Category: Sollecito team

Saturday, September 22, 2012

CNN’s Jane Velez Mitchell Has A Nervous Sollecito And Then TWO Guests Who Think He Did It

Posted by Peter Quennell



A lively debate! CNN Headline News tonight around 7:30. No “I wuz beaten up by meanie policemen” claims this time by Sollecito.

Mistakes were made by all the speakers, but super-lawyer Wendy Murphy and the crime blogger Levi Page gave the case for guilt their best shot. Even the third commentator thinks the timing of the book is insane.

Wendy Murphy didnt know about the Meredith book, but it was published only in England and transgressed no Italian law. She did vigorously get across just how much evidence there is, and not for the first time. See her tough article here and tough interview here where she assesses Knox as dangerous.

Jane, Mignini is NOT in a ton of trouble and never was. No satanism, repeat, no satanism. Your senior CNN colleague Nancy Grace believed Knox did it. Your CNN colleague Drew Griffen set Mignini up. See here and also here.

There were no leaks - at least not by Mignini. He never leaks. There were no tabloids, at least not in Italy. The only 2-3 were in the UK, and they affected no jury. There was no invented Foxy Knoxy - that was her own Internet presence.

Sollecito couldnt get his story out? But he maintained a code of total silence for four years - could THAT have been the problem? And Sollecito did NOT support Amanda’s alibi - he sold her down the river in a heartbeat when a policeman looked at him funny (kidding - just a little).

And what’s with your squealing, Jane?! He isnt THAT adorable. Not if you are at the wrong end of a knife.


Friday, September 21, 2012

The Rather Strained Couric-Sollecito Interview: Reading Between The Lines (2)

Posted by James Higham





Katie Couric interviewed Sollecito, more briefly and frostily than expected, last Tuesday afternoon in New York. You can read the transcript here.

Sicily based blogger Welshcakes Limoncello commented on a summary of the interview I posted on my own website. “Do you think we will ever know the truth?”

It was a neutral statement, one so many must have made around the world when they considered the case in as much detail as the media allowed.  The short answer, for those who’ve gone into the evidence in as much detail as PMF, TJMK and dozens of others, including me have, is a resounding: “Yes, we do actually.  We are as sure as any court needs to be or has ever been, short of a signed confession.”

This is not an even playing field in the least.  The evidence points one way, the professionals in the field concur, the Kercher family who, one needs to remember, were neutrals in the sense of whoever emerged as the killers they’d be down on, have sat through every bit of evidence as it was presented and they concur.  Nineteen justices who reviewed the case concurred.

One can’t just sweep that under the carpet, claiming there was “zero evidence”, not when that time and effort when into gathering and considering it all, not when consideration of the evidence presented filled hundreds of pages.  Just what are people trying to pull, claiming there was “zero evidence”?

And the defence ““ it hasn’t chosen to attack pieces of evidence [around 130 pieces of it] which they know they can’t attack.  They picked on two main pieces in the appeal and failed to establish either, except in the minds of Zanetti and Hellman,  the appointee who came in when the original trial judge was replaced.  Would he risk his reputation and hundreds of pages of scathing consideration of Hellman and Zanetti if there was zero in it in the first place?

I mean, at what point doe blind denial cease and the cumulative weight of evidence win the day?  Not cherrypicking two pieces of evidence and the judges refusing to hear the rest.  I mean cumulatively ““ all of it.

And cumulatively is the only way to approach this case ““ what the totality of evidence, not the cherrypicking, points to.  The weight of that evidence, from the DNA to the false alibis and the phone calls, would be sufficient to put anyone away, let alone the Supreme Court view that there was most certainly more than one killer, a point Sollecito, in his Couric interview, does not pooh-pooh.  Wasn’t that interesting?  He hopes the Kerchers will one day find the killers.

Not only was Sollecito forgetful of what had already been given as evidence but he has shown himself an inveterate liar.  When you accuse someone of being a liar, as a certain commenter at Orphans of Liberty is wont to regularly accuse me of, being asked to produce his evidence of that and then dropping into assertion and ad hominem with no evidence whatever, the outcome is not one of life and death.

In Sollecito’s case, it is ““ the death of Meredith Kercher.  So, I’ve accused him of being a liar.  Where is my evidence?  See this post by the Machine of April 2009.

There comes a point when one wonders why most who are still supporting Knox and Sollecito are doing so.  One can understand the family and close friends doing so against all the evidence but not people like that professor at John Jay University who made the same assertions, minus evidence and relied on his learned credentials to convince. 

Minus evidence, minus evidence ““ it has to be repeated over and over.

[Below: a previous interviewee who was more in Katie Couric’s class]


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dr Galati: Here On American TV Tonight Raffaele Sollecito Apparently Commits Felony Defamation

Posted by Peter Quennell



Right now, Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian, is swanning around the United States with the apparent sole purpose of making his home country look bad.

As he is still accused of murder and other felonies until the Supreme Court signs off on the case, and accused felons are normally never allowed to enter the US by Immigration, it seems Sollecito could be here in the US illegally.

This video above was recorded from the Anderson Cooper news program on CNN at 8:45 pm tonight.

Here Raffaele Sollecito claims to have been abused and threatened by interrogators and claims that the same thing happened to Amanda Knox. He implies that he held out for hours, and that Knox was interrogated for 10 hours.

This seems to our lawyers precisely the same kind of invented malicious claim against interrogators which has resulted in both Amanda Knox and her parents being sued for felony defamation (calunnia) by police officers present when she was interrogated.

We know that both Sollecito’s own father Francesco AND HIS LAWYER Mr Maori have just indicated on national Italian TV that Sollecito was lying when he made this and other claims in his book. He has zero evidence to prove it, and he cannot point to anyone who abused him.

Sollecito had more than four years at trial and appeal and on national TV and privately with his lawyers to lodge such charges of abuse - and yet he never did. Not once did he ever advance them even though they might have got him off.

He did not even mention it in his nationally televised interview in Italy soon after he was released. He had to come to America to start making it - as blackmail, to make the Knox forces get him a resident visa?  .

What do we believe really happened?  This is from our July 2009 post on Sollecito’s many alibis.

Sollecito was asked to return to the police station on 5 November to answer some more questions. He was at that time confronted with telephone records that proved that he and Amanda Knox had lied previously.

So for his third alibi, which now cut Amanda Knox loose and implicated her, Sollecito claimed that he was at his apartment all evening, and that for part of the evening Knox was out, from 9 pm to 1 am.

In my previous statement I told a load of rubbish because Amanda had convinced me of her version of the facts and I didn’t think about the inconsistencies…..

Amanda and I went into town at around 6pm, but I don’t remember what we did. We stayed there until around 8.30 or 9pm.

At 9pm I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends. We said goodbye. I went home, I rolled myself a spliff and made some dinner.”

He goes on to say that Amanda returned to his house at around 1am and the couple went to bed, although he couldn’t remember if they had sex.

How did things proceed from there? Did Sollecto or his lawyers claim that he had been tricked or abused into a “confession” ? No…

This third alibi was undercut by Amanda Knox when she took the stand and testified. She stated that she was with Sollecito at his place all night.

It was also contradicted by the forensic evidence presented by the prosecution: the four separate pieces of forensic evidence that placed him in the cottage on Via Della Pergola on the night of the murder.

This third alibi was also undermined by the telephone records and by the data taken from his computer.

Sollecito claimed that he had spoken to his father at 11 pm. The phone records showed that to the contrary, there was no telephone conversation at this time, though Sollecito’s father had called him a couple of hours earlier, at 8.40 pm.

Sollecito claimed that he was surfing the internet from 11 pm to 1 am. Marco Trotta, a police computer expert, testified that the last human interaction on Sollecito’s computer that evening was at 9.10 pm and the next human activity on Sollecito’s computer was at 5.32 am.

Sollecito said that he downloaded and watched the film Amelie during the night. However, Mr Trotta said that the film had been watched at around 6.30 pm, and it was earlier testified that Meredith returned to the cottage she shared with Amanda Knox at about 9 pm.

Sollecito claimed that he had slept in until 10 am the next day. There was expert prosecution testimony that his mobile phone was actually turned on at 6.02 am. The Italian Supreme Court remarked that his night must have been “sleepless” to say the least.

