How With Myriad False Claims Nina Burleigh Pushes To Forefront Of Pro-Knox Crackpots

Nina Burleigh, over-exposed and under-informed, not a serious reporter

1. The Fatal Gift Of Superficiality

This may come to be seen as the best-documented murder investigation and court process in legal history.

In any country. For example the Wiki archive now exceeds 2500 documents, with a large fraction now in English, and a further 1000-plus other files, and even those will not be the final totals. In the first week of the investigation alone many dozens of reports were done.

Recent posts on TJMK have started showing how, when one adopts a birds-eye view of any area of the case, evidence points now seen together as a whole become impossible to argue with. Those series are increasingly making the army of case critics nervous and quiet. 

I recently found mafia poodle Nina Burleigh’s Fatal Gift of Beauty (FGOB) on the used book shelves, and decided to give it a read. This is her 2011 book with a very Pro-Knox slant. and it is a great Exhibit A of superficiality.

2. Comparing FGOB with the Knox Book

To be fair, Burleigh’s book is nowhere near as excessive in making the false and malicious accusations as Knox’s did, nor is it as grotesquely illogical.

So I am not going into the detail as I did with Revenge of the Knox. That 2013 book was both (1) extremely accusatory; and (2) extremely non-sensical. For comparison here are a few commentaries on the Knox/Kulman book.

Click for Post:  How Knox’s Tide Of Malicious Demonization Now Threatens Real Pushback #1

Click for Post:  How Knox’s Tide Of Malicious Demonization Now Threatens Real Pushback #2

Click for Post:  How Knox’s Tide Of Malicious Demonization Now Threatens Real Pushback #3

Click for Post:  Revenge of the Knox, Series 4: Exposing The Tortured Logic That Permeates Her Book #1

Click for Post:  48 Tortured Logic Instances In Knox’s Book #21 To #48

3. TJMK Heavily Criticized Burleigh

Burleigh’s amateurism and bias - she is neither a career reporter or crime expert or Italian speaker - have been rebutted repeatedly here on TJMK.

The sloppy style of reporting in US weeklies and on TV of Burleigh paled in comparison with the excellent reports of the Italian-speaking Rome group of foreign reporters.

Click for Post:  Knox Groupie Nina Burleigh Posting The Nastiest And Least Accurate Reports

Click for Post:  How The Strongarm Public Relations Resulted in Most Of The Media Getting It Wrong

Click for Post:  Nina Burleigh: View From A Broad Who Doesn’t Seem To Like Broads Or Being Abroad

Click for Post:  Media Starting To Take A Closer Look At The Knox PR Shills With Nina Burleigh Exhibit One

Click for Post:  What’s Nina Burleigh Got Against Women? A Bizarre Time Report Suggests Deep Problems In Her Psyche

Click for Post:  More On The Ill-Considered Campaign of Vilification By The Knox Adulator Nina Burleigh

Click for Post:  One Final Word On Nina Burleigh In Response To Those Still Hoaxed By Her

Click for Post:  Why Claim Rudy Guede Did It Alone When So Much Proof Against?

Click for Post:  Mignini And Giuttari Win Final Round In Spurious 2010 Conviction By Rogue Prosecutor And Judge

Click for Post:  Much-Admired Feminist On Knox As Ice-Cold In Capanne And Media’s Mixed Performance On The Case

Click for Post:  Why Smart Feminists Much Prefer To Keep Amanda Knox At Arms Length

4. General Problems With Burleigh’s Book

(a) The Fatal Gift Of Beauty was actually written in 2011

True, this fact alone is not enough to discredit the book, as much did happen from 2007 to 2011.  However, so much has happened since then with zero updates that the book feels extremely incomplete.

There is no mention of (I) the Hellmann/Zanetti ruling; (II) the Cassation 2013 annulment of H/Z; (III) Knox’s media campaign(s); (IV) New appeal at Florence 2013 and Nencini’s report 2014; (V) Bruno/Marasca throwing the case out against AK/RS 2015, while still placing them at the scene; (VI) Sollecito’s 2017 failed attempt at compensation; (VII) Book trial against Sollecito; (VIII) Guede’s attempts to re-open his case.

(b) Despite claims, Burleigh didn’t interview authorities on the facts

See FGOB, Notes, Page 307. There Burleigh claims to have consulted Italian authorities, and Italian legal experts on the matter, but does not list any of them.  Almost all the names given are American.

