Sunday, December 23, 2012

Meredith’s Perugia #32: The Historical And Cultural Center Of Perugia

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Everybody here knows that the center of Perugia is a walled plateau. If you’ve not yet been there, though, it might surprise you how high up it is.

Its great height really explains its existence. Above the mosquitoes and marauding bands. Its great height does not always come out in these videos. At a guess it is 1500 feet up. To get up there involves long fun zig-zaggy climbs up from the railway station area to the west or from the football stadium area to the south.

Hardly anyone arrives from the east or the north. To the east behind the court there is a long rather steep drop down and few roads could be built at the lowest levels. Perugia ends rather abruptly down there.

To the north below the sweeping view from Meredith’s window the two winding roads to the bottom of the deep valley through groves of olive trees and fig trees drop down for a very long time. It is difficult to build on those slopes. Perugia also ends rather abruptly down there.

Perugia is right at the center of the Apennnine mountains, which are slowly sinking and dividing out.  Perugia is strangely protected though. This makes it one of the most original old cities in Italy, one of the few where the tolls from natural forces have always been low and the ancient artistry remains.

Meredith knew all of this long before she got there. It was a place she was bound to love, and would have remained attached to for life.

Posted on 12/23/12 at 04:56 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Have The Raffaele Sollecito Defense Team Of Bongiorno And Maori Now Gone AWOL?

Posted by Peter Quennell

No word from the Sollecito or Knox defense teams since Sollecito’s book kneecapped them, along with Amanda Knox and Sollecito’s own dad.

The lawyers are nicely credited (see below) in the book as eager helpers. They must just love that. Whoever feels that Sollecito defamed them may be able to require that those credited by Gumbel & Sollecito be cross-examined.

We do look forward to the possibility of seeing Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori (images above) sweat it out. Along of course with the “boundlessly generous” Steve and Michele Moore, and all those super-diligent publishers.

And of course Sollecito’s own father and sister, who were dedicated to “getting every detail just right”.

Of course the Sollecito book then turned around and whacked them. Maybe that is why Sollecito’s dad already admitted on national TV that his son’s claim that a prosecutor broke the law was simply made up. Not easy, being Pappa Sollecito.

Acknowledgments from page 266 of Sollecito’s book:

Andrew Gumbel would like to thank Dana Newman, who made a crucial introduction at the start of this project, the indefatigable Sharlene Martin, the ever gracious Gail Ross, the boundlessly generous Steve and Michelle Moore, my favorite pugliese Anna D’Elia, Peter Popham, Robert Adams, and of course the rocking, super-talented team at Simon & Schuster/Gallery who were never less than a pleasure and kept me sane against a tight deadline. Thank you, Jen Bergstrom, for believing in this book from the get-go, thank you Lisa Rivlin and Alex Lewis, and thank you, Trish Boczkowski, for your brilliant editing and infectiously good company. That’s amore!

This was a group effort all around. The Sollecito family, not just Raffaele, opened up their lives and their souls with remarkable candor. Thank you, in particular, to Francesco and Vanessa for days of fascinating conversation, for your dedication to getting every detail just right, for compiling exhaustive time lines, and making sure that material reached me promptly. Donatella Donati in Luca Maori’s office gave up many hours to make the official documentation available and to present it all in a cogent order. She’s a largely unsung hero in this story and deserves recognition for her extraordinary efforts on Raffaele’s behalf. Giulia Bongiorno, Luca Maori, and Tiziano Tedeschi answered questions and made comments on parts of the manuscript.

Posted on 12/20/12 at 09:27 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

False Allegations Against Italian Officialdom Sparking Increasingly Tough Legal Reaction

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

David Marriott? Chirs Mellas? Doug Preston? Curt Knox?

Maybe none of the above. But whoever came up with the hairbrained idea that a pedal-to-the-floor assault on the officlals handling the case would lead to a tranquil outcome for the accused was maybe not thinking very well on that day.

The Italian System

We have gone over the impressive characteristics of the Italian justice system again and again. It is THE most popular and trusted institution in Italy - and by a wide margin.

It is a very fair, carefiul and painstaking system, staffed by well-trained professionals all the way up from cops through investigators through prosecutors through judges through the Supreme Court to the President of the Italian Republic himself.

The Italian system may be the least likely justice system IN THE WORLD for rogue police or rogue prosecutors or rogue judges to hijack it and bend things their way. Even ex-PM Berlusconi tried but his charges still plague him.

Prosecutors again and again see their cases tested in front of administrative magistrates, and those magistrates make all of the decisions. Everything is very public, and judges explain how they decided (ask a typical US or UK jury to do that!) and how they arrived at their theory of the crime.

In the Perugia case the judge for Guede developed one theory of the crime, the judges for Knox and Sollecito at trial a second, and the the judges for knox and Sollecito at first appeal a third. In fact none of them swallowed the tentative prosecution theory wholesale, though many of our lawyers found it quite sound.

Those Who Attack

Now we have three Italians either already facing charges or soon to face charges - Mario Spezi, Frank Sforza and Raffaele Sollecito, each in several suits. These are in addition to the three Americans who have already been charged - Amanda Knox, Edda Mellas, and Curt Knox.

So the present total is six.

Mario Spezi

Spezi is the Italian sleuthing partner of the American fictionalist Doug Preston who for his uninvited interference in what was an ongoing police investigation of the Monster of Florence case has faced legal woe after legal woe in recent years.

Spezi has already lost one defamation suit to the former MOF investigator and prominent novelist Michele Giuttari, he must in February face another, and he may have to face up to another half dozen more after that. We don’t expect Spezi’s losing streak to end any time soon.

Frank Sforza

Sforza hides behind the name Frank Sfarzo as an intemperate and rarely accurate blogger on the case. He brings no known professionals skills to the task. He is reported to be the target of criminal charges relating to alleged abuse of the sister and mother with whom he lives. His unsavory reputation and desperate finances mushroomed openly the other day, when he was reported in personal confrontations while visiting Canada and Hawaii.

Sforza now faces a defamation suit as well, for claiming to the whole world via Doug Preston and Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York that he was being persecuted by a prosecutor back in Perugia. The prosecutor was not even involved. Seems to us an open and shut case.

Raffaele Sollecito

Sollecito still stands accused in Meredith’s death unless and until the Supreme Couirt signs off. It may not do that any time soon.

Flowing from his new book, Sollecito will apparently face a ton of defamation woes in the next few weeks. These may come to ensnare his defense team (who are credited with helping put together the book) and his shadow writer, his Seattle supporters, and his publishers Simon & Schuster of New York.

Our emerging book corrections page shows how riddled with wrong claims we find Sollecito’s book. We estimate up to 300 wrong claims.  If and when Sollecito sees all the defamation charges filed, we will know from court filings who among Italian officialdom claims passages in the book defame them.

What Next?

Maybe the cases against these six could eventually all dry up and then there will be no more. But we sure wouldn’t lay any bets. Do an Internet search and you’ll instantly turn up plenty more defamatory idiocy. Many media sites may be very vulnerable and may be sued to retract and pay up.

Italian anger is riding high - and it sure ain’t against the prosecutors or cops.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Considerable Number Of Suspected Perps That Countries Extradite Daily To Other Countries

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Umarked Federal flying paddy-wagon, seen here leaving Seattle, transports 300,000 prisoners annually ]

Extradition is not without its controversies and not all extradition requests see a suspect sitting on a plane handcuffed to a federal marshal.

However, most do, and the US at federal and state level is at any one time processing hundreds of requests and transporting suspected perps hither and thither - the majority, of course, internally between U.S. states, but a large minority are incoming and outgoing. 

Complete refusals of extradition seem very rare, as that can cause rebound and ripple effects down the ages.

The US is sort of refusing to send some pilots and CIA operatives back to Italy for trial, but those cases are both in the realm of the quasi military. In the case of the Italian soldiers being held in India for the shooting from a oil tanker of Cochin fishermen they suspected were pirates, even Italy says rules for military must be different.

The US and Italy co-operate on law enforcement more than most countries and the FBI and its Italian equivalent have officers from the other service permanently embedded. We posted on this case of Italy sending an American renegade doctor back to Indiana to face charges.

In general extraditions in both directions between the U.S. and Italy seem to go smoothly and if the State Department ever gets involved (it states that this is Justice Department business) we don’t see any evidence of it in recent reports.

These cases - some of them involving countries sending their own nationals to other countries to face the music - are all live cases on the first 10 of 30 pages when “extradition” is searched on Google News.