This alibi was undermined by the eyewitness Antonio Curatolo, the watcher in the park above the house, who testified that he saw Sollecito there.

From 2007 to 2011 Solleceto was rather notorious for NOT reaching out to Amanda Knox during trial and appeal and for NOT fully supporting her alibi. He has never retracted the statement that she was absent from his house from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am on the night Meredith was murdered.

This may be giving the Knox-Mellases some grins. They despise Sollecito, and they know full well of his treachery toward Amanda during trial when his own lawyer Bongiorno repeatedly blamed Knox (scroll down). They are presumably appalled at his loose lips and dishonest book which mess with her own prospects. . 

the book’s title is a living lie. There is nothing honorable about him. And he is acting treacherously and cowardly toward his own country.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Rather Strained Couric-Sollecito Interview: Reading Between The Lines (1)

Posted by Hopeful





Raffaele’s physical appearance was okay. He was groomed and dressed well. I alternately felt sorry for him and grossed out by him when I sensed he was lying from a cunning script.

He has taken a page out of Amanda’s playbook by using English instead of his native Italian with a translator, so the audience will identify with him and so he can buy time to formulate safe answers. He wants to show off to Amanda that he is as quick to master language as she is.

Katie Couric definitely put him on the defensive. Her maturity and restraint honed over years of interviews gave her the advantage. It must be so hard to smile and remain polite when you harbor suspicions you’re talking to a liar and stonecold killer. Her civility and training stood her in good stead.

She didn’t reveal too much disgust, but some slipped out. She did poke and prod for hard truth as much as possible within the limited format.

I think the biggest clue to Raffaele’s dishonesty was his refusal to denounce Meredith’s “real” killer, Rudy Guede. Had he not been part of the violence or obstruction of justice against Meredith, he would have the moral high ground to express natural horror rage and resentment against this “real” killer, a killer whose act has also destroyed Sollecito’s life.

If he were totally innocent, Raffaele would want only to name and shame Guede and howl for the harshest punishment. If Guede had gotten me involved in such a nightmare I would blame him without regret and with no game-playing or fear of his lies. The fact that Raf does not dare to anger Guede and refuses to judge the known killer who has dropped Raf into a living hell is a sign of some perverse obligation to Guede, fear of Guede, or guilty knowledge or some unnatural response.

He refuses to denounce Guede, while he revels in his coverup for Amanda. This suggests he is part of the crime.  He denounces prison loudly enough! He seemed to want to say that prison serves absolutely no purpose at all, incarceration accomplishes nothing. This is simply a reflection of how much he hated prison, not how little he deserved it.

His big glory seems to be bucking his family, and rejecting their good advice, while professing to understand they are blinded by love and concern for him.

His tone is condescending. No, he will spare his family nothing. He prefers to turn his back on their best interests (which would be to have a son who could earn a solid living and eventually help his father in old age or sister, has Raf ever thought of success as a gift he can give them? No, it seems he wants drama and destruction and waste).

While his book claims Dr. and Sister Sollecito were begging him to reveal the truth regardless of whether it hurt Amanda or not, he turns his back on them and on truth completely. His desire is to honor a wildcat female who used him and cost his father and sister everything.

What a mockery of real honor. He’s ready to save Amanda a prison sentence no matter how big a liar he must become or how much terror he brings to his family or expense and stress on them. His childish and mistaken attitude was that Amanda loves him, Amanda is all that matters.

Thus he becomes a foolish and destructive ennabler, saving Amanda from the natural results of her own bad acts that would finally teach her something real. He wants to rescue her and his vanity since she reflects his romantic choice and he doesn’t want that criticized.

He will rescue her at cost of destroying the family who has truly loved him and stood by him, even though he has so many unresolved issues with them. I think this is because he has not felt strong enough to stand up to his family in the normal teenage years of establishing boundaries, usually through mild rebellion.

His fear of losing his father since he was motherless, or their overbearing powerful personalities (doctor and policeman) left his growth undone at the normal time. He is still a child. But his role in this crime has become a way out for him.

Raf is in hog heaven. He can emigrate from Italy to the U.S. for survival reasons that his folks must understand, since they assure him they don’t want him in prison. This is his way to get others to boot him to where he wanted to go all along. (Munich wasn’t far enough, and he was soon back home dejected.)

His biggest joy seems to be deceiving the police. His sister’s biggest mistake was doing shady stuff to help this ingrate brother, and his father will learn the same lesson.

It’s really sad because Dr. Francesco Sollecito Senior deserves better than this from his only son. Raf wants to lower the bar on their expectations of him. In that he has succeeded. His main goal is to disappoint his father and compromise his sister since he cannot compete with their workplace achievements and no longer has a mother to protect.

Raffaele took another page from Amanda by giving a lengthy and ambiguous answer to the question, “What would you say to people who still think you are guilty?” He never gets around to categorically denying he killed Meredith! Instead he harps on the media having deceived the public.

Of course the fog of nonsense is his own and Amanda’s.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Questions For Sollecito: Katie Couric, Push Back Against Sollecito’s Bluster And False Facts #2

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[The vastly more talented person, Meredith, who the smug and odious Sollecito still stands accused of killing]


Kermit has suggested some very tough questions in the Powerpoints post directly below.

Here are ten more of the possible dozens of unanswered questions that Katie Couric and other media interviewers of Sollecito should ask him, and we invite readers to suggest more questions in Comments below. 

II should be recalled that all three suspects were brought to trial on the same body of evidence. Judges at Guede’s trial court, his first appeal court, and the Supreme Court of Cassation have all ruled that the evidence showed that it was impossible for him to have attacked Meredith alone.

Despite contradictory efforts by the defenses in the Sollecito and Knox appeal to make credible two possible sets of alternative killers, both attempts descended into courtroom farce. Right now, all of the considerable body of evidence still points ONLY at the three originally charged.

Several context points from the previous post below with this same title should be reiterated here.

1) Sollecito was NOT finally acquitted at the end of 2011; as all the media have been wrongly parroting. He still stands accused until the appeal process fully plays out - and in some similar cases, that has taken years. As he is still accused of a murder and other felonies he might be in the United States illegally.

2) The investigation and crime-scene analysis resulted in a very powerful case at trial, the trial judges’ reasoning was brilliant and precise, and they showed NO media influence, NO satanic theory, NO desperate prosecutor, NO rush to judgment, and NO hint that it had all been inspired by Knox’s and Sollecito’s quirky behavior, or by a misinterpretation of the effect of drugs.

3) Knox and Sollecito were convicted at trial based on clashing alibis, autopsy evidence, blood evidence, footprint evidence, cellphone evidence, computer-use evidence, eye-witness evidence, and so on and on. In the UK and US any ONE item might have been enough. They both refused to be fully cross examined at trial. Knox was only partly examined, about her false charge of murder against Patrick Lumumba, but even so she did herself harm.

4) A bizarre and suspect last-minute change of appeal judges resulted in a bizarre and suspect court management, a bizarre and suspect DNA consultancy, a bizarre and suspect appeal verdict, and a bizarre and suspect appeal sentencing report - which in enormous detail has been dissected by the Chief Prosecutor of Umbria, Dr Galati, in an appeal to the Supreme Court and shown to have broken Italian law in a large number of respects.

5)  The entire officialdom of Perugia holds a pro-guilt view. Dr Galati holds this view. Relevant officials in Rome all hold this view. Probably 95 percent of the interested Italian population hold this view. The vast majority of Italian journalists hold this view. The Rome-based foreign reporters all hold this view.  A large if unknown fraction in the UK and US populations hold this view. Behind the scenes in the NYC media, a majority seem to hold this view. Hillary Clinton and the ambassador in Rome hold this view. Knox’s and Sollecito’s lawyers at trial in 2009 seemed less than firm believers in their innocence. Both families have acted as if they KNEW there was guilty involvement all along.

While Sollecito did not take the stand during the trial or the appeal, he did make a number of voluntary written statements entitled “Notes on a Prison Journey” which were edited and given to the media by his lawyers. These notes have been meticulously translated into English by the PMF translators and are available here.  They don’t show him in an innocent light.

With so many questions unanswered, it would be unconscionable for any good reporter or network to allow Sollecito to promote his book and case one-sidedly on their nationally-syndicated talk shows without answering some tough questions. Keeping in mind that a talk show is not the best place to debate forensic evidence and other intricacies of the case, we offer these ten example questions in other areas, which with Kermits questions below should start to get to the core of what Sollecito did and didn’t do on the night.

