Rocco Girlanda’s Strutting Manic Grinning Intrusion Now Makes Him A Target In Italian Politics

This below is the statement made by Maurizio Ronconi, an Italian parliamentary of UDC (elected in the electoral college of Umbria) after the announcement of the upcoming publication of a book on Amanda Knox written by Rocco Girlanda, a fellow parliamentary of the political party of Berlusconi.

Amanda Knox should be spending her time in prison, as she was sentenced to 26 years on first instance. There is no need to manipulate and exploit an event (that is still to be fully clarified) that has seen the tragic death of a young girl, an attempt to blame an innocent person and that has also inflicted a very serious damage to the image of Perugia University

The Honorable Maurizio Ronconi is right. Writing a book on a convicted murderer, portraying the “humane side” of the killer, just weeks before the beginning of her appeal process, is simply tasteless. To say the least. Writers usually write books on the killer’s life, trying to understand their mental state and the reason behind their actions. Instead Girlanda writes something close to an imaginary love story with a young woman convicted on first instance for the worst of crimes. Mr Ronconi added:

As of today, Amanda Knox is not a heroin but a murderer and as such she should be treated, without begging for forgiveness and certainly not claiming that she was a victim of anti-Americanism”, affirmed Ronconi. He also added that “members of Parliament are allowed to visit prisoners [in order to hear about their living conditions behind bars], but it’s outrageous to report the contents of such visits in books and publications when [personal] opinions have already been verified and judged by a court of law.

Mr. Girlanda claims that his book does not discuss the trial and that he does not enter into the merit of the judicial case. He claims that he never met Amanda’s family nor has he ever met her attorneys. He does however acknowledge that the Knox family has hired a PR team, but claims that he never met them either.

But Mr. Girlanda has recently posted a couple of videos on his own account on YouTube under the name “StaffGirlanda”. In one of the videos he posted Girlanda appears right after Steve Moore, who claims he was an FBI Special Agent, when interviewed by NBC.

Why is Mr. Girlanda associating himself with a person (Steve Moore) that has clearly proven to have a very superficial knowledge about this case? Why is he posting, on his own YouTube channel named “StaffGirlanda”, a video from NBC that immediately connects his image with a person that constantly appears on American television to bash and accuse, with silly arguments, an entire country, without knowing the basic facts regarding the murder of Meredith Kercher?

There obviously must be some sort of connection between the two. He could have chosen to post the NBC video of his interview and cutting out the other individual, but he didn’t. The video can be viewed here:

Mr. Girlanda claimed that his actual intention was that of regaining ties with the United States, which, according to him, have been weakened after the conviction of Amanda Knox. But Girlanda should know that, although the family of Amanda Knox have hired a PR team to spread lies and misinformation to the American public, their effort had almost zero impact on the American public at large - very few people in the United States have heard of Amanda Knox or are able to associate her to an event - and no impact at all on the Federal Government..

Although the Knox PR campaign team managed to procure interviews on national television, they were never able to obtain the support of ANY reputable American or international professional and expert in criminology, genetics, forensics and comparative law.

Rocco Girlanda added that he hears “echoes of anti-Italianism from America”, and that was one of the reasons for writing the book. If that was even the case what good would it do to write a love novel about an American girl convicted for murder? Does Mr. Metternich really think that his book is going to improve the diplomatic ties of the two governments (which, obviously, have never been even slightly touched by this case)?

Girlanda should know the U.S. Embassy has followed this trial from the very beginning and has already spoken to State Department. The Knox family was told that the trial was obviously fair and that the Italian criminal system is very accurate and very pro-defendant. They know that she was lucky to have been trialed in Italy, where criminals receive short prison sentences and sometimes (unfortunately) literally get away with murder.

Mr. Girlanda should read some books on international relations instead of writing novels. He should also learn some basic concepts of the principle of the division of power. He will understand that the executive (and legislative) branch is completely independent from the judiciary and that politicians must not interfere in any judicial procedure, directly or indirectly.

