was definitely Rudy Guede.

Judge Micheli also ruled in October 2008 that only Knox had a reason to rearrange the crime scene, and Knox’s and Sollecito’s trial judge Massei ruled the same in December 2009. The extensive forensic evidence in Filomena’s room, in the corridor, and in the bathroom Meredith and Amanda Knox shared, has so far been ruled out for re-examination. None of it suggests Guede was ever in that bathroom or in Filomena’s room - in fact it suggests he headed straight out the front door .

Eye-witnesses other than the man in the park, Curatolo, are not to be heard from again. Curatolo is probably not much discredited because he could say that it did not rain on the night he claims he saw Sollecito and Knox in the park watching the house (it did rain on Halloween) and that it was the night before all the cops arrived at the house. Buses were around as he described. The only thing that might have shaken his timeline is that he might have seen a late Halloween reveler or two.

And the defenses seem to have no obvious way of explaining why Knox and Sollecito came up with so very many muddled alibis and why each at one point even ended up blaming the other.

A report today from TGCom said this on the review of two small parts of the DNA evidence:

Experts report on the traces of DNA found on knife held as the murder weapon used to kill Meredith Kercher and clasp of the bra worn at the time of the murder will be filed June 30. It was established by the Assize Court of Appeal in the Perugia trial of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. The new deadline was set by the judges at the request of their experts who had requested an extension of 40 days.

The experts have been in courtroom, explaining that they have obtained all the scientific data required. They have however highlighted the need to consult the minutes related to the seizure of the knife and the testimony in the first trial of the agents that followed the inspection at the home of Sollecito. Documents that the Court ordered to be provided to the experts.

In front of the judges one of the experts stressed that the “maximum cooperation” was provided by the scientific police who performed the technical tests in the course of the investigations.

Nothing in that looks too promising.

Best defense options left if Knox and Sollecito are really to be sufficiently suggested not guilty?

  • Option 1: Putting both of them on the witness stand without preconditions for the first time so the appeal court can hear their stories in full, compare them, and subject Knox and Sollecito to no-holds-barred cross-examination.

  • Option 2: Putting the two prison inmates Mario Alessi and Luciano Aviello on the witness stand, with several claimed corroborators, to say in Alessi’s case that Guede confided that he did it with two others, and to say in Aviello’s case that his missing brother did it with one other.

What we know of their claims so far - and police and prosecution have really checked out Alessi and Aviello and revealed nothing of what they have up their sleeves - there are only poor connects between their claims and what is described in the Micheli and Massei reports.

Each could crumble in a devastating way under cross-examination, and then be contradicted by a long line of witnesses that the prosecution could bring in to rebut them.

Here is Andrea Vogt reporting on Option 2 from the trial session yesterday which turned out to be mainly procedural: setting several new appeal court dates, and a new date for the findings of the reviews of the DNA on the large knife and bra clasp.

The parties eventually agreed to hold hearings June 18 and 27. And, surprisingly, Judge Hellmann also agreed to admit five new controversial witnesses into the appeals trial, a process normally reserved for debating contested evidence already introduced in the first trial.

The five new witnesses being requested by the Sollecito and Knox defense are all prison inmates – convicted of everything from child homicide to being Mafia snitches and drug dealing.

Some of the witnesses have given conflicting accounts of stories they’ve heard about the case while behind bars. At least three, however, agree on their version, that Rudy Guede told them that Knox and Sollecito were innocent (an account Guede denies).

The prosecution is likely to call for counter testimony. The decision to open up the appeal to wholly new testimony from convicted prison inmates is bound to complicate the already confused trial even more, and likely push any final decision far into the fall, toward the fourth anniversary of Kercher’s brutal stabbing and Knox’s incarceration in connection with it.

As if five convicts weren’t enough, Knox’s attorneys announced they had received yet another letter from a different inmate, Tommaso Pace, this time making bizarre and unfounded claims that victim Meredith Kercher was targeted by two unnamed brothers paid $100,000 to kill her over alleged drug debts.

The new letter from Pace (whom the judge and attorneys must still agree to call as a witness) sets up the prospect of potentially six prison inmates taking the stand in Knox’s defense over the summer—each of them with a slightly different story and motive for telling it.

Alessi’s own lawyer seems to have counseled him not to get up on the stand, presumably fearing perjury charges and additional time in his cell. Aviello is literally unlikely to show his face. The prosecution could bring back Rudy Guede as a witness against both, and even without Guede testifying, it looks like the prosecution might turn all five witnesses on their heads. 

So Option 2 could drag things out for some months, confront unequivocal Supreme Court findings issued last December and ported into this appeal, and still have the Knox and Sollecito defenses conclusively crumble.

Meanwhile, the judges and jury could be watching a very prolonged dog-and-pony show while impatiently wondering: “WHY didn’t they simply choose Option 1? Then some or all of us might very quickly have gone home.”


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dear Ken Jautz Of CNN: Full CNN Interview With Mignini That CNN SHOULD Have Reflected #1

Posted by Skeptical Bystander


Introduction: Judgment and credibility

Candace Dempsey recently claimed that viewers would be able to “judge the credibility of Mignini […] when CNN airs Murder Abroad: The Amanda Knox Story”. In support of her claim, Dempsey provided an excerpt of the interview at end of her reader blog entry of May 6, 2011.

Viewers who managed to sit through the Drew Griffin/Doug Preston/CNN treatment of the Meredith Kercher case saw bits and pieces of what CNN risibly tried to pass off as an exclusive: access to one of the prosecutors, Giuliano Mignini, who indeed agreed to answer questions. What CNN failed to mention was that Mignini was actually interviewed for two-plus hours, and that he answered Mr. Griffin’s questions openly and without hesitation, not knowing that his answers would be severely and ruthlessly edited and cherry-picked to reflect something very different from what he actually said.

Not only did CNN fail to reveal this fact, Drew Griffin actually said (according to Dempsey) that “Mignini doesn’t really answer questions,” adding that Mignini “…talks and talks, going round and round and returning to certain things. I had to keep bringing him back to the evidence, to what’s actually being presented in court.”

This post and the next two to follow contain the original Italian transcript, authored by Turner Broadcasting and apparently then transcribed by a human being or by software (perhaps CNN will clarify). Whichever it was, the resulting document, which we obtained in the form of a word file, was clearly not subsequently corrected for errors, as readers of Italian will see. Presumably, the “three different interpreters” who “looked at Mignini’s interview to make sure that he was quoted correctly” did not read this transcript version of the interview.

Perhaps CNN can be persuaded to clarify the process or even to provide the actual audio and/or video of the interview. In the meantime, our translators demanded that we issue this translation with a giant red flag to signal that the transcript authored by Turner Broadcasting does not appear to be in complete and correct Italian. There are missing words, repeated words, and clearly wrong words. This may be because it was compiled by a non-native speaker. Again, only the folks at CNN can shed light on the process.

As you read the transcript or the translation of it, which was done by a team of volunteers (PMF posters Clander, Yummi, Jools, Thoughtful, TomM and Catnip), it is important to keep this in mind.

Also keep in mind that, according to Dempsey (based either on what Griffin told her or the cherry-picked interview snippets in the CNN program; perhaps Dempsey will clarify) “…instead of talking about hard evidence, Mignini kept returning to Amanda’s odd behavior; her relationship with Raffaele Sollecito, her Italian ex-boyfriend; and even her eyes (which, since they are blue, the Italian press called “icicle eyes”)”.

Griffin to Dempsey: “He truly believes she was the criminal mastermind behind the murder and that Raffaele was infatuated and under her spell.”

More Griffin to Dempsey: “Prosecutor Giuliano Miginini [sic] is, in my opinion, a rambling, confused individual.” (Drew Griffin to Candace Dempsey).

Dempsey:  “Griffin was surprised by Mignini’s willingness to say all sorts of things about Amanda that were not part of the trial.”

Griffin: “The kind of things that, if a prosecutor came to court in the U.S. and put before a judge, would get his whole case thrown out.”

And don’t forget what Candace Dempsey told potential viewers: that they would be able to make their own judgment calls when the documentary aired on Sunday, May 8, 2011.

We beg to differ. We think that the viewers will have a much better basis on which to make a judgment call if they take the time to read the complete transcript and/or our translation of it. Then ask yourselves these questions:

Is Prosecutor Mignini evasive?

Does he give unclear responses?

Does he ramble?

Does he seem confused?

Compare the full interview with what viewers were shown. Then make your judgment call. Like us, you might be more tempted to make one about the people who did the cherry-picking, the packaging and the publicity for this hatchet job.

The remaining hour and a half will be posted in two more posts, one after saturday’s appeal session report, and one after the weekend.





First hour of the interview

4’09’’ CNN: There have been many stories about this crime, about what people think happened. What do you think really happened?

4’20’’ Mignini: Well, I am a magistrate for the Public Prosecutor’s Office who found himself ... I was on duty at the time and thus I happened to be dealing with this matter randomly. For me it is a criminal proceeding that I dealt with, and I am currently working on it today at the appeal level.

4’49’’ What happened was that a crime was committed for which we conducted an investigation in the best way considering the situation. And there was a trial which, in the first instance, resulted in conviction with full acknowledgement of the theory of the Public Prosecutor’s Office. I know there have been books, there were also films on the subject, but this is something for which I have limited interest. My job is to be a prosecutor for the Public Prosecutor’s Office who dealt with this case. I am interested in it from this point of view, nothing else.

6’30’’ CNN: But exactly how was the crime like, what you and your assistants, I do not say [missing words: *what happened?] ... but [what] you understood, who are the murderers, and the reason for this murder?

6’46’’ Mignini: I can tell you our impression when I arrived on the scene. I arrived basically, I believe, I think around 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 2, and I found myself facing a crime that obviously looked like - this is the impression I got in the first place and it was subsequently confirmed by the investigations and the proceeding - a murder of a sexual nature, in which there was this girl who was undressed or nearly so, a young woman who was covered with this, with this quilt. And the other thing which struck us, which was of immediate interest, I said this on other occasions and I repeat it because I’ve said it also at the first trial, was the break-in. And it appeared immediately – the climbing, the simulation of climbing, with a stone thrown through the window, through two shutters that were there, that left open quite a narrow space, rather limited room between them – immediately that appeared to us to be a simulation.

8’38’’ So there was this crime of a sexual nature and a simulated burglary. That is, the perpetrators or perpetrator, at that moment we were making a preliminary assessment, was someone who attempted, that appeared to be the situation to us, he had attempted [missing words] So that appeared to be the situation, an investigation of unknown persons; whereas instead the house, the house door was completely intact, there had not been a been a breaking open, and this made us think, then, as the investigations progressed, because as investigations go, by approximation you slowly get closer to it, to the ascertaining of the facts, it was, we thought it was someone who knew the victim and had an interest in orienting the investigation toward strangers.

09’44’’ Then the investigation went on. There were other important issues ... [missing word: *facts?] that have occurred [missing words]; they remained as key aspects of ... of what is called the basis of the charge. Which, by the way, for us is not the side of the accusation; we are an office that also has the task of ascertaining facts in favor of the suspect during the investigation.

10’19’’ What struck us besides the issue of the simulation was a series of endless contradictions, of inconsistencies, in the story of the two young people, the two young people who later became suspects and then defendants. And then, in particular, the calunnia [false accusation], then, what turned out to be such, a false accusation, made by the accused against her employer, a black man, Lumumba, Patrick D. Lumumba.

10’53” Here it is, this is it. Then, the elements of which there is much talk today, the elements which consist of forensic evidence, there was also evidence. There are the fingerprints, the [foot] prints, the phone cell records. These elements are ..., especially the forensics, they arose at a later time. This means, from the beginning what oriented the investigations toward these people, and later toward the black subject, Rudy, Rudy Herman Guede, who ... [missing word?] they were, that of Herman Guede was identified through the forensic material that was found.

The two youths were, let’s say they became objects of…[missing words?] the perpetrators of the murder, based on the findings that emerged at the beginning of the investigation, namely the simulation, the contradictions found especially in Amanda’s story, especially when she tells of having spent some time in the house, having taken a shower, in spite of everything. And then the call, the behavior that they maintained, especially the girl, upon the arrival of the postal police. And then the accusation, which was obviously a false accusation against Lumumba. So all these factors then they have, they led to the formulation of these accusations against them, which were later substantiated by the results of forensic tests, scientific evidence, were made by the scientific police, that is, the scientific police, which is that at the top of the national scientific police, which operates directly under the department of Public Security of the Ministry of the Interior. We also had the local scientific police, but the one which operated was the scientific police placed under the command of Public Safety, thus at the central level.

16’34’’ CNN: Before there was the evidence from the forensic police, did you arrive at your conclusions with respect to Amanda Knox by instinct?

17’00’’ Mignini: The scientific elements were coming in, as I recall, they were coming in gradually. Now, I would not be able to tell you [missing words] ... I think, for example, that the issue of the knife, and then the sample, the genetic profile of the victim on the blade and the genetic profile of the defendant on a spot where the handle of the knife is close to the insertion of the blade, I think that was entered quite later compared to the initial investigation. But in fact the order of detention, ... which I ... which is the act by which, under which the two young people and, at the time, also Lumumba who was later released, were taken to the house of preventive detention, that is in prison. In this detention order, there was no mention of any DNA analysis [indagini genetiche], obviously.

18’08’’ There is, in the detention order and in the hearing before the Judge of the Preliminary Investigation [GIP] on the validity of the detention and then in the first months, the first weeks of investigation, that is our belief, mine and the flying squad, that the behavior of two young people and in particular, this actually is [missing words]... it was a detail that was even more obvious regarding Amanda, [we thought] was such that the two were considered involved in the crime. Thus before that, it was an initial assessment of those elements that we had at the beginning to orient the investigation toward them. Then confirmations came. And there were many elements of corroboration at the end; they were very significant, very numerous. But at the beginning we had these elements, again, in particular the issue of simulation.





20’13’’ CNN: And what was the proof, because from what we understand the scientific evidence does not point to them ... the two of them?

20’25’’ Mignini: Well, then: so now I,  to list all the evidence [elementi] that was found, it would be [missing words] on the other hand they have been mentioned in the First Instance sentence report by the Court of Assize. Mmm, then ...

20’50’’ The issue of the simulation ... The issue of the simulation, in that house just in those days, i.e. 1, 2 November, the second was a Friday, the third was a Saturday, the fourth was a Sunday, on that weekend in 2007 there was only Meredith and Amanda in the house in Via della Pergola. Since the two Italian girls were away from home: Filomena Romanelli was with her boyfriend in another part of town, she was staying there overnight, while Laura Mezzetti was in the province of Viterbo.

21’36’’ So in the house that night there was only Amanda and the victim. Amanda said she was in Sollecito’s house, which is actually a five-minute walk from the house of Meredith. Because of the distance, we must take into account the distance, you shall go to see these places, you see that the distances are very short, very limited. So who might have an interest in simulating intrusion by a stranger? Only a person who might be worried about being implicated in the crime.

There was no sign of forced entry through the front door, so this is an extremely significant element. Then we have again the inconsistencies that can be detected in the statements. There is the fact, then during the investigation the homeless man, the homeless man came in, who very precisely identified the two young people, he said he saw the two basically the night between the 1st and 2nd, a few meters from the house where the crime happened, in which it was committed, presumably at a time compatible with the crime. While instead the two young people stated they had remained all the time at Raffaele’s home. There is another detail which at the beginning of the investigation [was] something that has, let’s say, intensified the elements for us; it was the fact that Raffaele at the beginning had attempted, let’s say he attempted to state that he stayed at home while Amanda had been out and she returned to Raffaele’s house I think at about two a.m.

Then this approach has been kept by Raffaele during the hearing for validation of arrest, and afterwards was abandoned as Sollecito’s defense line became more, let’s say, supportive of Amanda. But at an earlier stage Raffaele stated this position of separation between the two.

Then other elements are given by the fact, were given by the fact that the homeless man saw them on the night of the crime in a location a few steps, a few meters away from the crime and at a time shortly before the murder occurred.

There is a statement of the neighbor lady who lived nearby, who heard a scream at a time compatible with that specified, with what we thought could be the time of death of Meredith, that is between 23.30 and midnight. And this, this lady, heard footsteps, there is a whole description that now I will not repeat because it has been explained ... rather, it was described at length in the first trial, she heard the footsteps of some people who are moving, running, along the clear ground facing the house of the crime, others were running up the stairs, almost simultaneously, running on the metal stairs which are above the garage and basically end up in via Pinturicchio. I do not know if you are familiar with the city of Perugia, but I guess not. So this scream the lady heard, a terrible scream and also another neighbor heard it, at a consistent time, I repeat, and this simultaneous running of subjects on opposite sides, from different, distant areas, basically corroborated the fact that there were multiple murderers.

26’09’’ Rudy himself, in his questioning has, while remaining vague, more or less vague with respect to Sollecito, however later during the various interviews he more or less indicated quite clearly that Amanda was present.
Then [we had] the questioning, then there were questionings that were done. I remember one of them, that of Amanda in prison which was an interrogation that has made me… you asked what elements did I use to let’s say support the charge, saying in quotes the prosecution, there was also an interrogation in prison, Amanda, in inverted commas let’s say the accusation in the presence of the defense attorneys of course, and which confirmed the profound shock in which she always fell every time she had to tell what happened that night.

And then there were the results… well, fingerprints ... footprints, the footprints on the rug of the bare foot stained with blood, an especially important detail which I see many have not talked about but which is extremely important, is the mixed stains of blood in the small bathroom close the scene of crime, those of the defendant and the victim.