She also claims to have listened to wiretaps and read through the ‘‘digital archive’’ but avoids specifics.  In the acknowledgment section (Page 317), AK and RS lawyers are listed as contributors, but given that they are paid to promote their innocence, they are hardly objective.

Burleigh does list American books and media, and US ‘‘experts’. But what is really lacking is hard information from the Italians.

Burleigh does list Mignini and Comodi, which is surprising.  However, FGOB does more to give PR-filtered background on them than to actually address Meredith’s case

(c) Most of the book has nothing to do with Meredith’s case

Burleigh goes on at length about the backstory of Knox, historical information about Italy, and much of the media attention.  In fact, is fair to assume that Burleigh has little to no grasp of the actual factual record.  It is flowerly and exotic, but largely irrelevant.  FGOB could have been written as a brochure and no hard facts would have been left out. 

(d) Burleigh glossed over the hard truths of the case

Burleigh does include bits and pieces of the case, like how the police suspected a break in, and how Knox did act differently.  However, it is lacking in the hard facts and evidence and truth that would have totally stood her slant and conclusions on their head.  Better idea would have been to dump the filler (which was most of the book), and go with some of those facts.  See Part 5 below.

(e) Burleigh more or less accepts wholesale the PR version

She does this without doing much in the way of critically analyzing anything.  She also promotes the myths that police and prosecutors jumped to conclusions, and suspected Knox because she was different.  Of course, if Burleigh had more hard truths, then the book would look quite different.

5. Hard Facts Missing From Burleigh’s FGOB

It is difficult to whittle down a list of Burleigh’s omissions, but these in particular permitted her superficiality and bias.

(1) Multiple False Alibis

Click for Post:  Amanda Knox”¦ Trapped, In Her Own Words

Click for Post:  Raffaele Sollecito”¦ Trapped, In His Own Words

(2) False Accusation of an Innocent Man is Minimized

Click for Post:  True Justice Is Rendered For Patrick Lumumba (Sort Of)

(3) The ‘‘Interrogation’’ Really was a Hoax

Click for Post:  The Knox Interrogation Hoax #1: Overview Of The Series - Multiple Knox Versions v One Stark Truth

(4) Minimization of How Bad Knox was on Witness Stand

Click for Post:  Knox Testimony Does Not Seem To Have Gained Much Traction Here In Italy

Click for Post:  Italy Shrugs: Why Amanda Knox’s Testimony Seems To Have Been A Real Flop

(5) The Actual Transcripts of Knox’s Questionings

Click for Post:  Interrogation Hoax #19: ALL Knox Q&A Sessions 2-6 November 2007 WERE Recorded #1

Click for Post:  Interrogation Hoax #19: ALL Knox Q&A Sessions 2-6 November 2007 WERE Recorded #2

Click for Post:  Omitted - This Very Telling Knox Questioning By Dr Mignini #1

Click for Post:  Omitted - This Very Telling Knox Questioning By Dr Mignini #2

Click for Post:  Omitted - This Very Telling Knox Questioning By Dr Mignini #3

Click for Post:  Omitted - This Very Telling Knox Questioning By Dr Mignini #4

(6) How Conclusively Footprint on the Bathmat Nails Sollecito

Click for Post:  The Incriminating Bathroom Evidence: Visual Analysis shows the Footprint IS Sollecito’s

(7) The Break in Was in Fact Staged

Click for Post:  A Visual Guide To The Staged Break-In Via Filomena’s Window

(8) Staged Break In by Knox in April 2007 Just 7 Months Earlier

Click for Post:  Amanda Knox Confirms She Staged A Break-In in Seattle Long A Sore Point To Previous Victims

(9) Cellphone Activity Disproves What AK/RS are Saying

Click for Post:  Those Pesky Certainties Cassation’s Fifth Chambers May Or May Not Convincingly Contend With #1

(10) Burleigh Subscribes to No-Evidence Claim But Ignores This

Click for Post:  Seven Years Clutching Knox And Trashing Italian Justice To Joy Of Mafias #3

(11) Knox’s Lamp Locked in Meredith’s Room, Because….