  • The United States extradites US national David Kramer to Melbourne in Australia. He “has been charged with 10 counts of indecent assault allegedly committed in St Kilda East when he was a teacher at a Jewish orthodox school.”
  • Canada rules to send Canadian national Rapinder (Rob) Sidhu a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer to the US. “The U.S. indictment… alleges Sidhu… worked with convicted British Columbia smugglers Rob Shannon and Devron Quast to operate a cocaine transportation organization based in British Columbia.”
  • The UK sends back Joshua Edwards, a murder suspect, to the US after he fought extradition for five years. He is accused in a 2006 shooting death in Maryland.
  • The UK sends back Prine “Prince” Jones to Newark New Jersey. “The 46-year-old Birmingham, England, resident is charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy to import and export cocaine.”
  • Mexico sends back two brothers to New York City “to join a third brother to face sex trafficking charges in New York as part of a complex collaborative effort to combat human trafficking”.
  • The UK sends back TV star Robert Hughes to Sydney, Australia. ““He is wanted in connection with allegations of gross indecency, indecent assault and sexual assault towards children in NSW, Australia, between August 1984 and August 1990.”
  • Guatamala sends Horst Walther Overdick to New York. “Overdick, known as “The Tiger,” was detained in April during an operation to arrest [very dangerous] Zetas [cartel] operatives in the Central American country.”
  • Finland sends Igor Vassiliev to the US.  “Igor Vassiliev, 38, a Russian citizen, was arrested in July in Finland, based on an Interpol Red Notice. He is only the third person ever extradited from Finland to the U.S….[in 2005] a federal grand jury handed up indictments charging him with health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud and mail fraud.”
  • The United Arab Emirates sends Kamchybek Kolbaye back to Kyrgyzstan after a two-year legal process. “Kolbayev faces charges of kidnapping, robbery, organization of a criminal group, illegal drug trafficking, and illegal weapons possession,”
  • Israel will send Israeli national Aleksandar Cvetkovic to Bosnia. He was arrested in 2011 “on an international warrant after witnesses testified that he had assisted in the shooting of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II.”
  • Ireland extradites Philip Baron to Liverpool in England. “Alleged crime gang boss Philip Baron faces four charges relating to money laundering and conspiracy to import a huge shipment of cocaine and cannabis to the UK from South Africa and Costa Rica between 2005 and 2009.”
  • The US may extradite David Headley to India. “CNN-IBN reported US Under Secretary Wendy Sherman as saying, “The US acknowledges Hafiz Saeed is mastermind of 26/11 [Mumbai bomb] attacks. President Barack Obama is determined the US will bring Hafiz Saeed to justice.”
  • The UK will extradite British national Lee Aldhouse to Thailand. “Mr Aldhouse successfully fled Thailand after allegedly stabbing American Deshawn Longfellow to death in August 2010. He was later arrested at Heathrow Airport on an unrelated charge when he tried to re-enter the UK.”
  • Mauritius has sent Captain Kung back to Taiwan. “Kung was suspected of shooting and killing 12 Chinese sailors [in 1999] on his… fishing vessel during a failed mutiny attempt on Feb. 1999. The vessel at the time was sailing on waters northwest of Mauritius…. Kung was later arrested by Mauritius authorities and sentenced to 20 years in prison.”
  • Italy will deport Muiz Trabulsi to Tunisia under an agreements signed by Italy Justice Minister Paola Severino. Muiz Trabulsi is “the nephew of Layla Al-Trablisi, Tunisia’s ex-first lady, to stand trial in Tunisia…. [a part of Tunisia’s eforts] efforts to bring back money stolen by members of the former regime”.
  • Bulgaria extradited Stefan Klenovski to Italy, who “had a Europol Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued against him by Italian authorities on suspicions of participating in the crime ring practicing ATM fraud [and], was arrested on January 27 in a shopping mall in downtown Sofia.”

Two more cases are now prominently in the news: Wikileaks founder Julian Assad, holed up in the Ecuador Embassy in London, who the Brits want to extradite to Sweden, and John McAfee, the formoer software magnate now back in the US, who Belize may charge with murdering his neighbor.

Almost invariably while awaiting a final decision those subject to an extradition request have to sit out their appeals in prison. If Amanda Knox is reconvicted in a new appeal trial ordered by the Supreme Court, she could face years sitting in an uncomfortable American prison if her extradition is disputed.

Or, of course, she could willingly move straight to an Italian prison, which as she knows offer in-cell TV, private bathrooms, good career skill-building, and concerts.

[Below: Paola Severino, Italy’s relentless no—nonsense justice minister]

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Simon & Schuster Seem To Be Seriously Rattled Over Lack Of Due Diligence On Sollecito’s Book

Posted by Peter Quennell

See this emailed exchange which took place late today.

What Simon & Schuster’s agent is complaining about was a chronological reordering (behind the scenes and not linked to from the front page) of these many corrections here. Our Kindle and hardcover copies were legally purchased. Simon & Schuster put about 1/4 of the book on the front of their own website, and Google Books also carries about 1/4 of the book to read free.

Admittedly, our corrections may have been quite a shock. However, we didnt cause the book sales to tank. All of our past posts on Raffaele Sollecito’s book can be seen here.


Mr Eraj Siddiqui
119 South B Street Suite A,
San Mateo, CA 94401

Dear Mr Siddiqui

Thank you for your “Verified DMCA Removal Request from Attributor” copied below.

The book you refer to appears to contain up to 30 instances of criminal defamation under Italian law and literally hundreds of wrong and injurious statements that are hurtful to many fine officials in Italy.

We have full legal rights to point out the myriad mistakes in the book. In fact a defamation of a prosecutor in the book has ALREADY been admitted on Italian national TV by the writer’s own father in Rome.

That Simon & Schuster apparently failed to do their legal and factual due diligence on the book prior to publishing seems to us to be absolutely nobody’s fault but their own. They are hardly new at this game.

Nice try, but sorry, no cigar.

Peter Quennell


Dear Sir/Madam,

I certify under penalty of perjury, that I am an agent authorized to act on behalf of the Rights Holder identified below, the owner of certain intellectual property rights in the Work(s) identified below.

I have a good faith belief that the information contained in this notice is accurate, and that the page or material listed below is not authorized by the Rights Owner, its agents, or the law for use by the individual(s) associated with the identified page listed below or their agents.

To the extent that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the European Union’s Directive on the Harmonisation of Certain Aspects of Copyright and Related Rights in the Information Society (2001/29/EC), and/or other laws and regulations relevant in European Union member states or other jurisdictions apply to your service, if at all, I HEREBY DEMAND THAT YOU ACT EXPEDITIOUSLY TO REMOVE OR DISABLE ACCESS TO THE PAGE(S) OR MATERIAL(S) at the Infringing URL(s) identified below.

Note that in some cases the pages/material may have been removed after the sending of this notice but prior to your review.

My contact information is as follows:

Organization name: Attributor Corporation as agent for Simon & Schuster Inc.
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 650.306.9474
Mailing address:
119 South B Street
Suite A,
San Mateo, CA 94401

Nothing contained in this letter or in any attachments constitutes a waiver or relinquishment of any right or remedy possessed by the Rights Holder, or any affiliated party, all of which are expressly reserved.

My electronic signature follows:
/Eraj Siddiqui/
Eraj Siddiqui
Attributor, Inc.


Infringing page/material that I demand be disabled or removed in consideration of the above:

Rights Holder: Simon & Schuster

Original Work: Honor Bound
Infringing URL:
Infringing URL:
Infringing URL:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Italian News Through February Will Be Dominated By A Surprise Election

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Pier Luigi Bersani, the probable next prime minister of Italy]

Prime Minister Monti is leaving, with most of his reforms pushed through, after Ex-PM Berlusconi’s party withdrew support.

Berlusconi announced he would again seek to be Prime Minister but his flouting of law, slimy ethics and previous wrecking of the economy don’t exactly make him the front-runner.

The front-runner in fact is Pier Luigi Bersani, the leader of the center-left Democratic Party, who has said he will sustain the reforms his party helped Mr Monti put in place.

Italy doesn’t usually have primary elections but the other day it did and Mr Bersani really trounced a leadership bid by the young mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi (image below).

Mr. Bersani, 61, who has been the secretary of the Democratic Party since 2009, ran as the favorite, with nearly the full support of the party apparatus and its elected officials. He easily defeated Mr. Renzi, winning nearly 61 percent of the vote.

But Mr. Renzi’s message of change rang forcefully with a sizeable chunk of the center-left electorate, with over one million supporting him. He also attracted a considerable number of mostly young center-right voters whose frustrations with Italy’s influential and pervasive gerontocracy obliterated party lines.

It is a message that Mr. Bersani may have heeded. Speaking to supporters on Sunday night, he said his greatest challenges were to change the center-left and to “prepare paths and spaces to give opportunities to new generations.”

Austerity as a precursor to strong growth had already been taking a lot of knocks as the evidence that it is a cure-all is pretty slim and it creates terrible unemployment. Center-left governments (as in the US) are doing well these days.

The IMF was once the grand inquisitor of the austerity movement but is increasingly inclining toward the Asian mixed model, in part because it is there the IMFs cash and leadership increasingly come from.

This might be quite a help to Mr. Bersani as he confronts harder-line EU leadership and bond markets.

[Below: Matteo Renzi who lost primary but may affect Italy’s direction anyway]

Posted on 12/10/12 at 05:56 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsItalian context
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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Casey Anthony Might Have Escaped Guilty Verdict Because An Incriminating Web Search Was Missed

Posted by Peter Quennell

This has been sensationalized news in the United States for two weeks and many people are still grinding their teeth.

As the video explains it seems pretty certain that it was Casey Anthony on her Firefox browser that googled “‘Foolproof Suffocation’” on the day her daughter Caylee disappeared and/or died.

The defense lawyer Jose Baez knew of the hit throughout the trial but, apparently under no legal compulsion to assemble the prosecutor’s case, he simply held his breath on the evidence until the “not guilty” verdict came in. He now suggests to universal disbelief that Casey was thinking of suicide.

Several of our lawyers are inclined to doubt that an American judge would have allowed an appeal in the Knox and Sollecito case given the very weak grounds - and had he or she done so, the appeal court would have had no second-guessing jury, and its brief would have been very circumscribed. With or without appeal granted, in the US the pair would probably still be serving their time.