31’00’’ CNN: In the room [missing words]

31’05’’ Mignini: But let’s say I may reverse the issue: how do you explain the DNA, the genetic profile of the victim on the knife found in Sollecito’s house, together with the genetic profile of the defendant located at the area of the blade [possibly meaning: handle] where force is applied, not where you cut…

31’40’’ CNN: Are you sure that one was the knife?

31’44’’ Mignini: That it was for us, I can say this: first you have to start from a premise: Amanda and Sollecito knew each other only since October 25. That is, we think, because this detail is very significant with respect to the relevance of this finding, since we [may just] think it was a relationship, usually we don’t think of the fact that actually they had known each other for a week. And thus this knife was never touched in conditions ... I tell you what we found in the investigation, I am talking about what we ascertained during the investigation - this knife was never touched by Meredith under normal circumstances. It was never brought to Meredith’s home, this is what the two Italian housemates say, and so why, [since] Meredith had never been to Sollecito’s house, why was Meredith’s genetic material found on the blade by the forensic police, and the genetic profile of the defendant on the spot of the handle that is where the hand would press not as you apply pressure from top down, but from back to the front, that is in a condition similar to that when you strike a blow, like this. So this…

And I have… during the first trial I tried to show very clearly that this knife, the witness, the inspector I think whose name was Armando Finzi, he’s the one who conducted the search at Sollecito’s and found this knife. And I asked: did you put on your gloves at the time, was it the first pair of gloves you were using, in that search that was the first pair of gloves, he went [there], he started the inspection, he had not touched anything else, he opened the… the cupboard where this knife was. I do not remember if he took away several, but he picked up this knife that was immediately - and thus with the gloves that he was wearing in that moment – it was immediately closed and sealed, was brought to the flying squad, where another police officer, the superintendent, I think, Gubbiotti, using the same technique, put it into a sealed container which was then carried to… was then analyzed. So this was, let’s say because I wanted this to be highlighted and I think the Assize Court says so, I wanted to show that there was no possibility of contamination by the police, by the flying squad, with regard to this item.

35’04’’ Also because, I would like this to be noted, from the perspective of Italian law, evidence of contamination must be given by the person who invokes it. This means: I found the genetic profile, you as defense attorney say ‘there could be contamination’, you must prove it. That is, the burden of proof is reversed: it is you, the one who invokes the contamination, the one who has to give evidence of it. And this evidence was never given and cannot, I think, it cannot be given. That is, the one who claims a fact must prove it, onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat. [Translator’s note: This sentence was spoken in Latin and translates as “the burden of proof is on those who assert something, not on those who deny it”.]





36’50’’ CNN: Was it certain the genetic material was that of Meredith, and not genetic material that might be consistent with that of Meredith?

37’01’’ Mignini: No, no, it was like that. It was ascertained as such by the scientific police.

37 ‘20’’ CNN: So your detectives went into the apartment ...

37’28’’ Mignini: No, the knife was collected, then it was brought to the scientific police, it was sent to the scientific police in Rome.

37’ 40’’ CNN: Yes but your detectives entered the apartment and they selected right this very knife…

37’49’’ Mignini: I believe samples were taken from several, that is, not only that particular knife. I think, if I’m not mistaken. I think more knives were tested; however, one of those was definitely exhibit 36, the famous exhibit 36. And on this exhibit is where [a sample] was recovered from, and here it’s the scientific police that did the evaluation of that evidence and I retain, I digress. About [case] aspects, at the end of the investigation phase I asked, given the complexity of the case, the resonance of the case, I felt it was appropriate to have a colleague join me, a deputy [public prosecutor] like myself. Let me clarify, I’m not the chief prosecutor; I am a deputy prosecutor, since I’ve been presented as the chief prosecutor, but I am not the chief prosecutor. Then I requested the assistance of a colleague, Manuela Comodi, and we divided up the tasks. She has remarkable aptitude for these aspects of a genetic nature.

And so in this regard, I don’t know if you notice it in the first instance trial, my colleague did the questioning regarding the genetic aspects. I instead handled the more generic aspects of the case and aspects of a more investigative nature. This is why I remember all the details of the investigation, because I carried out the investigations of people. But for these aspects of genetics and scientific nature, we rely on the scientific police and we retain that the scientific police acted with utmost professionalism. I can recall, for example, going to the crime scene, I was at the place, and I also had to wear overalls, shoe-covers and a kind of cap, not just once but several times, at the same time when we did the inspections, ... I remember having worn many times, for example, the shoe-covers. And I had to… also because, those who worked on the scene did have their DNA samples taken as well, so there is also my DNA [sample]. Dr. Stefanoni took DNA samples of everyone to rule out in case, there could be DNA discovered belonging to some operator who had nothing to do with this matter.

40’38’’ Therefore, I have the utmost confidence in the scientific police because the top of the scientific police in Italy, especially Dr. Stefanoni who acted with great professionalism and these findings on the biological material were carried out in cross-examination with consultants for the defense team, always. The defense consultants, as I recall, and I was present, as far as I can remember, they had no objections if not in later analysis; they had no objection to anything at all at the time. For example, when the famous bra clasp was discovered, the defense consultants were there, for Sollecito there was a consultant who afterwards was replaced, I don’t remember his name, he was quite good, and I remember that he did not make any objections. Therefore, all these findings were carried out in cross-examination and the other parties had the opportunity to challenge what the scientific police biologist was doing, the scientific police expert in forensic genetics.

42’06’’ So I think. I distinctly remember that, in the first trial, I tried to prove that the knife had been collected with the utmost correctness. And I believe that afterwards the same thing happened in the scientific police laboratory when it was analyzed.

44’16’’ CNN: I still have trouble understanding how you can have a crime so horrendous and so bloody without two of the suspects leaving any trace.

44’30’’ Mignini: Look I should then add, it must be also said, at the time. In the bathroom of the two foreign girls, that is Meredith and Amanda, which is attached, next to the room of the murder, blood material was discovered of Amanda and Meredith, mixed. Why is this material important? It is important because in her own account told, in her own deposition Amanda makes in, I think, in early June of 2009, during the first instance trial, she says that when she left the house on the afternoon of November 1st, those spots were not there. She says so herself. So she returns in the morning, says she went back in the morning and sees those spots of blood. Those spots of blood are mixed Amanda and victim.

Also, in the small bathroom, there is a blood stained footprint, which the scientific police attributed to Raffaele, on the bath mat next to the murder room. On the corridor leading to the murder room, [and] leading to Amanda’s room, there are footprints, I’m not sure now, there are even in Amanda’s room, I think, there are footprints that were attributed to the two youngsters by the scientific police, of feet stained in blood. And, by elements, there is also a print of shoe and that one, was inside the murder room. Elements there are, that is, how to explain the presence of these elements if the two youngsters were not involved in the murder, [and] stayed at home? And another detail: it is a crime, this was established at the time by the Supreme Court, then we can no longer put into question at this point, it is a crime committed by several persons. I have, during the first instance trial, I heard this line of approach, and I also opposed this approach, which extended to holding that Rudy was the only one responsible.

The “only one responsible” is not one person, but [transcription error] they are several persons and Rudy is among them. This is now procedurally beyond dispute.





48’48’’ CNN: He also wants to know if you also found [missing words], that is, Sollecito perhaps, had a few cuts, did you check to see if he had any cuts?

48’56’’ Mignini: The…yes. Well, now: Laura Mazzetti, that is the Italian girl from Viterbo, [said] that it was a scratch, however, she remembers having seen on Amanda’s neck, she told this account and afterwards was also heard [as a person informed], it’s sort of a scratch just few days later, I think it was three or four days, she remembers seeing this scratch on Amanda’s neck that had been also seen, I think, by one of the boys from the Marches region. And in one of the photos taken during the house search by police, I think it shows something. Nevertheless, Laura Mazzetti indicates the presence of a scratch or something like a scratch. That is, she remembers seeing that Amanda had this little injury to the neck.

50’20’’ CNN: None of your investigators noticed it?

50’25’’ Mignini: The investigators did not notice it, because at the time, Amanda kept herself covered, she was, as described by the shopkeeper Quintavalle, covered up. However, Laura Mazzetti saw it and it was also seen, I think if I’m not mistaken or was said, by the young guy from the Marches who was living downstairs.

This girl saw it [the scratch/mark] and she stated this later in the courtroom. Moreover there is even a photo.

51’44’’ CNN: Knox was in contact with the police for several days after the murder. She was interrogated. Was she always wearing something that covered her neck?

52’00’’ Mignini: I think so, to be fair, this was a mark that it was not very visible. Laura Mazzetti said she saw it well. Keep in mind also that we did not focus on it automatically, because it was not like a visually striking mark. She was questioned like Raffaele Sollecito and like all the people who were more or less, that had to be questioned in those days, after the murder, a long series of people were questioned, among which the [girl] friends of Meredith, the English girls she was with the evening of Nov 1 and the night before Oct 31. And, among these people who had been questioned, also several times, Amanda and Sollecito were questioned, Amanda in particular was questioned several times: the evening of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and then on the evening of 5th and the morning, or early hours of the 6th. But look, what I wanted that [??], just for the purposes of explanation, that under Italian law, we must take into account the totality of the findings.

Therefore there is the scientific evidence, there are statements made by people, examination of witnesses, there is the formal interrogation, there’s the conduct of the accused. All of these elements, it is not only the genetic aspect that comes into consideration. The genetic aspect [is], together with many others, must be altogether; it is a whole spectrum of various findings, which should converge towards an affirmation of a reality that is undisputable. This is how it should be, this is important from a judicial point of view. So it is not that the proof consists of the genetic evidence; it is not like that. There are items of proof from witnesses, there is the fact that there couldn’t be only one perpetrator, and this is now indisputable, and one of the positions of the defense of the two suspects always tended to say there was only one murderer who committed the deed, who climbed through in that totally absurd way, [that’s] not credible.

56’10’’ CNN: About Amanda’s interrogation, on the fifth day, what was it is that triggered you, made you begin to feel suspicious, and led you to conduct a more aggressive interrogation?

56’26’’ Mignini: I see you don’t… so, I’ll repeat to you what happened. On the evening of November 5th, the police were going to question Sollecito, and on the evening of the 5th, as I was saying before, the attitude of Sollecito at the beginning was an attitude of, let’s say, different than the one he would assume later, meaning a defense line supportive with Amanda’s; at that moment, he had a different position. That is, on the evening of Nov 5th. Sollecito made a statement saying “I was at home, Amanda wasn’t”. Amanda at that time had followed; she had accompanied Sollecito to the police station and she waited outside [of the room]. As the police heard this version of Sollecito’s, who basically, Sollecito ... with that statement, also this approach by him in practice more or less had become part of the process too, as Sollecito made this statement, the police became suspicious.

That is: why did Sollecito tell us this, and why is he now telling us that Amanda was not home with him? So then they called Amanda, and Amanda was heard by the police as a person not under investigation, thus with no defense attorney, because the person… the witness, the person informed of the facts during the investigation – is not called a witness, he is called a person informed of the facts - she was heard by the police who pointed out to her, they confronted her with this question: why is Raffaele saying something else? Now you say you were with him and Raffaele says you were not there, that he was at home and you were not there? This is the point.

58’44’’ So she did, she was heard in a way, let’s say for long enough, I cannot remember for how long, in the earliest morning hours of November 6, 2007. I was not there when Amanda was interviewed by the police. I was, perhaps I was coming, because I had been called by the director of the flying squad that night. I do not remember what time I arrived at the flying squad, but I think that… I think I got there, maybe I arrived when Amanda’s questioning had already started. But the flying squad is pretty big; I was not in the room where Amanda was being questioned, but rather in the office of the director of the flying squad. We were talking about the investigation and were trying to plan the investigation for the coming days. So now, at some point, they call me, if I remember correctly, they inform me that Amanda had given the name of Lumumba, she had basically confessed that she was at the crime scene in the company of, with Lumumba, whom she had let into the house, that is it. Now I go on, I wanted to explain how I operate. So it’s not me, I did not do the questioning.

[Translator’s note: the transcript in Italian contains these words in English at this point: Starts with ****’* translation. This notation suggests that there is either a second journalist, who does not directly understand the answers, or that **** is using a translator, human or automatic. **** is used in the place of the individual’s name, which elsewhere is given as CNN. This is the only change that has been made to the transcript as delivered.]

The next post is here.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Andrea Vogt Obtains New Rome Embassy Cables From State, Still Showing Zero Concern About Knox

Posted by True North


The State Department released seven cables a year ago. Click above for details of the further release.

They were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. These now provide a complete overview. The new cables are as bland and routine and unconcerned about Amanda Knox as ever.

There was no smoking gun among them, as the Knox PR campaign had so very much hoped for. The State Department will never move on this case based on how Italy handled it.

Remarkably, the increasingly bitter loser “Bruce Fisher” actually draws attention to the Knox PR campaign’s big disappointing loss with these bland new cables showing Italy has handled the case just fine in the Embassy’s eyes.

The poster of the first seven cables, History Buff, had hoped they would show the Rome Embassy was really concerned about Amanda Knox’s trial and sentence. No such luck. He seems to have hidden those cables now.

We still have them here


Monday, May 16, 2011

Open Letter To CNN Head Ken Jautz: Reports As Terrible As Drew Griffin’s Risk Destroying CNN

Posted by James Raper




Attention Of Mr Ken Jautz
Executive Vice President Of Time Warner Inc For CNN
CNN Headquarters
Atlanta Georgia


Dear Mr Jautz:

Concerning Drew Griffin’s CNN report on Amanda Knox viewable or downloadable here with a transcript here.

As a practicing lawyer with a deep knowledge of the case, I watched your report two sundays ago (Murder Abroad – The Amanda Knox Story) with a growing sense of disbelief.

So when I watched the report I really expected that CNN might have very sensibly turned over a new leaf. Instead, Drew Griffin presented what seems to me to have been the most unprofessional report on the case ever done.

It was as if the expensive and relentless Knox PR campaign had phoned in the entire script, and as if Drew Griffin’s sole role was to parrot it. 

If it had been an openly avowed and paid-for public relations exercise on behalf of the Knox/Mellas camapign, it might have won a few points. But the report was promoted as a new investigation. That was a fundamental misdirection. It was in fact the most extraordinarily biased and one-sided presentation that I and I expect many others have encountered.

There were so may errors, omissions, sneers and blatantly misleading suggestions - all leading to a complete lack of balance -  that no viewer, other than those who would already be knowledgeable about the case, had a hope of being able to form an impartial and informed view of the case.

One could write a book about the omissions made by the programme, but I will enumerate just some of these, and the errors and blatantly misleading suggestions, as I go through the repprt here below.


Quick summary of the report

First, here is the thrust of the Griffin report. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are the victims of a rush to judgement by an obsessive prosecutor, some circumstantial evidence,  a discredited star witness, wrong media reports, and limited scientific evidence that is inconclusive and unreliable.

Oh and there was some nasty behaviour, inducing a false confession, by the police towards Amanda which mirrored the nasty behaviour that had terrified the novelist Doug Preston whilst he was in Italy preparing for his book “the Monster of Florence”. 

And most, if not all, of this was the fault of the Public Prosecutor, Mignini.  The foregoing is also the basic thrust of the Amanda Knox PR campaign which has been repeated over and over again elsewhere.

There were a mere poor fleeting cursory images of the real victim, Meredith Kercher, and maybe three or four dozen highly manipulative images of Knox and her siblings (see several here) going back to when they were tots.

Apart from Dr Hampikian of the Idaho Innocence Project, Doug Preston, and Mignini, and a cameo non-contentious appearance from Meredith’s lawyer, all of the contributors were family or close family friends. None of the defence lawyers partook, perhaps expecting the embarrassing worst, which was duly delivered.

Meredith’s family and friends were not even mentioned, let alone interviewed by Drew Griffin.



Reactions of the prosecutor of the case

CNN interviewed many, with almost endless montages of a young Knox, to attempt to undermine the case.

Although there are dozens of lawyers and experts and reporters that could explain why in the first round Knox and Sollecito were unanimously found guilty, Griffin unprofessionally chose to interview only ONE for that side of the case. He was Mr Giuliano Mignini, one of the two prosecutors on the case, who speaks no English and was thus easy for Griffin to condescend to and seriously mischaracterize.  (A full transcript of that interview, translated, will be our next post; be prepared for surprises Drew Griffin clearly wanted to hide.) 

I thought that Mr Mignini dealt with Drew Griffin’s unbelieving and cynical stare and his loaded and intentionally unsettling questions ( to which I shall later refer) quite well in the circumstances, since it was obvious right from the start that the unprofessional Drew Griffin was setting him up. At least he dealt with the situation gracefully, and at times even with a little amusement.

As a taster, the first question thrown at him was “Is Amanda Knox evil?”  The prosecutor shifted in his seat, thought about this philosophical question for a bit, and then wisely decided to ignore it.





Points of error and omission in the report in the order in which they arise

(1) The most vital document on the case of all, a 427 page judgment on Knox and Sollecito known as the Massei Report, which can be viewed via the link at the top here, was not mentioned at all.  It seems that neither Drew Griffin nor any of the programme’s producers have ever cast an eye over this document. If they have, they have blithely ignored it. 

The Report contains a detailed resume of the evidence presented at Amanda’s trial and the jurors’ evaluation of it.  It does not cover all the evidence that was heard by the court, which was huge, but certainly that sufficient to warrant the verdicts that were handed down.

There are also at least two other vital documents, also ignored, which all set the stage for the present mandatory appeal. They are the Micheli report on Rudy Guede’s judgment, and a recent Supreme Court report endorsing that report and accepting that there were THREE perpetrators of the crime.


(2) There was a photograph of the cottage. In fact, in all there were seven still shots of the cottage, and two showings of a film of the cottage, taken from a vehicle approaching along the road outside from right to left, from east to west.