Click for Post:  How The Clean-Up And The Locked Door Contribute To The Very Strong Case For Guilt

(12) Knox’s Statements Reek of Guilt

Click for Post:  A More Detailed Analysis Of Knox’s Statement 6 November 2007 Points Even More Strongly Toward Guilt

Click for Post:  Scientific Statement Analysis: Amanda Knox’s Statement To The Appeal Court On 11 December

Click for Post:  Scientific Statement Analysis: Analysis Of Amanda Knox’s Email To Seattle Of 4 November 2007

(13) Innocent People Don’t Repeatedly Attack Each Other

Click for Post:  Multiple Examples Of How RS And AK Have Tried To Apply More Blame To The Other

6. Overall Impression of FGOB

Burleigh’s book is not nearly as bad as Knox’s, and in fact a bit less so than Sollecito’s.

Too much is spent on irrelevant backstory of Knox, Sollecito, Italy and others, rather than discussing the actual case.  It is difficult to be harsh to a book when there is so little material to work with.

While NB does ‘‘get her feet wet’’ with the facts, her coverage is so superficial that it really makes the case look light on evidence, heavy on prejudice and speculation.

If Burleigh was actually to read the facts omitted in part 5 above (any of them), her views would have no choice but to adjust.  I don’t think Burleigh actually is a PR shill, but rather an extremely poor and lazy reporter.

Posted by Chimera on 05/18/18 at 09:48 PM in

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Fine post Chimera.

Burleigh’s book is pathetic in many dimensions (read Skeptical Bystander’s and Machine’s posts above in particular) but the psychobabble about catholicism and how it influenced the case is especially foolish.

Burleigh should wake up and look around the United States. Though waning, religion still affects individuals, regions, politics, and courts here on a vastly larger scale than they ever do in Italy.

And even if Burleigh had a girl-crush on her, Knox was not especially seen by Italians as beautiful, or anything else other than her grubby lazy sharp-elbowed drug-snorting self.

It was Meredith that Italians tended to regard as beautiful, and more prone to success in all dimensions.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/19/18 at 03:57 AM | #

It is obvious to anyone who has read the official court reports and court testimonies that Nina Burleigh hasn’t read them. She gets the most basic facts wrong. She mindlessly regurgitates the same PR lies as the other American journalists who also relied on Amanda Knox’s family and supporters for their information.

She has never addressed let alone refuted most of the evidence against Knox and Sollecito.

She has never provided a plausible innocent explanation for Knox and Sollecito’s multiple false alibis and numerous lies.

She reminds me of an emotionally weak and insecure teenager who blindly follows the crowd because they desperately want to be popular. She is an unworldly academic who lacks emotionally intelligence and common sense. It was a pitiful sight watching her being interviewed on television about the case. She wasn’t a journalist - she was just another PR spokesperson for Amanda Knox who was ignorant of the basic facts of the case.

Posted by The Machine on 05/19/18 at 08:25 AM | #

Good to see Machiavelli’s post on the bathmat print linked to again - See (6) above. Well worth a re-read. One of the best evidence analysis posts on TJMK.

This is what the 5th Chambers had to say -

“the footprints found at the murder scene can in no way be traced to the appellant [Sollecito].”

What a load of rubbish!

Posted by James Raper on 05/19/18 at 11:02 AM | #

Burleigh was almost certainly financially supported by the PR in Perugia for many months. She told me before she left that her financial resources were slim and she could be back in NYC in not much more than a month.

The timing of the hardcover book (August 2011) says a lot. The bending of the Hellman court was obvious from 2010 when Judge Chiari resigned over it. Chiari is not mentioned in Burleigh’s book.

By mid 2011 we saw Prosecutor Comodi complaining that the appeal was being bent and the DNA consultants plainly an extension of the defense teams.

This all reads to me like Burleigh’s effort to further bend that court. The Knox PR was at a shrill crescendo then.

Similarly, in 2014 after Nencini but before Marasca/Bruno the inflammatory “Forgotten Killer” (meaning Guede) by half a dozen “experts” all American, came out then. 

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/19/18 at 05:37 PM | #

The non-lawyer Burleigh parroted the PR stance that every evidence point must count, and if one doesn’t then the perps must walk free.

James Raper might enjoy this by Burleigh on Italian law below. I am sure he and Cardiol and Machiavelli and others here could shoot down just about every line - as Burleigh’s editor should have done.