So the uber-cautious Italian system favored them so far. But two of the prosecution appeal grounds at Supreme Court level seem at least as damning as searching “foolproof suffocation”. One is that the Conti-Vecchiotti consultancy was illegal, and the other is that the failure to test a remaining sample on the knife was also illegal.

So if they eventually do go down, Casey Anthony may still end up laughing at Sollecito and Knox. It has been announced that Casey Anthony is getting her own Lifetime movie (airing early next year) and can pretty well say and write anything and take any money offered that she wants.

But Casey Anthony is still appealing convictions for lying to police, a long shot at best, and after that the nanny whose name she gave to police as “the kidnapper” will get her day in court.

So Casey Anthony, who sounds psychologically untethered, might not end up laughing too much after all.

Posted on 12/05/12 at 09:08 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesThose elsewhere
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Saturday, December 01, 2012

Knox Defense Utters A Rather Hypocritical Whine About Lifetime TV Movie Airing In Italy Monday

Posted by Peter Quennell

Breaking news from Italy on the “legal threat” to the Lifetime movie airing tonight. Mediaset is the Italian agent for Lifetime here. From the Mediaset website our main poster Jools translated this: 



“Mediaset has not received neither formal notice or petitions” from the lawyers of Amada Knox on the airing of the film of the same name. The company in Cologno Monzese [Milan] explains: “Mediaset has only received a letter with an invitation from the lawyers requesting to transmit the film in accordance with the requirements of the law. Which is something Mediaset does with every program that goes on air”.


Good grief. Are the Knox-Mellases paying good legal fees for this wimpish note?! Or is their PR/media effort as so often blowing smoke to hide the hard truth that they have yet again over-reached?

Sympathy for Amanda Knox seems in total meltdown these days.

Unlikely to turn around soon. The very ugly campaign run by Curt Knox’s hatchet men and the hyper-aggressive book we’re apparently promised next April seem to demonstrate a disastrous tin ear.

Knox has had almost a full year to do the patently obvious: get out in front of some TV cameras, and explain once and for all to everybody interested in truth and justice what really happened between her and Meredith in the house. She has had several years to answer the hundreds of open questions reflected on this site which she still ignores.

Kindly translated by our main poster Jools, this is the flailing Knox defense lawyers’ complaint about the airing on Italian TV of the Lifetime movie this next Monday.

Perugia- A formal legal notice not to air on Monday the film based on the murder of Meredith Kercher was sent to Mediaset [Lifetime] by Amanda Knox’s lawyers Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga. The Seattle young woman’s name and surname forms part of the title of the fiction scheduled for evening prime time on Channel 5 on Monday December 3.

“There is an ongoing process” said Ghirga “and therefore we believe it is inappropriate to be aired”. “I do not like the film” meanwhile Knox said from the USA to her lawyer. In the United States in fact “Amanda Knox Murder on Trial in Italy” was aired often around a year ago, and the Seattle student has already seen it. “She asks us” said her lawyer Ghirga “to do what we can so it is not aired in Italy”. And furthermore, concludes the lawyer ironically “I don’t like the actor who plays me”.

Knox was convicted in the first instance with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the Kercher murder, but they were both later acquitted on appeal and are now awaiting the decision in March 2013 from the Supreme Court on the appeal brought by the Prosecutor General of Perugia and the Kercher family.

Our Italian lawyers note that the EXACT SAME ARGUMENTS could be applied to the manipulative, innaccurate piece of fiction Honor Bound put out a few weeks ago by Raffaele Sollecito.

As that book parrots many of the spurious, puerile claims made by Curt Knox’s hatchet men, they seem to have had a major hand in it. But the Sollecito and Knox lawyers have issued NO complaint about that book - even though Sollecito’s own father admitted it is defamatory of the prosecution.

If there is a real difference between the legal implications of the Lifetime movie and the Sollecito book, we’d like to know what it is. Lifetime lawyers, please take note.

Posted on 12/01/12 at 01:53 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe defensesReporting, media, moviesMovies on case
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Knox Depicter Hayden Panetierre Shows Real Talent As Country Singer On A Critically Praised New Show

Posted by Peter Quennell

Okay, we were pretty skeptical of actress Hayden Panettierre’s talent and motives prior to the Liftetime cable TV channel airing their Knox TV movie early in 2011.

But as Panetierre depicted Amanda Knox as impetuous, jealous, vague and narcissistic (quite possibly because of this) we generally concluded that the depiction was not a million miles from the truth. The Knox and Sollecito families had conniptions and filed suits, though they seem to have quietly gone away.

Now Panetierre co-stars in a new TV show Nashville on ABC which began last month, where her mesmerizing presence as a hustling young country singer seems to be the most compelling new thing on TV.

Interesting how those who take sides with Knox so often go down, while those who side more with Meredith so often go up.

Posted on 11/29/12 at 02:09 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Reporting, media, moviesMovies on case
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Monday, November 26, 2012

Perugia Police Chief During 2008 Investigation Rises To Head Of National Anti-Mafia Department

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Video commentary and interview in Italian]

Arturo de Felice has served more than 30 years in various police jurisdictions. Now he becomes head of the anti-mafia department in Rome.

He was in charge at the Perugia questura up to August of 2008 when the crime was being jointly investigated with experts from Rome.

Arturo de Felice made the anouncement to the media and a nervous Perugia on the day after interrogators caused Knox’s and Sollecito’s alibis to separate.  He announced to the media that Sollecito had admitted lying and Knox had admitted to being at the scene - with Patrick Lumumba, though, not with Guede.

He indicated that police were surprised at how quickly Knox crumbled, and this surprise was confirmed by interrogators themselves and an interpreter at the trial in 2009. From the 7 November Daily Telegraph.

The police said today that Knox’s confession could be the key to solving the case.

Mr De Felice said: “She crumbled. She confessed. There were holes in her alibi. Her mobile phone records were crucial.”

He said Knox’s claims that she was elsewhere had been demonstrated to be false. The police found text messages on her phone from Lumumba, fixing a meeting between them at 8.35pm on the night Miss Kercher died.

The police also said that Sollecito had cracked, and admitted he had lied. Tomorrow morning, all three will appear before a judge to have their arrests confirmed before they are formally charged with non-premeditated murder and participation in an act of sexual violence.

Of course, it was not an especially helpful crumbling by Amanda Knox. Lumumba was released after a lot of time and effort was wasted when a palm print at the scene was identified as that of Rudy Guede.

However in her two written confessions Knox was pretty nasty toward Patrick. Then she let him languish in prison for several weeks. And as Fly By Night posted on the PMF forum last year, Knox had admitted to crimes, if not to murder.

1. She provided the access for a murderer to enter the cottage.

2. She heard thuds and a scream, and imagined what was happening.

3. In her drunken stupor, she failed to come to Meredith’s aid both during and after the murder.

4. She actively covered up the murder by failing to report it or otherwise detail her actions for 4 full 24 hour days following the murder.

In December Knox was interviewed by Mr Mignini in the presence of her attorney and was asked her why she had implicated Patrick. She refused to answer.

At trial she raised no objections to any testimony from those present at the interrogation that she spontaneously fingered Patrick, and she admitted under interrogation that it was her idea.

Mr De Felice comes from Calabria in the deep south (where Dr Galati also comes from) and has headed many mafia investigations in his career. This is dangerous work and those who do it tend to be widely admired in Italy.

Posted on 11/26/12 at 06:46 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedPolice and CSIThe wider contextsItalian context
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What New York And Venice (Surprise Surprise) Suddenly Find They Have In Common

Posted by Peter Quennell

1) New York

Plus more images down below in Comments.

2) Venice

Plus more images down below in Comments.

Posted on 11/21/12 at 06:25 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsItalian context
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fervent Knox Supporter Tom Wright Seemingly Strongarms Knox High School Into “Honoring” Her

Posted by brmull

One thing is for sure. Not many schools - maybe none, ever - have accepted the creation of a scholarship to honor a convicted felon who, until the Supreme Court signs off, still stands accused of a very cruel crime.

Seattle Preparatory School is a fee-paying Jesuit Catholic school about a mile north of Seattle downtown, on the south side of Portage Bay from the main campus of the University of Washington. See Google Earth image at bottom. The school’s student role is estimated at around 650.

This announcement of a new scholarship in the name of Amanda Knox was recently published: “The fund, established by past parent [and co-founder of the advocacy group Friends of Amanda Knox] Tom Wright, will provide tuition assistance to students in need.”

Early in 2011 Tom Wright [seen reading a statement in a black shirt below] presided over a seriously loopy panel presentation at Seattle University, attended by a sparse crowd of about 35, which garbled all the hard evidence in the case and accused Italian officialdom of a number of crimes. See for example our reports here and here.

Tom Wright apparently had to kick in at least $50,000 for initial fund of the endowment, and he hopes that others will feel impelled to contribute as well.

For him this is certainly a labor of passion, since Knox with her book advance has more than enough resources of her own to set up an endowment if she wished, though to date we have seen no indication that Knox has made any charitable donations. Tom Wright seeks to make it look noble.

Sara [his daughter] and Amanda were good friends at Prep… With this fund our family wants to honor the courage of Amanda and her family. They displayed great dignity and fortitude enduring a wrongful prosecution on foreign soil. During years of unjust incarceration, the school supported Amanda through prayers and letters of support. Prep acted in the Jesuit spirit by seeking social justice and helped to win a fight worth remembering.

According to the announcement applicants should demonstrate the same “moral courage, strength of character under duress and a sincere desire to help others in need” that was supposedly exhibited by Amanda Knox.