With his novel praising an American convicted murder, Mr. Girlanda, from his personal perspective, tries to gain some “sympathy” from the United States. This “useful idiot” has a hard time understanding that in America no one knows who he is and that no one cares about him nor about Amanda Knox. If he wants to do something useful in his life he should write a book about the injustice perpetuated against Carlo Parlanti and Chicco Forte: two clearly innocent people convicted in California and Florida without the slightest proof whatsoever. In Washington State, Amanda Knox would be on death row by now with only one tenth of the evidence.

Amanda is lucky to be trialed in Italy. She has excellent attorneys that are doing a great job in defending her difficult case in a court of law. She does not need the help of politicians, marketing companies, alleged ex-FBI agents and other bizarre characters. At first, her attorneys ignored and reluctantly tolerated this media circus orchestrated by the PR company engaged by the Knox family, as long as it was kept out of the Italian media. Recently, on several occasions, Amanda’s attorneys have expressed their explicit disapproval of all this media folly, which is certainly not helping Amanda’s case in court (which is where she will be judged on appeal).

Italy should be having general elections within six months. For the disgraceful content of his book, Mr. Girlanda, as a politician, will soon have to respond to his constituency, which in Umbria are not exactly sympathetic to Amanda Knox.

PS: Steve Moore said that he’s “not going to gain anything out of this. I’m not going to write a book. Anybody who gains off of this has some answering to do”. And he adds “I cannot imagine somebody who gets a book deal or a movie deal over this”. Does Mr. Girlanda approve this message?

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Kudos on another well researched factual article.

Mr Girlanda’s shameful revelations about his taxicab ride dreams about Amanda, as well as his longed for camping trip with her on Amanda’s special romantic mountain made even Steve Moore’s stupid soundbite seeking statements about sending his daughter to live with a ‘quirky’, unanimously convicted murderess seem tame.

Mr Girlanda’s promotion for, as well as the ‘book’ itself, seem more befitting a ‘raging hormone’ blinded teen love affair crush than anything from a previously respected mature Parliamentarian.

He has sullied his office and his fellow Parliamentarians with his stupidity and abuse of privilege.

My only hope is that the voters give him the appropriate reward that his shameful performance so richly deserves.

Posted by bahia ben on 10/26/10 at 08:05 PM | #

This exploitation of Meredith’s murder is not exactly popular in Italy and the xenophobic and very dishonest Knox PR campaign that has been sliming Italy for three years is like a live third rail.

Italian MPs apparently now raise their eyes to the ceiling whenever the names of Knox and Sollecito come up. And Rocco Girlanda actually makes Italy look WORSE in American eyes by leaping on the “railroaded” bandwagon.

How crazy. If Girlanda had REALLY wanted to bring some closeness between Italy and the U.S. on the case, he would have come here and explained on the networks all of the voluminous evidence against Knox as described in the Massei Report.

Giulia Bongiorno the MP who is defending Sollecito apparently nearly walked off the defense team in the middle of 2009 as the prosecution’s case was proving so strong and as Sollecito and Knox were so obviously guilty.

Girlanda’s gushy rhapsodizing about Knox at his Italy-America Foundation meeting last March was said to be really embrarrasing to the other speakers on the panel and the (reportedly small) audience. 

Without too much effort, Girlanda should be defeated in the election that is due within six months. Then he can angle for PR contracts from the United States. Or is that what he is doing already?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/26/10 at 08:29 PM | #

And here her letters just released by Rocco.

In Parliament.

Posted by ncountryside on 10/26/10 at 09:32 PM | #

Is this woman 23 years old?

Posted by ncountryside on 10/26/10 at 09:37 PM | #

Cesare Beccaria outlines some very troubling details regarding Rocco Girlanda and his apparent involvement in this case.

He also raises questions that journalists on both sides of the Atlantic should be investigating.

Given the tight management of Amanda Knox by her campaign and her family back home in Seattle, both Rocco Girlanda and his book appear to have a ” MADE IN SEATTLE” stamp.