1. The Kercher family has asked that people involved in the case keep a low profile out of respect for their daughter Meredith. What effect do you think your loud promotion of this tendentious book deal will have on the Kerchers?

2. Did your publisher, Simon & Schuster, express any concern that you might yet be convicted of this murder, if the Supreme Court rules in March that you were improperly acquitted? And that if Italian officialdom is smeared, they may risk charges of calunnia?

3. You were the person closest to Amanda Knox in the days before the murder. Why did you write that Amanda was “detached from reality?” What in your view is her psychology? Is she loyal to you? And do you always see eye to eye?

4. You and Amanda were among the last people to see Meredith alive. Did you hear Meredith’s conversation with Amanda, if any, before she left to have dinner with friends? If so, what was said, and in what tone?

5. That afternoon you claim the two of you merely smoked a little marijuana but both suffered mental black-outs. Amazing. Medically very unusual. At what time precisely did you both stop remembering, and at what time did you both start remembering again?

6. If neither of you can remember what happened that night, how can you be so sure you and Amanda had nothing to do with the murder? How in that light do you account for highly incriminating forensic and computer and cellphone and eyewitness evidence? 

7. Inconsistencies between Amanda’s account of what she found at her cottage the next morning, and what you said you saw when you got there, make the story seem made up. For example, you wrote that the first thing you noticed - you said that you remembered this particularly well - was one of the bedroom doors was wide open, the window was broken and the room was a mess. But Amanda wrote that the door was closed and the break-in wasn’t discovered until you conducted a search of the house. Why don’t your stories match?

8. Both of you have described how, after Meredith didn’t answer, you tried to kick down her bedroom door. It was easily pushed in later. Were you surprised that you were unable to break it down, despite having taken eight years of kickboxing lessons?

9. Were the police wrong to arrest you after you specifically and quite readily told them that Amanda had persuaded you to lie to them, and to say that she’d been home with you all night when you had consistently maintained that she wasn’t?

10. Rudy Guede, the man confirmed convicted by the Supreme Court of Cassation of murder and a sex crime, in complicity (“in concorso”) with two other people, says that you were the other two people there. Guede is eligible for parole later this decade. Do you think that his parole should be denied? Did the Supreme Court get it wrong? Is Guede the sole killer, and if so how?









Sunday, September 16, 2012

Powerpoints #18: Katie Couric Interviews Raffaele Sollecito! We Already Have A Sneak Preview!!

Posted by Kermit





Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is Powerpoint Viewer.

We are not really too surprised that Sollecito caves, as we observe the Sollecito camp increasingly panicked now by the appeal of Dr Galati, Still, thanks a lot Katie insiders! Thanks a lot Sollecito-camp insiders! 

And a great job on the couch, Katie Couric. You managed to winkle out the truth and respect the REAL victim even if Raffaele seemed a little tongue-tied…


Friday, September 14, 2012

Questions For Sollecito: Katie Couric, Push Back Against Sollecito’s Bluster And False Facts #1

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Last Monday at 3:00 pm in the ABC TV1 studio on West 66th in New York city, Katie Couric launched a one-hour talk-show which will run five days a week. Next tuesday she will interview Raffaele Sollecito.


Who is Katie Couric?

In the fifteen years leading up to 2006, Katie Couric was a lively, bright and often very funny morning-show compere on NBC’s Today show . In 2006, she switched to CBS, to become the first woman to anchor the evening news. She also did a number of interviews for CBS’s 60 Minutes airing on Sunday nights.

In those years, she cultivated the broadest range of interview styles of anyone in American TV. Many of her interview questions are sympathetic puffballs. Her own husband died of cancer in 1998 when he was 42 and she 41, with two daughters not yet in their teens, so she relates unusually well to guests who have had tragedies in their own lives.

At other times, though, she can be as tenacious as a tiger. In 2008 she did a series of interviews with Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, in which Palin looked far from ready for prime time. Palin and John McCain, the presidential candidate, lost the election to Barack Obama and Joe Biden by a substantial margin.

Some still blame Couric for asking Palin the few “gotcha” questions which stumped her, though in general it is accepted that Couric helped to show up somebody too misinformed, strident and shoot-from-the-hip to be a president-in-waiting. A recent movie version confirmed this.

So which Couric will viewers see weekdays on ABC? The puffball thrower, or the tiger? Almost certainly a bit of both, for ABC hope it is this danger and uncertainty in Couric’s interviews that will drag millions of viewers in daily. 


The Sollecito interview next tuesday

For Katie Couric, this represents a good opportunity - she could really make news here - and maybe something of a risk. The risk comes only if she is briefed only by the Knox-Sollecito PR people and the book agents and book publishers that handle Sollecito.

She may leave her millions of viewers only dimly aware of Sollecito’s true legal status, and presuming that both Sollecito and Knox are off the hook, and that there is “no evidence”, and that those meanie Italians have done something really nefarious.

All of the media reports on Sollecito and Knox this past week that said “they were acquitted” have it seriously wrong.

This is merely the interval between the second act (the first appeal of 2011) and the third (the Supreme Court appeal 0f 2013) which will start playing out on 23 March. There could be several more acts to come, maybe including a complete repeat of the first appeal, which the Supreme Court has not hesitated to insist on before.

Meanwhile, Sollecito’s correct legal status under Italian law (along with that of Amanda Knox) is that he still stands accused of murdering Meredith, until the Supreme Court signs off on a verdict.

The risk for Couric is that if she does only a puffball interview, and allows herself to be snowed by the dishonest PR and in effect turned into yet another shill, she could come down on what could soon emerge as the losing side, and helped build sympathy for a killer. 

We just saw the perfect example of this. A senior psychology professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, less than 10 minutes walk from ABC’s west-side studios, swallowed the PR line on Knox and Sollecito without the slightest checking. You can read his sorry story here and here.

Since then, only an embarrassed silence.

This is a 20 point road-map of the Perugia case for the Couric people and any new readers that her show sends to TJMK and PMF. Post (2) will have some really tough questions, which Sollecito can be expected to flunk.  With luck, these posts will turn Couric & company into tigers. Enjoy the hot seat, Sollecito.


1. Sollecito is not the real victim in this case

While Couric’s predecessor Oprah was snowed by the PR 18 months ago, she did to her credit remember Meredith, and closed with a huge photo of her that lingered. This is the real Meredith as an in-memoriam post described her. 

Meredith really hit the ground running in Perugia. She had dreamed of it for a long time.

She bonded immediately with her two nice Italian flatmates, who were both working in town, and soon with the neighbors downstairs. Within days she had an “instant crowd’ of the girls from Leeds and other UK universities.

She liked the house, liked the clubs, liked walking Perugia, liked the culture and the fun festivals in Perugia. Her first encounters with her new boyfriend downstairs, an Italian musician, were said to be shy and sweet.

And she was focused and already working her tail off. She had won a well-funded Erasmus grant and although she wanted to work a little, she had no worries about money.

She arrived with an excellent command of Italian after two years of hard study at the European Studies school in Leeds, and at the Università  per Stranieri she was clearly going to excel.

She was also studying politics and economics at the main university, which was very close, and she seemed set to go very far. her eyes were already on the powerful international bodies in Brussels.



2. Italy’s excellent justice system is very pro defendant

Prosecutors have to jump through more hoops than any other system in the world. Major errors and framings of innocent parties never make it through to a final guilty verdict. Please read here and here.

Proportionally Italy has only one-seventh the murder rate of the US and proportionally less than one-twentieth of the prison population of the US. Hardly a justice system out of control. .


3. Meredith’s murder was a cruel and depraved act

Although a key trial session on the barbaric 15-minute struggle with Meredith was closed to the public Italians know how cruel and depraved it was and how it HAD to have involved three attackers.


4. The case was well investigated and well prosecuted

The investigation and crime-scene analysis resulted in a very powerful case at trial as that long series of Powerpoints brilliantly summarises

The judges’ reasoning was brilliant and precise and showed NO media influence, NO satanic theory, NO desperate prosecutor, NO rush to judgment, and NO hint that it had all been inspired by Knox’s and Sollecito’s quirky callous behavior after Meredith died - that behavior by the way suggested they enjoyed toying with the police until they were finally arrested.