Let’s pause right there.

Claims of “wrongful prosecution” and “years of unjust incarceration” are way premature, and contradicted by all these posts here.

“Moral courage” means taking a risk in order to do what one believes is right. Put aside for a moment the overwhelming evidence that Knox did murder Meredith Kercher. To what instance of moral courage could the school possibly have been referring? We don’t have a clue.

“Strength of character under duress” is pretty much expected of any upstanding member of society. But if there’s one person to which it surely doesn’t apply, it’s someone who was convicted of falsely accusing her kind boss of murder and wrecking his business. Billions of people have a “sincere desire to help others in need.” What makes Knox notable here?

Why else might Knox have been deserving of a scholarship in her name? It’s often said that she was an “honor student” but we wonder why she wasn’t wearing any honor cords at her graduation while other students had them. Author and Knox innocence proponent Nina Burleigh wrote that she “almost flunked” a religion class and was made to take summer school.

Knox has also been described as a “star soccer player.” The team she played for, however, endured “four bleak, losing seasons” according to Nina Burleigh’s book.

A few teachers and students spoke up rather listlessly and doubtfully for Knox after she was arrested and put on trial. Several are believed to have said that they were really not too surprised to hear of the mess she was in.

;Above: school president Dr Kent Hickey]

Is there ANY solid reason in the public record why Knox is deserving of this singular honor?

Tom Wright seems to have been motivated above all by his desire to memorialize “a fight worth remembering.” As much as anything else, that fight consisted of himself and a small group of like-minded diehard parents appropriating the school’s good name and resources for the purpose of a nasty, bigoted, defamatory, strong-arming campaign which played fast and loose with the facts.

Dr Kent Hickey [image directly above] became president of Seattle Prep two years after Knox graduated. He didn’t know her at all, and he may not even have met her face to face before the school accepted a scholarship in her name. Nonetheless, he described her to the media as “a good and thoughtful girl”.

He defended the school’s decision to raise funds for her by saying “We can’t pick and choose the graduates we help.”  Yet Seattle Prep DOES indeed pick and choose, all the time. The school routinely punishes and expels students for everything from minor insolence to felonies. We can’t find any other instance in which it has held fundraisers for any alum—let alone a convicted felon—despite 8,000 alums living in the Seattle area.

And so Seattle Prep parents and onlookers might be forgiven for thinking that Dr Hickey is grasping at straws to justify his school’s very strange action.

[Above: scholarship creator Tom Wright]

One angered parent commented on the PR campaign as follows in an excellent investigative report by James Ross Gardner in the local magazine Seattle Met late in 2010:

It is true some of the Seattle Prep families have allowed their students to support Amanda Knox. I do not believe that it is a 100%. A number of families have felt their students were pressured into supporting Knox without having a choice. That is not the Seattle Prep I knew from my years there as a student, nor is it what my husband experienced.

In our years as Prep students we were allowed choice rather than pressure. Because of the pressure, a number of family are not making their annual donations to Seattle Prep. I, for one, will be glad when the verdict in the appeal is handed down so perhaps we can all move past this event. Yes, event.

Seattle Prep has made it into an event and it takes away from the students discussing other news and issues. I do not wish Knox ill but my children did not go to school with her and do not know her. They have no idea if she is guilty. They are more worried about their close friend that is fighting cancer. It is time to un-focus on Knox. That’s just my opinion.

An angered alum of Seattle Prep offered this opinion to the reporter from Seattle Met:

I went to Seattle Prep, and did a full year in Italy. I learned Italian and the culture and saw a lot of Americans and Italians from the South that studied in Central and Northern university towns go a little nuts with all the freedom away from home.

Since I started following this trial, I could totally see how immoral behavior could lead to Amanda doing what she was accused of doing. Drug use, jealous roommates, and illicit sex are not a good mix, especially when people need money to support such habits. Amanda seems to have a lobby of easily-swayed-by-propaganda lab rats who bought in to the PR agency story and don’t bother following the case in its entirety.

I do not know the background of the Seattle Prep Principal, but I think he is getting in way over his head by getting into this case, and as a prior poster mentioned, he is putting a lot of pressure on people to get on the pro-Amanda bandwagon. So sick to sway young students’ minds on what to think.

This sounds like our post-modern decaying American mentality of choosing sides and voicing misdirected-emotions in forming opinions. The Principal does not sound like a well educated, worldly individual to put the Academic Institution and its students, employees and graduates in the middle of this fiasco. It reeks of “We Support Our Troops,” military campaigns to coerce and intimidate people into believing in a “popular” movement.

It’s a cruel joke that needy students who are not in a position to turn down financial aid will be forced to associate themselves with Amanda Knox and an ignominious campaign of bigotry, defamation and intimidation.

It is to them and the real victims, Meredith and her family, that Seattle hearts should go out.

Posted on 11/17/12 at 06:16 AM by brmull. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas teamMore hoaxers
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Amazingly, Wrong Facts And Defamations Of Italian Officialdom Show NO Sign Of Being Reigned In

Posted by devorah

It is very hard in the Perugia case for us to figure out who is driving the defense and PR bus.

The assumption made in standard cases is that the defendants are the clients, as it is their necks on the line, while the lawyers and any PR effort work at their command. In effect RS and AK would exercise all control, and courts would hold them responsible for what they did or should have controlled. 

In unusual contrast, here we have a situation where it seems like a bunch of clowns is driving the bus.

The hard facts of the forthcoming Supreme Court appeal and the legal strength of the prosecution team seem to be absolutely damning, while the two defendants and/or their surrogates are out there in high profile playing a childish “catch me if you can” game.

Read first TJMK’s recent posts (scroll down) on how formidable the Supreme Court appeal really is, and especially this one and this one.

Then read TJMK’s recent posts (scroll down) on Sollecito and the frenetic promotion of his bizarre book. And TJMK’s dissection (not yet complete) of its several hundred faults and 20-plus serious defamations.

Then Google the recent confused and nasty utterings on Knox’s and Sollecito’s behalf (very unwisely tacitly endorsed or unconstrained by either AK or RS) by Saul Kassin, Seth Chandler, Michael Heavey, Doug Preston, Michele Moore, David Anderson, Nigel Scott, and on and on.

Fortunately the media websites allowing anonymous drive-by hatchet jobs under their reporting seems to have dwindled sharply, and are now more or less confined to the hapless low-traffic Ground Report and occasionally the Huffington Post.

Perhaps in consequence, the nasty wildly inaccurate drive-by hatchet jobs in the book reviews on the Amazon website and their reader comments continue to mount up more than ever.

I want to use as an example of this trend the furious comments below this one-star book review of Raffaele Sollecito’s book on Amazon.

The many passages I have put in bold highlight the claims that we here and officialdom in Perugia have long KNOWN to be inaccurate and often defamatory.

This series of comments displays perfectly the nasty and bullying strategy, circular arguments, and wrong facts that the anonymous supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito still deploy, to ensure that their PR points get across and drown out alternative viewpoints.

The strategy of the Solllecito-Knox hit team here at work seems to be as follows:

    1. Numerous people register anonymously and review ONLY Sollecito’s book or ONLY books about the Meredith Kercher case. These people have no other online presence on Amazon and are obviously deeply immersed in the case as they review books only about it (a more sinister explanation is that these are mostly fake reviewers posting shill reviews under different aliases).

    2. They post numerous positive reviews about the slanted pro-defense books.

    3. They post numerous negative reviews about the objective pro-prosecution books. For example, John Kercher’s book about his murdered daughter has numerous 1- and 2-star reviews. They were written by individuals who reviewed ONLY books on this case and who gave 5-star reviews to pro-defense books.

    4. They respond to opposing viewpoints with hostile and intimidating taunts, threats, ridicule and name calling (in the Amazon thread I linked to above, you can see that those who deviate from the story that Knox and Sollecito are innocent and post alternative viewpoints have actually been called lunatics, idiots and perverts).

    5. They repeat known lies and mistruths as though they are facts, using the Knox team’s PR talking points. For example, “there is ZERO evidence in this case” and “there was absolutely NO DNA evidence linking Knox or Sollecito to the crime.”

    6. When someone responds with facts to the contrary and links to the evidence, they are bullied, called names, or derisively dismissed.

    7. Eventually, when trying to win the argument by logic alone fails, they may finally report their opposers to Amazon so that un unknowing Amazon blocks them from making further comments in the book reviews.

Is this working? I think not. Especlally in Italy but also in the US and UK, there is a growing pool out there that is no longer fooled.

On media sites below stories, the level of skepticism is generally very high these days. After all, the truth “got” to Katie Couric and the guests on Jane Velez Mitchell’s show, so Sollecito’s book at least got poor promotion.

Legal commenters and professional reporters like Wendy Murphy, Nancy Grace, Barbie Nadeau and John Follain have all hinted or outright stated that Knox and Sollecito just might have blood on their hands.

Could that be why the campaign has turned to book reviews penned only by people with brand new screen names?

Knox and Sollecito’s supporters must be worried about the extremely strong appeal case the prosecution is moving forward with. Currently, the defense has NO lawyers publicly saying they were framed and NO good experts going public any more.

While their hotheaded surrogates are still out there (see above!) Knox is out of sight and Sollecito probably is too now. Also the Sollecito book is proving a considerable millstone around their own necks as it is so riddled with wrong facts and obvious calunnia.

Two of Sollecito’s key claims have already been denounced on Italian national TV by Sollecito’s own father and his lawyers. Objectively it looks like they are in a heap of trouble.