Here’s Burleigh on what is perhaps the most pro-defendant system in the world - as eminent American lawyers (Dershowitz, Murphy) have said.

Italian law originated in ancient Roman law; was refined over the centuries and made more inquisitorial in the Catholic, papal centuries; was altered by the Fascists in the 1930s; and then altered again in 1988 with constitutional additions to more closely resemble the accusatory U.S. system. Italian commentators took great offense at Americans’ claims that their system was unfair, pointing out that, first of all, they don’t have the American death penalty, and second, that the defendants had stopgaps and safety checks against prosecutorial misconduct at every step of the investigation.

That is indeed theoretically true: eighteen judges reviewed Mignini’s evidence against Amanda and Raffaele before the case went to trial. But it is also true that the system is more inquisitorial and the changes put into place in 1988 are not yet common practice. Preventive detention is allowed (Amanda and Raffaele were in jail for a year before being charged), there is no voir dire—the preselection of jurors by defense and prosecution—and the standard of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is not adhered to. On the contrary, the jury is expected to pronounce judgment even if it has doubts. “Only God has no doubts,” assistant prosecutor Comodi reminded the jurors in her closing arguments.

A peculiarity of Italian law—by Anglo-Saxon standards—is that judges and prosecutors are technically on the same side, while judges are also asked to impartially weigh evidence. They come out of the same training program, and it is not uncommon to find judges and prosecutors lunching together during trials—“ex parte” meetings that are strictly forbidden in American courts. Furthermore, Mignini’s job was to be both investigator and prosecutor, but, like other Italian magistrates, he had no training in criminal investigation.

Defense lawyers working in the Italian system are also at an institutional disadvantage. Some of the basic rights defendants have in the United States were removed from the Italian system in the early 1990s to strengthen and protect the judicial system from violence and corruption, after the brazen Mafia assassinations of the so-called superprosecutors Paolo Borsalino and Giovanni Falcone. Since then, defendants do not have the right to face witnesses, and although prosecutors must theoretically share evidence with the defense, in practice they do not.

So. Lovely US law, horrible Italian law…. Really?!

To help herself get real, Burleigh should read this 3-part series, about 200,000 US prisoners behind bars who were innocent but forced into a plea deal.

Just some more on reasonable doubt. James (with Machiavelli) already explained the TRUTH about the “no reasonable doubt claim” in Italian law, in this post.

Finn MacCool’s post also explains where the jury stood.

Even CASSATION in annulling Hellman disagrees with the PR/Burleigh line. From the First Chambers report annulling the Hellman appeal outcome:

2.2.3 ‐ Manifest lack of logic and inconsistency in the reasoning in reference to the use of the principle of reasonable doubt in sustaining the order of 18.12.2010. [According to the lawyers for the Civil Parties], the verdict of conviction beyond a reasonable doubt could have been reached even after the outcome of the expert report arranged for in the second instance trial, inasmuch as the examination of the circumstantial evidence ought to have been global and consistent, the hypothetical defect of any one of these being acceptable, provided that the remaining elements were – as they ought to have been deemed – sufficient to reach the required level of certainty, [29] since what is asked of isolated elements of proof being evaluated is that they display the credentials of correspondence with real events, at least with predominant probability. Proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt can rest on items of circumstantial evidence that are not all equally certain, that is, not all established with the same level of probability.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/19/18 at 05:53 PM | #

Of the 115 reviews on Amazon US 75% amount to four-star or five-star. Only 12% are one-star.

Not for the first time, Knox PR (or Burleigh herself) may have organized some phony reviews. Several are crazily effusive.

As usual, reviews on Amazon UK are tilted less positive, four-star and five-star reviews only amount to 60% and some 27% are one-star.

Read those four-star and five-star reviews and you will find quite a lot of incited flaming of Italy and of Mignini.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/20/18 at 08:07 PM | #

It’s the same as that above on Amazon US for all of the FOA books, almost none of which seem to exist in Italian. Effusive reviews by the dozens.

Preston’s Italian version is different (surprise surprise) from Preston’s American edition, which seems to me the most damaging to Italy and Mignini.

There are many posts here explaining what Preston was trying to hide (his framing of an innocent man, for which Mignini had solid proof) and he could and probably should have gone to prison.

Preston and Burleigh and also Saul Kassin whined in print that “haters” were slamming them in personal terms and simply ignoring their “hard facts”.