All had one glaring omission in common.

None showed the west side of the cottage with Filomena’s bedroom window through which Rudy Guede is supposed to have broken in. That this was blatantly intentional was demonstrated by the editing of the film which cut out just as the side of the cottage with the window was coming in to view.


(3) The staging of the break in was a crucial piece of evidence against Amanda Knox dealt with at some considerable length in the Massei Report. Quite apart from that, it is evident from a simple inspection that the climb up to the window would have been extremely difficult and dangerous for even an athletic burglar and indeed there is much evidence that this was not attempted (Massei).

It would have been far simpler for Rudy Guede, a frequent visitor to the boy’s flat on the lower floor of the cottage, to have broken into the girls’ flat via the balcony (as seen in the still shots) on the other side of the cottage. He could have done that unseen and unheard in well under one minute.

The glass window was not shattered by a rock thrown from the outside, because the clothing tossed inside the bedroom had glass on top of it, which in itself is hard evidence that the break-in was staged.  That such a break-in was highly improbable was demonstrated by an attempt by the defence to reconstruct the climb up to the windowt that failed miserably. 

The only person who could have had an interest in staging a burglary would be one of the occupants of the flat. This is a sore point for Amanda’s supporters, amongst whom I must now assume are Drew Griffin and the producers of Murder Abroad.





(4) It was good to hear from Dr Hampikian that the “police did a good job in processing the crime scene and collecting evidence”.  Unlikely that on the basis of this observation he will be making any submissioms to the two independent DNA experts appointed by the court to review the DNA evidence concerning the knife and the bra clasp. Particularly as his other observations were quite ludicrous or fell outside his field of expertise.

Consider this: “They didn’t like the way Amanda behaved, whatever that means, and so they wanted to investigate her, and Raffaele and her boss. When the DNA is finally processed it is not any of their suspects. And so what do you do? What would you do?  [laughing] You let them go.”

Really?

Can he, you, or anyone else, think of a police force anywhere in the world which would want to release a suspect in circumstances where a staged burglary, inappropriate behaviour and language pointing to an insider’s knowledge as to the circumstances and manner of the victim’s death, an alibi that no longer held up, and the framing of an innocent man for murder, clearly points to her involvement. 

In addition there was early evidence of Amanda’s blood in the bathroom next to the Meredith’s bedroom, as a drop on the sink faucet and mixed with Meredith’s blood elsewhere. Contrary to Dr Hampikian’s contention (and he is not a lawyer) there was sufficient evidence to charge or at least prefer a holding charge pending further investigation. This happens frequently in the USA and UK. In addition Dr Stefanoni was aware that there was further evidence to be collected from the crime scene.

In murder cases suspects are very rarely released on bail for fear that they may abscond. Particularly a suspect who is not resident in the country.

A question for Dr Hampikian.  How would you like it if a suspect in the murder of your daughter was granted police bail and skipped the country to return home and evade justice? Make no mistake about it. That is what would have happened.


(5) The DNA evidence was not finally processed, as Dr Hampikian knows, until after the final DNA evidence was collected on the 18th December, weeks after Amanda’s arrest. That was when the bra clasp was collected together with samples from traces identified by luminol. That delay was entirely attributable to the necessity of having to arrange for the defence lawyers and experts to be present to collect further samples, and not incompetence on the part of police or prosecution.

“Forensic expert Greg Hampikian says finding DNA (Amanda’s and Meredith’s) but no blood makes it highly unlikely that the knife was used in a bloody murder. He also says it is surprising that the prosecutor was even allowed to admit such a small unexplainable sample (Meredith’s on the blade) as evidence.” “Would this have made it into a US court? I don’t think it would have made it into a US lab report”.

Not make it into a lab report? Is he trying to be funny?


(6) Well there is the evidence of the police that the knife smelt heavily of bleach which, with its particular size and the fact that it looked so clean, was what made them interested in it. How many people wipe down an item of kitchen cutlery with bleach? I do not know but in my lifetime I have never known anybody do this. Washing up liquid works just fine for me.

Dr Hampikian is of course referring to the Low Copy Number (cell count) DNA reading but the fact is that the graph produced by the DNA electropherogram was a clear match for Meredith’s DNA profile.

Dr Hampikian might be interested to know that LCN DNA is admissible in evidence in at least one jurisdiction in the USA and there is growing support for it with the advances in DNA forensics. The majority of the experts who testified at the trial said that it was clearly Meredith’s DNA.


(7) Furthermore Raffaele explained the existence of the sample by saying that he had accidently pricked Meredith with the knife whilst cooking at his flat. Untrue.  Amanda herself testified that Meredith had never been to Raffaele’s flat, and there was no evidence that she had. Nor was there any evidence or suggestion that, prior to the murder, the knife had been to the girl’s cottage.This evidence would in most courts make the DNA evidence admissible.


(8)  Dr Hampikian again, on the bra clasp (with Raffaele’s DNA on it) – “If that’s all there is it’s a very weak piece of evidence”. “And it’s inconsistent with every other piece of evidence in the case”.

Well, there is the bloody footprint on the bathroom mat which the trial court accepted as being consistent with Raffaele’s footprint rather than Rudy Guede or, for that matter, Amanda. As to the DNA on the bra clasp this was, in forensic terms, an abundant amount, and no one, but no-one, has disputed that this was Raffaele’s DNA.

Perhaps Dr Hampikian can explain how Sollecito’s DNA comes to be there considering that his DNA was not found anywhere else in the flat (other than on a cigarette stub in the kitchen and on Meredith’s door handle) in a quantity even close to the amount found on the bra clasp?

He was clearly advancing the lone wolf theory espoused by Amanda knox supporters given that Guede’s DNA was found in Meredith’s room and on her person. Funny how that DNA evidence is accepted by them but the bra clasp DNA is not. As a forensic biologist perhaps he might also want to comment on the fact that –


(9) There was not one single trace of evidence, DNA, fingerprint, footprint or otherwise, relating to Guede found on the window sill, window, glass, or any item located in, or anywhere else in, Filomena’s room. And yet a mixed sample of Amanda’s and Meredith’s DNA was found on the floor there. Explain that! 

Without question Dr Hampikian’s soundbite contributions to the program were scientifically very inept for someone in his position, but I am sure that he knew what he was doing.




(10) Drew Griffin’s loaded, error strewn and unsubstantiated commentary continued -

  • DG: Amanda was “confronted (by the police) with evidence of criminal activity which the police didn’t have.”

Amanda was questioned by the police as a witness in the immediate aftermath of the discovery of the murder along with others such as her flatmates Filomena and Laura, and Raffaele and three of Meredith’s English girlfriends. These were not interrogations. The questioning of Amanda for 52 hours (suggesting intensive interrogation) as mentioned by her father at the beginning is an exaggeration if not a fabrication. 

Amanda was questioned (interrogated, if you like) at the police station on the 5th November from around 11.30pm to 1.45 am when the questioning stopped because she had become a formal suspect due to her disclosure that she had been at the cottage when Meredith was being murdered by Patrick Lumumba. She was not questioned again other than in court.

A question for Drew Griffin.  “During the aforesaid period what evidence was she presented with that the police did not already have?” I, for one, do not know what he is talking about.

  • DG: “The case against Amanda Knox appears to be falling apart.”

Really?  News to me.

  • DG: “The tabloid press is beginning to tell a different story.”

Well, they are reporting (and sensationalising in some cases) developments (such as they are)  in the appeal.  But a different story?  Again news to me.

  • DG: “The case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito seems to be hanging on two very small pieces of DNA evidence.”

Actually Drew, that’s what you would like people to think. It would be far more accurate to say that it is the validity of any defence that is hanging on this evidence, and that what crumbs they may be thrown as a result of the review will not really damage that evidence nor alter the soundness of the convictions.

There is plenty of other evidence, all omitted in this biased documentary.

(11) Drew Griffin next remarks: “Curatolo’s evidence was laughable”.

Really? In what way? He seems to have got the date and times and identifications right. Explain that. In fact whatever the appeal court now makes of his testimony there was nothing laughable about his evidence. He was indeed confused in parts but very clear that he saw Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito arguing together in Grimana Square the night before the police and forensic teams arrived in the square and at the cottage.

The confusion that arose was that he introduced elements of Halloween (the night before that) including a costume he saw in his recollection of the said night. However he was also certain that it was not raining when he saw the two together. It did not rain on the night of the 1st November whereas it did on the night of the 31st October.

  • DG – “He revealed that he was under investigation by Mignini’s office at the exact moment he became his star witness.”

I sensed several slurs coming up and I was not wrong.

  • DG – “Did he get any favours?

Like what? The promise of a reduction in sentence? It looks like he didn’t.

  • DG – “So you believe the testimony of a homeless heroin dealer?”

Yes, for the reasons given. Drew, it does not matter what Mignini really believed or believes now. Testimony is heard and evaluated by the court not by prosecutors. Mignini is not heading the prosecution team on the appeal and he certainly has no influence otherwise on judges and jurors anyway.


(12) Another fatuous claim. “But almost immediately after the arrests Mignini had a problem. The third suspect, Patrick Lumumba had an airtight alibi. He was in his crowded bar that night. He could not have been involved.”


Actually the bar was not so crowded. Pretty empty really.  Patrick was fortunate that of the few customers who turned up one was a Swiss professor, Roman Mero, who travelled all the way back from Zurich to give police Lumumba’s airtight alibi. But for that Lumumba might have stayed in the frame-up longer thanks to Amanda. She did not ever admit to the police that she had lied about him.


(13) Another fatuous claim. “Knox stated that she was denied a translator when referring to her interrogation/arrest.”

Knox testified on the stand in June 2009 that she DID have a translator at that time, by the name of Anna Donnino.

(14) We then had the introduction of Doug Preston, co-author of “The Monster of Florence” (another inadvertent plug – sorry) whose book is in the planning stage for a movie with a star role for this financial donor to The Committee to Protect Journalists. Preston is to be played by George Clooney in the movie.

I do not intend to dwell on this section. It is irrelevant to the Murder of Meredith Kercher and to do so would be to give this pompous individual more of the self publicity he craves It’s sole purpose was to portray the Perugia police and in particular Mignini as arch villains. It might occur to many that Doug Preston has a financial interest in doing this.

We were treated to the following gems –

“Police interrogated people brutally and extracted suspect confessions from them” (in the Monster of Florence case – sorry, another plug)

“I was terrified. I thought these people have the power to put me in prison for the rest of my life.”

Mr Preston obviously does not like having to answer questions or to have to account for himself. Well nobody does really but we are in wimp territory with Preston.

George Clooney could not possibly play such a wimp. Instead the scene in the movie will have to be “sexed up” with Mignini being portrayed as overbearing, obsessive, corrupt and demented.

Hardly the picture he presented in his interview - that is, the two hour long interview that was not shown.

It is not accurate to say the Preston has never returned to Italy as a result of his brush with Mignini. He has been back with Dateline NBC to tape a show on the Monster of Florence (4th and last plug!).





The following are some of the other facts omitted - all pursuant to testimony at the trial or verifiable from other easily obtainable sources. Take note first that there were extensive investigations by experts of cellphone and computer activity and their findings were admitted as evidence. Also it may be helpful to know that Meredith Kercher had two mobile phones, an Italian phone given to her by Filomena and her own UK phone.

These were stolen by her killers and discarded elsewhere. However they were found and handed in to the Postal Police who ascertained that the Italian phone was registered to Filomena and consequently two officers were dispatched to the cottage where they found Amanda and Raffaele.


(15) the fact that Amanda claimed that she returned to the cottage on her own at 10.30 am before the discovery of Meredith’s body to have a shower and collect a mop to clear up a spill of water at Raffaele’s flat the night before– which Massei found unlikely given that by her own testimony she had arranged with Raffaele to visit Gubbio that day and had testified that she had already had a shower at Raffaele’s the evening before; and furthermore that Raffaele employed a cleaner who kept a mop and cleaning equipment at his apartment block.


(16) the fact that cell phone records show that Amanda called Filomena at 12.08 pm (on the 2nd November) to report the front door being open, blood on the bathroom mat and Meredith’s door being locked.  She was at Raffaele’s flat at the time.  Filomena tells her to try Meredith’s phones. Records corroborate that Amanda did call each of Meredith’s phones in turn,

But these two calls lasted just 3 seconds and 4 seconds respectively. Does this sound like a genuine attempt to get hold of Meredith?  One also has to wonder why she did not attempt to call Meredith’s phones again once she and Raffaele had arrived together at the cottage when she might have assumed that they would be heard ringing in Meredith’s bedroom.


(17) the fact that Amanda and Raffaele claimed that Raffaele had called the carabinieri to report a burglary before the postal police arrived. This 112 call was later discovered as timed at 12.51 pm after the arrival of the postal police.


(18) the fact that Amanda told the postal police that Meredith always locked her bedroom door even when she went to the bathroom. This was flatly contradicted by Filomena who said that the only occasion when Meredith had ever locked her door was when she returned to visit her mother in England.


(19) the fact that when the postal police looked into Filomena’s bedroom Raffaele told them that nothing had been stolen. That was true - but why had he been so certain?


(20) the fact that Amanda telephoned her mother from the cottage at 12.47 pm (around 4 am in the morning Seattle time), before the discovery of the body. Why did Amanda wake her mother up in the middle of the night? Edda was subsequently puzzled as to why Amanda was unable to remember this call when, as she put it “Nothing had really happened”.

Amanda persisted even with her parents in denying the existence of the call, but then eventually said that she could not remember it. 

Edda says that Amanda mentioned in the call that there appeared to have been someone in the cottage, and that she told Amanda to call the police. Amanda did not mention, according to Edda, that the postal police were already there.


(21) the fact that in her 2,900 word e-mail home of the 4th November she professes to have been in a panic about Meredith’s locked door and her whereabouts (calling out her name, banging on her bedroom door, and running out on to the balcony and leaning over the rail and trying to look through Meredith’s bedroom window), but according to the witnesses exhibited no particular concern about Meredith when the postal police arrived, nor raised any concerns with them, rather quite the opposite, before the discovery of Meredith’s body.


(22) the fact that in the same e-mail she says that during her 10.30 am visit to the cottage she noticed the blood “smeared” on the sink faucet, drops in the sink and the bloody foot print on the bathmat. “Ew! but nothing to worry about” she says. She attributes the blood to perhaps Meredith having menstrual issues.Does that really make sense? A footprint in menstrual blood? Meredith? who was always so clean and tidy and who had admonished Amanda for her uncleanliness in the bathroom.


(23) the fact that she claims in the e-mail that Raffaelle tried to force Meredith’s door before the arrival of the postal police and failed, despite the fact that one of the other witnesses forced it quite easily.


(24) the fact that (if Amanda’s account of returning to the cottage at 10.30 am is to be believed) notwithstanding blood in the bathroom (which by Amanda’s own admission was not there when she left the cottage the day before), the front door being open, Meredith’s bedroom door being locked (when it was usual for it to be unlocked),and unflushed feces in the large bathroom toilet (which,she says, made her feel uncomfortable about the situation), Amanda did not think of attempting to contact Meredith by phone (on the assumption that she had gone out that morning) nor take a decision to notify anyone other than Raffaele for up to an hour and a half, until a 12.07 call to Meredith and the 12.08 phone call to Filomena. Does this seem credible?


(25) the fact that the 12.07 call was to Meredith’s UK phone and lasted 16 seconds but oddly she does not mention this call to Filomena seconds later. Nor, before calling Filomena, does she try Meredith’s italian phone. The italian phone was, Amanda knew, the phone Meredith used to make and receive local calls. Massei infers that there was no need to try Meredith’s italian phone because Amanda knew that both phones had been disposed of together. This explains why the first call (immediately prior to calling Filomena) was 16 seconds long (to check whether or not both phones had been found), and why the subsequent two calls (after the call to Filomena) were both very short.


(26) the fact that Filomena was worried enough to call Amanda twice at 12.12 (36 seconds) and at 12.20 (65 seconds) without Amanda picking up the calls.  Amanda did pick up the final call at 12.34. Why did she not answer the first two calls?


(27) the fact that Amanda told Meredith’s English friends at the police station details of the body and wounds, although but for a foot it was covered by a quilt and despite her not being in line of sight when the body was discovered, and not having been told any of these details by anyone afterwards.


(28) the fact that when 3 days after the murder Amanda, Filomena and Laura were requested by the police to accompany them to the cottage to check out some details, Amanda, on being shown a drawer of knives in the kitchen, appeared to have had a psychotic incident, putting her hands over her ears and trembling.


(29) the fact that Raffaelle told a British Sunday newspaper in an exclusive interview that on the night of the murder he was at a party with Amanda and not at his flat. He also said that Amanda had gone back to her own flat the next day at midday, and not at 10.30am as she claimed.


(30) the fact that having told the police that she had been with Raffaele all night on the 1st November, sleeping with him until 10.00 am the next morning, Raffaele then proceeded to destroy this alibi on the evening of the 5th November by telling the police that on that night Amanda had gone out and had not returned to his flat until 1 am.




(31) the fact that Raffaele’s own alibi was not corroborated by computer evidence. He claimed to have spent the night indoors, using his computer until late and then going to sleep. In fact all human interaction with the computer ceased at around 9.15 pm and the computer was not re-activated by him until 5.32 am the next morning when it was used for half an hour for music to be played.


(32) the fact that both Amanda’s and Raffaele’s mobiles were switched off sometime shortly after 8.42 pm and were not switched back on again until after 5.32am in the case of Raffaele who activated a text message his father had sent him late the previous night.