Girlanda’s book seems geared towards the Seattle market and I doubt very many Italians would buy let alone read the book.

I wonder why the Knox and Mellas families would bar actress, Hayden Panettiere from visting Amanda in prison and yet allowed Girlanda his total 20 visits that he shamelessly boasts? I also wonder who else from Seattle Rocco Girlanda has met with?

Posted by True North on 10/26/10 at 10:49 PM | #

The Italian Parliament should be stopping the out-of-control exploitation of Meredith’s murder - not be seeing one of its members leaping on the exploitation band wagon.

Should there be a global law against victim exploitation like this book and the movies and so on? We are looking at what might be done via the United Nations. 

Straight reporting we do need to have - but the exploiting of Meredith’s death is already up in the millions of dollars, and it shows no sign of stopping soon.

This is a global exploitation record for sure. Do we need a global Meredith Law to set some limits and allow victim families final peace? .

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/26/10 at 11:29 PM | #

The only people who support Amanda Knox (besides her manipulative and disfunctional family) are loonies who spend their lonely lives subscribing to conspiracy theories and money-grubbing media whores whose lack of any decent human feeling or compassion spills Meredith Kercher’s blood on their hands, along with the three convicted murderers.  That would be Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede.

Rocco Girlanda is a middle aged pervert who fits the last category.  Scary, scary thought to think he represents the good people of Italy.  He should lose his job for this obnoxious abuse of his postition. 

Meredith Kercher lost her life in an extremely brutal murder.  She was young, beautiful and bright, with a loving family and a very promising future.  RIP Meredith.

Posted by Jumpy on 10/26/10 at 11:59 PM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)

I have only read the extracts posted on news websites, I haven’t read the whole book - the extracts I have seen seem inappropriate and highly peculiar. 

One of my expectations for my MP are that s/he should be full of common sense, a well grounded person.  I am sure that most Italians look for a similar quality in their MP.  Even those who have not read the book nor seen any extracts would know that it is wrong to write a book regarding a trial suspect (especially one who was convicted in the first instance) and release it just weeks before the appeal starts.  It is common sense that this is wrong!

I do not understand Mr. Girlanda.  He should know better.  And I don’t understand the “echoes of anti-Italianism from America”.  A few vocal supporters of Ms. Knox who make ill informed comments on a few websites in a country of, I believe, three hundred million souls?  A very, very faint echo at the end of game of Chinese whispers at it’s loudest.

Mr. Girlanda’s constituents have the power to decide his future - he really should stick to working for them, and doing his best for them if he wants to keep his job.  The next election will give his constituents the chance to vote on his performance - and, as has been said before, the Italian people are, generally, well educated, they will not forget this book and how their MP chose to focus on it rather than them and their needs.

True North, Mr. Girlanda, as an MP, has the right to visit the prison (I believe as and when he wishes) to check on the prisoners and prison conditions.  I have read that Knox’s family knew he had visited her but did not know he was planning a book.  I think it would be interesting to know if Mr. Girlanda visited the men’s wing of Capanne Prison as often as the women’s wing and how many visits he has paid to this and other prisons annually since his election.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 10/27/10 at 09:58 AM | #

Mr. Girlanda is president of the USA-Italy foundation which makes me wonder exactly what his motivation is. As a journalist, he should know better, but then again, we continue to be let down by even the stalwarts of the press. While I totally agree with Maurizio Ronconi, where politics are involved, I question his outspoken motives. This case has become so tangled it’s hard to know what or who to believe other than facts in evidence.

Posted by mojo on 10/27/10 at 12:47 PM | #

I feel sorry for Girlanda’s wife and children.  I’m sure his wife must be feeling embarrassed that her husband is publicly drooling over another woman, and his children must be feeling embarrassed that their dad is being pervy toward a girl young enough to be his daughter.

I am appalled that Edda Mellas and Curt Knox aren’t feeling uncomfortable with an older man yearning after their daughter.  No wonder Amanda turned out like she did…...