Instead of addressing his blatant “errors” the notoriously thin-skinned and paranoid Preston instead wrote an ebook attacking us. 

US (more high ratings).

UK  (less high ratings).

Here’s a good one-star review from the UK which exposes Preston’s bait-and-switch:

The essential premise of Preston’s essay is that Knox is a much-maligned innocent and that those who dissent from that view must be mad, bad and terribly dangerous. So he sets out to identify and denigrate them publicly, demonstrating a worrying confusion between responding to the message or simply shooting the messenger. Long on innuendo and personal attacks, short on insight and balance.

Anyone trying to understand what happened on that tragic night in Perugia in 2007 won’t find any enlightenment here. This short book, however, pointedly ignores vital questions that the defence really should have answered by now, concentrating instead on hammering home Team Knox’s party line. Demonising those who don’t necessarily agree on certain points will inevitably raise questions on the integrity and strength of Knox’s defence.

As Chimera again shows, it is actually our hard proofs that Burleigh, Preston, and so on, are ignoring hard facts and trashing personalities that is so irritating.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/20/18 at 08:32 PM | #

At Sollecito’s recent book trial in Italy the defamation was blatantly obvious and easy to prove. Mignini had never offered RS a deal to roll over on Knox.

His own trial lawyers confirmed that (he had to use another lawyer for the book defense). Even his own father shot down his “Honor Bound” (bound to Knox) myth on national TV (Porta a Porta).

So the ONE line of defense became “The book was mistranslated by the prosecution”. Sums were spent and months went by, and eventually the court received a new translation.

With zero difference.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/20/18 at 08:33 PM | #

Not an Italian speaker? Well she would not have made much headway with the digital archive then, or the trial testimony.

The fact that she had correspondence with Amanda and Raffaele is also revealing. She would never have had this had she not already gained the trust of their families and supporters, and that, in itself, would have taken some doing.

She must surely have had access to a translation of the Massei Motivation but despite this she obviously relied heavily on what they gave her in the way of translations from the archive, and their view of the case. That is what in fact we get in the book.

She also knows next to nothing about DNA forensics, and LCN DNA, merely parroting what she has been told by the FOA. The following is an example -

[Having excluded that the knife matched the stains on the bedsheet, she adds]

“Second, the amount of biological material on the knife was so tiny that even the supersensitive computer-generated tests were not determinative. Only after defense lawyers demanded to see raw data did the scientific police concede that the traces of DNA material they had identified as belonging to Meredith were what’s known as “low copy number,” meaning that the sample was actually too small to be objectively determinative of anything. Forensic scientists who deal with such samples must work in off-site or remote labs, fitted with positive air pressure and specialized lighting, to minimize the possibility of DNA contamination, according to the Forensic Science Service in the U.K.

Stefanoni conducted the tests in her usual lab, which was not specially outfitted for such testing, with machines that had been testing dozens of other samples of Meredith’s blood. The amount of material she eventually admitted she was dealing with on the knife was so tiny that one scientist who has written about the case, Mark Waterbury, estimated it was equivalent to 1/10,000 of the weight of a grain of sand, whereas the amount of DNA in a conventional profiling test is about 1/350 of a small grain of sand. In addition to the Italian lab not being equipped to guarantee a contamination-free test, all scientists working with LCN DNA must make subjective judgments about which genetic indicators are significant and which are not. Courts in the United Kingdom and the United States do not allow low-copy-number DNA as evidence.”

I barely know where to start with that.

Posted by James Raper on 05/20/18 at 10:18 PM | #

LCN DNA evidence has been accepted as evidence in criminal trials in England and in the State of New York in the United States for a number of years.

Nina Burleigh doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about.

The Scientific Police in Italy are under no obligation to follow the practices of the Forensic Science Service in England. The FSS was closed down in 2012.

There is no universally accepted set of standards. DNA protocols vary from country to country. The claim that Dr. Stefanoni and the forensic technicians broke international protocols is a PR myth.

Mark Waterbury is not a forensic scientist, and he has never been involved in any forensic investigations. He is one of Amanda Knox’s most ardent supporters.

Nina Burleigh has relied almost exclusively on Amanda Knox’s family and her supporters for her information. It explains why she gets so many basic facts wrong.