(33) the fact that Raffaele’s father had telephoned Raffaele at 8.42 pm and had testified that during the conversation his son told him that while he was washing the dishes he had noticed a leak of water on the floor. This times the dinner Amanda and Raffaele had together as being prior to this whereas Amanda had claimed first that dinner was a liitle after 9.15 pm and then again that it was quite late, perhaps 11 pm (close to the time that Meredith died).


(34) the fact that Amanda’s claim that she slept in until 10 am does not fit easily with the fact that Raffaele was playing music on his computer from 5.32 am nor with the evidence of Mr Quintaville, the food store owner, who says he saw Amanda when he was opening up his store at 7.45 am.


(35) the fact that Amanda and Raffaele were both using drugs. There were multiple corroborating statements to that effect.


(36) the fact that Amanda and Raffaele were constantly together – in a symbiotic relationship as Massei put it.


(37) the fact that Raffaele was a knife aficionado in the habit of carrying a pocket penknife. Indeed he was carrying one on him when he was interviewed at the police station on the 5th November.


(38) the fact that Raffaele watched animal porn videos and this so concerned his university that his subsequent behaviour was monitored.


(39) the fact that Raffaele posted a picture of himself on Facebook dressed up as a mummy carrying a butchers’ chopper.


(40) the fact that Amanda had also written a bizarre short story about the drugging and raping of a young girl which she had posted on her web page.


(41) the fact that Amanda and Raffaele have both suggested that the other might have committed the crime.


(42) the fact that when Rudy Guede was arrested Raffaele did not celebrate his pending imminent release but wrote in his diary that he worried that this man, whom he says he had never met, “might make up strange things about me”.


(43) the fact that there are two instances of Amanda’s DNA mixed with Meredith’s identified by luminol (a powerful presumptive test for blood); in the corridor and in Filomena’s bedroom.  The luminol also identified three footprints, one in Amanda’s bedroom and two in the corridor which tested positive for Meredith’s DNA, the footprints being comparable to the shape and size of Amanda’s right foot.


(44) the fact (as mentioned by me before but not in your programme) that Amanda’s blood was found in the bathroom. Amanda’s blood was on the washbasin faucet, and the mixed blood of Amanda and Meredith was in the washbasin, the bidet, and on the cottonbud box.


(45) the fact that not only was Raffaele’s DNA found on the bra clasp but that in the electropherogram chart there were ten out of sixteen loci having peaks corresponding to Amanda’s profile. Though this is not as decisive as the DNA result for Raffaele, it does give rise to the hypothesis that Amanda touched the bra clasp as well. Amanda’s defence team may consider themselves fortunate that the bra clasp can not be re-tested.


(46) the fact that a shoeprint on Meredith’s pillow was estimated in the area of size 37, or 38.  Amanda’s shoe size, not the other two.


(47) the fact that (according to Massei) the nature of the wounds and injuries sustained by Meredith ( who was a fit girl and who had trained in karate) meant that more than one attacker had to be present to inflict those ( knife wounds, strangulation, bruising to her lips and inner thighs) and to subdue her and attempt sexual intercourse.


(48) the fact that Massei also concluded from the wounds that there were at least two different knives used and that exhibit 36 (the knife on which Amanda’s and Meredith’s DNA was found) was compatible with the wound that ultimately caused her death through blood loss and asphyxiation.


(49) the fact that there were blood spots (from coughing up blood as a result of the fatal knife wound to the throat) on Meredith’s chest and bra. This and other evidence shows that her body was moved, and her bra and some other clothing removed after she had died or at least as she lay dying.This suggests that the evidence of a sex attack is, in part at least, staged.


(50) the fact that there was a footprint (Raffaele’s)  in Meredith’s blood on the bathmat but none leading from Meredith’s room to the bathroom. Highly suggestive, if not proof, that there had been a clean up operation.


(51) the fact that the discovery of Amanda’s arced reading lamp in an upright position on Meredith’s bedroom floor (as if for close inspection) is also highly suggestive of a staging or clean up operation.


(52) the fact that Meredith’s stolen mobile phones were found in a garden within a few hundred yards of Guede’s and Raffaele’s apartments. The apartments are within 30 seconds walking distance of each other, much closer to each other than either are to the girl’s cottage.


(53) the fact that the other two girl occupants with keys to the flat had rock solid alibis whereas Amanda had not.


(54) the fact that according to witnesses the relationship between Meredith and Amanda had started out well enough but had started to deteriorate, be it over petty things.


(55) the fact that the placing of a duvet over Meredith’s corpse is indicative of some relationship between Meredith and her killer.





Some conclusions on the case and Griffin report

Most of the foregoing may be circumstantial evidence, but taken together it is powerful circumstantial evidence, more than enough to secure a conviction in any court in the USA.


Who would have the motive to stage a break in, stage further evidence of sexual assault for an invesigator’s benefit, carry out a partial clean up, and lock the victim’s bedroom door? 

Curatolo’s evidence that he saw Amanda and Raffaele in Grimana Square, a few metres away from the cottage, having what appeared to be a heated argument,  at various times between 9.30pm and 11.pm, is helpful to the prosecution case but by no means essential.

All the emphasis on the admittedly unhelpful and salacious tabloid newspaper reporting is irrelevant. It is a distraction.

In addition Rudy Guede, in his evidence, did indeed implicate Amanda Knox (starting well before the Italian police got their hands on him), and all the evidence from his fast track trial and appeals is now part of the evidence to be considered in the current appeal.

I think that the Italian Justice system would resent the insinuation in the programme that Guede received a reduced sentence because he was co-operative with the police and prosecution in implicating Amanda.

It should be noted that if Mignini, in his alleged rush to judgement, got things seriously wrong, then he would have had to manipulate the evidence of the prosecution witnesses to fit his erroneous hypothesis. A grand conspiracy! -  a laughable hypothesis. The following is a list of such witnesses. It is indicative, not exhaustive.

Filomena Romanelli, Marco Zarelli, Paola Grande, Laura Mezetti, Luca Altieri, Inspector Battistelli (Postal Police), Monica Napoleoni (Head of Perugia Murder Squad), Sophie Purton, Robyn Butterworth, Amy Frost, Jovana Popovic, Antonio Curatolo, Marco Quintavalle, Nara Capezzali, Antonella Monacchia, Inspector Finzi, Superintendent Gubbiotti, Commissioner Bartolozzi, Marco Trotta, Claudio Trifici, Gregory Mirco, Dr Luca Lalli, Chief Inspector Latella, Dr Profazio, Dr Patrizia Stefanoni (Police Forensic Service in Rome and prosecution DNA expert), and Dr Torricelli (DNA expert for the Kercher family).

This particular murder case is unusual not just in the interest it has generated worldwide but also to the extent to which it has been discussed and argued over on the internet and in the manner in which on occasions it has been presented (rather than reported on) in the media. It is also unusual that the family of one of the accused has not only taken part in such activity but has hired a public relations firm to help bring this about.

There have been a number of books already but I predict that in future a number of these, and the media generally, will also deal with these additional features of the case in some detail.

Sadly for CNN I expect that “Murder Abroad – The Amanda Knox Story” will often be quoted and held up as an example of how bad things got.

I dare say you are free to broadcast what you like and perhaps Drew Griffin’s presentation wrought an overpowering sense of injustice in viewers and improved ratings.

With hindsight, however, I am sure that CNN will regret this shoddy little “documentary”.

It would be nice to think, when Amanda’s conviction is upheld, that CNN will broadcast a detailed corrective documentary. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours etc

James Raper

c/o True Justice for Meredith Kercher


Friday, May 13, 2011

CPJ Accusation #4 Against Italian Justice Officials: Mr Mignini Sues For Defamation Without Cause?

Posted by Kermit


Overview. In our Second Open Letter to Joel Simon and world leaders we noted that NOT ONE of the accusations against Italian officials on close examination stands up. This is Attachment Four to that letter. More investigative posts are to come. 

CPJ Accusation 4:  “[CPJ] an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending the rights of journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned about local authorities’ harassment of journalists and media outlets …. CPJ is particularly troubled by the manifest intolerance to criticism displayed by Perugia Public Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, who has filed or threatened to file criminal lawsuits against individual reporters, writers, and press outlets…. [Editor of]  the national weekly newsmagazine Oggi, received an official notification that Mignini had started legal action against him in response to an Oggi article…. the U.S. weekly newspaper West Seattle Herald… published an article that … contained a reference to unnamed legal experts who reportedly believed Mignini to be “mentally unstable.” …. swift reaction by Mignini … (who) file a defamation claim against the West Seattle Herald…  Joe Cottonwood, another U.S. writer Mignini has threatened with a criminal defamation lawsuit ... the action stems from a … comment (where) Cottonwood described Mignini as an “intellectually dishonest bully.”  (Source: CPJ Letter to 21 World Leaders 19-04-2011 )  “What we are concerned about is that the press - domestic and international - is free to report and comment on the case without fear of reprisal.”  (Source: CPJ followup explanatory note 28-04-2011. )

First a clarification. Joel Simon presumably means the press should be free to report accurately and without unfounded libelous smears. Let’s hope that he doesn’t really maintain reporters’ rights to defame without basis, to provoke unhinged ranters on the web who channel hate against the Perugia officials and those who support them day-in and day-out.

Forensics Method for Test 4: Common sense and a little Google

Line of Investigation for Test 4: Let’s get this straight: here the CPJ is concerned that reporters and news media will not freely report or express opinions in the case of the murder of Meredith Kercher. The CPJ believes that this is happening because of threats by Mr. Mignini.

I think that we should check to what extent the press actually feels threatened, and to what extent they are modifying their comportment due to Mr. Mignini’s supposed inappropriate actions which the CPJ considers go beyond what could be reasonably expected.

Test 4a, Step 1:

Google:  judge sues newspaper defamation (enter)

You get 1,750,000 results, so it’s clear that the fact that members of the judiciary sue the press is not something that Mr. Mignini invented. You probably see where I’m going, so I’ll save us the effort of doing a few additional seconds of Googling different combinations like:

  • Google: judge sues radio slander (enter)
  • Google: judge sues media defamation (enter)

And so on. You end up with many, many millions of Google responses.

Since I’m trying to limit the execution of this test to a matter of seconds, let me take one of the mundane examples from the first page of Google results: this spring, the Voice of Richmond, a small local newspaper in Richmond, Virginia, was sued for the second time in two years, by the judge and a lawyer in the first case.




Above:  A defamation suit by a member of the judiciary or any other citizen is the most normal thing in the world. Most examples – like this case involving the Voice of Richmond, which I selected simply because it was one of the first Google results – are related to questioning the appropriateness of courtroom procedures. 

Other defamation suits, like Mignini’s claims against the West Seattle Herald’s reporter Steve Shay’s article (“mentally unstable”) or Joe Cottonwood (“intellectually dishonest bully”) are not against incursions limited to question the procedures in a legal case , but against open and baseless personal attacks, as seen from the point of view of the victim.

Is the CPJ concerned about the defamation suit against the Voice of Richmond? Has it published a letter to political leaders and pasted it prominently on its site, claiming that the judge in Richmond should just sit back and take criticism of his courtroom procedures?

If the Voice of Richmond newspaper, instead of being critical of courtroom procedures in a potentially defamatory manner, had associated the judge’s good name with the expression “mentally unstable”, or if the paper had called him an “intellectually dishonest bully”, only then would the CPJ have jumped in to defend the Voice of Richmond’s right to do such name calling?

The conclusions to this test, I must say, are pretty obvious.

My point is that while most people will agree with CPJ that public officials should put up with criticism of their work, we all agree that personal smears (or what the alleged defamation victim and the public could see as a personal smear) certainly should give way to the right to defend one’s honour.

This should be the case not only in the thousands of cases documented in Google that the CPJ doesn’t seem to get worried about (which is good news), but also in the case of Mr. Mignini, whom someone in or very close to the CPJ seems to be especially nervous about (which is disturbing news).

Test 4b, Step 1:

With just the results of Test 4a, I could already proceed to update the Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations as regards the example of Mignini suing certain persons or news outlets for personal attacks against his honour.

However, let’s take a fast look at each of those persons or news outlets to see if there are any factors which could change in one direction or another our conclusion that it’s perfectly normal for a person in the judiciary to sue for defamation, in particular when the alleged defamation does not concern his professional activity but his personal characteristics.

Without further ado, let’s carry out another search.

Google: site:oggi.it “oggi.it” amanda knox OR edda OR chris OR mellas (enter)

Each reporter, newspaper and magazine out there has their own view on the personalities in the Meredith Kercher murder case. There are a couple of outlets, like OGGI magazine which for some unknown reason have taken a particular liking to the Knox Mellas family, resulting in the members of this family and their travails getting special coverage, as the Google results show (use the Google translator if need be).


[Above: The Knox-Mellas clan find one corner of ongoing support and sympathetic coverage in Italy in OGGI magazine.]

The fact that this magazine takes a particular view to Amanda Knox’s family is a question of how they want to focus their coverage of this case. Quite another thing are their insinuations about certain elements of the prosecution’s case.

For example, in recent weeks there seems to be an all out attack on the hearing capacity and the mental faculties of Signora Nara Capezzali, a neighbour who on the night of Meredith Kercher’s murder heard the running of multiple persons near the cottage, just after a piercing scream (the danger of this testimony for pro-Knox forces is that it points to more than one person being involved in the crime, including Amanda Knox).

Just for interest’s sake, to see how Amanda Knox friendly voices have latched onto this issue, do another fast Google search: “amanda knox” “nara capezzali” deaf OR crazy OR psychiatric (enter)

OGGI and reporter Giangavino Sulas participated in the attack on Signora Capezzali, and by extension on prosecutor Mignini’s case:

“The witnesses … suffer from sufficiently serious problems of deafness, of physical and also mental health,  to be hospitalized in a psychiatric ward (as in the case of Nara Capezzali).”  (Source:  Giangavino Sulas , OGGI Magazine, April 2011)

This test and the ones that follow are not meant to prove anything in particular as regards Mr. Mignini’s right to defend his honour (which we saw clearly in Test 4a).

However, these additional tests do put some perspective on those who decry Mignini as threatening (or whom CPJ has dug up as “victims” of Mignini – I’m not aware that either OGGI, Steve Shay or Joe Cottonwood were searching for the CPJ to ask it to put together its Letter to 21 World Leaders, not even a junior reporter from the diminutive West Seattle Herald could have been able to dream that up).

In addition, if what CPJ is concerned about is “that the press—domestic and international—is free to report and comment on the case without fear of reprisal”,  (Source: CPJ followup explanatory note 28-04-2011 ) it is more than evident by consulting recent reporting by OGGI and in particular by Giangavino Sulas, that that magazine and reporter are not holding back in examining and opining on all elements of the prosecution and conviction of the murderers (pending appeal) of Meredith Kercher.

Test 4c, Step 1:

Let’s go to a popular pro-victim discussion board concerning the murder of Meredith Kercher, such as TJMK or the Perugiamurderfile.org. Do a search for Steve Shay, and you will see references to examples on other sites which demonstrate how this reporter swims like a fish amongst pro-Knox social networking friends.


Above:  When West Seattle Herald reporter Steve Shay infiltrates Internet social groups to gather information for his next story, he sure does a good job of appearing to be like-minded with his fellow posters, in this case, the Friends of Amanda lobby Facebook group. 
(Source:  Facebook, image on Perugiamurderfile.org)

Steve Shay’s own social networking postings and his ongoing reporting in the West Seattle Herald demonstrate that Mignini’s potential lawsuit has not made him or his newspaper wither (my personal opinion is that he takes it as a sort of medal that he wears proudly on pro-Knox discussion boards and at FOA money making events).

The CPJ itself states explicitly that “in an email interview with CPJ, West Seattle Herald Editor Ken Robinson said … that the paper does not fear repercussions from Mignini …. he and his newspaper were not perturbed by the prosecutor’s actions”.

So why all the fuss in the CPJ Letter to the World about reporters and newspapers holding back in having a go at the Meredith Kercher murder case? 

The CPJ itself shows that some reporters like Steve Shay can have their cake and eat it too.

Test 4d, Step 1:

I feel a little sorry for Joe Cottonwood, as he appears to have haplessly stepped into an international scene of attacks against Mr. Mignini. However, if the Italian law says that you can’t call someone an “intellectually dishonest bully”, then you should be careful.

Let’s do a fast test on Mr. Cottonwood.

Type Google: joe cottonwood (enter)

From the Google search results, you can take a look at Cottonwood’s own site, or see a summary of his activity in the Wikipedia page on him: “Joe Cottonwood is an American author of fiction and poetry for adults and children. He was born in 1947 and lives in La Honda, California.” (Source: Wikipedia )

Cottonwood not only doesn’t report on the Meredith Kercher murder case, he isn’t even a reporter, nor even calls himself a blogger or a freelancer or journalist.

You can hardly say that Mignini’s legal action to defend his personal honour will affect Cottonwood’s coverage of the case, which is what CPJ’s Letter to 21 World Leaders is all about as CPJ stated in its clarification commentary on its Open Letter..

The fact that Cottonwood is included in an international missive of a journalists’ sectorial association when that isn’t even his profession makes me think that CPJ (or whoever really prepared the Letter to the World) was scraping the barrel for examples.

Approximate time required to obtain material to be analysed: less than 1 second for Google searches, a few minutes to enter and search discussion forums.

Tests 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d Step 2: Conclusions

If American judges can sue for defamation in situations which are less personally insulting than what Mr. Mignini has had to put up with, and this defamation in America doesn’t provoke CPJ’s intervention, then Mr. Mignini’s personal legal actions can’t be worth a Letter to 21 World Leaders.

In addition, simple observation of your examples of three defamation suits shows that it is not true that Mignini’s legal actions to defend his personal honour have affected news reporters’ coverage of the Amanda Knox case.

