Friday, January 16, 2009

Trial: Amanda Knox Takes Her Place At The Start Of The Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for a selection of shots. This may be the last time Knox is photographed in court.

Some shots available seem to catch Amanda Knox at a gleeful moment. It is hard to know what to make of those shots. Photographers click away at a “gotcha” moment. It may have lasted only five seconds and meant nothing.

These are a few of the less loaded shots. They show Amanda Knox being led in, looking around the courtroom, perhaps for people she knows, and reading some passage in the Italian legal code.

It appears that an uncle and aunt were present at the back or in the balcony. Her biological parents will be witnesses and so are not allowed to attend the trial before they testify.

It seems certain now that Rudy Guede will testify. And Knox and Sollecito have just both said they’re eager to do so.

So far as we are aware, the Kercher family and the parents of the defendants have not yet ever come face-to-face. That is probably an encounter that none of them look forward to.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/16 at 08:43 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009Amanda KnoxComments here (6)

Trial: Raffaele Sollecito Takes His Place At The Start Of The Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for a selection of shots. This may be the last time Sollecito is photographed in court.

The last shot here was a real catch for that photographer. It appears to be the one time that Amanda Knox tried to catch his eye.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/16 at 07:24 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009Raff SollecitoComments here (0)

Trial: The Proceedings Commence: The Times’s Lunchbreak Report

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the story. The Kercher family is not present. Nor are the biological parents of Amanda Knox. It is not yet reported if Raffaele Sollecito’s father is present; his mother passed on.

And note this breaking news on yet another possible eye-witness, near the bottom of David Owen’s piece - the significance here being that Rudy Guede may have known both defendants prior to the night in question.

Il Giornale dell’ Umbria reported that a new witness, a researcher named only as Fabio G, had told police he had seen Ms Knox, Mr Sollecito and Mr Guede together near the cottage Ms Kercher shared with Ms Knox on 30 October 2007, two days before the murder and sexual assault.

Trial: Reuters Shot Of The Courtroom, Getty Shot Of Lead Judge

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click for larger images. The defendants were not yet present.

These may the last shots of the courtroom and judge for a while. Still cameras and TV cameras have just been reported as banned from the courtroom.

The press will be present except during the most sensitive passages. Audio recordings may at times be allowed.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/16 at 04:22 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe judiciaryTrials 2008 & 2009Comments here (0)

Trial: The Proceedings Commence: The UK’s Daily Mail Reports First

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the story. From Nick Pisa’s report:

Dressed in a hooded grey sweatshirt Knox, 21, smiled and shook hands with her legal team as she was led into court. She seemed overwhelmed by the mass presence of over 150 journalists and TV crews - who, bizarrely, had been herded inside a caged area in the court normally reserved for terrorists.

Nick Pisa appears to be sitting in the terrorist cage at bottom-right below. Click for a better look at him.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/16 at 03:25 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009Comments here (1)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Good Overview Of The Case In Germany’s Der Spiegel

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the two-part report by Alexander Smoltczyk.

Based on the numbers of reports appearing in Germany, interest in the case is high there. It seems to rank fourth after Italy, the UK, and the US.

There is some mild sensationalism in the newspapers there; not much. Reporting on the whole is as in this report: factual and objective.

Before she moved to Perugia Amanda Knox stayed with an uncle in Germany and interned for a day or two at the Bundestag in Berlin. German is one of her languages.

An on-the-run Rudy Guede was caught on a train in Germany and after a brief period he was semt back to Italy where he broke from the other two.

And Italy is the Number One tourist destination for Germans on vacation. They know and really like the place.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/15 at 03:48 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesGreat reportingComments here (2)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Trial: Rather Surprisingly, The Trial Will Take Place Here

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

Somewhere in this complex. The Court of Assizes, in the Piazza Giacomo Matteotti.

Familiar turf for the two defendants. In several different courtrooms, this is where all the pre-trial hearings took place, except the hearing at the Supreme Court in Rome.

La Nazione is reporting  that the choice of court is controversial. The court seats only 150 and so only a tiny handful of media and a tinier handful of the public will get to be present.

Rudy Guede’s trial was moved down the hill to the west, to much larger court space in the modern part of town. In part to avoid the much-photographed perp-walks that the defendants had had to make it through.

Will we be back to watching the perp-walks, resuming from tomorrow? Nobody seems to know. The attires and demeanors of the defendants were much studied at the time.

One large TV monitor is already hooked up in a separate large room for the media. The decision whether to switch it on should be out of the way by 10:00 tomorrow morning.

Meredith’s house is about one kilometer to the north - off to the left in the first of these shots.

