Hot tip for media: Ask Knox why she left Patrick Lumumba locked up for a full two weeks, though she was captured telling her mom Edda Mellas she'd lied about him. Despite Knox's myriad false claims, police did NOT make her do that - or make her write the noon 6 Nov "memoriale" while alone which does not exculpate Patrick. Also see all of this (very long read).
Category: The defenses

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Summations: Sollecito’s Lawyer Ms Bongiorno Makes It To Court To Sum Up

Posted by Tiziano


This report is translated from Corriere. It predates the report warned of just below on the claimed framing of Sollecito.

Back after an ailment linked to an inflamed appendix, Bongiorno has completely recovered….

Sollecito’s lawyer is claiming the possibility of the contamination of the DNA traces….  Also that the prosecutorial reconstruction “has the flavour of an unfinished opera with the essential part missing”. 

The lawyer also stressed that the proof of an acquaintance between the young man and Rudy Guede is lacking. Bongiorno said, “It is certain that the two did not know each other at the moment of the crime.  The only element linking them is the prosecutor’s charge.”

Referring to what she claims is the incompleteness of the prosecutor’s reconstruction, the lawyer quoted a verse from one of Sergio Endrico’s songs: “it was a such a pretty little house but it had no roof and no kitchen”. 

Bongiorno said, “Sollecito was close to graduating and was nurturing his own dreams when he stumbled over a footprint which tore them away from him.” Then she spoke about the bloody footprint from a shoe, found next to Kercher’s body and initially attributed to Sollecito, but then revealed as belonging to Guede.  “Raffaele - his defence lawyer underlined -  was fitted into the scene of the crime by that footprint and he went to prison because of that footprint.” 

Bongiorno then went on to speak of the morning when [Meredith’s] body was found, November 2nd, 2007.  “Sollecito gave the alarm and waited for the investigators on the step in front of the crime house.  Does it seem credible to you that a murderer would do this?” she said.

Posted by Tiziano on 11/30/09 at 03:22 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe defensesTrials 2008 & 2009Massei defenseRaff SollecitoComments here (0)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Summations: Lawyer Luca Maori Sums Up All Day Today In Sollecito’s Defense

Posted by Peter Quennell


This first report translated by Tiziano is from the news-service AGI.

The trial before the Court of the Assizes of Perugia of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher, has resumed this morning at the Palazzo di Giustizia , with the address of one of the lawyers for Raffaele Sollecito, Luca Maori. The two accused are present in court.

“Defending an innocent person is always more difficult than defending a guilty one” lawyer Maori said “Raffaele has been described as the worst of young men, he has been insulted and wounded in his dearest affections.” Maori continued,

“Raffaele is the second victim in this event. He is twenty-three years old and he has spent two of these years in prison. They have wanted to tailor him “a suit of clothes” which does not belong to him, he has been described as a fellow addicted to drugs, porno films and the search for strong emotions. His past has been morbidly delved into and that of his family, as has the premature death of his mother.”

The lawyer continued, “There is one fact that must not be forgotten in this trial, and that is that there is already a guilty person: Rudy Hermann Guede, condemned to thirty years for the crime.” Lawyer Maori played in the court room the audio recording of a conversation via Skype between Rudy Hermann Guede, who was at that moment in Germany, and the friend of the Ivorian, who was speaking from an office in Perugia police headquarters.

Mr Maori included the hope that Sollecito’s other lawyer, Ms Giulia Bongiorno, who apparently has an appendix problem,  would be well enough on Monday to argue her part of the summing-up.

And this is from Ann Wise’s report for the ABC website.

Maori placed the responsibility for the crime squarely on Rudy Guede, and then spent six hours rebutting the evidence presented against Sollecito by the prosecution.

“We already have the guilty person,” Maori told the court, “and that is Rudy Guede. The DNA is his, as are the fingerprints, and the footprints,” Maori said.