It is strange and worrying that the Committee to Protect Journalists for some reason wants to deny Mr. Mignini his constitutional right as an Italian and European citizen to not be the subject of abusive attacks.

Let’s do one final exercise: search Google for Mignini and various hate terms like “mentally unstable” and you could conclude that reporters and anonymous bloggers have made Giuliano Mignini into the second most hated man on the planet after Bin Laden - who now, of course, is dead.

Hate remarks against Mignini are now up in the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions. The BBC looked into just some of the shrill claims made by reporters whom Joel Simon wants to keep supporting in their anti-Mignini drive and actually found nothing there.

We’re moving along, and as usual, the best is yet to come. Let’s update the Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations with our latest findings. I fear that the CPJ is not doing well:

[below::The results of the fourth set of credibility tests of the anti-Mignini accusations gives us the feeling that the CPJ has no basis whatsoever for the accusations, nor does it have justification for sending a Letter to 21 World Leaders.]


CPJ Accusation #3 Against Italian Justice Officials : Was Anon Blogger Arrested On MIGNINI’S Orders?

Posted by Kermit


Overview. In our Second Open Letter to Joel Simon and world leaders we noted that NOT ONE of the accusations against Italian officials on close examination stands up. This is Attachment Three to that letter. More investigative posts are to come. 

Accusation 3:  This anti-Mignini accusation is even more startling than numbers one and two.  The harassment reached its peak on September 28, 2010, when five officers of Squadra Mobile forcibly entered “Sfarzo’s” apartment. They did not produce a warrant or show their badges, “Sfarzo” (real name Sforza) told CPJ. Four of the five shoved Sforza to the ground, struck him, handcuffed him, and climbed on top of him, crushing his air supply … etc. etc. etc. The officers refused Sforza’s requests to call his lawyer or his relatives, and put him in a cell for the night.” (Source: CPJ Letter to 21 World Leaders )

Well, I’m still surprised that CPJ didn’t ask the Perugian blogger for his lawyer’s name, or for information about the hospital and the doctors who attended him.

I’m also surprised that CPJ didn’t ask both the blogger and the police headquarters about why the accused policemen (with or without a warrant) originally went to his home. It all sounds like a story that is extremely full of holes of information which should be filled (unless if you prefer not to fill them in).

I don’t know if the CPJ realized it, but with this accusation, the organisation has ratcheted up the grave accusations against Mignini. If up until now the anti-Mignini crowd’s accusations were limited to describing Mignini’s alleged bothersome provocations, the CPJ has now appeared on the anti-Mignini stage, and is claiming that he has opened a qualitatively higher level of menace: one of physical violence causing bodily harm. The only thing missing is for Mignini to be called a drug-dealer and a drifter.

Since the CPJ didn’t ask the blogger nor include in its Letter to the World why the police went to the blogger’s home, the CPJ’s insinuation is that Mignini’s goon squad simply went to the blogger’s home under that prosecutor’s orders, and with no justification.
I see no evidence that:

  • Mignini sent anyone anywhere that day,
  • the police weren’t there (if they were) on police business related to the Perugian blogger’s real-life persona,
  • the altercation with the blogger (if there was one) had something to do with Mignini,
  • the injuries suffered by the blogger were noticeable (if there were any),
  • the blogger’s neighbour was contacted the CPJ, as a first hand eye-witness.

The CPJ letter quotes the Perugian blogger:  “The next day, the officers brought Sfarzo (real name Sforza) before a local judge, who validated his arrest and indicted him on several articles of Italy’s penal code …. ‘The police can count on the complicity of judges,’ Sfarzo told CPJ”.

If Joel Simon of the CPJ ratcheted up the level of the attack on Mignini by claiming that physical bodily-damaging violence is now part of MIgnini’s media relations program, our astonishment is increased with the new and confusing element of the judges’ complicity. If Mignini is the ringleader, shouldn’t he be the one who has the complicity of the judges, instead of the national policemen, who up until now seem to be footsoldiers of Mignini?

You tell a tale in the Letter to 21 World leaders which is confusing. Please provide us with a believable link between Mignini, police officers and judges in this violence. Who’s the leader?

Well, we’re here to do a check on the third Anti-Mignini Accusation of the CPJ. There is no direct evidence of this strange supposed attack available for me to go on, so I think I’ll have to do a credibility check on the Perugian blogger’s words and photos in other situations where Mignini is present, such as regards the Meredith Kercher murder investigation.

Forensics Method for Test 3: Google, and reading up on the murder of Meredith Kercher

Line of Investigation for Test 3: Since the Perugian blogger’s blog is sometimes difficult to understand for me, due to English language expression issues, or due to his particular sense of humour, we need to contrast his credibility in a direct, visual and non-verbal manner.

Test 3, Step 1: 

Step 1a: Talk with someone familiar with the online discussion of this case. Ask about situations where the Perugian blogger has undermined his own credibility in a obvious, relevant and conscious way, comparing these situations to the credibility he needs to support his colourful description of a Mignini directed police commando which storms into the house of the blogger for no reason whatsoever other than to beat him up (a qualitative change from the other accusations that the blogger has made against Mignini, and which haven’t stood up to scrutiny) and make it look like the blogger attacked them, all in order to try him and send him to jail.

I’m not looking for situations of the typical silly comments which we may make at one time or another due to human foible, but where a direct, explicit decision or affirmation is made which undermines one’s overall credibility.

Today we’ll look for just one situation to analyse. However, I’m open to examine other such events or declarations, especially if the CPJ finally decides to start to do basic checking behind the details of its recent attack on Mr. Mignini. We can hopefully work together on this in the future.

Step 1b: Take the key elements of the above situations commented on where the Perugian blogger is involved, and follow the development of the discussion.

Google:  perugia shock via della Pergola from where raffaele amanda checking house (enter)

Approximate time required to obtain material to be analysed: minutes/few hours

Analysis:

Let’s go back in time to the end of November and start of December of 2008. There was an open debate then on a pro-Knox cooking blog based in Seattle which has since become dedicated to the Amanda Knox case. At that point one of the many Internet forum debating issues concerning the crime committed against Meredith Kercher was whether it is possible from Piazza Grimana to see the gate of the cottage where Meredith lived together with Amanda Knox, her now convicted murderer (pending appeal), and two other Italian girls.

Piazza Grimana is a park/pedestrian square with a basketball court, carved into a downhill slope just outside of Perugia’s ancient Etruscan Arch. The prosecution maintained a theory that following the murderous act for which they have been convicted, Knox and Sollecito could have waited in the Piazza Grimana, looking towards the access ramp of the cottage to see who might arrive (perhaps, for example, emergency vehicles).

Obviously, the cooking blog curator didn’t manage to clear up this debate in her favour, but the Perugian blogger, who was already on excellent terms with pro-Knox forces “came to the rescue” on his blogspot pages with this image which seems to demonstrate that the view of the cottage access ramp from Piazza Grimana is blocked by the building on the right:


Above: The Perugian blogger provided momentary pressure release for the cooker, by posting this image with the accompanying text to emphasize that you can’t see the cottage gate from Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s alleged perch on the raised edge of the Piazza Grimana. The logic of the argument is that if neither you nor I can see the cottage gate (in that photo), then neither could Knox nor Sollecito, and therefore the prosecution theory was not applicable.

The Perugian blogger’s photo from Piazza Grimana was perfect for the requirements of the cooking blogger, and a grateful post soon went up on her site:


Above:  A pro-Knox Seattle food blogger with a personal blog on the Seattle PI site was relieved to have visual support for her theory that the view of the cottage gate from Piazza Grimana is “clear as mud”.  (Source:  Seattle PI amateur blog  Note:  this comment and other followup ones were cleansed – erased – a long time ago. )

The online blog discussion could have drifted on to other topics if it weren’t for the fact that many of us knew perfectly well that you can see the cottage gate from Piazza Grimana. Even a person not familiar with this case, upon examining the apparent proof provided by the Perugian blogger that the building on the right might negate the possibility of two murderers staking out the cottage entrance ramp, could come up with an effective answer :


Above: It’s just a jump to left, that’s all that is required to gain the line of vision needed to watch the access to the cottage. (Source: Rocky Horror Picture Show)


Above: Let’s try something extremely obvious that the Perugian blogger seems to have avoided in evaluating whether you can see the cottage gate from Piazza Grimana … what will happen if we move a little to the left? 


Above: Luckily, the TJMK editor had been in Perugia and came back with an extensive collection of photos of the things he had seen, including the view of the cottage access ramp from Piazza Grimana.


Above:  Even Italian television was providing the view that Knox and Sollecito may have had from Piazza Grimana of the cottage gate. Why would the Perugian blogger and his pro-Knox lobby group associates want to deny this view from the English-language debate on the case?

If from just a couple of metres to the left you get a completely different story compared to the shadows to the right, and that makes plausible one element of a prosecution theory, I would have thought that a real freelance reporter would not avoid reporting on the obvious.

Test 3, Step 2: Conclusion

This test has been a credibility check. My opinion is that if the Perugian blogger applies the Jump-to-the-right book of extra-judicial lobby blogging, instead of the Jump-to-the-left book of journalistic reporting – to the detriment of the prosecution of a criminal case – then it is within the realm of reason that such a tendency toward misinformation / incomplete information about Mignini could also be applied by the blogger in describing to CPJ a Mignini-directed violent attack by rogue policemen loyal to Mignini and not their superiors, and who had no other reason to appear at the home of the real person behind the Perugian blogger’s screen-name other than to threaten him into not writing about a case that was already long out of the hands of said prosecutor.

Let’s update the Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations and see where things stand:

[below: The results of the third test of credibility in the anti-Mignini accusations only serve to worsen the state of the CPJ’s own credibility.]

Lets continue to the next.

 


CPJ Accusation #2 Against Italian Justice Officials : Did Court Officials Hassle The Anon Blogger?

Posted by Kermit


Overview. In our Second Open Letter to Joel Simon and world leaders we noted that NOT ONE of the accusations against Italian officials on close examination stands up. This is Attachment Two to that letter. More investigative posts are to come. 

CPJ Accusation #2:  The CPJ letter makes a second accusation against Mr. Mignini concerning supposed (yet unsubstantiated) abuse that Mr. Mignini has organized against this blogger: “When the trial of Knox and Sollecito began that December, Squadra Mobile continued to harass him. They regularly tried to prevent him from entering the court; seized his cellphone and went through his contacts and text messages; mouthed insults at him from across the courtroom; and stared over his shoulder as he took notes. “This was done in the presence of the judge, the Carabinieri [the military police], and the court guards, but they would do nothing,” Sfarzo (real name Sforza) told CPJ.”  (Source: CPJ’s Letter to the World 19-04-2011)

Line of Investigation for Test 2: For many of these cases of supposed abuse and threats, the best source for contrasting the grave accusations which the CPJ heaps rather flippantly on Mr. Mr. Mignini, are the words and images that the supposed victims themselves post on Internet.

The Perugian blogger didn’t take photos or video of the entrance controls to the courthouse. I can imagine that in this day and age of terrorism and security controls, it would have been normal for the guards to have asked the blogger’s purpose in entering the courthouse, and if he said he was a member of the press (promoted to “local freelance reporter” by the CPJ), it would have been normal for them to expect him to produce a press pass, accreditation, media business card, or any other professional identification.

And if he didn’t have press identification and if he wasn’t a member of the families of the defendants, or there as a guest of the Kerchers or the prosecution, I can imagine that he would have had some difficulty initially getting access to the courtroom.

Anyway, let’s assume that the credibility of the first part of this accusation (being hassled when entering the courthouse) has the same level of credibility of the second half of this accusation (being insulted and spied on within the courtroom).

If you agree, let’s first of all take a fast look at the general news agency photos of the courtroom which you saw in my first letter a couple of weeks ago.  The test will be to contrast those photos with the blogger’s own photos from court sessions, in order to understand the possibility that such harassment occurred.




[At top and above: The Perugian courtroom where Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were tried, and where the CPJ claims that the Perugian blogger was yet a further victim of this trial.]

To the right of the upper photo, and at the back of the lower photo is the press pen, where members of the press are crammed in and must remain between a railing and a back wall.

In front of the press pen railing are the defendants’ family members and other authorized parties. 

In front of family members, guards separate the defendants and their legal teams from their families. (To the left of the legal defence teams are the prosecution and private plaintiffs.)

Opposite the prosecution and defence legal teams, facing them at the front, are the judge and the members of the judicial jury.

Test 2, Step 1:  Google:  site:blogspot.com perugia shock court (enter)

(Please note that even though the Perugian blogger’s site has been removed, you can still get photos and text through Google caches.)

Approximate time required to obtain material to be analysed: less than 1 second

Analysis:

The pro-Amanda Knox lobbyist blogger’s blogspot lobby pages (or, if you prefer, the “local freelance reporter’s” news publishing page) are chock full of photos in the court sessions of the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
Let’s make a collage of them:


[Above: A jammed pack collage of photos from the Perugian blogger’s blogspot “freelance reporting” page:  http://perugia-shock.blogspot.com/  (I never knew that by having a blogspot page you became a freelance reporter. Neat.) Double click on the above image to see a larger resolution version. ]

I have indicated each individual photo with a letter. From my point of view, the Perugian blogger was where he should have been in all instances, which is behind the railing of the press pen, near the back wall of the courtroom. This is clearly the case in photos “B”, “C” and “D”, where you can actually see the railing which separates the press pen from the rest of the courtroom.

In the rest of the photos, especially when the zoom function is obviously in use, such as in photos “H”, “J” or “ K”, or simply by gauging perspective, such as in the case of photo “L”, it’s safe to say that the Perugian blogger in all cases was behind the railing of the press pen.

Let’s place on a sketch of the courtroom, the location from which the Perugian blogger took those photos in Amanda Knox court sessions he attended:


Now, if the blogger was in the press pen, any police officer who would have stepped into the crowded, fenced off area and wandered around behind the backs of the journalists, reporters, and blogger - especially making a noticeable attempt to look over shoulders - would have been noticed by the journalists in addition to the blogger who has accused Mignini of sending these spies out.

I realize that these photos may not represent all of the court sessions that the blogger attended.  The possibility exists that in some other session he wasn’t in the press pen, but sitting with the Knox-Mellas family, with whom he has a personal relationship, or in some other non-press location in the courtroom.

Since the CPJ calls the Perugian blogger a freelance reporter, I would assume that the CPJ would also situate the blogger in the press pen and assume that if he wasn’t attending as a member of the press but as a friend of some defendant, then he shouldn’t be afforded the protection of the CPJ (in any case, I doubt this scenario occurred).

As for the “mouthing of insults”, in general, everybody faces forward in the courtroom, except for the judge and the members of the judicial jury. Any police officer or carabinieri agent or prison/court guard present would have been mouthing to the whole press corps plus the blogger, not just him.


[Above: As we see from this photo, everyone in the courtroom faces forwards, except the judge and the jury … and the Perugian blogger (I think that’s him there on the left looking backwards). Golly, maybe he was spied on over his shoulder after all.]

It requires a Friends of Amanda Leap of Faith to imagine the alleged spying happening without anyone else detecting it, other than the blogger.

I won’t comment on the possibility that Judges Micheli, Massei or Hellman condone or are accomplices to such behavior. I honestly think that the CPJ should think twice before it spreads so much conspiracy around, on the basis of a verbal statement by a blogger whose real name the CPJ didn’t even know when they spoke to him (you did speak to him, right? Or did someone else do the phone interview on your behalf?).

If the CPJ honestly thinks that this behavior occurred, since the presiding judge has responsibility for what goes on in the courtroom, why didn’t the CPJ Letter to the World accusing Mignini not make nominal reference to the judges who pull rank over Mignini and include them in this specific accusation?

Test 2, Step 2: Conclusion

Having seen in a more detailed way the layout of the courtroom and the normal positioning of the Perugian blogger, it is difficult to imagine how he may have been spied upon by policemen looking over his shoulder.

As for the mouthing of insults, as a rule, the guards face forwards and are located in front of the family members and other invited persons. For a guard to turn towards the Perugian blogger and mouth an insult, not only the other journalists would have seen it, but also the guests and probably lawyers as well.

If any insults were mouthed at the Perugian blogger during the course of the Amanda Knox trial, or the start of the subsequent appeal, it is difficult to believe that this could have occurred with only the presiding judge (in addition, of course, to the ringleader Mignini) realizing what was going on.

It’s time to go back to the Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations and update it:

[Below: Click image for larger image.. The second test of credibility in the anti-Mignini accusations could only be passed if the person who formulated it took a giant Friends of Amanda Leap of Faith.]

Let’s continue to the next.


CPJ Accusation #1 Against Italian Justice Officials : Was The Anon Blogger Pushed And Threatened?

Posted by Kermit


Overview. In our Second Open Letter to Joel Simon and world leaders we noted that NOT ONE of the accusations against Italian officials on close examination stands up. This is Attachment One to that letter. Click on the image above to see all the tests we carried out. More investigative posts are to come. 

CPJ Accusation #1: In CPJ’s Open Letter To The President of Italy Joel Simon writes about a Perugian blogger who uses the screen name “Frank Sfarzo” (real name Sforza, presumably CPJ didnt bother to check his real name). His claimed troubles started on October 28, 2008, the day Knox and Sollecito were indicted and a third defendant was convicted of murdering Kercher. Several members of Squadra Mobile, Sforza told CPJ, approached him just outside the city court (Corte di Assise di Perugia) and started to push and hit him. “You are pissing us off!” they told him, referring to his coverage.)