They were convicted based on clashing alibis, autopsy evidence, blood evidence, footprint evidence, cellphone evidence, computer-use evidence, eye-witness evidence, and so on and on. Quirky callous behavior (which did happen) was barely on the radar at trial.


5. Knox and Sollecito were never cross examined at trial

Had they been, they would almost certainly have collapsed almost instantly - as Couric hopefully will find out.

Instead, the defendants made repeated unchallenged statements to the court, as the Italian system allows, many highly self-serving, and when Knox took the stand only to explain why she fingered Patrick Lumumba, prosecution questions were highly hedged by prior agreement.

These are among the many dozens of open questions (more for Sollecito in our next post) which the defendants have still never confronted.



6. This was no lone wolf crime by Rudy Guede alone

After a fatuous failed attempt by a defense attorney to have a tall athletic staff member climb through Filomena’s bedroom window the defenses NEVER EVER argued that Guede acting alone could have done it.

They simply ignored the evidence of a rearranged crime scene in that bedroom and at appeal introduced TWO conflicting witnesses Mario Alessi and Luciano Aviello to try to show other people were involved. Both collapsed under examination.


7. Investigative and prosecution staff performed just fine

Curt Knox’s campaign and American media have carried out what looks to us like the real frame here, that of claiming (only in English) that the police and investigators and prosecution were corrupt or incompetent or driven by Satan.

NONE of this conspircacy theory is believed by anyone in Italy who knows about it. Police and investigators and prosecution had every chance to explain themselves (in Italian) in the court and newspapers and on TV. Read here and here and here and here.


8. The “guilty” trial outcomes convinced more than Italians

With few exceptions Italians continue to regard Sollecito and Knox as guilty. No wonder he is so desperate to get out of the place. He was never ever very popular there, and prior to Meredith’s murder he came across like a perverted loner with a drug habit who needed constant supervision by his father.

In 2008 when Sollecito was being transported to Verona University for an entrance exam in virtual reality (which he failed) he was yelled at by an angry crowd when the police van stopped at an autostrada service area for a restroom break. He was bundled back in and the police van took off in a hurry. 

The entire officialdom of Perugia holds a pro-guilt view. Umbria’s chief prosecutor Dr Galati holds this view. Relevant officials in Rome all hold this view. Probably 95 percent of the interested Italian population hold this view. The vast majority of Italian journalists hold this view. The Rome-based foreign reporters all hold this view.  A large if unknown fraction in the UK and US populations hold this view.

Behind the scenes in the NYC media a majority seem to hold this view. Some of the publishers who were offered the books hold this view.  Hillary Clinton and the ambassador in Rome seem to hold this view. Many lawyers and even judges who read here hold this view. Even Knox’s and Sollecitos lawyers at trial in 2009 seemed less than firm believers in them.

Even some who knew Knox and Sollecito from way back in childhood in their home towns were unsurprised when they were first arrested and locked up in November 2007.


9. Both families face trials for attempted subversion of justice

While suggestive of a belief in their offsprings’ guilt rather than probative, both families are charged with attempts to subvert justice.  Knox’s parents are being sued by the police interrogators who they claimed without evidence had abused her. (Mignini is not one of them, as he was not there.)

Charges against the Sollecito family (five of them) are more serious and are being brought by the Italian state. Read here and here and here.


10. A change of appeal judges may have been engineered

The highly qualified senior criminal judge in Perugia Judge Chiari was slated to preside over the appeal. He was mysteriously yanked at the last moment and reported angry, and instead two ill-qualified civil judges with questionable impartiality (they each had something to gain from a not-guilty verdict) presided over the appeal.

[Below: Katie Couric during a break in one of the 2008 interviews with Sarah Palin]




11. The appeal sentencing report’s quality is appalling

Our Italian lawyers say this is the most amateurish sentencing report in a murder case they have even seen. Please read here.


12. The independent DNA report’s quality is appalling

There a strong internal hint that the grandstanding American academic Hampikian might have been involved in its creation. Please read here.


13. The prosecution has lodged a very strong Supreme Court appeal

The chief prosecutor of the province of Umbria, Dr Galati, was himself until last year a deputy chief prosecutor at the Supreme Court in Rome. His expertise and credibility at this level outclasses that of all the other lawyers on the case combined. Please read here.


14. More trouble ahead for the families and defenses in other cases

Please read here. The key cases from the point of view of an outcome for Sollecito and Knox are the investigations into Alessi and especially Luciano Aviello who claimed that bribes were offered in his prison for testimony favorable to Sollecito. 

That Judge Hellmann chose not to pursue that stunning claim, which could have thrown the appeal trial, is one of the points of Dr Galati’s appeal to the Supreme Court which if accepted could result in a new appeal trial.

It could also result in Sollecito’s lead lawyer Giulia Bongiorno (who is reputed to dislike him) having to take herself off the case.


15. Sollecito did a much derided interview in Italy

This was late last year after the appeal verdict. That much-watched one-hour interview with Sollecito seems to have totally bombed. Sollecito gave little away, and sounded smug, narcissistic, whiny, and sophomoric.

He probably convinced nobody of his innocence and reinforced the suspicions of those who are pro-guilt. He is said to come across 5 to 10 years below his real age, and that certainly is what happened here. After that one interview, other Italian networks were not exactly lining up for more of the same.

There are of course many excellent pro-guilt commentators in Italy, including Garofano, Sarzanini, Benedettelli, Giuttiari, and Castellini, Dont hold your breath hoping the little coward is ever put face to face with them.


16. No lawyers or media lawyers now publicly support RS

The probable problem is that they have actually got to grips with the translated court documents. Even Knox legal advisors Ted Simon and Robert Barnettt have long been silent. Please read here and here and here.


17. Several who did speak out for him looked like PR shills

Geraldo Rivera of Fox cable TV was one who bizarrely spoke out, and Jane Velez Mitchell of CNN Headline News was another. So was Joe Tacopina of ABC News, who also soon disappeared.  So was Lis Wiehl. So was John Q Kelly.


18. Several good media lawyers speak out against him

In the USA Nancy Grace, Wendy Murphy, Jeanine Pirro, and Ann Coulter have all stated that they perceive guilt. Please read here and here and here and here.


19. Public relations hoaxes in attempt to help defendants

While suggestive of a belief in their offsprings’ guilt rather than probative, campaigns for both defendants have run under the Italian radar what amounted to hoaxes to mislead the American and British publics. Please read here and here.

Agents and ghost writers and publishers for the pro-Sollecito and pro Knox books also seem to fall into this category. Please read here and here and here and here.


20. Bigotry and xenophobia should be no part of any campaign

Huge strains of bigotry against Italians and black people and xenophobia against Italy have always been kept on the boil by Curt Knox’s defense campaign. Oprah Winfrey didnt realise, and she ended up in the absurd position of supporting probable white killers while pointing only to Rudy Guede, a black man, and smearing Italy.

Curt Knox’s hatchet men have made a considerable industry out of ridiculing the Italian police and the prosecution - but only in English. As explained here the police for the most part are the Italian equivalent of the FBI and considered among the finest in the world.

There were always several prosecutors at least on the case throughout the entire process, and they all followed the letter of the law. The impugning of Italian officials by falsely accusing them of crimes as Curt Knox’s campaign often does is itself a crime under Italian law.

Italians and Italian-Americans and Italian officials and black people everywhere deserve very much better than this. Katie Couric seems ideally suited to finally assert a balance and a return to decency, legality, and justice for the true victim, Meredith, and her loving family.

She should use this interview to nail Sollecito and hammer a stake through the PR campaign’s heart.

***

Next post: questions we recommend that Katie Couric put to Raffaele Sollecito.



Friday, August 24, 2012

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But she didn’t step aside.

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

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

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

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

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



Friday, May 04, 2012

A Mischievous Defense-Inspired Global Hoax - To Deflect From Some Bad News?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Left, editor Chris Blackhurst of the Independent, right, editor Tony Gallagher of the Daily Telegraph]


1. Examine first some key happenings at the Knox/Sollecito trial

Throughout the trial which began back in January 2009 the defense teams often seemed down or depressed or distracted or floundering.