Maori defended Sollecito’s character, saying he is a person friends describe as a “quiet, shy and romantic” young man. Sollecito “is the second victim in this affair,” Maori told the court.

Sollecito’s lawyer meticulously reviewed the evidence and witness testimony presented by the prosecution, including the two main pieces of evidence investigators say put him on the scene of the crime: his DNA on the victim’s bra hook and a bloody footprint police say is compatible with his foot.

He reiterated what was said repeatedly in the course of the trial: that the DNA on the bra is probably due to contaminated evidence, and the footprint, according to Maori, belongs to Guede.

Maori also introduced a new bit of evidence he says defense experts discovered: a biological substance visible on the pillow found in the victim’s room, which Maori’s experts believe to be semen. He said the substance was never tested by the forensic police.

“Why were the two spots visible on the pillow found under the victim not tested?” Maori asked when speaking to journalists outside the courtroom. “The crime against Kercher was sexual,” Maori added, “but no one tested those stains.”

In the course of the trial, investigators said no semen was found on the scene of the crime, though injuries to the victim, and the fact that she was found naked from the waist up, indicated she had been sexually assaulted.

Rudy Guede’s DNA was found on Kercher’s body.

And this is from Nick Pisa’s report on the Daily Telegraph website.

“Despite what has been claimed Sollecito is a calm, quiet and reserve young man. He was just 23 when arrested and he is now approaching his 26th birthday.

“He is the second victim in all this - someone has wanted to sew him a suit which just does not fit him. He is not as the prosecution say a man looking for a strong experience.

“He is a young man of little sexual experience and who had just met a young lady and was in the first week of their relationship.”


Friday, November 27, 2009

The Summations: Patrick Lumumba’s Lawyer Describes Defamation By Knox As Ruthless

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click here for Nick Pisa’s noon report from the courtroom. Some excerpts:

Today the lawyer acting for bar owner Patrick Lumumba, who Knox blamed for the murder, was harsh in his judgement of the American student.

Lawyer Carlo Pacelli described Knox as a ‘talented and calculated liar, who had deliberately gone out of her way to frame Patrick.’

Mr Pacelli recalled how Knox had told police she ‘covered her ears as Patrick murdered Meredith. This was all a lie, his destiny at that moment was marked.

‘It was a ruthless defamation that destroyed Patrick as a man, husband and father. By naming him she hoodwinked the officer in charge of the murder investigation.’

Mr Lumumba was held for two weeks in custody before being released without charge after witnesses came forward to say he was at his Le Chic bar the night Meredith was murdered.

Mr Pacelli added: ‘Who is the real Amanda Knox ? Is it the one we see before us her, simple water and soap, the angelic St Maria Goretti (a teenager made a saint by the Catholic Church after she was murdered by an attempted rapist)?

‘Or is she really a she devil, a diabolical person focused on sex, drugs and alcohol, living life to the extreme and borderline -is this the Amanda Knox of November 1st 2007 (night Meredith was murdered).’

As he spoke, Knox could be seen writing notes to herself on the pad before her.

‘Conclusions drawn before knowing anything,’ she wrote, before adding: ‘In prison you don’t become a better person you become worse unless you have a inner light that guides you.’

 


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Possible Trial Delay While Giulia Bongiorno Gets Well

Posted by Peter Quennell



[This new image was just emailed to us - it seems that we are read in Rome]

Italian media are now reporting that Sollecito’s lead lawyer has appendicitis.

A decision as to what to do will be made by the court today. Under the agreed schedule for the next two weeks, Ms Bongiorno and Mr Maori were due to argue Solllecito’s side of things this Saturday and next Monday.

This is the second time the trial schedule has been affected by ill health. The previous time it was Judge Massei. He contracted a touch of pneumonia.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/24/09 at 03:59 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe defensesTrials 2008 & 2009Massei defenseComments here (8)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Trial: Further Expert Examinations Denied: The Report From Andrea Vogt

Posted by Peter Quennell


Excerpts from the report of Andrea Vogt (above) in the Seattle P-I.

