Friday, August 24, 2012

Giulia Bongiorno Loses A High Profile Case Watched All Over Europe And May Soon Lose Another

Posted by Peter Quennell

Crime fascinates Italians but unfortunately (or fortunately) there isnt that much of it in Italy.

The real national pasttime is soccer as the thousands of YouTubes and Google images and news reports and hundreds of blogs attest. The case Giulia Borngiorno has just so publicly lost concerns the coach Antonio Conte (image below) of the crack Turin club Juventus. 

The Juventus coach Antonio Conte is set to miss the whole of the Serie A season with the defending champions after losing his appeal against a 10-month ban over a match-fixing scandal.

Conte, who led an undefeated Juventus to the Italian title in his first season in charge, was banned on 10 August for failing to report two incidents of match-fixing in the 2010-11 season when he was coach of Siena.

The Italian federation (FIGC) said in a statement on Wednesday that Conte, whose hearing was heard on Monday, had lost his appeal.

Giulia Bongiorno seems to have a tendency to be a sore loser. La Gazetta del Sporto quotes her “the dog ate my homework” excuse thus:

Giulia Bongiorno said “” “We were not given the opportunity to defend ourselves to the full. This is a violation of constitutional rights which go far beyond these issues. Negotiating sentences is becoming very attractive for those who falsely turn state’s evidence,” said Giulia Bongiorno, Antonio Conte’s legal representative.

“If you examine Carobbio and find him not credible, and if you take one of his crutches away (the charges regarding Novara v Siena, Ed), the other one will collapse too, because Conte is being charged with the same thing for Siena v AlbinoLeffe. Carobbio is a bit like Jessica Rossi at the Olympics, and the only clay-pigeon missed is Novara v Siena. And our intention was not to obtain a reduction in the sentence, if it had been we would have negotiated.”

This is the most public case Bongiorno has lost since the Andreotti mafia-connection appeal in 2002. She was on the defense against Prosecutor Dr. Sergio Matteini Chiari.

This is the same Dr. Sergio Matteini Chiari who as the highly competent head of the Umbria courts’ criminal division was first nominated to preside over the Sollecito-Knox appeal.

Giulia Bongiorno, who did some very odd things during the trial and appeal to ensure winning, at least one of which is being investigated, is also the powerful head of the justice committee in the parliament.

Is that the mother of all conflicts of interest or what?! We know of no parallel in any other country and it seems highly unconstitutional. Nevertheless, despite all the caution of the Italian justice system, this conflict is allowed to persist.

In November 2002 Prosecutor Chiari won his prosecution appeal, and the ex-PM Mr Andreotti was sentenced to 24 years (later reversed by the Supreme Court).

Giulia Bongiorno was widely reported as collapsing in court at the verdict, and seemed to take it very hard.

Fast forward to 2010.  Suddenly Giulia Bongiorno is about to face Dr Chiari once again, as a judge in what was to be a very tough appeal. Under UK and US law, she would have had to be the one to step aside, or not even take the case back in 2008.

But she didn’t step aside.

Instead, all of a sudden, lo and behold, her nemesis back in 2002 is yanked off the 2011 appeal trial, and seemingly demoted to head the childrens’ branch of the court. Meanwhile, labor judge Hellmann is in effect promoted, into being the lead judge in the murder appeal.

Who made the call from Rome that fixed this suspicious judge rearrangement? Rumors around Perugia suggest that maybe it was made or inspired by the head of the justice committee in the parliament. 

True or not, the seriously out-of-his-depth labor judge Hellmann joined the seriously out-of-his-depth civil judge Zanetti - and produced an appeal verdict and reasoning the chief prosecutor of Umbria Dr Galati sees as a complete fiasco.

Contending with the myriad illegalities of this reasoning is for Dr Galati like shooting fish in a barrel. Bongiorno may soon be facing yet another big loss if Cassation accept his prosecution arguments.

As they say, always be careful what you wish for. Wishing for Hellmann might have been a bridge too far.


Thanks Peter.

Yesterday at PMF Yummi showed a clip of the scene outside the courtroom after Hellmann announced his verdict. The angry crowd accused Bongiorno of laughing as she walked to her car. If this is true it’s a sign she has no class. I’ve read that she’s perhaps the most reviled lawyer in Italy since this case.

Nonetheless, if you believe Francesco Sollecito, she was retained specifically to work her magic in Rome on Raffaele’s behalf. She’s undoubtedly going to be wheeling and dealing behind the scenes to try to engineer a favorable verdict by Cassation.

This is an appeal which I feel will be over before it starts, as Cassation will have chosen to either fulfill its responsiblity to ensure that justice is done by taking a serious look, or it will do something politically expedient. Certainly no competent legal mind can read Hellmann’s verdict and not be appalled at the perversion of justice. At least I have not heard anyone do so.

Posted by brmull on 08/25/12 at 07:59 AM | #

Coach Conte and his match-fixing. Hmmmm…  It sounds like he and Bongiorno may be two peas in a pod.

Posted by Hopeful on 08/25/12 at 03:14 PM | #

I often used to joke with some of my lawyer friends: - most lawyers are not fond of jokes, they know too many - that “a good lawyer knows the law but the great lawyer knows the judge.”

Once a friend commented: “As long as you are alive, you are taken care of by the sharks; our jobs start mostly after you die. You should not be complaining.”

Q: What’s wrong with lawyer jokes?  A: Lawyers don’t think they are funny, and nobody else thinks they are jokes.

Posted by chami on 08/26/12 at 08:47 PM | #

Interesting aspect: you write Bongiorno lost in the Conte case, while in fact she plea bargained.

The prosecution offered a relatively mild sentence,  a ten months disqualification and a fine. Bongiorno suggested her client to accept the sanction. But after that Bongiorno complained that her client is innocent.

If you take this at face-value logic, for a lawyer this is like admitting she was not able to defend and win despite the suspect’s innocence.  She suggested to accept the bargain even if the defendant was innocent. And then, she claims he was innocent. What do you think about it as for a lawyers’ publicity?

And this, also, is a bit like stating her results would be totally disjointed from the facts and the evidence of a case.

Posted by Yummi on 08/27/12 at 06:18 PM | #

Hi Yummi.

Right. Interesting innovation in the world of spin.

Bongiorno’s statement in the 2nd box above is sorta macho - the last line said she “would have negotiated” but blah blah and they didnt just want a reduced sentence - but she may as well have not been on the case for all the good it did Mr Conte.

Sollecitos, do take note. The bill for future legal services will be a big one but reliably expect RS to end up back in Terni because the “the dog ate her homework” once again.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/27/12 at 06:45 PM | #
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