Reports surfaced in Italy that one or two of them might even have considered walking. Knox defense counsel Luciano Ghirga was reported as nodding off or distracted. Sollecito defense counsel Giulia Bongiorno was photographed seemingly showing some exasperation with Sollecito and at zero notice she missed several days in court.

Amanda Knox’s testimony over two days on the stand in June 2009 was widely seen in Italy as a disaster. From then on many in the court and throughout Italy believed this seemingly callous, evasive, forgetful girl had to have had a role in Meredith’s death.

Having failed to attend to observe any of the key forensic tests at the Scientific Police labs in Rome, the defenses were able to introduce some forensic witnesses who testified that there might, possibly, somehow, be contamination in the collection and tests which they chose not to witness, but they never came close to showing how.

By the summations in November 2009 both defenses seemed to be seriously floundering. 


2. Fast forward to Friday 20 November 2009

What happened on 20 November might well have made it the defenses’ very worst day.

On that day during their summation the prosecution BEHIND CLOSED DOORS devoted an entire day to reconstructing how Meredith died and the events in the few hours before and since.

The presentation was closed because Judge Massei had ruled in favor of Meredith’s family to close the court to the media when any upsetting material was being presented. For example the results of the autopsy had been presented in closed court.

This resulted in the Massei judges and jury receiving a much more disturbing picture than the Italian public and especially the foreign publics ever did.

The Italian media pieced together what had been presented behind the closed doors on 20 November and Il Messagero and several other Italian newspapers published it several days later. You can read a combined summary in this post here.

To our knowledge none of that summary of events ever appeared in the US or UK media, so the full impact of the reconstruction felt by the jury and to a lesser extent by the Italian public was never felt at all by the US or UK publics.

This excerpt is from that post:

We have left out the depiction of the final struggle with Meredith, which is extremely sad and disturbing. In the evidence phase this was testified-to behind closed doors at her family’s request and we have never posted anything from those sessions….

23:21 - Amanda and Raffaele go into Meredith’s bedroom, while Rudy goes into the bathroom.

23:25 - A scuffle begins between Amanda, helped by Raffaele, and Meredith. The English girl is taken by the neck, then banged against a cupboard. Rudy Guede enters and joins in.

23:30 - 23:45 Depiction in the timeline and computer simulation of a horrific struggle with Meredith

23:50 - Amanda and Raffaele take Meredith’s mobile phones and they leave the apartment. Guede goes into the bathroom to get several towels to staunch the blood, then puts a cushion under Meredith’s head.

That simulation video was a second-by-second depiction of what the crime-scene specialists from the Scientific Police in Rome had concluded, from the position of Meredith’s body in the room, evidence traces and the placing of various objects, and the many wounds described in the autopsy.

It was extremely difficult and laborious to get just right, and every tiny movement of the four that it depicts in three-dimensional space had to be able to stand up unchallenged - as they did.

The fight with Meredith took a horrific fifteen minutes. It only ended when she was lying bleeding on the floor, her hands grasping her neck. She was locked in her room to die, with her keys and phones removed to make sure she could not save her own life.

This was not a minute or two of hazing and a slipped knife. The evident intention was to see her dead - and in the reconstruction it required THREE ATTACKERS to explain all the evidence points.

The prosecution never entered the video into evidence so it could not be leaked to the public (the Sollecito family already stood accused of leaking one video)  but the effect on the jury seems to have been profound and the defenses could do nothing to blunt it.

The lone wolf theory was well and truly dead in that courtroom and a perception of three attackers was well and truly alive. The defenses did what they could in their summations but they were unable to shake the perception of a depraved three-against-one attack.

A few days later a verdict was announced. By a UNANIMOUS verdict Sollecito and Knox were found guilty.


3. Fast forward to the first-level appeal before Judge Hellman in 20011

Judge Sergio Matteini Chiari, the most senior judge in the criminal division, was appointed to preside over the appeal.

He was very experienced at presiding over murder trials and appeals. What happened next surprised many among the judges and prosecutors and Italian reporters and the Italian public generally. From the Italian Wikipedia:

Although the Assize Court of Appeal was to be chaired by Dr. Sergio Matteini Chiari, Chairman of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal in Perugia, in circumstances not well understood Dr. Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, who chairs the Labor Chamber of the Court, has been called on to preside over the appeal court,

The judge to the side of the main judge, Dr. Massimo Zanetti, came from the Civil Section, and both had had limited experience with criminal trials both rather remote in time (only the cases of Spoleto and Orvieto).

Judge Hellman readily consented to the defense requests. First to re-examine several witnesses previously heard on the stand during trial (primarily Mr Curatolo) and two new ones (Alessi and Aviello) intended to show that Guede or Aviello’s missing brother could have attacked Meredith with unknown others.

And second to appoint two independent experts who would re-examine the DNA on the large knife found in Sollecito’s apartment and the DNA for which traces were collected in Meredith’s room and the methods used for processing them.

The examination of the witnesses seemed to end indecisively, but the vague suggestions of the independent consultants that there COULD have been DNA contamination - never proven - was accepted readily by Judge Hellman.

The reconstruction and the showing of the simulation which the trial jury sat through in later 2009 was not repeated by the prosecution at the first appeal in late 2011. Judge Hellman showed no inclination to sit through the full depiction of the day or the horrific 15-minute attack on Meredith.

So the explanation of all the evidence points in the room and on Meredith’s body was never solidly brought home solidly to Judge Hellman or his jury. In his verdict he overturned the outcome of the first trial, provisionally pending any Supreme Court ratification, and he handed Amanda Knox a three-year sentence for framing Patrick Lumumba.

Having refused to see the reconstruction, he could very torturously argue that the attack on Meredith could have been carried out by a single person. If he and his jury had actually watched the video, they could never have argued that.


4. Fast-forward to the grounds of Dr Galati’s appeal to the Supreme Court

The Umbria Chief Prosecutor’s grounds for appeal were spelt out by him at a new conference in Perugia on Monday 13 February 2012. The PMF translation team will soon have the full document ready in English.

The summary of the grounds for appeal below is translated from the Umbria24 report and to our knowledge NO English-language website except this one and PMF has ever reported what are the full grounds.

Meredith case: the prosecution appeals to Cassation: the acquittal verdict should be “nullified”.

For the Chief Magistrates of the [Umbria] Prosecution, “it was almost exclusively the defence arguments which were taken heed of”

By Francesca Marruco

The first-level conviction verdict was “complete and thorough” while the verdict of the second-level is “contradictory and illogical”.  For this reason, the General Prosecution of Perugia asks the Cassation to revoke or invalidate it.

“We are still extremely convinced that Amanda and Raffaele are co-perpetrators of the murder of Meredith Kercher” said the Chief Prosecutor of Perugia, Giovanni Galati and the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola.

Verdict that should be revoked “The second-level verdict should be annulled/revoked….  There are precise reasons for revoking it”, Mr Galati went on to say. In the Hellman reasoning report on the verdict with which the second-level judges acquitted the ex-boyfriend and girlfriend “there are so many errors, and many omissions. There is inconsistency in the grounds for judgement, which brings us to nothing.”

“It is as if they had ruled ex novo [anew] on Meredith’s murder” added the Deputy Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola, “basing their decision solely on the arguments of the defence.”

“Normally the appeal judge evaluates the reasoning procedure of the first-instance judge and compares it to new elements. But this one missed that out altogether: there is no comparison between the checks carried out in the first and second instances. Only what was carried out during the appeal was evaluated.”

Only defence arguments were taken heed of For the magistrates, in fact, the second-level judges “took heed, almost exclusively, of the arguments of the defence consultants or the reconstruction hypotheses that were largely to the benefit of the defense theses”.

The prosecutors who authored the appeal [to Cassation] also criticized the “method used”. “The first-instance verdict”, they wrote, “was summarized in just a few lines”,

“The verdict [which we] challenge completely ignored all the other aspects which corresponded with the accusation’s hypothesis, all the aspects which, on the contrary - as was seen in the reasoning report of the first-instance verdict - had been rigorously pointed out and considered by the Assizes Court [trial court] in its decision.”

“In examining the individual [items of] evidence, the challenged sentence has fallen into consistent procedural error in the weaknesses and evident illogicality of the grounds for its decision.”