An Italian jury rejected Amanda Knox’s multiple requests for an independent review of contested evidence Friday, bringing the end in sight to the Seattle student’s contentious murder trial….

Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito, asked the court to approve an independent review of several contested pieces of forensic evidence, most notably the kitchen knife with Knox’s DNA on the handle and what prosecutor’s argue is the Kercher’s on the blade, and a bra clasp with Sollecito’s DNA.

Knox’s lawyers also asked for a review of the luminol-enhanced footprints, the mark on the pillowcase that the prosecution argued was a woman’s shoeprint, but which the defense argues is simply a bloody crease, and several other traces of DNA found in the flat Knox and Kercher shared….

The Kercher family’s attorney, Francesco Maresca of Florence, argued, however, that the court already had plenty of material to review. “We all know that in all trials of this nature there are different analyses of forensic evidence made by the various expert witnesses,” he said. “The court must now consider the seriousness and integrity of the experts’ testimony.”

Prosecutor Manuela Comodi went a step farther, saying while she did not believe a review was necessary, she would she would “almost be pleased” to see the results with regard to the prosecution’s footprint expert analysis.

The eight-member jury, which includes two professional judges, flatly rejected all defense requests at 9:30 p.m. after deliberating just under two hours.

Immediately after the judge’s announcement, Sollecito bowed his head and briefly wept, as lawyers began haggling over court dates for closing arguments.

Knox glanced worriedly at her lawyers, who patted her on the back and insisted confidently after the hearing that the outcome was not unexpected, nor necessarily negative for their client…

“This doesn’t change anything,” said Knox’s Perugian attorney, Luciano Ghirga. “We wanted to clarify the evidence, but obviously the judge doesn’t feel he needs additional information. We are ready to argue.”

The judge was careful to note that the jury’s decision did not indicate a presumption of guilt and left open the possibility that the court could call for additional review of evidence after closing arguments and before a verdict.

Nonetheless many court observers expressed surprise at the fact that the jury chose to not review even a single element of the controversial forensic evidence. For Knox, however, the complete rejection of a third-party review could have a silver lining—effectively positioning her better for an eventual appeal.

Our legal watchers doubt the validity of that last remark - that somehow the judges and the jury have messed up here, and that this is a get-out-of-jail-free card for Knox’s and Sollecito’s appeals.

They note that Italy has a “smart jury” system which is encouraged to take a very broad birds-eye view of the case. The multi-alibis testimony and the mobile-phone testimony and the eye-witness testimony and the various mixed-blood traces and the various bloody footprints are considered almost impossible to account for if the defendants are in fact not guilty. The DNA on the knife and the bra-clasp are not make-or-break issues in this case and never were.

The sleeper in this trial of course as in the Rudy Guede trial is the huge and very detailed report that the judges must prepare and release within three months of their verdict. The astounding level of profesionalism of those reports - unique in the law world - leaves American lawyers in real awe.  In the case of Guede, the report by Judge Micheli was absolutely damning.

If the verdict here also is guilty, those unconvinced by that report will probably all fit neatly into one Volkswagen.


Trial: Further Expert Examinations Denied - The Report From Nick Pisa

Posted by Peter Quennell


Excerpts from Nick Pisa’s report in the UK’s Daily Mail.

A judge last night rejected defence requests for an independent review of evidence in the Meredith Kercher murder case.

The decision means that a verdict in the trial will come by early December as an independent review could have taken up to a month delaying the decision….

Yesterday lawyers for Knox and Sollecito argued that the review should be held because of errors in the police investigation and the way evidence was collected.

Key to the case is a 30cm black handled kitchen knife on which DNA from Knox was found on the handle and that of Meredith on the blade.

Prosecutors say the knife, which was found in the kitchen of Sollecito’s flat, is compatible with the murder weapon - which has never been found.