A place of work in the daytime, with a big police presence, this is a really beautiful square at night.

Below: Behind complex, tunnel system, from which defendants might enter by elevator

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/14 at 08:32 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe judiciaryTrials 2008 & 2009Comments here (3)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another Book Deal We Are Maybe Not In Favor Of

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the breaking story. This book now seems prejudicial, and it might be good if it’s withdrawn.

The passage we quoted in an earlier post actually seemed beneficial to Knox. The book is not out in English.

[Added] The author has now stated that the contentious passages in the book were all written by Amanda Knox herself.

In my book I used the diary written by Amanda Knox herself and which is now part of the evidence in the trial against her.

‘I don’t understand how the fact that I have retold her own words in a book can have a negative influence on her trial.

Earlier proceedings have already established the sexual element of the this case and that is what I am saying in the book.

So Amanda should sue… herself?! The diary excerpts sure are getting a lot of reads. It was an Italian best-seller over Christmas.

Sounds like that withdrawal is too late and this may be a red herring that goes nowhere.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/13 at 10:06 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesMedia newsComments here (1)

Mr Mignini, Pehaps Keep A Close Eye On This Person, Too

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Amended] That guy on the far left is said to be Frank. We owe you one, Candace. Thanks for the tip.

An email that came in from a trusted source says Frank’s collaboration on the book deal is believed to be dead.

If that really is the case, it is good news, and that is the end of this story. We’ll keep watching, though.

By the way we dont really go looking for stuff on Frank. It just pours in. Perugians seem really ticked at him.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/13 at 04:36 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Hoaxers from 2007Francesco SforzaComments here (3)

Monday, January 12, 2009

So If The Trial Is Declared Closed To The Press This Friday…

Posted by Peter Quennell

Bars around Perugia will really be working overtime. Tom Kington reports:

Court officials in the university town said that 130 newspapers and TV stations from around the world had applied for press passes to the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

More than 250 witnesses are expected to be called and the jury will hear the testimony of 20 investigators and dozens of forensic, genetic and computer experts.

The general expectation though seems to be that all the credentialed press will be seated in a separate room, facing TV monitors, and that when there is raw testimony, Judge Massei will order that the cameras be switched off.

To be fair to them, many of the reporters that we read regularly have a history of filing superb stories on other matters they alone investigated. They can feel a real discomfort at being part of a pack.

A public relations campaign designed to drive these huge numbers may not prove to have been such a smart move in the long run.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/12 at 08:26 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009News media & moviesComments here (0)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mr Mignini, This Person Looks Like Bad News For The Kerchers

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

And apparently for you too.

This person at the back there appears to be the same as in the shots below. They were taken last September.

Other shots reaching us also appear to show this same person. Lurking right behind the Kerchers, in areas that are meant to be secure.

We’re told this person might perhaps be running an obscure American website. One apparently obsessively in favor of a defendant.

That website has apparently ridiculed the Italian police (as “Keystone cops”), the Italian evidence service, several of the witnesses, and on several occasions YOU.

And the website has apparently carried inflammatory, hate-filled remarks against the Kerchers,

Obviously if this person is that person, you might want to haul her in and check out what was going on here. We would hope that any threats to the welfare and safety of the Kerchers would be kept very far away from them.

Perhaps even kept safely in a cell for the duration of the trial.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/11 at 05:00 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedComments here (12)

Friday, January 09, 2009

To Our Readers In Perugia: Please Help Us Identify The Person At Back?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if the shadowy person in the rear here is known to you?

The shots were taken in Perugia during the hearings in September. We want to know who that is in the background. The Kerchers are in the foreground, seemingly completely unaware of her.

The hotel staff or the police or Mr Mignini might be able to help place her. She may of course be hotel staff, or a fellow guest in the hotel who is unrelated to the case.

But when we checked the shots with professional acquaintances in New York, they were certainly interested to know more.

They noted that the security detail of the Kerchers doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. In fact, nobody else seems to be anywhere in sight. They also noted she seems to be staring at the Kerchers’ backs with a very peculiar expression.

We are sure this is all above board and that there’s no cause for alarm. But we would like to confirm. Thanks in advance for a tip.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/09 at 07:29 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Hoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamMore hoaxersComments here (3)

Looks Like Seattle Post Intelligencer Could Be On The Rocks

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the breaking story.

The Seattle PI offered the best Meredith-case reporting, Andrea Vogt’s, from Rome. And the worst Meredith-case blogging, Candace Dempsey’s, from Seattle.

Weird editorial judgment. To say the least. More of the former and an absence of the latter could have really boosted this newspaper’s prospects.