Please read the review linked to above to see some of Knox and Sollecito’s most strident supporters in action. Want to fight back? Respond back if you wish, write your own book reviews, and direct people to TJMK and PMF, and to the Massei Report and other factual sources of information. Tweeting would be especially helpful.

And do make sure that people remember that Meredith Kercher was the real victim in this case.

Posted on 11/14/12 at 05:10 AM by devorah. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Reporting, media, moviesKnox-Mellas teamSollecito teamMichael HeaveySteve MooreBruce FischerMore hoaxersKnox book hoaxesSollecito book hoaxes
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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Increasingly Being Voiced That, In A Turbulent World, People Like Meredith Are Really Very Precious

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

The heartwarming outpouring over Meredith on the fifth anniversary of her cruel death suggest that her mark on the world will last.

Not that this would have made any difference to our pursuit of justice for Meredith, but we have long known that she was a high achiever with outstanding accomplishments already, and that her eyes were set on the European institutions in Brussels.

Meredith really hit the ground running in Perugia. She had dreamed of it for a long time.

She bonded immediately with her two nice Italian flaltmates, who were both working in town, and soon with the neighbors downstairs. Within days she had an “instant crowd’ of the girls from Leeds and other UK universities.

She liked the house, liked the clubs, liked walking Perugia, liked the culture and the fun festivals in Perugia. Her first encounters with her new boyfriend downstairs, an Italian musician, were said to be shy and sweet.

And she was focused and already working her tail off. She had won a well-funded Erasmus grant and although she wanted to work a little, she had no worries about money.

She arrived with an excellent command of Italian after two years of hard study at the European Studies school in Leeds, and at the Università per Stranieri she was clearly going to excel.

She was also studying politics and economics at the main university, which was very close, and she seemed set to go very far. her eyes were already on the powerful international bodies in Brussels.

Judge Massei’s report is a brilliant piece of work by an amazing legal talent (Judge Massei is the top judge in Perugia and Umbria) and one gets the sense that he hit such a high plane as he was writing it as a tribute to Meredith. She deserved this, nothing less.

His report is now making many people say to themselves “how could this have happened?”  And also, what might have been…

We first received an in-depth portrait of Meredith in the excellent Darkness Descending by Paul Russell and Graham Johnson with Luciano Garofano. These paragraphs below are from our longer excerpt in 2010. 

When Meredith turned seven years old in 1992, Britain was in the grip of a recession. Croydon, however, still remained an unusually busy suburb of London. The town was a hectic meld of mini-skyscrapers, retail parks and giant housing estates, the rumble of the London A roads and M25 motorway never far away in the background.

Meredith was a busy, active child from an early age. She .went to ballet, liked reading, and was generally known for her all-round vitality. When she took up karate, unlike many kids, she stuck to it. By her early teens, she had attained her third belt.

Meredith inherited her father’s flair for the written word. At school she wrote poetry and her fiction compositions were highly thought of. But mostly, Meredith was known for her bubbly personality, and her sense of humour - she had an imaginative sense of the ridiculous, according to her family.

Meredith may have been educated at a £10,000-a-year private school but she wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Her mother and father sacrificed almost all of their income and savings to give their youngest daughter, as well as her older siblings, the best education they could get…

Arline put her social life on hold. John chose to work instead of taking annual leave. His haymaking years iri Fleet Street were dedicated solely to putting his kids through school and university. He did well to keep the whole show on the road on a single freelancer’s wage, not only paying his own expenses in Croydon but also contributing to the upkeep of Arline and the kids at the old home a few miles south in Coulsdon.

[Below: a recent class at Meredith’s K-12 girls’ school in south London] 

Italians learned more about Meredith when one of her Perugiia friends, Samantha Rodenhurst, spoke on camera about their brief but affecting acquaintance in the Italian-TV report summarized here.

In 2010 and 2011 in British newspapers, Meredith’s father John wrote of Meredith here and here and here and finally in a long-awaited long-form book version here (US) and here (UK) and here (Italy).

Now in 2012 Meredith’s sister Stephanie (see the post below) and several more of Meredith’s friends have opened up to share the Meredith that they knew. This is from Monique Rivelland who was with Meredith at university both in Perugia and in Leeds.

[On arrival in Perugia] I set myself the task of learning to cook Italian dishes and once I had perfected the art of a good risotto I invited the girls over for dinner.

We sat around our table by the wooden shutters drinking local red wines, feeling wonderfully grown up.

We probed Meredith about an Italian boy she had started dating from the apartment below hers.

She was behaving coyly but she was the first of any of us to find romance, so we were intrigued.

The next week it was Halloween and two friends held a party.

I went as a black cat with an Afro and bow tie and we laughed all evening — mostly at the food, which was disastrous.

The risotto looked more like rice pudding and Meredith was giggling as she held out a tray of burnt witch-shaped biscuits she had made.

That was the last time I saw her.

Monique writes of Meredith’s friends attending her funeral, and of the journey Monique has been making in the five years since, which seems to us similar to what some other friends of Meredith’s say they too have been through.

We know that Meredith, who was awarded a posthumous degree from the University of Leeds in 2009, accepted for her by Stephanie, was a lover of schools and learning.

She helped tutor her friends at the Old Palace School of John Whitgift in Croydon. Their motto is The end crowns the work.  She encouraged the other students by her serious example but she also helped push them with their homework and tests, and volunteered from a generous heart. Both her south London school and Leeds University have offered commemorative services in past years.

The city of Perugia has on several occasions offered tributes to Meredith in ways that sound like Perugia wants to adopt Mez and make her an official Italian citizen, or a beloved unofficial citizen. The energetic and compassionate mayor Wladimiro Boccali and the city council now go further with a two-month fellowship with full travel and accomodation to be offered annually to British students for a language course at Meredith’s language school. 

“I think Meredith should be considered one of us” Mr Boccali said.

[Below: click for a view of the complete notice of the Meredith fellowship Perugia offers]

And a commemoration mass for Meredith was held in Perugia Cathedral last Thursday. As Andrea Vogt reports:

The archbishop of Perugia Gualtiero Bassetti said Kercher will never be forgotten in the small hilltop city of Umbria calling her murder “a wound in the conscience of the religious and civic community which has not yet healed.” Bassetti said Kercher will “be in my prayers” for the Nov. 1 ” Day of the Dead,” which is marked in connection with Italy’s Nov. 2 “All Saints Day” honoring the deceased. He urged Perugians to pray for her as well.

Perugia’s prayers for Meredith are a reminder for all those who followed the divisive case – no matter who they thought was guilty or innocent -  to pause for a moment to reflect on the promising, well-liked young woman who died so tragically and prematurely five years ago today, in a city still haunted by her memory.

And may the fine principles that Meredith passionately stood for continue to be so passionately espoused.

[Below: the interior of the cathdral of Perugia where a mass was offered last thursday]

Posted on 11/06/12 at 05:00 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memory
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Monday, November 05, 2012

Suggested Memorial Videos From Followers Of Meredith And Her Case In Several Countries In Europe

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Gocce Di Memoria by Giorgia

A song for someone much missed. In English Drops of Memory also known as Le Mie Stanze Vuote or My Empty Rooms

Canzone Per Un’Amica by Francesco Guccini

You’ll Never Walk Alone by André Rieu and soloists

Ravel’s Pavane for a Dead Princess by pianist Elena Kuschnerova

Hallelujah Lyrics by Kate Voegele

And Perugia in the mist - posted several times in the past

Posted on 11/05/12 at 08:25 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, November 02, 2012

Among Those Videos Suggested To Be Added To Our Memorial Videos Page

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Sov Gott (Sleep Well, in Swedish) by the American singer Jewel

Posted on 11/02/12 at 06:03 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Requiem That The Choir Of Meredith’s School, Old Palace School, Sang For Her

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

The Gregorian chant In Paradisum. This is the version by the English boys’ choral group The Choirboys which is many people’s favorite

Posted on 11/01/12 at 05:37 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer England
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Invitation To Nominate Musical Videos On The Fifth Anniversary Of Meredith’s Passing

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Above: the Kristian Leontiou musical video “Some Say” featuring Meredith which we first posted 40 months ago,

The first of November is the fifth anniversary. Nominations of any new videos for our Memorial Videos page would be welcome, perhaps with a few words to her family explaining why Meredith’s memory still moves you.

Posted on 10/31/12 at 01:52 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memory
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UK Cosmpolitan Magazine Rightly Names Stephanie Kercher As A Woman Of The Year

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

We posted Stephanie’s Open Letter about herself and Meredith back in November 2011.

This much deserved award is widely reported in the UK. Good interview by Rosie Mullender in Cosmopolitan and she indicates that another longer one is to come.

When we met near our offices, I was nervous – Meredith’s death would obviously be a devastating subject to talk about, and I wasn’t sure how Stephanie would deal with being asked about what happened.

But as soon as I met her, I relaxed. Stephanie is warm, open and friendly, and her face lights up every time she talks about her sister. As she told me all the wonderful things she remembered about Meredith – her smile, her laugh, the way she’d help anyone with anything – she couldn’t help laughing herself.

And good photos and another report in the Daily Mail.

Celebrating the ‘resilience and strength’ she has shown in supporting her family, the 29-year-old will receive the Ultimate Editor’s Choice accolade at the event, which celebrates the year’s most inspirational figures.