Opening observation: If Frank Sforza was in October 2008 on the cops’ radar we would be incredibly surprised. His blog had run for only a few months, it was low- volume and objective, it was in English, and it was pro Meredith and pro prosecutors and cops at this time. WHY would cops be “pissed off”??? Zero reason we can see, based simply on what appeared on his blog. Okay, let’s continue on to the supposed evidence of his claim. 

Line of Investigation for Test 1: In our first open letter to Joel Simon we already included the Perugian blogger’s own video of this alleged aggression. (His site is now temporarily taken down but we have the video.)

Since the alleged aggression occurred in the middle of a media scrum, I suggested in my prior letter that you study video sequences of other news organizations present to see if anyone had it in for the blogger (which is the essence of your accusation). 

Based only on that video, most viewers would seriously doubt – no, directly throw out – the accusation that CPJ makes. You do not see “several” policemen approach him and “push and hit him”.  However, you still don’t seem to have studied the video so here goes.

Test 1, Step 1: Google for video: 29 Oct 2008 “rudy guede” (enter)

This Google search made sense, since the aggression supposedly occurred when the Kercher family was exiting the courthouse in late October 2008 after Rudy Guede was sentenced for the murder of their daughter and sister Meredith. In October of 2008, the Perugian blogger had barely just switched sides from being pro-victim, to joining the pro-Amanda lobbying group. 

In the sake of honesty and transparency (something that seems to be lacking from some media organizations these days) I should say that I repeated this test twice. The first time I googled for videos dated “28 Oct 2008” (the date of Guede’s sentencing), however, since it occurred well into the evening, most of the news videos are dated the next day.

Approximate time required to obtain material to be analysed: less than 1 second.

Analysis:

There are a number of videos which result from the Google search. I latched onto one from The Guardian.

The sequence which is of interest in The Guardian’s video goes from the 00:55 second mark to 1:11. You’ll need eagle eyes for this, but look out!!! Just a fraction of a second before the video cuts to the Kercher family’s news conference, we too are witnesses to the Perugian blogger suffering his aggression … centimeters from Stephanie Kercher’s face!!! 

Now if the Italian cops were the ones doing the beating up, you’ll have to admit that’s pretty cheeky of them, in front of the murder victim sister’s nose, under the blaring light of dozens of television cameras.


[Above: If it’s true that Mignini is responsible for this aggression, all I can say is that his hit squad is made up of undetectable aces. Closer scrutiny shows that Stephanie Kercher seems to be putting her hand up to protect herself, not from Mignini’s goon squad, but from the crush of reporters, with the blogger right there in her face.]

Now I can imagine that there will be persons out there who will need to believe that what appears to be jostling and media scrum etiquette is actually a planned conspiracy by Mignini, his private Italian national police force goon squad, and a series of judges who are complices to the abuse.

So, let’s do a more detailed review of the abundant information at hand. In fact, before we look more closely at the Perugian blogger’s aggression, let’s just watch The Guardian video a couple of times in order to get a feeling for those 16 seconds of movement. This is very important to understand the event.

At the beginning of the sequence, you only see the door of the courthouse which the Kercher family has exited in the first second. There are four or five plainclothes policemen or guards who escort the family as they approach the media crowd. They plunge into the media, which moves along with them a little. However, at the core of the crowd, the Kercher family and their escorts progressively move past each photographer and cameraman.

This is, I imagine, the exact same process as any courtroom departure covered by the Press, yet it is an important consideration in this test: for as much as individual members of the media try to advance along with the Kerchers, the Kerchers and their escorts press forward and “overtake” each member of the media.

The only people who don’t change position in a relative manner to one another are the members of the press: the colleagues that each reporter or cameraman has at his elbows change very little their position amongst each other (even if the whole body of the Press is shuffling along as they try to follow the Kerchers).  One exception to that relativity we’ll see later, is the Perugian blogger.

Okay, now that we’ve seen The Guardian video a couple of times, we have a feeling for the setting and the non-stop movement of the Kerchers and their escorts.  Let’s look at the “aggression”. As we said, it occurs just at the end of this sequence, at 1:10 and 1:11, right before The Guardian’s video cuts to the Kerchers’ press conference (in the following frames from the video, I’ve removed the irrelevant left and lower parts of the frames in order to enlarge and concentrate on “the aggression”)


Above image: Between the 1:10 and 1:11 marks of The Guardian video, we see the Perugian blogger appear (that’s the last second of the courthouse exit sequence). It’s not too clear in this frame, but if you have seen the video, you can see clearly that he has a couple of fixed or video newsmedia cameras just behind and to the right of him.

In that first frame, there is not yet any evidence of violence, he is slightly crouched (as evidenced also by the angle of his own video images which we will look at in a minute). I believe that is Stephanie Kercher’s right hand that is outstretched – in this frame it appears that it could be a left hand, however that doubt is removed in the next frames:


Above image: “The Aggression” has occurred! We don’t see exactly what provokes the Perugian blogger’s reaction, but he raises his right hand to his head. His hand is empty, so this is quite likely just at the moment when in the blogger’s own digital camera (or cellphone) drops, or hangs and dangles. Clearly, he is not filming his short digital video.

One suspect in “The Aggression” is the escort to the right of Stephanie Kercher (indicated as Escort 1 in my marked up image). The escort’s unseen right hand, right arm or right shoulder quite likely makes physical contact with the Perugian blogger – while the CPJ may believe that this contact was executed under the devious instructions of Mr. Mignini, I find a much more plausible explanation in that this escort was simply making way for the Kerchers.

Now, those who are fans of gymnastics may believe that said escort somehow wrapped his right arm around the Perugian blogger’s head and tapped / slapped / hit him there on the right side, although it doesn’t make sense that a person on the left side of someone hits that someone on the right side of their head.

Quite likely the best explanation is that someone or something to the right and behind the Perugian blogger hit him. We see emerging in this frame a total of four photographers or cameramen.

It’s entirely possible that the Perugian blogger got in the way of one of those members of the media, and that either he backed into them and their equipment (hitting his head), or that the advancing group of the Kerchers and their escorts pushed the blogger into the photographers and cameramen and their equipment, or that a cameraman got irate with the blogger for buzzing about and getting in the way and slapped him on the head.


Above image: This is the marked up version of the first image we saw. It is just before The Guardian’s video cuts to the Kercher press conference. We see better the emerging cameras 3 and 4. What appears to be Stephanie Kercher’s right hand could actually now be touching the Perugian blogger (I hope that by trying to protect herself that the CPJ doesn’t call her an accessory to “The Aggression” and issue another accusatory Letter to the World!).

There’s a possibility that what I’m calling Stephanie Kercher’s right hand could be the right hand of her escort, although I think not, as it is at an unnatural angle for him. In addition, if you compare the size of her hand to the Perugian blogger’s hand, it seems more appropriate to assign it to her (it is true that women’s hands are smaller than men’s, and that relation is definitely what we see in this frame). 

We’re not finished yet with “The Aggression” at the courthouse. However, just on the basis of what we’ve seen, does it seem like Mr. Mignini has directed “several members of Squadra Mobile” to approach the Perugian blogger and start “to push and hit him”?

Please, please Mr. Simon, don’t tell me that the CPJ still doesn’t have it clear, that you’re still thinking about it, that you’re not yet ready to withdraw your accusation against Mr. Mignini on this one – for the moment I’m only talking about this first example you gave of Mignini’s aggressions which justify for you sending a letter to 21 World Leaders.

[Above: The three video frames analysed from The Guardian video, with no markup or overlays. Click on each image if you want to see a larger version]

I mentioned that last night the Perugian blogger’s website was removed by Google’s Blogger service. However, trust me in the data I provide below on his video. If you would like to see the rest of the video, or consult alternative frames, do contact me.
Just for the record, the video used to be available at this link Here’s his own version of “The Aggression” outside the courthouse:


[Above: Although the CPJ has started to call the Perugian blogger a “local freelance reporter”, the quality of his video makes one repeat the question if he is anything more than the blogspot blogger that he is (er, used to be), allied through collaborator Jim Lovering with the Friends of Amanda lobby.]

Given the low resolution and the non-stop jumping in the blogger’s 36 second video, I’ve only extracted a handful of frames, which I won’t enlarge any more, otherwise they become pixellated and unviewable.

At 01”, you can just barely see the courthouse door in the background. In the foreground you can see the backs and equipment of the members of the press who are filming the Kercher family. The Kerchers and their escorts are not yet defined, given the low quality of the video, however, the brightness of the camera lights and flash bulbs situates them in the medium distance. In other words, they are some distance still from the Perugian blogger.

At 05” and 07”, the mass formed by the Kerchers and their escorts moves forward, getting closer to the Perugian blogger, however, he is still separated from them, as seen by heads and media equipment that continues to appear between them and him.
In the whole video you can hear noise, people complaining, other people asking to please make way, there is a lot of commotion. At 09” when listening to the video you can hear a swear word in Italian.

At 11” and 12” there is still at least one line of members of the press between the Perugian blogger and the Kerchers / escorts as they advance inexorably through the media scrum. In 11” you see someone and a dark shape (television video camera?) on the left, in 12” you see hands of reporters with microphones in front of Stephanie Kercher’s escort.

At 13” and 14” this same escort (Escort 3 in my marked up Guardian video, on Stephanie Kercher’s left) gets hit on the head or seems to almost get hit on the head by a boom mike (I include a frame from The Guardian video of this moment). The boom mike is connected to a camera or some over equipment to the left of the blogger, and this gets in his way.

The core group of the Kerchers and their escorts continues forwards. From 14” to 25”, the Perugian blogger seems to squirrel around, looking for a better position. He is changing his relative positioning to the other cameramen and reporters near him.

The cameraman (I assume he’s a cameraman) with the boom mike to his left keeps getting in front of the blogger, and the blogger can’t get a good shot. Up until now, the blogger has been taking his video from on high (holding his digital camera / cellphone above his head, and filming the foreheads and the tops of the heads of the Kerchers and their escorts.

Then he gets an idea. He burrows low and moves left behind the cumbersome cameraman with the boom mike, abandoning his attempt to position himself in front of Escort 3.

In 27”, he pops out of the dark mass of cameramen’s backs, just below Escort 1’s chin, looking up now at Stephanie from further to her right (you see his video is now from below, looking up, instead of aiming his camera from above on the right as he had done before).

A budding freelance reporter’s dream scoop: Right in front of Stephanie! Eye to eye! (Well, better said, eye-to-her chin.)

His exclusive images didn’t last for long. About two seconds to be exact.

At 29” the Perugia blogger’s camera shows the night sky, the ground, and the crowd. Did the escort and Stephanie plow into him? Probably.

Did he also hit his head on one of the cameras / boom mikes / other media equipment he had ducked under (because he got plowed into, or because he backed into the members of the media) and that were slightly behind and above him? Maybe.

Did a member of the media whose images or sound the blogger had been messing up get mad and slap him? Maybe.

Did a policeman unseen on the videos hit him? I doubt it, but maybe.




[Above:  Television cameras, along with pitted olives, can be dangerous weapons, and provoke grievous international tensions, including hitting sportsmen on their heads with bulky cameras and their boom mikes. In a case of aggression like in Perugia, it’s almost better to set up Mignini as the fall guy, rather than a wealthy television broadcasting network.]

From 29” to 36” in his video we hear complaints and comments to the end of the tape when there is some comment about “The last 3 days …”.

Remember what we observed in The Guardian video? That the core group of the Kerchers and escorts was moving along, not stopping. By the time we get to the end of the blogger’s video, the Kerchers and their escorts will have been long gone.

At the very end of the video, in the commotion and exchange of angry comments ending with “The last 3 days … “ , the voices aren’t separating, one or the other isn’t walking away. However, the seven seconds from 29” when the Perugian blogger bumps his head / gets his head bumped to the 36” mark are one fifth of the total video, which takes the Kerchers from the doors of the courthouse to well beyond the Perugian blogger.

I doubt that one of the police escorts stopped and waited until the crowd had cleared to insult the blogger.  I also doubt that after bumping his head, “several members of Squadra Mobile … approached him” and that that’s when the vicious attack mandated by Mr. Mignini started.

Who made that possibly insulting comment about “The last 3 days …”? An escort or other security official? A member of the media elbowing with this budding wants-to-be-a-freelance-reporter-but-is-still-a-blogger, and who was ticked off that the blogger hadn’t yet learned media scrum etiquette and that you simply can’t stand up in front of someone’s big fat camera lens (especially if you have an eensy-teeny weenie one, maybe only cellphone)?

Can this disparaging remark and elbowing be linked to a vengeance driven Mignini (vengeance for what? Some broken English comments on a blogspot page?) and his campaign to harass reporters? I doubt it.

Do either of these videos show the imagery that is explicitly described and further insinuated by the CPJ in its Letter to the World, namely that “several members of Squadra Mobile … approached him just outside the city court … and started to push and hit him.” ?

(Source: CPJ’s Letter to the World 19-04-2011)


[Above:  For the moment, Joel Simon of the CPJ has not yet backed down from his description of the terrible incident that he feels the Perugian blogger suffered outside the local courthouse. I guess he’s still waiting on evidence that it didn’t happen.]
If the CPJ is going to continue to justify in the light of these two videos that a squad of goons directed by Mignini “pushed and hit” the Perugian blogger, and turn it into an event which should be informed to 21 World Leaders, well, I honestly think you’ve got it wrong.

Excuse the length of text I’m dedicating to this one test. I don’t want to be pedantic with my frame-by-frame analysis, but I did want to be thorough, just so that there is no doubt about what happened (or, better said, didn’t happen) outside the Perugia Courthouse on 28-10-2008.

Test 1, Step 2: Conclusion

I think that simply by watching the two videos once, even without the frame by frame analysis, it is more than evident that what you have stated in your letter of 19-04-2011 bears no relation to the Truth whatsoever.

Having finished the first test, let’s take a look at how things stand on our Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations:


Above: The first test of credibility in the anti-Mignini accusations was pretty easy to do, and it’s one of the hardest ones!

Let’s continue to the next.


CPJ Talks As If Franks Blog Had A Core Audience Of Millions, While It Was Really One Or Two Dozen

Posted by Peter Quennell




This may be the REAL shock of Perugia Shock: most of its tiny core readership could probably fit in a Volkswagen bug.

The muddled Committee to Protect Journalists has been making out like Frank’s blog is a really, really, really big deal. Tens of thousands of Italians, Americans and Brits all hanging on his every mighty word.

Think again CPJ. For three years Perugia Shock had been a steadily failing blog. In early 2009 after Frank had abandoned the real victim, Meredith, and began to slobber eerily over Amanda Knox, his readership really began to plummet. Here is our report from May 2009.

According to the webtracker Alexa, readers have been departing Perugia-Shock in droves. Just a couple of months ago, Perugia-Shock was about the 4 millionth site in readership in the world….

It has since dropped an astounding 1.5 million places, and its three month average is now 5,492,938 in the world. (For comparison, TJMK’s three-month average is 1,953,715 place - and TJMK is less than half as old.)

Many vanity websites run by school-kids in the evenings see bigger numbers than Perugia-Shock. Many bloggers simply give up and go quiet when their numbers become so abysmally bad.

After that TJMK and PMF both broke into the top 100,000 (something the Knox cult sites have never come close to) while Frank’s blog dropped even further, to below 6 and 7 and even 8 millionth in readership in the world.

It has very rarely broken above 5 million since.  Just a couple of months ago, way down below 5 millionth in readership is where it still was.

Now Perugia Shock is back in the top million. (TJMK today is at 421,738.) Gee thanks Committee for the Protection of Journalists. Just another example of the way you have been used.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

It Looks Like Joel Simon And Nina Ognianova May Have Been Set Up In Their New Attack On Mignini

Posted by Peter Quennell


Kermit below lists all the open questions about the claimed closing of Perugia Shock on a judical order that CPJ did’t seem to have bothered to ask.

Now a new Perugia Shock  is up and running in a test phase with a simple change in the host and different free software.

NO WAY that site would be going live if a judge in Florence had said to shut it down. Or if Frank’s legal troubles were because of it. Or if Mignini really were gunning for him.

It looks like all the Google Blogger hullaballoo yesterday was to simply set CPJ up for another anti-Mignini attack, and to add to Frank’s martyrdom and jump his usually very small audience.

The website tracker Whois is showing that the domain name PerugiaShock[dot]com was registered by proxy only yesterday 11 May.

Registered through: Automattic
Domain Name: PERUGIASHOCK.COM
Created on: 11-May-11
Expires on: 11-May-12
Last Updated on: 11-May-11

Administrative Contact:
Private, Registration PERUGIASHOCK.COM]at]domainsbyproxy.com
Domains by Proxy, Inc.
DomainsByProxy.com
15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
United States
(480) 624-2599 Fax—(480) 624-2598

We are familiar with sites registered via Domains By Proxy.

The FOA sites amandadefensefund.org and Friendsofamanda.org were both registered by proxy there. At a guess, Frank’s new site is being created right now by a current temporary resident of Perugia who is an American computer specialist and a relative of Aamda Knox. There is some evidence of his developing the whole FOA network for the Marriott PR operation..

Very tough situation for CPJ now having stuck their necks out so far.

Their new claims against Mignini quoted by Kermit below would seem to go way too far. Is another semi-partial retraction, on their obscure corporate CPJ blog, now in the works?


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Is Joel Simon Of CPJ Now In Hiding - And Pushing The Naive Nina Ognianova Out To Take The Hits?

Posted by Kermit



[Above: Nina Ognianova adds to CPJ’s abusive and unsubstantiated witchhunt of Giuliano Mignini]


“Frank Sfarzo” was running a low-traffic, low-impact blog which has long consisted of vague unsourced innuendo plus extensive defamation in the comments area

Every REAL reporter we have ever asked has said that in their eyes “Frank’s” site is a joke. His real name is Sforza. There are strong signs that Sforza is a paid flunky for the Knox PR campaign, and he is supported for blowing smoked and HIDING the grim and unmistakable truth.