Here are our past takes on the paper’s general decline and one bright spot.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Powerpoints #10: The DNA Evidence May Be A Tough Mole To Whack

Posted by Nicki

We now show in this second Powerpoint presentation what a tough mole to whack that one might be.

We have already covered here the basics of DNA evidence.

That presentation covers the definitions of valid and invalid DNA samples, how contamination might occur, who collected and analyzed the Perugia samples, and how the samples will have been stored.

DNA analysis has been done on the various luminol-enhanced footprints in the house that Kermit analyzed for us.

Also on the knife found hidden in Sollecito’s apartment, and on some items of clothing, and on some fittings and fixtures in Meredith’s house.

And quite possibly on other items, too.

Here’s defense lawyer Theodore Simon in the recent NBC Dateline documentary:

Theodore Simon thinks the prosecutors evidence made public so far is daunting. The defense could argue a faked robbery, and a moved body, and contamination, but eventually it could become like whack-a-mole and all of their arguments could lose force.

Theodore ain’t the only one. New York lawyers following the case reckon the odds of defense arguments losing traction because there are just too many evidentiary moles to be whacked down are already high.

The defenses seem to be indicating that they will argue at trial that all of the many DNA samples might be too small, or too contaminated, or less than 100 percent of a match.

Nothing seems to stand out in the Perugia DNA process to suggest a major failing at any point. And if there was one, only scientific evidence in proof of this will influence the court, and innuendo will really go nowhere.

Further presentations will build on this one when the precise DNA samples being challenged become known.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Another Dog-And-Pony Show Friday: A Second Defense Attempt At Filomena’s Window

Posted by Peter Quennell

Kermit has already analysed the first, failed attempt for us.

It’s just been reported in the Italian media that a second defense test has been scheduled for 12:30 this Friday. If they fail that test for a second time, it will be pretty obvious to the known universe that:

  • There never was a burglar who covered up a burglary with a sex crime, a bizarre move almost unknown in the annals of crime as the penalties are so very much harsher.

  • There really was a rearrangement of the crime scene in an attempt to point the finger of blame at a single perpetrator who had just taken to his heels up some local steps.

A lot is riding on this one. We guess the burglar the defense hired for the job will be in real fighting trim.

Update: Did the defense blink?! Today’s show simply involved engineers, Giovanni Lombardi and Pasquale di Francesco, apparently retired police technicians.

They took measurements to see if that 4-kilo rock could have been thrown from wherever to land where it did in Filomena’s room.

Why not just, you know, bite the bullet, and actually try throwing the rock?!

No prizes are offered for the answer to that one. There was no Spiderman act, no lawyers were present, and no glass was broken.

And Newsweek’s Most-Read Stories Over The Long Weekend Were…

Posted by Peter Quennell

Three on Meredith’s case in the top six.

Click above for a more readable version. The thriller headlines used here don’t quite reflect the cool, precise Newsweek stories which the online readers were reading.

Good news for those wanting objective coverage, everything to come out, and the chips to fall where they may in the case.

And bad news for those not wanting these three particular outcomes…

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/05 at 04:28 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesGreat reportingComments here (0)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Excellent New Report From Italy In The Latest Newsweek

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the story by Rome-based Barbie Nadeau.

The best so far on the Meredith v Knox focus that we are here to re-balance. Newsweek has now set us up with a real challenge, it seems.

By the way, Newsweek has emerged as a real powerhouse of a news magazine in the past four or five years, with a really terrific group of writers.

On the news-magazine front, it is now about as influential as the New York Times on the newspaper front, and the BBC on the broadcast-news front.

Thanks for reading, muffle up well if you are in cold climes, and see you on Monday.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/01 at 05:05 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesGreat reportingComments here (7)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Eight Weeks Now And Counting! Our Year-End Report

Posted by Peter Quennell

Here’s where we seem to stand now, two months (yes just two months!) after TJMK first launched. 

1) In the United States here in recent months, Meredith Kercher had become almost invisible in the press reports on the case. The Associated Press report we criticized a week ago is a case in point: half a dozen paras on Amanda Knox’s Christmas plight, and one cold sentence on the Kerchers’ Christmas plight.

2) TJMK has been the one site (try to find another)  to actually draw some of the attention back to Meredith Kercher, to show that she was a really bright and attractive person, to illustrate the London and Leeds environments that she came from, to explain how very much her intended year in Perugia meant to her and how hard she had worked for it, and to show that as the one and only true victim in the case, Meredith REALLY matters,

3) In the United States here, coverage of the emerging public evidence of the case has been between thin and non-existent, and there have been some actively misleading reports. Even the excellent NBC Dateline report that we praised a week ago left out some key evidence points.