Knox’s lawyer Carlo Della Vedova said that too many discrepancies had emerged in the examination of the knife by forensic scientists….

Sollecito’s lawyers had also asked for a review of a bloodied bra clasp found at the scene which had his DNA on it.

They pointed out that the clasp had been found during an initial police search in one point and then ‘lost’ for six weeks before being found else where in the room….

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini had argued that: ‘There is no need for a review as the evidence was gathered in a very professional way by qualified persons.’

In his ruling judge Massei said: ‘The court has heard from several consultants who have brought several elements and which rule out the need for any further proof.’...

As the judge read out his decision Knox, who earlier had been laughing and joking with guards, closed her eyes and looked upwards.

Sollecito rubbed his eyes and was in tears as the decision would seem to indicate the court has already made up its mind over their guilt.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Trial: Today And Tomorrow Are To Be The Final Two Days Of Defense Testimony

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for La Nazione’s story in Italian. In brief:

The court timetable for today and tomorrow provides for the testimony of the last four witnesses listed by the defense. They are to be another coroner, a neuropathologist, a geneticist, and a computer expert.

There will be court hearings on 2 and 3 October for more expert examination of the prosecution’s evidence. It is virtually certain at this stage that the defenses will ask for a new report on the traces of DNA on the knife considered as the possible murder weapon.

It should then be clearer when the verdict can be expected. It could be several months away, which pushes the date past the date (November 18) set for the start of Rudy Guede’s appeal.

A comment here. As we have observed several times previously, requests for more time for more examination of evidence is really a high-risk strategy by the defenses. If Guede decides to sing and actually tells the truth, all of that would get ported straight over to the Knox and Sollecito trial.

This is posted at mid-afternoon Perugia time and there is still no English-language report out for today and only two brief Italian-language reports. In the circumstances, we will have to wait a few hours, possibly though to tomorrow, to post a wrap-up report for today.

Added: The Associated Press now has this report out on the morning’s testimony.

The woman accused of murdering British student Meredith Kercher in Italy may have have been confused about what really happened because of stress, a doctor has told her trial.

American Amanda Knox gave conflicting statements to police in the wake of 21-year-old Miss Kercher’s death in Perugia, Italy. Neurologist Carlo Caltagirone was giving evidence on behalf of Knox, who is on trial with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito….

Dr Caltagirone told the court that Knox was under stress after long police questioning, which might have led to her confusion. “To be questioned for long hours in a foreign country without fully realising the situation one is in… can lead to a lot of stress,” he said.

Knox initially accused Diya Lumumba, a Congolese man who owns a pub in Perugia where she worked, of being the killer…. Knox, 22, of Seattle, Washington, has since maintained that she spent the night of the murder at Sollecito’s house.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/25/09 at 03:51 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe defensesTrials 2008 & 2009Comments here (11)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Trial: Defense Returns To Weapon While Most Of Prosecution Case Still Not Contended

Posted by Peter Quennell





Journalists were asked to leave the courtroom today during a weak repeat of the contention that the large knife was not THE weapon.

But the prosecution had already indicated months ago that they believed at least one other knife was involved.

Click above for Nick Squires on one report from the press room outside the court.

The black-handled knife, with a 6.5 inch long stainless steel blade, was shown for the first time to the court in Perugia where the 22-year-old American student and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 26, are accused of sexual assault and murder.

A court official brought out the knife in a shallow white cardboard box marked “Evidence ““ handle with care” and showed it to the judge and eight jurors.

Miss Knox, of Seattle, who was wearing blue jeans and a red sweatshirt with a Beatles design, appeared impassive as the purported murder weapon was shown during the testimony of a forensic expert, Prof Giancarlo Umani-Ronchi.

She looked away when police photographs of Miss Kercher’s bloodied body were projected onto a giant screen in the courtroom.