Now, right at the mid-point between my Open Letter #2 to Joel Simon below and my posting of VOLUMINOUS evidence of his false claims to come, this misguided further attack on Miignini appears. 

Unsubstantiated passages here are in bold.

New York, May 11, 2011—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Florence and Perugia authorities to drop the trumped-up defamation lawsuit against Perugia Shock...

Sfarzo (real name Sforza) told CPJ that he received an email from Google, which hosts the site, last night informing him that a court order has been issued for the “preventive closure” of his blog dedicated to the Kercher case.

It was from the court order, Sforza told CPJ, that he learned that Perugia Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini—who has a long-standing record of anti-press actions—has filed a lawsuit against Perugia Shock for “defamation, carried out by means of a website.”

The court order, which stemmed from Mignini’s claim, was issued on February 23 by Florentine Judge Paola Belsino. Mignini is the lead prosecutor on the Kercher case.

[ CPJ’s Nina Ognianova says] “This is hardly the first time Mignini has resorted to the law to silence his critics. It’s a heavy-handed tactic that is bound to have a chilling effect on journalists in Italy.”

CPJ has documented a history of official harassment, physical attack, and fabricated legal prosecution against Sforza.

Journalist Sabina Castelfranco of CBS in Rome (CBS is the most baised against the prosecution) has said: “Certainly it does appear that he is being vindictive, however maybe he did have a case to sue Frank Sforza for defamation.”

The MyNorthwest website describes the Perugian blogger as accusing “Mignini of having ties to drug dealers.” That is one pretty serious charge.

So. Some more hard questions for Nina Ognianova.

  • On what basis can Ognianova call the charges “trumped up” if Ognianova as we suspect doesn’t even know what those charges are for? What will Ognianova say if they are genuine, serious, and provable?
  • Does Ognianova understand what exactly are other charges against the Perugian blogger relating to a visit by police to his home last autumn? And what relation those other charges may have with the removal of his blog?
  • Did Ognianova ever LOOK at the content of Frank’s blog and see the often-hallucinatory junk that regularly appeared there? Does Ognianova have any clue about the true state of reporting on Meredith’s case?
  • Does Ognianova have any clue about the harrasment of real reporters, who have tried in face of REAL harrassment to report objectively and impartially from Italy and Seattle on the case?
  • How does Ognianova associate Giuliano Mignini with the FLORENCE legal authorities? Does she know he is NOT now the lead prosecutor and is only tangentially involved with the appeal?
  • Has Ognianova seen the three-month-old court order for “Frank” to take the website down? Has Ognianova seen Google’s note to “Frank” about taking his (free) blogger account down? Are they both for-real?
  • Does Ognianova approve of the drug dealing accusations of this blogger who wants to be considered a freelance reporter even though his blog was simply the European outlet of the pro Amanda Knox campaign?
  • Does Ognianova consider accusing Mignini of having drug dealing ties simply represent part of the free speech reporting on the Meredith Kercher case? Does she approve of the huge abuse directed at him?
  • Does Ognianova know that throughout there was a co-prosecutor? Does Ognianova know that the case passed through the hands of nearly two dozen judges - and, already, the Supreme Court?
  • Does Ognianova know of the rather brilliant assembly and presentation of the case by the two prosecutors? Does Ognianova know of the weak and lackluster defense component and their true desperation right now?

And where is the oversight over Simon’s and Ognianova’s runaway train here,  by the (All-American) Board of Directors of the CPJ?


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Open Letter #2 To Joel Simon Of CPJ: Not Even One Anti-Mignini Accusation Withstands Careful Testing

Posted by Kermit

Attn. Mr. Joel Simon
Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists
330 7th Avenue, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10001


Dear Mr. Simon,

More on your potentially libelous open letter, sent unchecked to 21 world leaders, and your first attempt at a response.

As previously with Open Letter #1 of April 26, this will have to occupy several posts, because the evidence against your unsubstantiated or misleading accusations against Umbrian Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini is so voluminous. 



[Click above for a larger image]

[Above:  Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists is stepping into the same slippery terrain of unsubstantiated accusations against Mr. Mignini as Friends of Amanda activists such as Judge Michael Heavey have done in the past, and which Amanda Knox’s lawyers have had to disassociate themselves from. Is this just a procedural slip-up by Mr. Simon which he will quickly seek to correct, or is he consciously introducing himself and his organisation as a proxy player in a potential attempt to pervert the course of justice?]

As a public notice, your own open letter definitely has a potential impact on his reputation and career in the professional realm, and on his good name and honour as a person. No demonstrative proof was offered for those accusations. My own skepticism concerning the soundness of your accusatory text was underlined by what seemed to be the only and entire basis for this splashy letter, an aggressive international PR campaign fraught with risk for the CPJ’s reputation:

  • Sfarzo told CPJ …
  • Preston told CPJ … 
  • Cottonwood told CPJ … 
  • Editor Ken Robinson said …

There was no apparent fact-finding, no contrasting of opinion, no double checking, no collecting of documents.  Not even evidence of the slightest, minimal effort to contact the subject of these grave accusations, Mr. Mignini (not even a “he didn’t reply to our email” or a “we tried to call his office at midnight but no one answered”).

This is shameful coming from a journalistic organisation, in an industry where every professional worth his salt checks a source before publishing to avoid credibility and legal problems further along.

My letter raised a number of questions about how and why your open letter to the world was prepared, and I made a number of requests or suggestions in order to understand better the basis for the accusations against Mignini.

Some of the red flags which result from my questions are:

  • Did the CPJ simply accept the accusation of certain persons against Mr. Mignini without even minimal, Google-based fact checking? 

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Having realized that basic fact checking was not carried out, has the CPJ proceeded to do so?

    -> If not, then Red Flag

  • Does the tipster who set you on this issue also stand to gain something by painting Mr. Mignini in a certain light?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Is the tipster or one of the subjects of the letter a financial backer of your organisation?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Could one or more of the subjects that the CPJ sought to protect in its missive be less a journalist seeking to report news freely, and more an element of a lobby group in an open criminal case?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Do you know that the principal subject who you sought to “protect” in your Letter to the World is actually a screen name, used by the blogger?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Having realized (thanks to our first reply to you here on TJMK) that you were seeking to protect a screen name, did you proceed to identify the real-life person behind the screen name, and check what provoked a police visit to his home and what he is actually charged with, and if said charges can be in any way linked to Mr. Mignini, who closed his investigation of the murder of Meredith Kercher almost three years ago? 

    -> If not, then Red Flag

  • Upon realizing that your accusations are neither substantiated nor relevant, is it possible that the CPJ could be used as a party to pervert the course of justice in two open criminal cases? 

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Have you included as justification for action in your letter to the world the supposed threat to persons who aren’t journalists or reporters?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • As a result of the CPJ Letter to 21 World Leaders, could the until now untarnished reputation of the Organization to Protect Journalists be put into question, favouring the abuse perpetrated against journalists by those in power around the world who actually do threaten the work of journalists?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

With the acknowledgement that just one of these red flags (any one of them) is raised, the CPJ should have taken a step back and thought through how and why it ended up issuing its Letter to the World of 19-04-2011, identified internal control issues and external damage caused (both to the organisation’s reputation and to third parties), and taken steps to correct the cause of the red flag and ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future.

There is negative impact that has already occurred to the Committee to Protect Journalists. However, it will continue to grow as more as more journalists, public agencies and the public in general become aware of and concerned about what is fast becoming the CPJ’s Abusive Accusations Against the Perugian Prosecutor Affair.

Instead of stepping back and reflecting on how to resolve this problem elegantly, only two days after publishing our first reply to you the CPJ posted a note, not on its front page but revealingly hidden away on the institutional blog page on its site.

Frankly, I was astounded that the CPJ seemed to sweep the questions I raised in my first letter under the CPJ’s own carpet by stating that “we stand by” the first Letter to 21 World Leaders on 19-04-2011.

Instead of trying to de-construct what it has created, the CPJ seems to be making the monster grow.

I should say that we – the international followers of progress in the case concerning the murder of the English student Meredith Kercher in Perugia on 1 November 2007 - recognize and are thankful that at least the CPJ did give the reply to our letter, and that comments have been open on that page. We do thank you for that.

However, to some extent, both your reply and some of the comments posted on the CPJ site actually increase our concern surrounding the CPJ’s recent actions and the obvious lack of due diligence applied in the preparation and sending of your Letter to the World. Had it occurred because of a procedural slip up, the normal reaction of an organisation such as yours would be to suspend the Letter to the World and perform detailed (or even basic) fact checking.

But you haven’t.



[Click above for a larger image]

[Above: CPJ coordinator Nina Ognianova takes the heat on behalf of Joel Simon, admitting that the Letter to 21 World leaders was only written on the basis of accusatory statements offered or requested of “victims” of Mignini, with no fact checking whatsoever.]

The CPJ reply to our letter states: “CPJ has received a number of emails in reaction to our April 19 letter … which details cases of harassment”.

What details? Your April 19 letter didn’t detail anything.

The CPJ reply to our letter states: “CPJ takes no position as to the alleged guilt or innocence of either of the defendants in the Kercher case”

This comment has nothing to do with either your original letter or our response, and I don’t know why you have included it in your reply. We all assume a priori that the CPJ has no position on the case of the murder of Meredith Kercher. What we are concerned about is that CPJ does not provide any detail or checking to its grave accusations against Mr. Mignini.

The CPJ reply to our letter states: “Those in positions of power must understand that scrutiny and criticism, including the harshest of kind, comes with the office.” 

We could not agree more with that no-brainer. What is missing in the framework of your open letter to world leaders about Mr. Mignini is what must be said in the next breath, the missing second half of that equation, which is that in addition, the Press (from individual reporters to the sectorial press associations which represent them such as yours) must act in a responsible manner, striving to publish and communicate truthful facts which have been thoroughly contrasted. To not achieve that level of responsibility means a drift towards the Press publishing news and “facts” à la Janet Cooke and Jimmy’s World.



[Click above for a larger image]

[Above:  Let’s hope that the CPJ can help avoid a 21st century Jimmy’s World. Does the CPJ have an Ombudsman service when regular channels of complaints provide no adequate reply?]

In my opinion (and that of many persons who have written me, and I’m sure many persons who have written you), that is exactly how the Committee to Protect Journalists is appearing.

When you say that in spite of the extremely serious issues that we raise about your document accusing Mignini “We stand by it”, you are really saying two things:

1) you continue to support the highly doubtful veracity of the unsupported accusations against Mignini

2) you are not planning to do any further checking of the facts, as effortless as that may be. (Instead of “further” checking of the facts, it’s really a question of “initial, basic” checking of the facts)

If that is what you stand by, then the overall reputation of CPJ is called into question, and those who truly should respond for the abuse of real journalists in tough situations around the world know that they can ignore your calls of support for personal freedom and freedom of press, calling into question the integrity of your organisation.



[Click above for a larger image]

[Above: World leaders on all continents who are directly responsible for the abuse of journalists and the free press in general, or who are in a position to improve the conditions of journalists have their life made easier when organizations such as the CPJ are seen as frail or lacking in the very principles that they promote.]

I can understand that from the CPJ’s point of view, you are in a tight position. Your reputation is at stake. You have published a high-profile letter containing grave accusations, which as it actually gets examined beyond the words of the accusers starts to unravel very quickly and evaporate, and by no means justifies a letter of alert to world leaders.

At the same time, the most visible of the persons who supposedly has suffered at the hands of Mignini is on the list of the CPJ’s significant financial benefactors. “Preston … suffered harassment by Mignini himself in 2006 – and eventually was forced to leave Italy for fear of imprisonment – told CPJ ….”

And Douglas Preston is now going his own way promoting and “improving” your letter and claiming that you have carried out an “independent investigation”, when that seems to not be the case. Preston has said in the last few days:

“the Committee to Protect Journalists … has made public the results of their own, independent investigation into the actions of Mignini and the police, prosecutors, and judges in Perugia, Italy.

Their conclusions are shocking. The report details what appears to be an organized campaign to harass, intimidate, and physically threaten Italian and American journalists covering the case. CPJ discovered that in at least on case police in Perugia assaulted a journalist who had criticized Mignini, trumped up charges against him, and then tried to get him certified “insane”—all with Mignini’s knowledge and cooperation.

The CPJ investigation also detailed how Perugian authorities extended their harassment campaign into the United States, threatening American journalists, writers, and newspapers with criminal charges in a gross attempt to extend Italian criminal laws on to American soil and interfere with the freedoms we enjoy in our own country.

The Committee to Protect Journalists was so concerned with their findings that yesterday they sent a strong letter of protest to the President of the Italian Republic, asking for action to end this abuse and calling on him to take steps to protect journalists in Perugia.  The letter reads like a horror novel.”

(Source: Doug Preston promoting something he calls The Monster of Perugia)

Mr. Simon, I have highlighted certain expressions of Preston in bold. Is it of your opinion that this financial backer of the CPJ is using expressions and style that actually reflect the content of the CPJ letter which you signed, and how you prepared that letter? If not, what do you think explains the gap?

Could it be the close proximity of the genesis of the 19-04-2011 letter to Preston himself, to him promoting “my nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence, written with Italian journalist Mario Spezi, and currently being made into a movie” that Preston claims will star George Clooney?



[Click above for a larger image]

[Above: In the name of transparency, it would be appropriate for the CPJ to reveal the financial contributions that Douglas Preston has made to the organisation, as well as to detail the communications and attached documents that Preston has exchanged with the CPJ with regard to the Letter to the World of 19-04-2011. This is what honest Governance is all about.]

I have received a number of emails in the last few days, as I’m sure you have too, and the message people are telling me is that something has gone amiss with the CPJ letter to 21 World Leaders about a local Italian prosecutor in the hills of Umbria.

Let me help you out.

I want CPJ to work. I am not looking for it to be humiliated, as it is a very needed organisation which has done great work. However, respect must not just be earned but it must be maintained. In the case of the CPJ letter of 19-04-2011, I honestly believe that something went wrong in the internal control procedures of the CPJ. Those should be relatively easy to review, revise and use in the future to improve the quality of your activity.

However, in addition to correcting its internal procedures with regard to the future, a wrong committed must be righted. Journalism is not about sweeping things under the carpet.

As regards the latter, it is the CPJ who should decide the action it will take. I suppose that writing a new open letter copied to 21 world leaders, admitting that the CPJ got bamboozled (which is honestly what I think happened), is expecting too much.

However, why don’t you contact Mr. Mignini’s office and give him fair time to respond on your webpage? That would be just, fair and elegant, especially after the lack of elegance shown in your world letter.

Are you even aware if he knows about the supposed incident of 28-09-2010 suffered by the Perugia blogger? My bet is that he learned about it on 19-04-2011 upon reading your letter about what a bad guy he is, and that whatever reason that the police may have gone to the home of a guy who uses the screen-name “Frank Sfarzo” (real name Sforza) has more to do with that blogger’s real-life persona than his blog posts related to the Meredith Kercher case.

Did you even know that “Frank Sfarzo” is only a screen-name?  Please, please tell me that you didn’t first learn that fact only once the critical emails started to arrive after your 19-04-2011 post.

If so, that would be a serious pie-in-your-face: a letter to the world to protect a screen name against totally unsubstantiated accusations of physical abuse by police, which even if they occurred show no dotted line to a prosecutor whom some unrevealed OPJ tipster has decided to denounce (although we all have a pretty good idea of who that tipster is).

Let me help out by working to set things straight, and shed some contrasting and revealing light on the grave accusations poured on Mignini in the CPJ’s letter.

Thanks to Google, we are able to contrast the accusers’ words against .... their own words, photos and deeds as documented on Internet. These are mostly made available by themselves in their own posts and comments.

It is truly shocking that the CPJ didn’t exert the minimal effort which I present below in the Annex to this letter, and which allowed me to get a completely different understanding of how shallow the recent attack is against Mignini. To be honest, the CPJ should have seen the bamboozle coming a mile away.

If the CPJ won’t do a basic, minimal, obvious, fast, easy, needed-to-avoid-a-libel-accusation, beginner journalist’s exercise of checking the facts in a high-profile accusation with international repercussions, then I will.

Let’s do a fast “Balance” of facts as we are able to gather them. I’ve set up a Balance Sheet which we’ll use to perform some checking and tests on some of the accusations which appear in the CPJ letter. I would have performed these tests and included them in my first letter a week ago, however, I was hoping that the CPJ would have spent literally, just a few minutes to do the checking.

Here’s the format of our Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations. We’ll fill it out as we go along.



[Click above for a larger image]

Given the length of the indicative results that we have obtained, today we will post this letter, and shortly we will post the Annex with our findings with the complete Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations.

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or if I may be of assistance as you become more familiarized with the complex forces which are out to turn Mr. Mignini into an evil, rogue prosecutor.

However, what’s good for some people’s business is not good for yours.

I hope that with this second TJMK letter the CPJ will finally realize the delicate, weak state of your 19-04-2011 letter and will take the appropriate measures. 

In your own words to the 21 World Leaders, “thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We await your response.”