Posted by Mo-in-Mass.,USA on 10/27/10 at 01:52 PM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)


What I find interesting is that Maurizio Ronconi is, politically, on the “same side” as Mr. Girlanda.  If he were a political opponent his reason for speaking up would be more obvious, I can only think that Mr. Ronconi feels having someone from his side publish such a book does the whole party harm.

As you so rightly say the facts in evidence are the only important points, it is a pity that something like this book is adding to the clouding of the public’s view of this case.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 10/27/10 at 02:06 PM | #

It is quite clear that there have been very deliberate and orchestrated attempts to influence the judges and jury through pro-Knox magazine and newspaper articles, websites and books and that this is very much part of the PR strategy.

Barbie Nadeau reported on these attempts to influence legal proceedings inside the courtroom last year:

“The result has been a slew of new Italian Web sites and an increasing number of Knox-friendly articles showing up in popular Italian women’s magazines such as Gente and Oggi, which are aimed right at some of the members of the jury. “There is no coincidence that these articles showed up in the type of magazines that end up in the beach bag,” says Kercher lawyer Francesco Maresca. “There is no question that they are reaching out to the jury.” (Barbie Nadeau, The Daily Beast, 12 September 2009).

The pro-Knox articles are invariable timed to coincide with court hearings. The planned jailhouse interview with Knox was scheduled to coincide with her slander hearing in June.

It’s certainly not a coincidence that Rocco Girlanda’s and Maria D’Alia’s pro-Knox books are coming just
before Knox’s appeal.

Posted by The Machine on 10/27/10 at 02:49 PM | #


Ehm, … Girlanda is CEO of Corriere dell’Umbria Group, executive and pr director of Gruppo Barbetti in Gubbio. As far as I know he is not a registered journalist.

Girlanda seats in “II Commissione Giustizia” board, where the president is … surprise! Giulia Bongiorno.


Ehm, … Ronconi,UDC is not “politically on the same side” of Girlanda, PdL; Ronconi is “Honorable”, Senate, but he has lost last election for Parliament in Umbria.

Posted by ncountryside on 10/27/10 at 03:13 PM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)

I stand corrected, my reading of Cesare’s post is that they were of the same political group, so that is why I thought they were!

Posted by Nolongeramember on 10/27/10 at 03:51 PM | #

Hi Innai.. Yes as an MP Rocco Girlanda can get access to prisons to check on prisoner conditions. Usually one visit is considered enough and 20 visits must be absolutely unprecedented.

Family visits are limited to one a week and conjugal visits are even more rare. The 20 visits to furtively interview Knox and write a book about it is the reason Girlanda is being accused of abusing his power. 

Since the Knox and Mellas families were aware of these visits I highly doubt that they had no knowledge, as they have stated publicly, that Girlanda was writing a book that was in favor of their daughter.

However, if Girlanda was penning a book that would’ve portrayed Amanda in a negative light, I’m quite certain that Curt Knox and Edda Mellas would’ve have put a fast halt to Girlanda’s visits.

Posted by True North on 10/27/10 at 04:21 PM | #

Thank you for such a well written, to the point article, on a distasteful, 15 minutes of fame, wannabe. He should be the poster boy of male menopause, gone haywire. He is an embarrassement, to himself, his family, and to Italy. The sad part, is that while he’s smugly grinning, with the book placed on his *lap*, he is oblivious to the ludicrous picture he portrays. Rocco shouldn’t confuse a book, gifts, including laptop, with what he obviously thinks is attraction, from a murderous, conniving , manipulative psycopath. But then, ignorance is bliss.

Posted by capealadin on 10/27/10 at 09:03 PM | #

Your post at 4:29PM is what I was trying to say in my last post in the previous thread to this one about Girlanda.

Also to add, I don’t think one needs to be a rocket scientist to see that the publication of his awful book coincides quite nicely with Amanda Knox’s next court appearence.

I think on a political level this man has to be looked at and I think a good place to start in any future enquiry would be any relationship/contact with the family of Amanda Knox and the Marriot PR firm.