Mr Sollecito, in a white jacket and rimless glasses, bit his fingernails as the alleged use of the knife in the killing was discussed by experts and lawyers.

A forensic consultant, Mariano Cingolani, said that of the three wounds on Miss Kercher’s neck, at least one was not compatible with the size and dimensions of the knife.

“Many other knives in general are more compatible with that kind of wound,” said Prof Cingolani. The wound was too narrow to match the knife, he said.

He added, however, that no firm conclusion could be drawn without knowing the exact angle of Miss Kercher’s neck, or the elasticity of her muscle tissue…

The former lovers, who could be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty, looked tired and nervous.

So there is a question mark over the role of the large knife but again, nothing definitive. No defense attempt to prove that no other knife was used.

Meanwhile, whole other universes of very damning prosecution evidence against Sollecito and Knox remain uncontested, like a herd of elephants in the room.

For example the very damning mobile calls.  And also the highly confused alibis.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New York’s The Daily Beast Reports Knox’s Lawyers Preparing Her For A Guilty Verdict

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click above for a larger image]

Barbie Nadeau reports on the fallouts from yesterday.

On a mistrial for the withholding of some of the DNA evidence.

Denied their request for a mistrial due to mishandled evidence, Amanda Knox’s lawyers promise “bombshells” in the murder trial””but prep her for a guilty verdict….

The defense requested that the indictments against Knox and her co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, be thrown out””essentially asking for a mistrial…..  But the request proved futile.

After more than an hour of deliberation, the judge ruled that the trial should go on as scheduled, dealing a crushing blow to the defendants. Even though the defense’s gambit was a legal long shot, the lawyers hoped that, at very least, it might have triggered a mistrial….

Although the defense’s request was denied, they risked nothing by making the request. In fact, the judge’s denial could set the stage for an appeal if the two are convicted. In Italy, an appeal is an automatic part of criminal trials.

And on the down-to-the-wire situation triggered by Guede’s appeal dates.

Rudy Guede, who was convicted for his part in Kercher’s murder, is appealing his guilty verdict, and the race is on now to finish the Knox trial before his appeal begins November 18.

Because his appeal is pending, Guede chose not to testify in this trial, but anything he says at his own appeal hearing can be considered as evidence in the Knox-Sollecito case””and Guede has indicated several times that he was in the house when Kercher died but that he did not kill her.

He has said through his lawyer that Knox and Sollecito were also there that night.

Guede has several times hinted that in his appeal that he will finally tell all. Presumably a self-serving version, but we suspect any confession might be much-hoped-for by Meredith’s family and her Perugia friends.

We have heard conjecture that Guede offered to tell it like it really was at the present trial of Knox and Sollecito but the prosecutors rejected a deal. Perhaps feeling that his proffered version then did not add very much to what they felt was an already-strong case. And seeing no reason why Guede should not serve his full 30 years.

If Rudy Guede does now finally tell all, we sure hope that he does know the meaning of “all”.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/15/09 at 07:51 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe defensesTrials 2008 & 2009Amanda KnoxComments here (12)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Trial: Judge Massei Rejects Feeble Defense Bid To Throw Out DNA Evidence

Posted by Peter Quennell


So the trial has resumed, amid conjecture that it might last for additional months if the DNA evidence is to be independently assessed.

That possibility seems to have disappeared in a hurry. Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Buongiorno (above) made a request that some of the DNA evidence be thrown out.

Judge Massei speedily and very firmly ruled against. He clearly appears to consider the evidence and the procedures that were followed to be sound.

First, the DNA analyses in question were performed in the presence of defense experts, who did not make any comment at the time. And second, no substantive DNA information was wrongly withheld from the defenses and so the defendants’ rights were not violated.

[Judge Massei] added that relevant documents had been made available a month-and-a-half ago, suggesting that defence teams had enough time to review the DNA findings.

Our takes on the DNA component of the case (which our legal watchers say is far from being make-or-break evidence in this case) can all be found here.


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