Cosmopolitan editor Louise Court said: ‘Since the death of her sister, Meredith, five years ago, Stephanie remains an inspiring figure of strength and support…

‘Most impressive of all is her single-minded desire to ensure her sister isn’t forgotten and to make sure her personality shines through any projects she undertakes…

‘A devoted daughter and sister who has shown extraordinary courage and love in the most difficult circumstances, Stephanie is fully deserving of her award and we are delighted to celebrate with her tonight.’

Stephanie will receive her award at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum on Tuesday evening, with the likes of Jessica Ennis, Kimberley Walsh and Alesha Dixon also set to be in attendance.

[Below: Stephanie Kercher leaves Perugia Dec 2009 after trial when family was relieved to think it was all over]

[Below;Stephanie at the press conference before the disputed Hellmann-Zanetti appeal verdict]

Posted on 10/31/12 at 04:17 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryThose officially involvedVictims familyReporting, media, moviesStraight reporting
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Powerpoints #20: On Contradictions, Here Preston Contradicts Preston

Posted by Kermit

[James Frey, Stephen Glass and Clifford Irving; writers caught playing fast-and-loose with the truth]

This is the second in a new Powerpoint series. Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

In the first question that we posed to fiction thriller writer (and now, self-described “point-of-view journalist”, whatever that euphemism means) Douglas Preston a few days ago, we asked him about his and Spezi’s Afterword to their book The Monster of Florence.

It appears to be full of errors and insinuations in linking the MoF to the Meredith Kercher murder case. A book that is based on a “True Story” should not be found to be derelict in presenting errors or fiction as true fact, neither at its end, nor in its beginning, nor in any other point between.

In this, the second question that we pose to Preston (and Spezi, if he’s available for replies), we go to the start of the story, where Preston recalls how he met Spezi, in the smoky haze of a backroom of the Caffè Ricchi in the centre of Florence and first learned of the existence of the monster … or did he? 

The problem is that in equally emphatic terms, you can also hear Preston on an NBC Dateline documentary describe how a few months earlier (I calculate) than the Caffè Ricchi tête-a-tête, he describes hearing about the Monster of Florence for the first time from his neighbours in the town he lived in in Italy.

And this, in an interview with Stone Philips of NBC with a camera crew and their equipment on-site in Italy in front of his old rented house. At a time when Preston was already telling the rest of the world that he couldn’t return to Italy, banned by Mignini! In my opinion, things can’t get much more cynical than that.

The contrast between Preston’s two clear, explicit and totally mutually-exclusive descriptions of how he learned of the Monster of Florence may seem like a trivial point, but it really is not.

Every writer knows that the key factor at the start of a book is engaging and maintaining the reader’s interest so that it lasts to the very end. A fiction writer is free to use whatever mechanism he may need to make that engagement. However, authors who describe their tale as a “True Story” as do Preston and Spezi should realize that reader trust is – poof! – lost if you load the start of the True Story with something that isn’t so.

Recent history has seen a number of writers who push and cross the limit of the Truth and rush headstrong into Truthiness, Mistruth, or Lies, peddling stories that attract our interest and are human, daring .... yet end up being exposed as blends of truths and half-truths.  Together with insinuations and a lot of out and out fibs:

  • Clifford Irving went to jail for his unauthorised and totally false “autobiography” of Howard Hughes, see the Richard Gere movie poster below..
  • The New Republic magazine fired Stephen Glass after determining that at least 27 of 41 stories written by Glass for the magazine contained fabricated material.
  • James Frey’s publisher has had to reimburse those purchasers of “A Million Little Pieces” who bought it believing it true (it was commercialized as such).

Where will Spezi and Preston take us with The Monster of Florence? All it takes is for one reader to question: could this really have happened as they are making us think it happened? Why when I read the Italian version of the book do I understand something completely different? Why in Italy is Il Mostro considered the better, much more accurate book?

From there the truth in the story starts to unravel. As we already see in the Powerpoint presentations, the start and end of the English-langage MoF book don’t exactly encourage us to take any of its contents at face value.

Now that the Meredith Kercher murder case approaches its final appeal, it looks like Preston and Spezi are moving to develop some sort of MoF sequel that could be titled The Monster of Florence: The New Generation starring Amanda Knox and of course Preston and Spezi. And including fresh new “True Stories” by the pair. 

Personally, I feel that they could spare both us and Amanda’s cause their “truth” – Amanda and her legal team have more than enough to think about right now, with the Supreme Court appeal and the mess the Raffaele Sollecito book dams them in.

I believe that the shrillness of Preston’s and Spezi’s tales of “truth” will increase its pitch as we approach the March final appeal of Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as suspects in the murder of Meredith (Knox has already been found guilty of one crime and has served her prison sentence for falsely accusing Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith). 

This is going to be a very tough appeal – I urge readers to take a look at the English translation of Prosecutor Galati’s request for the appeal. It is surprising in its strength and balance. The Knox and Sollecito legal teams must be busy (will either defendant dare to be in Italy at that time?) and they know they are going to have a rough time of it in March.

How nice for all concerned if all the fictions now drop dead.

Posted on 10/25/12 at 11:11 PM by Kermit. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Overviews PowerpointCrime hypothesesReporting, media, moviesBiased reportingThe wider contextsFlorence MOF hoax
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How Doug Preston’s Wrong Claims In His MOF Afterword Were Often Contradicted In The Past

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

[Above: Said to be Doug Preston’s nice workshop in coastal Maine where he apparently makes his stuff up]

This is our own “afterword” to Kermit’s Powerpoint post below on Preston’s Afterword in which Kermit quoted original sources to back up all his claims.

Our profuse quoting of original sources, including many translated ONLY by PMF and TJMK from the original Italian, is what gives PMF and this site such strength as points of reference used regularly by media on both sides of the Atlantic.

Preston doesn’t really seem to be able to provide references for his own work.

In his deeply anti-Italy MOF book, he offers no bibliography, no footnotes, no overview of key documents, few sourced quotes, and interview quotes that often seem stretched and maybe flat-out wrong (as with the one with Madame Bene in the Afterword, about the claimed non-investigation of the screaming drug addict in the square). 

In a rather self-congratulatory comment Preston posted on the CPJ website 18 months ago, he claimed this.

Before publication [The Monster of Florence] was minutely vetted by no less than five attorneys in two languages in Italy, the U.K., and the United States. Since publication, it has been read by millions of people in many European languages. In all that time, and with all the millions who have read the book, not one significant error of fact came to light. Mario Spezi and I stand by every single assertion of fact in that book today just as strongly as we did when it was first published three years ago.

Really? Well, without sources to check, what exactly did all those lawyers do?  The Afterword claims were published only in English, so that very few Italians who do know Italy and the case ever got a chance to provide alternative points of view - a few did, though, and there are several sarcastic Italian reviews on Amazon. In Italy, the more credible Guittari version outsells it 10-to-1. 

Preston’s lurid and under-researched claims then of course went viral.

You can see his claims about Rudy Guede and the “14 hours” interrogation and the meanie Mignini and junk Italian reporting and the incompetent Italian justice system and anti-Italianism generally disseminated all over the web. Read things by Candace Dempsey and Nina Burleigh and Michael Heavey and Saul Kassin and Bruce Fischer and Nigel Scott and Joel Simon and you will see the Preston claims parroted there.

Even in Raffaele Sollecito’s book we are turning up some of the claims!

And yet literally dozens of correct statements of fact that contradict Preston’s MOF Afterword have been posted on PMF and TJMK and other sites and in various books over the past four years. These are just a few on the 14-page Afterword posted on this site alone.

1) Contradicting Preston’s claims about the incompetence of the Italian System.

    Click “They Were Held For A Year Without Even Being Charged!!”

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

    Click Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular.

    Click The Chief Enforcer Of The Constitution And The Rule Of Law is Wildly Popular Throughout Italy.

    Click Italian Campaigner For Victims And Their Families Says The System Is Denying Them Justice.

    Click A Token Balance In The Italian System: The Voice In The Court For The Victim

    Click Compared To Italy, Say, Precisely How Wicked Is The United States?

    Click Why The Totality of Evidence Suggests Knox And Sollecito Are Guilty Just As Charged.

    Click An Overview From Italy Of The Galati-Costagliola Appeal To The Supreme Court Of Cassation

2) Contradicting Preston’s claims about the Knox “14 hours” interrogation

    Click Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #3 Raffele Sollecito’s Multiple Conflicting Alibis.

    Click Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #4 Amanda Knox’s Multiple Conflicting Alibis.

    Click This Testimony Does Not Seem To Have Gained Much Traction Here In Italy.

    Click Italy Shrugs: Why The Defendant’s Testimony Seems To Have Been A Real Flop.

    Click Dr Galati: Note An Example Of How Curt Knox’s Campaign Is Misleading American Experts And Audiences.

    Click Dr Galati: Attacks On Prosecution By Curt Knox’s Hatchet Men Becoming Shriller, More Fictional #1

3) Contradicting Preston’s claims about Rudy Guede and his central role in the events

    Click Understanding Micheli #2: Why Judge Micheli Rejected The Lone-Wolf Theory.

    Click A Visual Guide To The Staged Break-In Via Filomena’s Window.

    Click Powerpoints #6: Trace Evidence Seems To Confirm More Than One Perpetrator At Scene.

    Click Powerpoints #7: Forced Entry Via Filomena’s Window Fails The Giggle Test.

    Click Powerpoints #10: Telling Evidence Against Sollecito The Experts Seem To Have Got Absolutely Right.

    Click Powerpoints #12: The Telling Case Of The Doctored Footprint

    Click The New 80,000 Pound Gorilla In The Room Introduced By The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation.