Prejudice For the General Prosecution magistrates, the second-level [first appeal] judges appear to have shown “a sort of prejudice” with the “infelicitous preamble of the judge [the author], who is supposed to be impartial”, when he declared that “nothing is certain except the death of Meredith Kercher”, which to the others [Mr Galati and Mr Costagliola] is nothing more than “a resounding preview/forecast of the judgement” and a “disconcerting” affirmation.
 
The ten points The reasons for the appeal to Cassation which Perugia’s General Prosecution presented today against the acquittal verdict of Amanda and Raffaele are based on ten points of the second-level verdict.

The first is the lack of grounds for the decision, in the decree of 18 December 2010, to allow the forensic testimony/expert witness in the appeal judgement.

The second, in contrast, concerns a contrary decision: the decision to not allow a new forensic investigation requested by the prosecution at the end of the ruling discussion. In the appeal to Cassation it is written that the Appeal Court’s rejection reveals “contradictoriness/contrariness and demonstrates manifest illogicality in the grounds for the judgement/reasoning report”.

The other points deal with the decision by the Appeal court of Assizes of Perugia to not hear the witness Aviello, also the definition of “unreliable” [in the Hellman Report] with reference to the witnesses Roberto Quintavalle and Antonio Curatolo, also the time of death of Meredith Kercher, also on the genetic investigations.

As well as the analyses of the prints and other traces, also the presence of Amanda and Sollecito in via della Pergola, also the simulation of a crime [the staged break-in], and also the exclusion of the aggravating circumstance of the crime of “calumny”.

Missing assumption/acceptance of decisive evidence In the appeal to Cassation there is also mention of the “missing assumption/acceptance of a decisive proof”

In other words, of that proof [presented at trial court] which consisted of “the carrying out of the genetic analysis on the sample taken from the knife by the experts appointed by the Court during the appeal judgement, who did not carry out the analyses of that sample, thus violating a specific request contained in the [orders given to them] when they were assigned to the expert-witness post”

“In the second-level [Hellman] verdict”, the magistrates said, “the judges sought to refer to this in their own way, by speaking of an “experimental method” by which these tests/checks could be carried out.

But this is not the case”, said Deputy Chief Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola: “Dr Novelli [the prosecution’s DNA consultant at appeal] spoke of cutting-edge technology, not of experimental methods”.

So Dr Galati, himself formerly a deputy chief prosecutor at the Supreme Court who for years handled nothing but Supreme Court cases and knows what constitutes a sound appeal argument, argued that Judge Hellman had made ten serious mistakes. (Aviello claimed in court that he had been bribed; instead of investigating, Judge Hellman very quickly move on.)

But even worse, that Judge Hellman had illegally vastly expanded the scope of the appeal. And he had illegally appointed the independent DNA experts.

Because of Hellman’s alleged sloppiness and overreach, the defenses now stood to lose EVERYTHING they thought they had gained - and had been so noisily jubilant about, especially to the media in the US. An arrogance not taken kindly to in Italy at all.


5. Fast forward to English language press reports of the past few days.

Nick Squires may have been the first to carry the report quoting unnamed sources in the Daily Telegraph.

Two prosecutors in Perugia, where Miss Kercher was murdered, face accusations of wasting 182,000 euros (£150,000) of public money by commissioning a controversial 3D video which purported to show how the murder unfolded.

The contentious video, which defence lawyers said was based on circumstantial evidence, showed Miss Kercher being held down and stabbed to death by Miss Knox and her two co-accused.

The Leeds University student and her alleged murderers were represented in the 20 minute film by animated ‘avatars’. It was played on a big screen to the judge and jury in the original trial in 2009.

The National Audit Office is now investigating the prosecutors, Giuliano Mignini and his deputy, Manuela Comodi, on whether the video was a necessary part of their case.

If found culpable they could have to pay the money back to the prosecutors’ office.

Really? Accusations? Wasting? Controversial? Purported? Contentious? Now investigating?

Note that Nick Squires didnt name his sources. He didnt explain why he claimed the video simulation was controversial. (It wasn’t at all controversial at trial in 2009.) He didnt seem to know who had made the accusations or how or when they had been made or to who. 

He failed to mention that the video was played behind closed doors, and that the defenses had no comeback to it. He said it depicted Knox, though in fact it deliberately didn’t. He didn’t explain that the depiction of the fight lasted 15 minutes. He didn’t explain that the depiction of three attackers was overwhelmingly convincing to Judge Massei and his jury.

Nick Squires’s report was nevertheless comparatively brief and restrained in contrast to that of Michael Day which came next. His very much embroidered version was published in the UK Independent.  The accusatory tone and serious charges in Nick Squires’s and Michael Day’s reports were then picked up without checking by a large number of American and European media outlets.

See the reports here and here and here and here and here and here and here .

Note that not one of these reports was checked out in Italy, and that all these reports slam Mr Mignini (yet again) and indicate that this was an OFFICIAL accusation of “wasting public funds”.  Many US reports wrongly state that the British audit office is investigating.

Michael Day claimed that “Agostino Chiappiniello has said he suspects the two of inappropriately spending €182,000 (£148,000) on a crude and cartoonish 20-minute video,” 

Really? Agostino Chiappiniello, did you tell Michael Day precisely that?

Michael Day then states that “In both trials [Mr Mignini’s ] interventions were notable for the outlandish motivations and personality traits he attributed to the defendants. He promoted the idea that the murder was the result of a sex-game that got out of control, despite having little or no evidence to support the theory.”

Really? Actually Guede and Knox and Sollecito were all CONVICTED of a sex crime at trial, because to their judges and juries that is what the evidence inescapably pointed to.

And Michael Day concludes with yet another misleading statement (see above on Dr Galati’s appeal for the correct facts which he seriously garbles here.):

Judges at the Cassation court may only overturn the first-appeal verdict on technical grounds. Thus, no new evidence may be introduced and the prosecution’s room for manoeuvre is limited. The pair could not be retried for the same crimes.

Really? But nobody is talking about the pair being retried for the same crimes. This does not arise. Under Italian law they STILL stand accused of the same crimes as they were before trial back in 2009 until the Supreme Court signs off on their case.


6. Fast-forward to the ITALIAN reports of the past two days

Translation by our main poster Jools from an Umbria24 report, posted on Wednesday, which tells a very different story. 

[There was several months ago]”¦ a complaint from “a group of private citizens” who did not sign their names and surnames about an alleged misuse of public money….

No comment from the two prosecutors of Perugia, no comment on this news.

As we have learned the prosecutors have not received any legal papers regarding the investigation and they heard of the news from the press.

Who will pay? To decide if the expense was adequate for the State coffers will be the task of the prosecutor at the Court of Audits of Umbria.

Meanwhile if the Supreme Court were to overturn the judgment of the Perugia appellate court, the costs would be paid by the two accused [Knox and Sollecito].

If instead the Supreme Court were to confirm the acquittal, the bill for 182 thousand euros would be borne by the Italian State.



7. In summation

Quite a fizzle. The prosecutors are NOT quaking in their boots. They didnt even know about it.  And the full force of Italian justice does NOT have them under the microscope. 

  • The anonymous complaint was filed over two months ago.  Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • If the enquiry is actually pursued (not at all certain)  then it is Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito who could in fact be stuck for the costs (plus VAT) of producing the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • The Corte dei Conti is not the equivalent of a criminal or civic court, it is essentially an investigating tribunal. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • The Corte dei Conti has so far not accused anyone of anything, and it may never do so. It sure doesn’t seem to regard the matter as urgent. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • In fact it has taken over two months to, well… not even assemble the evidence or bother to get in touch with Mr Mignini or Ms Comodi. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.

On the same basis Judge Hellman could in theory be accused of incurring TWO huge cost over-runs.

  • One for running his appeal court only on saturdays to suit just one defense lawyer, when the overtime costs to Italy became huge - substantially more than the cost of the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • And one for (according to Dr Galati) illegally appointing the two DNA consultants - the costs of that investigation to Italy became much more than the cost of the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.

The reconstruction video is so powerful and accurate that it could,  if it is watched by the Supreme Court in Rome or a new appeal court in Perugia, be quite devastating to the defense of the two accused. This is because it depicts the full cruelty of the attack on Meredith - and it shows that THREE people had to have attacked her.

