Friday, June 29, 2012

The Italian Supreme Court Grants Turin Prosecutors A New Trial In Another Case

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above and below: the still-accused (the same status as AK and RS) in temporary happier days]

Reversals of not-guilty verdicts like this one are handed down by the decisive Italian Supreme Court several times a month.

Franzo Grande Stevens, Gianluigi Gabetti and Virgil Brown had been charged in Turin with the white-collar crime of insider trading. They are rich powerful people who help the Agnelli family to control the carmaker FIAT.

Last December they were acquitted at their first trial. The prosecution did not even bother to lodge an appeal to the Turin appeal court - they took their appeal directly to the Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome. 

Now Franzo Grande Stevens, Gianluigi Gabetti and Virgil Brown get to have their day in court - all over again. Being rich and powerful was of no help.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/29/12 at 04:06 PM in


Hmmm - possibly significant in the Hellman case?

Posted by James Higham on 06/29/12 at 08:14 PM | #

This is not a court that ever shows a soft spot for amateurism. Judge Hellman displayed it in extremes as both Dr Galati and PMF have concluded.

Nothing suggests the Supreme Court will lower the bar for him. There is no soft sport for RS and AK anywhere in the Italian justice system.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/29/12 at 09:04 PM | #

What was the reason for appealing directly to the Cassazione in the first place? It seems like the usual route would give the prosecution two shots at overturning the acquittal rather than one.

Posted by brmull on 06/30/12 at 08:16 AM | #

Hi brmull. Great question.

The Italian reporting merely says that the prosecution wants to move the case along to a fast conclusion as it is considered important and precedent-setting and unusually complex and time-consuming to present and understand.

But there may be more.

Under the post WWII Italian constitution either side can appeal to the Supreme Court at any time and hope to be listened to. We saw that happen in Meredith’s case when Knox’s lawyers asked that her first written statement done in front of Mignini but not a lawyer of her own was disallowed.

(In Mignini’s email to reporter Linda Byron of Seattle which we have translated and posted he said the Supreme Court was wrong to disallow that statement as he asked no questions during the session and Knox was the one that requested to write it in front of a prosecutor and he was on duty on the night - in a sense it was Knox that brought him onto the case.)

Add in also that trial judges and juries at second level (the first appeal level - Hellman’s level) can be notoriously quirky and can act broadly to reverse an outcome at first level without having the opportunity to parade all of the evidence all over again.

Each year the Supreme Court agrees with that argument in some cases and reverses a first-appeal outcome on the basis that the appeal judges and the jury (lay judges) if there is one illegally overstepped their scope which is set out in the code.

Dr Galati has argued just that in in his appeal against the Hellman outcome. He may stand to win a new appeal trial on that basis alone.

But as you know, he also threw in other grounds for appeal too - that the C&V consultancy broke the law; and if that also fails, that Hellman ignored evidence and misinterpreted witnesses without even seeing them. Dr Galati in effect is appealing in three tiers.

Here are links to a full description of Dr Galati’s appeal grounds which we translated (no other none-Italian media did that) and also your own analysis which in effect described those levels in his appeal.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/30/12 at 12:46 PM | #

Just sometimes a simple add in the local newspaper is enough to rattle someones chain. So to that end perhaps something in the Seattle Newspapers could read as follows.

“Monetary Reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the murderer of Meredith Kercher.”

The amount to be settled later. If this were to take effect it would drive Curt Knox among others wild. It would also show that there are people who will never forget and will always keep on for as long as it takes.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 06/30/12 at 02:34 PM | #

Catnip on PMF reports intrepid Mignini’s recent drug busts, good; also crimefighting Manuela Comodi wrestling against terrorist activity. Perugia’s current heatwave mirrors our own, while Mignini’s war on drugs continues.

Speaking of drugs and murder, the recent shooting of Lt. Col Tisdale at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina last week woke up memories of Green Beret killer and medical doctor Jeffrey MacDonald who in the 70s attacked his wife and two daughters in a rage at Ft. Bragg. He was speculated to be reacting violently to the amphetamines he was taking for weight loss to enter boxing competitions. I wonder if AK used diet pills. He was a doctor working with soldiers (my son was born at Womack Army Hospital, Ft. Bragg). MacDonald was dispensing tons of drugs and aware of drug seeking behavior. The 70s were hippie culture at its height. Also he was moonlighting at ungodly hours at local hospitals for extra cash, so sleep deprivation may have depleted his self-control. His child had wet the bed, he slept on the couch, it’s so hard to get rest raising little children. Crying, bottles, etc.

He was also like AK a facile liar. He was lying to his wife about multiple one night stands and about his efforts to get stationed in Vietnam. After his wife’s murder he lied to her stepfather, Freddie Kassab. He told Freddie that he and a few soldiers had hunted down one of the assailants and killed him. It was a blatant falsehood to get Kassab off his back. MacDonald naturally wasn’t concerned about his wife’s killer(s) while Kassab searched for them night and day.

Army Captain MacDonald was an amazingly smart, hardworking, ambitious and very goodlooking man from a middleclass background who wanted endless excitement and achievement. His energy seemed boundless. He hero worshipped Special Forces. When his wife pregnant with their third child and who had resumed college classes near Ft. Bragg, began to seem an anchor to his dreams, they quarreled late one rainy February night at the home on Castle Drive. She ended up dead along with the kids. He bludgeoned her to death with a piece of wood and with knife and icepick.  He then injured himself by deflating a lung with the icepick, called the MP’s and blamed it all on intruders, said it was hippies wearing floppy hat and holding candle, the word ‘pig’ smeared in blood over headboard. It was a story straight out of an Esquire magazine article he’d been reading. Statement Analysis concluded he lied.

He is now using the Innocence Project to aid him. He has appealed for years,  refused to admit guilt 39 years later, is still incarcerated. He blames his wrongful conviction on Army CID incompetence and a vendetta of the military. The book, “Fatal Vision”, by Joe McGinnis tells his story. MacDonald later sued Joe for tricking him, they settled out of court.

On happier note, last week I visited my insurance office to add another vehicle to my policy and the gorgeous, smart, fabulous young new secretary who helped me was named Meredith. She had long dark hair, dusky skin, hazel eyes and wore beautiful jewelry and clothes. Not only intelligent, but she took the initiative to do a computer search for something I mentioned lightly. She went beyond the call of duty smiling and warm. She was empathetic to her boss whose son had lost a baseball tournament. She was a true Meredith. She and her boss laughed with us, it was spontaneous joy.

Posted by Hopeful on 07/01/12 at 08:44 PM | #
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