4) Contradicting Preston’s claims about the large knife and DNA in the house

    Click Understanding Why The DNA Is On The Knife.

    Click What We Believe Are The Hard Facts On The Double DNA Knife.

    Click Setting Out What We Know About The Mixed Blood Evidence Samples From The Massei Report.

    Click Conti-Vecchiotti DNA Review Is Weak, Tendentious, Cites Non-Existent Standards

    Click An Overview From Italy Of The Galati-Costagliola Appeal To The Supreme Court Of Cassation

5) Contradicting Preston’s claims about an evil Mignini and satanic illusions

    Click BBC Interview: Mignini Comes Across As Fair, Decent, Funny, And Quite Sane.

    Click Prosecutor Mignini Offers Some Helpful Advice To A Factually Challenged Reporter

    Click New Mignini Interview Makes Doug Preston Look Increasingly Incompetent And Vindictive.

    Click What His Florence Conviction Means For Giuliano Mignini And The Case.

    Click That Widely Watched LA7 TV Interview With Giuliano Mignini

    Click Open Letter To CNN Head Ken Jautz: Reports As Terrible As Drew Griffin’s….

    Click Full CNN Interview With Mignini That CNN SHOULD Have Reflected

    Click Mignini’s And Giuttari’s Florence Convictions Are Overturned As Florence Court Had No Jurisdiction.

    Click Dr Galati: Please Check Out What Looks Like A Mischievous Defense-Inspired Global Hoax.

    Click A Ten Part Series Showing How Mignini Was Misrepresented By Preston, Sforza and CPJ.

    Click Powerpoints #13: We Now Examine The Compelling Evidence For The REAL Railroading From Hell

Monday, October 22, 2012

Powerpoints #19: Placing The Noisy Claimant Doug Preston In The Hot Seat

Posted by Kermit

This is the first in a new Powerpoint series. Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

This curious incident instigated this series:

A week or two ago I received an unexpected email from Douglas Preston, co-author with Mario Spezi of The Monster of Florence (Spezi also wrote an Italian version that seems to conflict at points with the English version) and a heated champion of the attempt to free Amanda Knox, who is stlll accused pending Supreme Court appeal of the murder of her housemate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia on 1 November 2007.

Preston explained that he wanted to write a “piece” about the “Knox case” and that he would like to do a 10 question email interview with me.  I got the hunch that Preston and Spezi are going to be active over the next few months in the media as their cause is increasingly thrown in disarray. Along with, I presume, their possible movie based on the Monster of Florence book.

I was surprised that Preston said he would “quote you accurately, honestly, and in context, and represent your views respectfully and accurately”. 

Hmmm. We all have in our memory Preston accusing me (see his comment April 28 2011 at 6:57 pm) of “distortions, falsehoods, and crackpot opinion presented as settled fact. Kermit’s open letter contains many out and out lies”.

He also claimed, erroneously, that I hide behind a “screen of false IP addresses and various other hacker tricks” (what, has Preston tried to hack me?) and that I had “demonstrated a long history of falsehood and dishonesty” (I have?!).

Given that past experience, would you trust Preston? Silly me, I’m ready to give anyone another chance.

In return I proposed that the interview be two-way, and that we each proceed question by question on the issues that we wanted to clarify for us to publish in due course. I included a first question on seeming significant errors and mistruths in the “Afterword” or epilogue chapter of his and Spezi’s Monster of Florence book.

Very disappointingly, he didnt respond in kind. Nothing useful came back. He concluded “as for my (Preston’s) ‘objectivity,’ I am a point-of-view journalist in this case. People know where I stand and they know my bad history with Mignini. I don’t pretend to be objective”.

Should Preston really call himself a journalist or an opinion maker, or a lobbyist?  Why can’t people just respect the Italian legal process, which right now is not (and never was) firmly in the hands of Prosecutor Mignini, Preston’s perceived nemesis?

As we seem set to be subjected once again to seeing Preston and/or Spezi regularly sharing their rancid opinion of Prosecutor Mignini and Italians officials on the case with the public, I decided to get out in front, with this series pre-emptively checking their versions of the “truths”.

The Monster of Florence book is labeled (see above) a “True Story”, and while it does include historical facts related to the MoF murders in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s,  the two authors also personally intrude themselves into events.

This series should help the public to decide how seriously (if at all) they should accept Preston’s and Spezi’s opinions expressed in their media appearances where they interject themselves into Meredith Kercher’s murder case.

And to see if any of Preston’s self-described “point-of-view journalism” truths he shares with Spezi really stand up.

Please check back to TJMK every few days as we pose new questions to Preston and his co-author Spezi.

Posted on 10/22/12 at 12:23 AM by Kermit. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Overviews PowerpointCrime hypothesesReporting, media, moviesBiased reportingThe wider contextsItalian contextN America contextFlorence MOF hoax
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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Exploding Nightmare For Lawyers Of The Defense: Torrent of “Mistakes” In Sollecito’s Hapless Book

Posted by Sara

More and more and more wrong facts and libels are being turned up in Sollecito’s pathetic book, both by us here and by an irritated officialdom in Rome and Perugia.

Amanda Knox is rumored to perhaps be mentally unstable and figuratively locked in the attic in Seattle. Now Sollecito seems to have been disappeared back in Italy for his own good as well.

Sollecito’s own lawyers (who have in the past threatened to walk) and his own family have already thrown him to the wolves on Italian TV over just one highly libelous claim and there are an estimated two dozen more still to surface.

Not really a good idea to write a shrill “I’m the real victim here” book unchaperoned, when you have the smug mentality of a 12-year-old. The facts strongly against you. A very bright prosecutor. And a ghost writer whose slobbering over a laughably fictional Sollecito suggests he has a something of a boy-crush.

Raffaele Sollecito has made many stupid claims in his book, but perhaps none is so obvious and more idiotic than his claims about the “lost” emails.

What is it with this guy and the emails? He seems to think (or perhaps, thinks that the readers are stupid enough to believe) that if a computer or a hard drive is destroyed, all the emails in it are lost as well. Come on already, surely they taught him the mechanisms of email in his computer classes.

Look at his statements regarding emails. In chapter 2 (Love and Death) of his book, he describes the morning after the murder -

I’d been up several times in the night—listening to music, answering e-mail, making love—and wanted only to go back to sleep

Right, so he got up many times in the night to answer e-mails. You’d think that this would be his biggest alibi for the night of the murder, right? No, wrong. Raffaele could not prove his alibi because, in his own words -

I did not yet know that the Polizia Postale—supposedly experts in handling technology issues—had seized two of my computers along with Amanda’s and Meredith’s and somehow wrecked three of the four hard disks while trying to decipher them. The bottom line was that the damaged disks were now deemed unreadable. That left just my MacBook Pro to provide an alibi for the night of the murder.

But modern emails DON"T EVEN RESIDE on local hard drives unless one DELIBERATELY downloads them. And even if one does (and hardly anyone ever does) there rarely is reason to completely delete the original, and here there seems about zero reason to do that.

And even if the original IS deleted Facebook and email services have shown under legal pressure that they maintain complete backups going back many months. No way Sollecito’s supposed emails on the night could have been made to simply no longer exist.

Again, when he talks about Amanda and Meredith’s friendship, he says -

If either Meredith’s or Amanda’s computer had survived the police examination, there might have been photographs, emails, and other evidence to point to a more meaningful interaction

Here we go with the elusive emails again. Will someone explain the point of email to this guy? What difference would the local computers surviving or not surviving make to any emails residing on his host’s servers?

He actually has the nerve to criticize the Polizia Postale’s technical competence after making a statement to the effect that he and Amanda could not retrieve their emails as the hard disks were damaged.

Whether the hard disks were destroyed or not, whether it was the Polizia Postale’s fault or not is hardly important here. Admittedly, Amanda is not a “technical genius” (After all, she does not know how to delete messages from her sent items).

But what is stopping this resident technical genius from simply accessing his email box from some other computer or iphone, and printing out a copy from his sent items? Why doesn’t he ask even one of the happy recipients of his emails - by the way, who were they? - to forward it back to him?

Did all of them delete his mails from their in boxes and trash too? Even if we defy all logic and accept that they did, what’s stopping at least one of them from coming forward and testifying that they received a mail from him that night? Did all of them get selective amnesia at the same time too?

Similarly, if any emails that proved the “close friendship” between Amanda and Meredith existed wouldn’t they still be retrievable from Amanda’s mailbox? She could have printed a copy any time. Did she go around deleting all of Meredith’s mails the minute they arrived as well as her own replies to them, and clearing her trash box and all her host’s backups as well, just to be doubly sure they can’t be retrieved?.

Ok, let’s say the emails were deleted. What about the photographs? If there had been any photographs that would establish their “close” friendship, wouldn’t they be there on the camera or phone from which they were taken? Or wouldn’t either Meredith or Amanda have sent them to someone or posted them on their Facebook?

How did EVERYTHING vanish without a trace? If neither of them ever sent the photos to anyone or posted them online anywhere, or even kept them on file, you really have to wonder what was the point of taking them at all.

No one is claiming that Amanda and Meredith were at loggerheads all the time, they might even have gotten along initially. Meredith was not a person who judged people harshly. By all accounts, she did try her best to get along with Amanda, trying to include her in outings and defending her when she got into trouble.