4) TJMK has been a solitary voice (try to find another) in setting out the full sweep of the publicly available evidence in a cool and methodical way for everybody’s consideration, the American media’s included, without any exaggeration or misinterpretation, and with the repeated caution that, kinda like an iceberg, most of the evidence is still out of sight.. 

5) In the United States here, there has been a considerable attempt to stir up sentiment against the Italian legal system and the prosecutor. Legal experts here in New York tell us they cannot think of another case where a legal system has been so mischaracterized and a police force, evidentiary service and prosecutor so ridiculed. For example check this out..

6) TJMK has been a solitary voice (try to find another) in explaining how the Italian legal system actually works, in noting that it is actually extremely fair toward defendants, and in showing respect for the efforts of the police, the evidence service, the judiciary, and especially the prosecutor for the case.

7) In other media and other areas of the blogosphere you can find a number of sensationalized reports about Amanda Knox and a lesser number about Raffaele Sollecito.

8) We have generally not commented very much on Sollecito, who remains quite an enigma to us. We have not dwelled on any of those lurid reports about Knox, and we have actually shown a certain sympathy for the plight of Knox who we suspect may have serious unaddressed psychological issues, and who we think has been served very badly by the well-funded, bare-knuckles public relations campaign.

9) We have unmoderated comments here, with no registration required, and we have welcomed all comments in the general tone of the site regardless of point of view. We fund the site ourselves, we dont request contributions, we carry no advertising, and we have no secret book deals in the wings. The agenda simply remains justice for Meredith and some eventual signs of contrition to provide the Kercher family with some sort of closure. And that is it.

10) Two post-length comments appeared here yesterday that showed very little sign that any of the many posts on the evidence on this site had ever been read or understood. If they had been taken into account, such claims about Guede as sole perp would in our view have been impossible. It was not what the commenter said that led to the rebuttals (though he or she mistated some hard facts) so much as the volume of contradicting facts here that he or she ignored and went past. Rebuttals do not seem to have taken a harder line against Knox and Sollecito than comments on any previous posts. 

11) We think we have provided many people with a better appreciation of the really remarkable person Meredith was, and the truly sadistic nature of the crime committed against her. We have run an uphill truth-focussed campaign for her justice which seems to be gaining real traction now against some very well-funded, money-making, smoke-blowing interests. And we have gained respect from the media.

12) We would like to see Guede come out with an ACCURATE description of the events on the night (which he hasn’t yet) and let the chips fall where they may for the remaining two defendants. And we’d really like to see a strong show of contrition from the perp or the perps to the Kerchers to hopefully provide them with some closure.

Very many thanks to all of our sharing, caring, and extremely insightful contributors.  Happy new year, everyone.

And rest in peace, Meredith. You had a very, very good life ahead of you…

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/31 at 05:31 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesGreat reportingComments here (2)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Seattle Post-Intelligencer Blog Bites Newspaper In Tail

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above to read what appeared on a Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog before it was yanked.

Biff! Bam! Pow! Take that, rival Seattle Times! So. Are the monkeys now driving the train at Hearst’s Seattle PI ?!

Seattle’s excellent TechFlash website had this to say about the yanked post.

Ah, the wonders of newspaper rivalries in the age of online media.

Regina Hackett, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s art critic, cast a critical eye on her departing counterpart, Sheila Farr of The Seattle Times, in a blistering blog post Monday afternoon on the P-I’s site. By this morning, the post had disappeared.

It was the kind of commentary that probably wouldn’t have made it into a traditional print edition. But as blogging spreads through the mainstream media, one result is a reduction in the editorial layers between journalist and audience.

Hmmm. “But as blogging spreads through the mainstream media, one result is a reduction in the editorial layers between journalist and audience.” 

So. You think that the editor of the Seattle PI, David McCumber, might finally have noticed that he could use a few more editorial layers?!

Hearst must be wondering about the monkeys layer. They could use less of that.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Meredith Would Have Been 23 Today

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

[click for larger image]

Happy, trusting, caring, extremely smart, very hard-working, nice to absolutely everyone in her attitude and her behavior”¦ and smiling.

Always smiling.

She didn’t have an enemy in the world and, perhaps because of her rather Mediterranean looks, is very widely loved and missed in Italy.

A number of wreaths and flowers were dropped off at the gate of her house on the first anniversary of her death.

She planned to be a teacher. In a forty-year career, her grace and intelligence and kindness would have brushed the lives of many thousands.

Every day now we are getting emails - mainly from women, but not always - missing her terribly and mourning the tragedy of her death.

You mattered, Meredith. And you matter. You are brushing the lives of many thousands.

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters on 12/28 at 08:36 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryComments here (0)

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