Sincerely,

Kermit

A Main Poster on TJMK (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))


Copied to:
His Excellency Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Italian Republic
Angelino Alfano, Ministro della Giustizia
José Manuel Barroso, Presidente della Commissione Europea
Herman Van Rompuy, Presidente del Consiglio Europeo
Baroness Catherine Ashton, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Alto Rappresentante dell’EU per gli
Affari Esteri e la Politica di Sicurezza
Viviane Reding, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Commissario per Giustizia, Diritti
Fondamentali e Cittadinanza
Neelie Kroes, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Commissario per la Digital Agenda
Jerzy Buzek, Presidente del Parlamento Europeo
Heidi Hautala, Presidenza del Sottocomitato sui Diritti Umani del Parlamento Europeo
Jean-Marie Cavada, Presidenza dell’Intergruppo per i Media del Parlamento Europeo
Thomas Hammarberg, Commissario del Consiglio d’Europa per i Diritti Umani
Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso l’EU
Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State
Michael Posner, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Philip H. Gordon, U.S. Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
John Kerry, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Richard Lugar, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican Member, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democratic Member, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Ambasciatore Italiano presso gli Stati Uniti
David Thorne, U.S. Ambassador to Italy


Sunday, May 08, 2011

Questions For Knox: The Questions That Drew Griffin On CNN Tonight SHOULD Have Asked

Posted by The Machine




Drew Griffin’s CNN report on Amanda Knox (replete with dozens of basic errors) can be read in transcript here.

Welcome to migrants from CNN. If you want to form a seriously fact-based opinion, please read this group of posts and especially the one by the very smart lawyer SomeAlbi at the top.

Amanda Knox’s family and friends are notorious for running a mile rather than ever facing any hard questioning. This is unique in crime reporting on American TV where strong suspects and convicted felons otherwise invariably get roasted - heard of CNN’s own Jane Velez Mitchell and Nancy Grace?

So it’s a pretty safe bet that we have got right in advance (see previous posts below) what Drew Griffin’s report for CNN will be like.

It will undoubtedly be very biased and one-sided, with the vast majority of the interviews featuring members of Amanda Knox’s family and supporters being tossed a number of soft ball questions.

The program will no doubt shamefully try to manipulate the emotions of the viewers, with the seemingly obligatory footage of Edda Mellas crying and numerous images of Amanda Knox as a baby and child. None of this has anything to do with the evidence that led to her unanimous conviction.

And it will babble on ignorantly about Mr Mignini without an ounce of impartial investigation..

Don’t expect to see any images of Amanda Knox that undermine her carefully crafted girl-next-door image. Such as the footage of her kissing Raffaele Sollecito outside the cottage whilst Meredith’s mutilated body was still inside, and such as the CCTV images of Knox laughing and kissing Sollecito in the boutique as if she didn’t have a care in the world.

I have listed below a number of tough questions that Drew Griffin should, but its a very safe bet won’t, ask Amanda Knox’s family. First, a couple of vital context facts.

The various alibis

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito both gave at least three different alibis, all of which have turned out to be false. Nobody has ever provided a plausible innocent explanation for the numerous lies that Knox and Sollecito told before and after 5 November 2007.

Amanda Knox told Filomena that she had already phoned the police. Knox’s mobile phone records proved that this was untrue.

She told the postal police that Meredith always kept her door locked. Filomena strongly disagreed with her, and told the postal police the opposite was true.

And in her email to friends in on 4 November 2007, Amanda Knox says she called Meredith’s phones after speaking to Filomena. Knox’s mobile phone records prove that this was untrue and that she had called Meredith’s phones first.

Question for Knox: Why did Amanda Knox lie to Filomena and the postal police on 2 November 2007 and to her friends in her e-mail on 4 November 2007?

Sollecito’s alibi lies

On 5 November 2007, Raffaele Sollecito admitted to the police that he had lied to them and said that Amanda Knox had asked him to lie for her. He claimed that Amanda Knox had left his apartment at around 9.00pm and returned at about 1.00am on the night of the murder.

Question for Knox: Why did Sollecito stop providing Amanda Knox with an alibi and why does he still refuse to corroborate her alibi?

Sollecito’s further alibi lies

After admitting he had lied, Sollecito was given another opportunity to tell the police the truth. However, he decided to tell the police even more lies. These lies were exposed by his computer and mobile phone records.

Sollecito claimed that he had spoken to his father at 11pm. Phone records show that there was no telephone conversation at this time. Sollecito’s father called him a couple of hours earlier at 8.40pm.

He claimed that he was surfing the Internet from 11pm to 1am. There was no human interaction on his computer between 9.10am and 5.32am.

He claimed that he had slept until after 10.00am on 2 November 2007. However, he used his computer at 5.32am and played music for about 30 minutes. He turned on his mobile phone at about 6.02am and received three phone calls at 9.24am (248 seconds long) and at 9.30am and at 9.29am (38 seconds long).

Question for Knox: Why do you think Sollecito deliberately chose to tell the police more lies? 

The DNA on the bra clasp

An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s bra clasp. His DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17.

Question for Knox: Bearing in mind that DNA doesn’t fly, how would you account for the abundant amount of Sollecito’s DNA being on Meredith’s bra clasp?

The DNA on the large knife

Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the double DNA knife and a number of independent forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo and Professor Francesca Torricelli - categorically stated that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade.

Question for Knox: How would you account for Meredith’s DNA being on the blade of the double DNA knife?

The traces of mixed blood

A number of criminal biologists testified at the trial that Amanda Knox’s blood was mixed with Meredith’s blood. Independent DNA expert Luciano Garofano stated that this was undoubtedly the case and even Amanda Knox’s lawyers conceded that her blood was mixed with Meredith’s blood.

Question for Knox: Why was Amanda Knox bleeding on the night of the murder and why was her blood mixed with Meredith’s blood in four different parts of the cottage?

Sollecito claims to cut Meredith

Sollecito claimed in his diary that he had accidentally pricked Meredith’s hand whilst cooking.

Question for Knox: Why do you think Sollecito lied about accidentally pricking Meredith’s hand whilst cooking?

Sollecito on Filomena’s room

Sollecito told the police that nothing had been stolen from Filomena’s room.

Question for Knox: How did Sollecito know nothing had been stolen from Filomena’s room?

Knox accuses Patrick

According to the corroborative testimony of multiple witnesses, including Knox’s interpreter, she voluntarily accused Diya Lumumba of murdering Meredith.

Question for Knox: Why did Amanda Knox voluntarily accuse an innocent man of murder?

Knox refusal to recant

She acknowledged that it was her fault that Diya Lumumba was in prison in an intercepted conversation with her mother on 10 November 2007, but she didn’t retract her allegation against Diya Lumumba the whole time he was in prison.

Question for Knox: Why didn’t Amanda Knox recant her false and malicious allegation against Diya Lumumba when he was in prison?

Knox at crime scene

Amanda Knox state on four separate occasions that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed

Question for Knox: Why did Knox repeatedly claim to be there?

Knox’s Seattle call

Amanda Knox called her mother at 4.47am Seattle time before Meredith’s body had been discovered.

Question for Knox: Why did she phone her mother when it was in the middle of the night in Seattle and before anything had happened?

Knox forgets that call

Knox told her mother and the court that couldn’t remember making this phone call.

Question for Knox: Do you think Amanda Knox can’t genuinely remember phoning her mother at in the middle of the night?

Knox involvement

Amanda Knox voluntarily admitted her involvement in Meredith’s murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007.

Question for Knox: Why did Amanda Knox voluntarily admit that she was involved in Meredith’s murder?

Knox calls Meredith

Knox claimed that when she called Meredith’s Italian phone it “just kept ringing, no answer”. Her mobile phone records show this call lasted just three seconds.

Question for Knox:  Question for Knox: Do you think Amanda Knox made a genuine attempt to contact Meredith on 2 November 2007?


Explaining Why CNN Is So Desperate For A Hit And Quaint Niceties Like “Truth” Be Damned

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Jeffrey Bewkes, the head of CNN’s owner Time Warner, with the actress Hayden Panetierre]


A top-rated night-time show on the American TV frontrunner network CBS will pull in over 10 million viewers.

Fast-tanking CNN is lucky if it pulls in over FIVE PERCENT of that audience on any average day. A typical audience is just over 1/2 a million. Here is the story from last September.

Jonathan Klein, president of CNN’s US network, leaves his post today after a sudden announcement that he has been replaced by Ken Jautz, the head of CNN’s downmarket but more popular sister channel HLN.

Klein’s departure comes after a disastrous year for CNN, as its daily ratings slumped by 36% to an average of 640,000 weekday viewers, putting it in third place behind Fox News and MSNBC among cable news channels.

Fox News averages 2.4m viewers while MSNBC has nearly 850,000. HLN averages around 550,000 on weekdays.

The American stock market knows of this CNN fiasco, and it values all three accordingly. You can see this in the 3-year chart just below - the period shown is about half that.

  • The red curve below is for the US stock market average (the Dow Jones Index and you can see that it GAINED about 10 percent.
  • The green curve below is for Viacom Corp, which is the owner of CBS, and you can see that it GAINED about 50 percent.
  • The blue curve below is for Time Warner, the owner of CNN, and you can see that it LOST about 30 per cent in the same period.

We have no beef with CNN overall. But to try to boost its viewer ratings and stockmarket price with appalling reports on the back of the very sad death of Meredith? That seems to us to be in very sick territory.

Ironically CBS’s owner, Viacom, has seen its impressive recent gains since the CBS network STOPPED airing biased and misleading reports on the case and reacquired some integrity

The Meredith Effect?



Friday, May 06, 2011

Drew Griffin Report This Sunday At 8:00 Seems Intent On Sustaining CNN’s Persistent Extreme Bias

Posted by Peter Quennell





CNN and CNN International have aired more biased reporting and inaccurate commentary on Meredith’s case than all other US networks - combined.

At bottom here is a video of a typically biased CNN panel.

Jingoism, defamation and xenophobia remain pervasive throughout, though the videos for the worst of the worst - an entire CNN panel baying for Italian blood - have been mysteriously disappeared.

Larry King, Elliott Spitzer, Nancy Grace, Jane Velez Mitchell, Jeffrey Toobin, and so on and on, have all helped to seriously mislead CNN viewers about the real evidence, and about the very strong case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

The Micheli Report and the Massei Report and the recent very hardline Supreme Court ruling on Rudy Guede stating that three people did it - all of those reports comprehensive, meticulous, and very damning - don’t even seem to have simply been MENTIONED yet on CNN.

CNN never seems to have had a competent legal reporter actually present in the courtroom. There is a very conspicuous lack on CNN of any Italian interviewees or legal analysts. CNN has seemingly never ever presented an accurate description of how cautious the Italian justice system really is, or how many hoops Italian prosecutors have to jump through.

No mention ever on CNN that the US State Department and Rome Embassy observed the trial and found absolutely nothing wrong. No mention ever on CNN that not one human rights and prisoners rights organization such as Amnesty International has ever shown interest in this case.

Here are about three dozen CNN headlines taken from CNN’s own website. Do you notice any suggestive pattern?

  • Amanda Knox’s family speaks out
  • Amanda Knox’s parents say their daughter is no killer
  • Knox innocent, parents say
  • Murder case brings ‘Foxy Knoxy’ infamy in Italy
  • Knox scared but insists on innocence, Italian lawmaker says
  • Sollecito: Amanda Knox ‘incapable of killing’
  • Knox aunt: Italians supportive
  • Is Amanda being railroaded?
  • Amanda Knox tells Italian jury she’s not an ‘assassin’
  • Lawyer: Vague theories and bias, but no evidence in Knox murder trial
  • U.S. student testifies Italian police pressured her
  • Amanda Knox’s parents hope acquittal is near in murder case
  • Disputed evidence in spotlight as Amanda Knox trial nears end
  • Amanda Knox lawyer makes emotional plea for acquittal
  • Amanda Knox sobs as guilty verdict read
  • Knox’s parents react to conviction
  • Knox’s parents blame media
  • Knox’s parents: ‘huge mistake’
  • Amanda Knox: Court has made ‘huge mistake’
  • Knox jury, prosecutor decried
  • Knox ‘ready to fight on,’ parents say
  • Knox family, friends react
  • Amanda Knox’s aunt says hearing verdict was ‘gut-wrenching’
  • Knox verdict leaves many questions unanswered
  • Judge allows appeal in Amanda Knox case [actually it’s automatic]
  • Jailed mobster claims he can prove Amanda Knox is innocent
  • Knox’s mother reacts to libel case
  • Knox’s mom: This feels personal
  • Toobin: Knox libel charge ‘very strange’

Notice any bias in that list? You think CNN took the same position on the convicted brutal murderer Scott Peterson now on Death Row for whom there was actually much LESS evidence?

This sunday at 8:00 US east coast time, on CNN and CNN International, the aimiable and lightweight CNN investigative reporter Drew Griffin (image at top) will seemingly present an hour more of the same.

CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin reveals new details that cast doubts upon controversial blood, knife, DNA, and other evidence presented in Knox’s original trial….

Griffin also has a rare television interview with the chief prosecutor in the case, Giuliano Mignini, and reveals a pattern of prosecutorial behavior that raises questions about the original conviction.

He debriefs viewers on Knox’s now-disputed confession – obtained after days of unrelenting questioning, and according to Knox, even physical abuse by police interrogators.

Pattern of prosecutorial misbehavior? Really? A confession obtained after days of unrelenting questioning? Really? Which days precisely? And exactly what confession was that?

No mention at all that both Amanda Knox and her parents Curt and Edda now face separate calunnia trials in Perugia for serious wrong charges that were pretty well exactly like these. 

Drew Griffin’s normal beat is aimiable, lightweight political muckraking. He apparently has not previously reported on crime or on court cases, or for that matter on Italy.

No matter. He simply gets told to follow the CNN party line - and like a robot, he does so.


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Italian Justice System Efficient And Uncontroversial In Other Prominent International Cases #2

Posted by Peter Quennell





Faux experts Doug Preston and Steve Moore and other Knox cultists don’t seem to realize it. But Italian and American law enforcement are smoothly co-operating on hundreds of cases at any one time.

Here is a good example. Italy’s role was absolutely crucial. The Italian police tracked down and apprehended in a tent high in the Alps an American fugitive who had been on the run for six years.

His name is Dr Mark Weinberger and he ran a clinic in Indiana. He got in seriously over his head and assembled debts up in the millions. While on his large powerboat in Greece’s Aegean Sea with his wife Michelle, also seen here, he disappeared.

Man overboard, hopefully presumed dead?

But both American and European law enforcement kept digging. Below the image from Indiana’s North West Times is an excellent timeline of events in the next six years.


September 2004: Dr. Mark Weinberger, a Merrillville-based sinus surgeon, heads to Greece on vacation on a yacht. He never returns from his regular 6 a.m. jog, taking thousands in emergency cash with him. Michelle Weinberger, his wife, is saddled with nearly $40,000 in dock fees and no means to get home. Her friends take up a collection to help her return.

Sept. 6, 2004: Weinberger patient Phyllis Barnes dies of throat cancer.

Oct. 5, 2004: With Weinberger missing, Robert Handler is appointed by Lake Circuit Court to manage Weinberger Sinus Clinic’s business affairs and settle $7 million in outstanding loans. Records indicate the clinic has about $7,000 in its coffers, which sits in stark contrast to Weinberger’s lavish lifestyle.

Oct. 13, 2004: Barnes’ estate files a lawsuit against Weinberger. He is accused of incorrect diagnosis and unnecessary treatment that prevented Barnes from getting treatment for her throat cancer.

Oct. 20, 2004: Twenty-three other patients, ages 7 to 60, file suit, accusing medical malpractice. They say Weinberger never considered nonsurgical options after diagnosing them. Ultimately, nearly 300 lawsuits will be filed, most saying Weinberger issued identical diagnoses and treatments.

Oct. 21, 2004: Valparaiso attorney Ken Allen says a private detective he hired believes Weinberger traveled to Israel aboard his yacht. Allen said Weinberger, who is Jewish, may have picked the country because American Jews can travel there without a passport and cannot be extradited.

Oct. 28, 2004: The Indiana Medical Licensing Board votes unanimously to suspend Weinberger’s license for 90 days.

Dec. 10, 2004: Michelle Weinberger says her husband’s credit cards were used to pay large sums in the French Riviera. She heads there to find him.

January 2005: Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter seeks to extend suspension of Weinberger’s medical license for another 90 days. He says 221 malpractice complaints have been filed with the Indiana Department of Insurance.

April 28, 2005: Weinberger’s license is permanently suspended.

July 12, 2005: Weinberger’s 14,000-square-foot surgical center and 10,000-square-foot condominium office building sell for about $2.4 million.

Also sold at auction are 1,000 pieces of medical equipment for $650,000.

March 2006: Weinberger’s wife, Michelle, divorces him.

March 30, 2006: Fred Weinberger files a lawsuit against his son, seeking repayment of a $1 million loan plus $417,043 in interest and expenses he claims his son owes him.

Dec. 8, 2006: Mark Weinberger is indicted on charges of fraud and malpractice.

The investigation shifts gears from a missing person search to a manhunt.

September 2008: The TV show “America’s Most Wanted” features a segment on Weinberger’s disappearance.

March 2009: Barnes’ estate wins its malpractice lawsuit.

Dec. 15: Weinberger is apprehended. The 46-year-old was found hiding in a tent some 6,000 feet above sea level at the foot of Mont Blanc in the Italian Alps. He stabs himself in the neck with a knife he hid while authorities were approaching, but he recovers and later is extradited.

Oct. 18: Weinberger agrees to plead guilty to each of the 22 federal fraud counts against him in exchange for a four-year prison sentence. He agrees to pay $366,600 in restitution to 22 patients he admitted defrauding. A judge still must accept the plea deal.

Michelle Weinberger (now Michelle Kramer) testified against him in detail. She later graduated with a doctorate in psychology. He was sentenced to spend years in prison (exact duration depends on the amount of fraud still being uncovered) and huge fines. And for botched surgeries he faces a huge number of suits. Here is another example.

So a lot flowed from that high-altitude Italian arrest..






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