Posted by The Machine on 05/20/18 at 11:17 PM | #

A DNA test is more than just a “computer generated test”. That makes it sound like an unexpected download from cyberspace. The data from the test may be computer generated, certainly in the format in which we get it from the electropherogram, but the testing itself, including the standard amplification, is based on sound scientific analytical principles, carried out by a machine.

Actually just about all the information one needs, RFU and STR etc, is in the printed read out which most certainly the defence experts had. This in itself showed that the DNA on the knife was Low Copy. What was missing was a precise quantification which is by a separate test.

Furthermore there was nothing subjective about the STR data from the specific markers denoted in the test result.

Those markers are among established core STR loci for inclusion within a database known as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System). These specific STR markers are highly variable among individuals and are internationally recognized as the standard for human identification. The result was a 96.6% match. There is no possibility at all that the machine could have randomly generated this.

Nevertheless, one still has to calculate the statistical probability of someone else having the same match.

(Massei) - “ A complete genetic profile ....... yields the identity of a specific person so precisely that to have a probability of finding another person with the same genetic profile, one would have to imagine seeking that individual in a population of a trillion people.”

That’s a lot more than the number of people alive on the planet today, probably more than have ever lived.

Posted by James Raper on 05/21/18 at 10:32 AM | #

Hi James. Startling work.

Yes Burleigh sure cherry-picked her sources: the goofy “scientist” Mark Waterbury who is not qualified in any area of the case is counted in; the prosecutors and prosecution experts (who Judge Massei went with) are all counted out.

In fact Burleigh goes out of her way to ridicule that team. Example: “Manuela Comodi, a short, curvaceous, chain-smoking, divorced mother who wore a massive diamond engagement ring that cast sparks around the room in time with her hand gestures”. 

Note also:

(1) Hampikian was there in Perugia in mid 2011 at exactly the time Burleigh was finishing her book. And Conti & Vecchiotti too, obviously, quite openly mingling with the defense.

(2) By mid 2011 because of her unique and inflammatory Time reporting Burleigh was being widely seen in Perugia as a biased PR shill. So possible investigative sources may have dried up, if she had any interest in them at all.

(3) This had happened, the year before - in the very city where Burleigh lives.

(4) Defense witnesses were at every single processing that Stefanoni ever did and no objections ever were raised. (We have just recently obtained all of their names, thanks to the Wiki team, there’s a post coming up).

(5) Stefanoni was about to present a blistering comeback in court with her Powerpoints. She absolutely counted LCN in, and absolutely counted contamination out (the First Chambers appeal and Nencini appeal agreed with both).

(6) Prosecutor Comodi was soon to say this in court - it was widely reported in Italy, but all main United States media sources “passed”, including Burleigh in Time.

“Quite apart from all the scientific evidence, the outcome of this process can only be at least the confirmation of the conviction of first degree”...The prosecutor judge then began to attack the independent expert report on the traces of DNA ordered by the Court.

“That ploy may have led you to believe you do not trust the results for the knife proposed as the murder weapon and the hook of the bra worn by the victim when she was killed. Those conclusions are strongly challenged by the prosecution.” Then Comodi talked of “the awkward performance of experts who have betrayed your trust… [with] their absolute inadequacy and incompetence.”

She then mentioned the lack of experience in the field of the experts appointed by the Court. “Would you trust your daughter’s wedding to a cook who knows all the recipes but has never cooked?”. In the initial phase of her indictment the prosecutor also mentioned the process carried out in England to indict Danilo Restivo…

“Who wielded the knife [that killed Meredith Kercher] was Amanda Knox.” The prosecutor said in court, mimicking the way according to the defense reconstruction that knife was contested by the murderer of Meredith.

“They will tell you, She used it at some other time while staying at Sollecito’s house, but Amanda’s DNA was found in the wrong place for normal use. Give it a try, you will see that in cutting bread or meat the hand rests on the back, not there.”

“Starch on the knife? It could come from the powder present on the “vast majority” of rubber gloves used by personnel involved in investigations.” The prosecutor was recalling the words of a senior advisor to the defense of Amanda Knox, according to whom the starch was derived from the cutting of food such as potatoes and is a sign of lack of washing of the blade on which should have been found traces of blood of the victim if it was used for the crime….

“Talc is present on most sterile disposable gloves, such as those used by the scientific and the Flying Squad in Perugia. It is totally unfounded, the thesis of the non-washing of the knife.”