So who filed the anonymous complaint against Mr Mignini and Ms Comodi? And who used Nick Squires and Michael Day as puppets to make a private claim look official, and make that hoax go viral?  We are sure Dr Galati will have all the answers before many days go past. Calunnia charges might apply.

Someone must REALLY fear that Sollecito and Knox will be cooked if that video reconstruction ever gets shown again. Case closed? At one stroke.


[Below: Knox and Sollecito, who could be billed over $300,000 for the reconstruction video]


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Letter To Claire Wachtell of HarperCollins Protesting How Distasteful Knox’s Book Promises To Be

Posted by mimi





Ms Claire Wachtell
HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York NY 10022

Dear Ms. Wachtel,

I am guessing, and in fact hoping, that you are receiving many letters similar in content to the one I am about to write. I hope, also, that you have been inspired by these letters to look further into the matter of Meredith Kercher’s cruel and untimely death, and at the bizarre and disrespectful behaviour of her flatmate and purported friend, in the hours subsequent to Ms. Kercher’s murder.

None of us witnessed the attack - had we been there, we would surely have intervened on her behalf - and, therefore, we cannot absolutely finger Ms. Knox and/or her “boyfriend” as the attackers, in spite of a curious amount of suggestive and incriminating circumstantial and physical evidence.

We can, however, express our considerable distaste at the idea of Ms. Knox benefitting financially from exploiting the sordid tale of a misadventure that resulted purely from her own irresponsible and reckless behaviour. Please consider:

  • She arrived in Europe and proceeded to revel in her newfound sexual identity, indiscriminately associating with men unfamiliar to her flatmates. She behaved without consideration for her own safety, let alone theirs. She laughed off their concern as prudishness.
  • With her “boyfriend” (the term could only be taken in the loosest sense, as she had met him barely a week before the murder), she proceeded to experiment with narcotics, to the extent that she apparently believed that to tell the police investigating a vicious murder which took place in the bedroom adjacent to her own, that she was “too stoned too remember” her whereabouts or actions, was a wise course to take.
  • While Meredith’s tortured body lay upon a cold slab in the coroner’s, Ms. Knox saw it as fitting conduct to galavant about a lingerie shop with her “boyfriend”, holding up g-strings and giggling about wild sex. She absented herself from a candlelight memorial held for Meredith, attended, respectfully, by close friends as well as people who certainly had less of a personal connection to the slain woman than did her own flatmate. She concocted ridiculous and contradictory accounts, both for the increasingly frustrated police and for friends, family and acquaintances back home (in a 4 page email, which I highly recommend you read), which not only illustrated her callous disregard for Meredith and of the seriousness of her own situation, but pointed to clues as to her involvement.
  • She had no one but herself to blame for her repeated questioning and subsequent arrest. Had she behaved like any normal person (and one need only look to the plentiful examples of Meredith’s other friends and neighbours in Perugia for inspiration: Filomena Romanelli, Laura Mezzetti, Giacomo Silenzi, Robyn Butterworth, Sophie Purton, Amy Frost, Samantha Roddenhurst, all of whom were aghast at Knox’s coldness) she had ample opportunity to say,“Please, I am upset, I’m in shock; someone was stabbed and left to die in the room right next to mine! I don’t know who it was, but, dear god, it was not me!” Instead, she made up stories about mops and doors that were normally locked or unlocked, about being terrified of her employer whom she had described only days earlier as being a kind and good person. She sat in the police station with her lover of the week, and in whispers tried to incriminate other acquaintances - anyone they could throw to the wolves to save their own hides.
  • The DNA evidence may not have been abundant, but it was ample and most certainly was not absent. Their lies were indeed abundant, contradicting not only one another’s alibi accounts but their own. The circumstantial evidence against them is most disturbing.
  • Despicable only in second place to the behaviour of Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito was the conduct of their immediate families, subsequent to their understandable arrest.

I live in West Seattle and have witnessed firsthand the distasteful circus that was the Gogerty-Marriott PR circus designed to recreate Amanda Knox as the Ivory Snow Girl, while grinding Meredith Kercher, who deserved nothing she suffered on 1 November 2007, into utter obscurity.

The Sollecitos went even lower than paying a set of spin doctors, when they released forensic video footage of the crime scene, including unmistakable images of the victim’s nude and battered body, to the Bari television network, Telenorba, which proceeded to air the footage several times. Imagine how you would feel, as the parent, sibling, or friend of a young stabbed, strangled and sexually violated individual, to learn that this is her only value to the world after her death. Shock entertainment to a television viewing audience?

So, having read this, I ask you, honestly, what is the value to the world of a ghostwritten (as she lacks the ability to compose a coherent sentence, unaided) memoir by Amanda Knox?

  • She can’t tell us what we want to know about Meredith’s final hours (unless she wishes to revert to the alibi version in which she WAS at the cottage, blocking out the screams).
  • She wouldn’t have the nerve, four years on, to suddenly gush on again over how horrible it must have been for Meredith, how terrifying and agonising to be mutilated in such a manner, and left to die without hope of attracting attention or alerting aid from outside her bedroom walls.
  • She wouldn’t have the gall to offer her condolences to the Kerchers within the same covers of a volume whose main thrust is to whine to the world about how miserable it was to spend 4 years in prison because her brain was so addled by narcotics she was unable, throughout her police and courtroom questioning, to come up with a scenario that made one iota of sense.

I don’t know your opinion on her conviction, which, until the Supreme Court has rendered a decision, still stands, but I sincerely hope that you are not viewing this book project as an enjoyable opportunity to work with an ebullient and bright Amanda Knox, or, worse, to put the “real truth” before the public.

In either case, I fear you will be gravely disappointed and sorrowfully mistaken.

Yours, Mimi (full name in the original)

[Below: the seemingly hornswoggled Jonathan Burnham and Claire Wachtell of the HarperCollins house]

Posted by mimi on 04/10 at 05:23 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Crime hypothesesNews media & moviesMedia newsKnox-Mellas teamSollecito teamKnox BookComments here (32)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why Didn’t Giulia Bongiorno Fight A Lot Harder - For Meredith Kercher, The Real Victim Here?

Posted by Peter Quennell




1. Bongiono as proponent for female victims

Sollecito lead lawyer and parliamentarian Giulia Bongiorno is persistently prominent in the Italian news.

Here she is captured by paparrazi while walking her baby son Ian around Rome.  She is also in the news a lot for her political activities as a former senior member of the party of Silvio Berlusconi and possible future mayor of Palermo Sicily.

And she is fighting hard in court and the media for the interests of the passengers who were on the wrecked cruise ship Costa Concordia, and for the families whose loved ones died. 

She also runs a group called Double Defense with Italian-speaking Swiss supermodel Michelle Hunziker (images of both above). Michelle just got engaged to the Italian fashion heir Tomaso Trussardi so she also is a lot in the news. 

To raise funds for Double Defense they just co-hosted a glittering gala event in Milan. Many of Italy’s richest and most famous attended. Lots of money was raised.

So what is Double Defense?

Giulia Bongiorno and Michelle Hunziker founded Double Defense specifically to tilt the law and the courts more toward women who are the victims of violent crime. As Barbie Nadeau reports, that is much needed in Italy right now.

This description of Double Defense is from the Italian website Beautiful World.

Double Defense aims to help women who have suffered and are suffering domestic violence, physical or psychological, through assistance in the interpretation of the rules and regulations in force.

In addition to that the non-profit organization, born from a chance encounter between the Swiss showgirl and Bongiorno the lawyer, wants to raise awareness of this terrible phenomenon, promote a culture of nonviolence, and prevent passive acceptance and silence from being the only refuge of those who suffer such terrible and barbaric mistreatment.

There are many names known and loved who have decided to put their fame at the service of Double Defense. Anna Tatangelo, Federica Pellegrini, Francesco Totti, Nek, Ilary Blasi and Silvia Toffanin are some of the celebrities who support the non-profit organization which was created by the duo of Hunziker and Bongiorno. .

The Foundation has a new partnership with the Italian brand Pandorine. Co-promotion will include a new marathon and relay race in Piazza Castello, and a special type of bag that is symbolically called Women: completely white, perfect for summer, and bearing a meaningful and touching inscription…


2. Female victim here be damned

We wonder. Did it never occur to Giulia Bongiorno that one of the most prominent women victims in many years was in fact Meredith Kercher? A victim of a cruel and gratuitous murder? Seemingly the MOST deserving victim for Bongiorno to wage a fight for?