I feel something just isn’t right about this person.

A big red flag to me was the debate Clander attended and reported back on (and the greatest Kudos to Clander for his said report, excellent) when he said something along the lines of “I don’t care what they think”.

I dont like it one bit, especially coming from a politician.

If he is not working with the Knox family or their PR machine then he is at the very least abusing his power as a politician and also abusing the victim of this horrible murder - Meredith Kercher - and her family.
I just don’t understand his motivation, perhaps he could explain?

Has he any history of repeatedly visiting any other convicted murderers in prison, (male?) in his capacity as a politician?
If not, why not?

Posted by Black Dog on 10/27/10 at 09:55 PM | #

Hi Black Dog. Yes this ugly development might lead to some legislation at the national or international level. There has been talk of it in the US for years and this may be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. 

Our next move is to put a lot of questions directly to Girlanda and see if we can extract a response. This time the questions will be in Italian as well as English and the Italian media will be widely alerted.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/27/10 at 10:17 PM | #

I disagree with the statement “very few people (the USA) have heard of Amanda Knox”
I do agree with the fact that you usually have to jar a person’s memory because they may not recognize the name instantly, but if you say “You know, that cute American girl who they convicted of killing her roommate with two other accomplices in Italy” I would bet you at least a majority of Americans with respond “Oh yes, I have heard of her”. The media really put this story out there and sadly focused on her because many Americans find her attractive and there is perhaps some twisted pride in her “All American” looks in spite of the awful tragedy that she played a major role in no doubt.

Posted by Kazwell on 10/28/10 at 07:56 AM | #

Please don’t get the impression I am attracted in any way to a convicted psychopathic killer because I used the term “cute” when describing how I would describe her to others in the US to jar their memory of the case. The image that has been portrayed in the media and evidenced by the fact that Lifetime Network is using the glamorous Hayden Panettiere to portray AK in a movie speaks volumes for how her image is portrayed by American media. Quite frankly when AK’s image is side by side with photos of Hayden Panettiere, AK looks quite plain in comparison.
This fact aside,it must be noted that the American media is obsessed with those who they deem attractive and despite the horrifying fact that women go missing all the time in the US, the national media tends to only report on the ones who are attractive, mainly blonde haired and blue-eyed, but not always. Laci Peterson is a good example of the exception, brunette, but an attractive brunette.

Posted by Kazwell on 10/28/10 at 08:15 AM | #

ncountryside, thanks for the clarification.. i got the journalist thing from wikipedia but it could be wrong.

Posted by mojo on 10/28/10 at 10:08 AM | #

Personally, I don’t fault Panetierre (or any actor, really) for taking on this role. Would you fault the actor who played Hitler in a movie? Does that make him a bad or insensitive person for taking on such an evil role?

Just because an actor plays a role, and thus practices her craft, does not mean she is taking sides.

In addition, even though this is a heartbreaking case, the fact of the matter is that it is a news story and thus has become part of the public discourse. Other crime cases have been portrayed as well (e.g. Boys Don’t Cry, which was a true, and also heartbreaking, story). EVERY recounting—whether a news story, editorial, or movie, contains its own biases—personal, cultural, etc., and this movie will be no different. However, this does not mean that movies based on real life events should no longer be made (at least to me). EVEN if I don’t agree with them.

Also, while I agree that there is irrefutable evidence that Knox was justly convicted of murder, that does not change the fact that, rightly or wrongly, many people in the US believe she was falsely convicted. Thus, Panetierre’s statement that the case is controversial is correct. I suspect she has her own opinions about the case, and is smartly attempting to maintain a neutral stance to avoid becoming embroiled in her own controversy.

Smart girl.

Posted by devorah on 10/28/10 at 10:43 PM | #

Oops, my comment appeared under the wrong post. Can the mods please delete it?

Posted by devorah on 10/28/10 at 10:43 PM | #

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Or to previous entry Ten Examples Of How The Former Campus Cop Steve Moore Serially Mischaracterizes The Case