“The hook of the bra collected 46 days after being found missing? What of the DNA of Elisa Claps [in the Danilo Restivo case] analyzed after nearly 20 years? There is no way this could be contamination because Sollecito had not since been in the house.

Netflix of course used ONLY those two discredited “independent” consultants on the DNA in their 2016 “Amanda Knox” report.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/21/18 at 02:25 PM | #

The Independent Experts failed the remit they were given in two important instances.

The remit was as follows -

“1. Whether it is possible, by means of a new technical analysis, to identify the DNA present on exhibits 165B (the bra clasp) and 36 (the knife) and to determine the reliability of any such identification.

2. If it is not possible to carry out a new technical analysis, to evaluate, on the basis of the record, the degree of reliability of the genetic analysis performed by the Scientific Police on the aforementioned exhibits, including with respect to possible contamination.”

As to the first, they failed to analyse the sample I they themselves had taken from the knife blade, for two quite different reasons. On the one hand they said, in the body of the report, that there was no DNA suitable for laboratory investigation, and then in their conclusions they said that quantification had not revealed the presence of any DNA. So which was correct? Neither, as it happened, as proved by the subsequent test on sample I. Upgrading “not suitable for” to “no DNA” was very dishonest.

As to the second, amazingly, they had made no attempt to analyse and evaluate the data from the single test on 36B, having precluded that the data was “supported by scientifically validated analysis”. Whatever the strength of that bald assertion it could not override their precise remit which was to evaluate, “on the basis of the record”, the degree of reliability of the genetic analysis. That remit required so much more from them than they provided.

It is difficult to conclude that the Independent Experts’ report was simply incompetent.

Posted by James Raper on 05/21/18 at 03:25 PM | #

Chapter 20 of James Raper’s own book, which is a perfect model of good research,  discusses the main misrepresenters and in this context that chapter is highly worth reading.

Burleigh is mentioned only briefly in the current edition (which he updates periodically).

But there are telling passages on the Knox-Mellases, David Marriott, Steve Shay, Senator Cantwell, Michael Heavey, Anne Bremner, Peter van Sant, Paul Ciolino, Doug Preston, Ted Simon, Judy Bachrach, Steve Moore, Drew Griffen, Greg Hampikian, Bob Graham, David Anderson, Candace Dempsey, Joel Simon, and Frank Sforza.

James also draws attention to some of the serious, objective writers on the case (yes, there were some! new page soon). Many of us here check with James’s book frequently. The review/Amazon US book review I posted is here:

My review never “took” on UK Amazon and they for some reason keep the reason hidden. I now know they require 40 pounds to be spent on UK Amazon in any year in which reviews are submitted.

That seems to be a smart new way of warding off the hordes of product spammers.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/22/18 at 05:24 PM | #

Nina Burleigh it was who quoted a Rome diplomatic source (probably Ambassador David Thorne) that “Knox would never be extradited to Italy”.

Posted by Ergon on 05/22/18 at 11:33 PM | #

Good addition Ergon. Your sleuthing on this was gripping and invaluable.

Burleigh has a lot of invented mumbojumbo in the book about what the Embassy did or didn’t do. I see her as a fake reporter having little if any top contact.

She is “ignorant” of the cables, maybe because they did not serve her purpose, though Andrea Vogt published them a whole year before Burleigh’s book was put out,.

Perhaps it was you who discovered the identity of Burleigh’s Italian-speaking assistant in Perugia? I think there was some strong connection to the defense forces. 

Did you discover a relationship with the firebrand David Anderson? He runs or ran that guest-house outside Perugia where some of the FOA stayed.

A lot of anti-Italy heat was being generated there.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/23/18 at 12:31 AM | #

Qué?  You ‘don’t think she’s a shill’?  But Burleigh herself describes herself as a Knox advocate (her word).  She uses the predictable technique of playing ‘investigative journalist’ detective and spends pages congratulating herself in solving the murder.

Of course, it was Guede, all by himself.  She has just spent dozens of pages detailing him as the Marriott-soundbite ‘Ivory Coast drifter’.  Sure, he committed a despicable crime, but her painting him as blacker than black is laughable, given he was virtually a native Italian, fluent, with Italian friends and family.  He had a job, had a bedsit, but you would never know this from Burleigh’s dog whistle racism. 