It was Amanda who pulled away saying she wanted to socialize only with Italians. But the fact is that there were clashes and there were differences between them.  Trying to make out that they were the best of friends by claiming the destruction of non-existent proofs is not only unbelievable but also utterly stupid.

Like our main poster Hopeful summarized it: this claimed computer genius has never in four years been able to prove he sent an email? Ridiculous.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Sunk Ship: This Week’s Closed Hearings Required The Conversion Of This Theater

Posted by Peter Quennell

The international media presence at the hearings in Grosetto matches those at the end of the trial and the appeal in Perugia.

But despite the conversion into a court of the large Theater Moderno shown here, the media is not getting to observe the hearings first-hand. The judges decided that they all have to wait outside.

So many passengers and relatives of victims wanted to attend to look Captain Schettino in the eye that they occupy all of the several thousand seats.

This hearing is similar to the hearing presided over by Judge Micheli in October 2008 to decide whether to remand Knox and Sollecito for trial. We should know in a few days if Captain Schettino and several other officers and company officials will face trial for manslaughter and other crimes.

Perhaps the most shocking fact to emerge from the reports prepared for the hearings is that once the ship was gashed in the side it was almost instantly mechanically incapacitated. If a brisk headwind had not stopped the ship and pushed it around onto an underwater shelf, it might have sunk in minutes, perhaps with several thousand drowned.

The captain has just been fired. He in turn is strenuously trying to shift the blame for the disaster to his fellow crew, many of whom had weak English and no Italian, and also to the cruise company.

The cruise-line business has now recovered but, as with the Titanic, a lot is being learned around the world about ship construction, emergency ship management, and the relevant law.

[Below: Captain Schettino, now fired by his company, arrives from Sorrento for the hearing]

[Below: Giulia Bongiorno reopresents some passenger and seeks a class action suit]

[Below: the ship now shows up on Google Earth. The rocks it hit are at lower left]

Posted on 10/18/12 at 12:17 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsItalian context
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Professor Snape Saves 99.9999% Of Seattle From A Pestilent Raffaele Sollecito

Posted by Professor Snape

It has been awhile since I last reported on the perceptions of average Seattleites regarding the ongoing Meredith Kercher murder trial saga. 

The recent arrival of Raffaele Sollecito in Seattle on the final stop of his book promotion tour provided an excellent opportunity to revisit this interesting and telling topic.

By the time Raffaele had arrived in Seattle it was well known that his book sales would ultimately be dismal, and that his father was overly busy in the Italian media strenuously disavowing the major claim of the book; the claim of illegal backroom corruption that is central to the book’s “Honor Bound” title. 

And where Sollecito wasn’t lying outright, it had become painfully obvious that many of the new claims in his book directly contradicted statements he had previously made in his prison diary, or that can readily be found in other early sources of case information.

With this in mind, under protection of his invisibility cloak Professor Snape casually strolled into a cold and nearly empty auditorium on the University of Washington campus to find out firsthand exactly who would be attending such an event. 

He found himself among no more than 60 aging and grayish FOA groupie types, most with Raffaele’s book tucked carefully underarm in high anticipation of a dynamic evening, as if a prized show horse were about to enter an arena.

It seemed that in spite of extensive national and local promotion the good people of Seattle had stayed away entirely!  In fact, Snape observed one woman who showed up at the door in response to a local radio ad, but then walked away in disgust upon learning that she would have to pay a $5 entry fee if Raffaele’s book were not purchased onsite. 

So as it turned out, this was going to be an evening for friends and family only, with absolutely no groundswell of grass roots support from Seattleites, or even Amanda Knox herself for that matter, who sent her mother and sister instead to honor the imagined savior, Raffaele Sollecito.

As a welcoming gift, Snape threw down the Permanent Sticking Charm causing an uncomfortable delay to the program.  Event organizers began complaining of a Jinx in the audio or video equipment and one loudmouth attendee sarcastically suggested that the press photographer might be able to do a better repair job than the UW AV staff.  This was followed by chuckles and chest pounding causing Snape to consider invoking the Reparo Charm, but instead he provided only his trademark sly sneer.

The show finally started.  Everyone seemed to have their books out in hand, except for Snape who could be singled out because he was one of the few who possessed a half torn gold admission ticket.  The audience eagerly awaited juicy and triumphant tales from the currently ex-con Sollecito, as if his narrative would be somehow bold and charged with ownership.  However, things quickly stagnated into pathetic mumbling and unbelievably boring descriptions of irrelevant events. 

One could easily assume that Raffaele was under the influence of a Babbling Curse, but he didn’t require any of Snape’s help whatsoever.

News anchor Dennis Bounds from Seattle’s KING 5 TV succeeded spectacularly in bringing the interview to an even lower than anticipated standard.  Bounds declared at the outset that the two had spent a great deal of time the day before preparing for this supposedly spontaneous interview.  At the beginning of the interview it seemed as though the audience was ready to reach out and pet Raffaele’s adorable made-over hair as if he were a poodle on a podium. 

But all too soon his ho-hum responses caused even this adoring crowd’s anticipation to plummet like facebook stock values.

Bounds tried very hard to extract meaningful replies from Raffaele, but Raffaele remained unfocused and glazed over as if on some kind of stardom high; stupidly cheerful and starstruck.  Bounds provided Raffaele with obviously rehearsed and leading questions from his cue-sheet, along with tips and reminders for answers when Raffaele stumbled or hesitated.  At times Bounds even had to resort to guessing what Sollecito might have felt, when there was no ready response.

At times during the program a larger than life photograph of Meredith Kercher mysteriously appeared on the large screen above Bounds and Sollecito.  This happened on three separate occasions, which became odder still because Bounds and Sollecito just kept right on talking, never once pausing to address or acknowledge Meredith’s presence. 

Furthermore, you could hear a pin drop when this happened and the entire audience seemed to be frozen in a shock state.

A few heads looked pensively towards the event organizer; a woman in a red dress who ran swiftly up to the projection booth to erase the image. Heads turned again when Meredith’s picture came up a second time, while the UW AV crew in the back chuckled and snickered.  After Meredith’s 3rd appearance before the crowd an ominous “power off” signal appeared on the screen and Meredith was gone; all the more strange because none of this seemed to have anything to do with the ongoing and terribly bland program.

Sollecito continued regurgitating shallow prefabricated answers, apparently borrowed from previous book signing engagements. His voice was in no way authoritative, but instead came across as low and unsure.  At times he did not seem to recall the responses that he had been coached to provide. And then Bounds finally got around to asking Raffaele what he thought about Prosecutor Mignini and the home team audience roared with laughter, for the first and only time, as if they knew they were going to finally get what they came to hear.

Mignini could have been a topic that would get fur flying and put Sollecito into a much more animated mood.  But no sparks flew.  There were no gasps into the microphone, no fingers pointed or arms flinging in the air, and in the end nothing but a “Riddikulus” and mundane reply from Raffaele, “I do not know what Mignini thinks of me because Mignini never talked to me.”  Bounds seemed taken aback and asked again about Mignini, but Sollecito was completely unable to offer any unkind words, which must have been a devastating letdown for this particular audience.

Bounds pressed Sollecito about the possibility his of coming to Seattle to live, work, and possibly attend the UW, but Raffaele seemed ambivalent while agreeing that it could be a possibility. Before wrapping up the interview Sollecito answered selected questions taken from index cards passed around the audience. 

While this only served to extend the bore-fest, Professor Snape successfully inquired if Sollecito felt his book might have an impact on the upcoming prosecutor’s appeal to the Court of Cassation in Italy and if so, how.  Sollecito seemed unable to provide his own coherent response and instead relied upon Bounds and the audience to first suggest, “yes, hopefully in a positive manner.”

With that, Snape prepared to wrap up his investigative mission (with no book under cape) as three women approached, one after the other, insisting that Snape identity himself and the nature of his business at the event.  When asked for his name by a crazy lady Number One, Snape defiantly asked back, “What is your name”, to which Number One replied, “I am a nobody”; truthfully spoken, as Snape’s Veritaserum cologne worked its magic.

Crazy lady Number Two demanded to know why Snape was taking pictures and Snape replied that it was because he found the event interesting.  Number two pressed on, asking “Why do you think it is interesting?”  Perhaps Number Two missed noticing that this was, in fact, a highly promoted book-selling tour and not a FOA backyard BBQ, or that the Barbara Walters top 10 most interesting people of 2011 included a subject mentioned conspicuously in the title of Raffaele’s book.

Unfortunately Number Two felt the need to make a hasty retreat, apparently under the influence of the Banishing Charm, before attempting to answer any questions from Snape.

Crazy lady Number Three was only slightly more civil and carried on in a polite but entirely too nosey manner, boldly asking who Snape was. “Oh, I have never heard that name before!” Number Three exclaimed under the influence of the Confundus Charm.  Number Three herself had been taking countless pictures of everyone present all evening, explaining that she was a journalist for a small Seattle-area town.  Honestly, though, she seemed much more like a bored hairdresser/plastic jewelry artist who might blog for an imaginary audience while waiting for imaginary customers.

As Snape departed he was nearly overrun by a couple of Seattle beat cops who were busy dragging out one of the attendees; a poor chap who lost his glasses and all hope of redemption during a defiant struggle.  Following this one bit of excitement in an otherwise pointless evening, a flick of the levitation wand swiftly carried Snape away into the dark Seattle sky.

Posted on 10/15/12 at 03:46 PM by Professor Snape. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedReporting, media, moviesThe wider contextsSeattle contextRaff SollecitoSollecito teamSollecito book hoaxes
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