Knox on the other hand is just ‘quirky’.  Writes stories about rape and murder, but so what?

Posted by KrissyG on 05/23/18 at 01:04 AM | #


That is actually the impression I got from the book (though I may be wrong): very lazy and half-assed work.  Minimal to no effort to actually research the case obviously happened here.  Call it me giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by Chimera on 05/23/18 at 07:36 AM | #

Her investigative journalism also brings us Guede’s sleep walking which apparently is what Guede supposedly confessed to with his supposedly American student friend Victor. Burleigh then “researches” this phenomenon with a sleep disorder expert and psychiatrist from the University of Minnesota. She learns that such behaviour is said to be “a psychogenic dissociative condition or a fugue state associated with childhood abuse or other trauma which can last for days, months or even years“.

Actually, she probably just clicked on Wikipedia.


I have no doubt that Guede, depressed, living alone in a bedsit, and with his life going downhill, may have taken to walking alone at night because he couldn’t sleep. I have done that myself at times of stress. That’s probably the basis for this anecdote.

Burleigh, however, becomes obsessed with it, mentioning it several times and bemoaning that Guede was never properly analysed. Yes, quite, funny that no one else has ever noticed this. I would have thought that being on trial for murder would be particularly stressful. Admittedly, he couldn’t have got very far from his prison cell but a symptom of the condition is being on your feet babbling incoherently.

What she is suggesting, of course, is that this condition may have been the basis for his Lone Wolf attack, without suggesting, of course, how this would have worked.

Maybe I am being a bit facetious here but are we supposed to believe that he sleep walked his way through Filomena’s window and the murder, only to wake up to discover in horror what he had done?

Alternatively he arrived at Meredith’s door in this condition, was let in, but never once slapped hard across the face by her, and then afterwards, knowing that everyone knows about his propensity for sleep walking, he stages a burglary, and just in case anyone spoke to him whilst sleep walking his way to the cottage?

Incidentally, had that been the case then technically he would very probably not be guilty of murder though he would have had a damned hard time proving it.

Contrary to popular belief it is not dangerous to emerge from sleep walking. The subject simply wakes up.

I understand, of course, that sleep walking is a symptom of the underlying condition, if that is what it was, but it is all a bit of a stretch for me. It is very speculative, and it would surely be noticeable (given the goldfishbowl aspect of prison life) and treatable.

Posted by James Raper on 05/23/18 at 11:22 AM | #

Yes Burleigh does sort of wander from the point. Maybe no surprise as it was her first time reporting from a court.

She sat for many hours uncomprehending, as those pesky Italians run their trials in Italian (every real foreign reporter there did speak Italian, only Burleigh did not - that was quite a joke).

In summer 2009 I gave Burleigh maybe the best briefing on the case she ever had.

It took an afternoon. It was at her weekend house about two hours west. I had offered this help, after emailing to congratulate her for announcing her book.

Everything I said was backed up with documents and would all be known and agreed to by Follain and Nadeau and Vogt. She took copious notes though we sometime had to run through things twice.

She gave me a signed book about an ancient Egyptian mystery and for some weeks we emailed back and forth. (The emails are here in a comment on TJMK.)

My first two posts after she arrived back in Perugia (gulp!) were these:

But sometime after trial (just when a huge wave of anti-Italy anger was being generated in the US) she changed her tune.

So 18 months later she was acting as a de-facto mafia tool. Numerous strident articles and videos appeared stirring anti-Italy and anti-black hate.

In this video (Nina Burleigh - A Writer’s Responsibility for Accuracy)(ha ha ha) she tries to explain.

She is the real victim, you see.

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Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/23/18 at 03:20 PM | #

Burleigh doesn’t mention David Anderson, Peter, but acknowledges the help of Doug Preston, Tom Wright, Frank Sforza and Mark Waterbury, LOL.

Posted by Ergon on 05/24/18 at 03:53 AM | #

Just when you thought a ‘fugue’ was a pleasant piece of music, Burleigh comes along and tells us it is a common condition of Ivory Coast drifters. 

Helped by Doug ‘raging bull’ Preston, Tom Wright, founder of FOAK, Mark prolix Waterbury and maverick ‘I know where the knife is hidden’ Sfarzo.  No wonder her book is a total fugue.

Posted by KrissyG on 05/24/18 at 04:07 AM | #
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