Maybe the answer was yes - back at trial in 2009.

Sollecito’s father seemed to have wanted to retain Ms Bongiorno because of her political clout, from wiretap mentions made public which seem to show zero belief in Sollecito’s innocence. Ms Bongiorno often seemed disinterested at trial, and even disappeared or failed to show once or twice.

She seemed from photos in court to have poor chemistry with Raffaele Sollecito, and we heard that both she and Luciano Ghirga were so disbelieving in the innocence of their clients and so irritated at the PR that they might walk and leave Knox and Sollecito to find new defense counsel. 

But in 2011 we saw something entirely different.

During the first appeal under Judge Hellman, Ms Bongiorno seemed to have other things on her mind than the truth of her client’s guilt or innocence, or the fact that the victim in this case, was a super-achieving woman. Meredith’s family being in another country, with few resources of their own, helped to enable an arrogant callousness.

She presumably could have used a win right about then against the justice system of Italy, in support of the beleagured PM Berlusconi, and she may have had (and still have) on her mind that run for the office of mayor in Palermo, Sicily.

Who knows what else might have been on her mind? But in 2011 she certainly mounted a scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners defense of Raffaele Sollecito, and the female victim Meredith be damned..

Bongiorno introduced the bizarre witnesses Alessi and Aviello to discredit Rudy Guede, and one of them (Aviello) openly claimed that he had committed perjury because bribes were being offered in his prison in exchange for testimony helpful to Sollecito. (That is still being investigated.)

Ms Bongiorno also went to remarkable lengths, with witness after witness after witness, to discredit Antonio Curatolo, the claimed observer of Knox and Sollecito in the park. Impartial lawyers think that Curatolo did still emerge as having seen something on the correct night, but he was now openly tarred as a heroin dealer, and in his report Judge Hellman displayed suspicion towards all of the witnesses.

Ms Bongiorno’s performances at trial and at appeal were like night and day.

3. Bongiorno as contemptible hypocrite

So two people who Ms Bongiorno may have always disbelieved and had little time and respect for presently walk free. While the precise kind of victim Bongiono now claims to go to bat for is simply shrugged off, with absolutely no sign of her caring.

Obviously not all women victims in her eyes are equal. Winning at all costs no matter the hurt is what she is really about.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Could A Growing Asymmetry Between Raffaele And Everybody Else Be Ensuring No Sleep In Seattle?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Louise Burke, Jen Bergstrom, and Tricia Boczkowski, top editors at Sollecito publisher Gallery Books]


Amanda Knox seems to have had a history of putting her foot in it and then (sometimes) when she realizes it she tries to make amends.

That seems to be the arc of her Berlin experience where she upset people by quitting a plum intern job at the parliament after a day and then retroactively at least worrying about it. That may have been what she was doing at the first meeting with her parents in Capanne prison when they very quickly shushed her up.

Meredith seems to have found Knox hard to take with her noise and grubbiness and sharp elbows and general pushiness.  But Amanda Knox was losing her few new friends in Perugia fast, and possibly her job in Patrick’s bar, and Meredith seems to have fatefully banked on Amanda Knox coming full circle soon.

There are instances recorded almost to the end where they both seemed to try to get along, although Meredith may have brushed Knox off on Halloween night when Knox made unanswered calls, maybe to ask if she could tag along.

Enter Sollecito.

Seemingly a classic loner with no close friends in Perugia, no previous genuine deep relations with girls, apparently no prior sex, a year or two behind the rest of his class in completing his degree, with serious time given to beastie porn and Japanese anime and Japanese manga. Believed to have had a history of cocaine use with some incident on record back in Bari. Loves knives.

Seemingly forever kept on a very short string by his father, who called him on the phone at least once daily, and who made sure to keep his son’s bank balance on a level with Raffaele’s legitimate monthly expenses.

Seemingly already nervous prior to Meredith’s death that Amanda Knox might soon dump him. That after less than one week.

Our Italian poster ncountryside translated these statements by Dr Sollecito which seem to show Francesco trying hard to get a grip over his slippery son.

From a family conversation recorded in Capanne prison

And then this f@cking knife that you carried back and forth .... I told you about leaving it at home .... You’re an idiot from this point of view .... aren’t you? .... and then the f@cking point that you could have avoided the [marijuana] joints .... You promised a few years ago about it, didn’t you? You gave us your promise, to me and to your sister that you would not have used them again, and instead you have not given a f@ck .... is that clear?”

From another family conversation recorded in Capanne prison

If the investigators are finally realizing what the real dynamics of the matter is ... automatically understand that you have nothing to do with [rude in italian] ... Do you understand? ... Amanda can be more or less involved in this matter ... more or less I do not know and do not give a damn ...

She will know something ... precisely ... especially considering all the versions that she has given, maybe she has not told the right one because she was worried about what this character the little negro [i.e. Patrick Lumumba] has managed to do, something like that ... do you understand what I mean? ... But you have nothing to do with [rude in Italian] ... and they understood ... now this morning or Monday there will be also the checking of your computer ... they have already cloned the hard disk ..

If Amanda was home ... if she was out, wtf were you doing? ... were you at the computer? ...... We cannot understand, this [=AK] within three days, when she went to the questura ... she has four to five different versions ... she has pulled in the little negro a@@hole ... Is a strange personality this girl, isn’t it?.

In his second and third alibis Sollecito definitely seemed to throw Knox under the bus.

It was only after hearing of Sollecito’s second alibi from police interrogators that Knox headed off down the slippery slope that now results in a confirmed three-year sentence for her and calunnia trials for both herself and her parents.

It was right then that Knox pointed the finger at Patrick Lumumba, in her own second alibi when still only a witness.

Upon his release by Judge Hellman, Raffaele Sollecito adopts a high and surprisingly jubilant “catch me if you can” profile not dis-similar to that which has been the downfall of many a psychopath throughout history.

He goes on national TV and avoids all the hard questions and he bristles with narcissistic bravado. He makes several statements about himself and Knox from his seclusion in Bisceglie north of Bari, which his father then publicly tries to pull him back from. 

A seemingly naive ghost-writer, Andrew Gumbel, is invited in to capture Sollecito’s immortal thoughts, and he seem to have instantly started to mirror Sollecito’s extreme bravado.

More or less the opposite of the cautious, subdued book approach of the Knox camp. Although she may not have wanted this, Amanda Knox will be tied forever to Sollecito in the opportunistic, self-serving title: “Presumed Guilty: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox”. 

Book announcements are totally mute about all the legal trouble headed down the pike toward himself and Knox and their two families. The publisher’s announcement makes this inaccurate statement:

“Sollecito was an unwilling participant in a case that riveted the world. The Italian media convicted the young couple before any evidence had even been heard,” Gallery Books said in a statement. “Over and over, Sollecito came under pressure to change his testimony and get himself off the hook, but he refused to betray Amanda and he refused to lie.

“In “˜Presumed Guilty,’ Sollecito will finally tell his side of the story “” from his first meeting with Amanda Knox, to his arrest, prison time, subsequent release, and current relationship with the woman he stood by through the worst ordeal of both their lives.”

Really?! No, in fact Sollecito threw Amanda Knox under the bus as soon as he was leaned on, in his alibis two and three. He left her under the bus throughout the whole trial. Even after she rather desperately reached out to him in Capanne prison.  And he lied again and again and again. Besides:

  • Sollecito seems to show no concern at all that Perugia’s formidable chief prosecutor Dr Galati has filed a devastatingly strong appeal with the Italian Supreme Court.
  • Sollecito seems to show no concern at all over his own family’s upcoming trial or the fact that they might end up in prison (which could cause his father to lose his medical license).
  • Sollecito seems to show no concern at all that, for over-vigorously trying to defend him, his sister Vanessa has now permanently lost her plum job with the Carabinieri.

And now? Well, now there is a new report from the UK press, which seems to keep stringers permanently on the ground in Seattle and may have a direct pipeline to the Knox-Mellases. The report includes this:

Amanda’s new boyfriend, musician James Terrano is understood to be unhappy about Raffaele’s arrival.

James Terrano has himself been very cautious. He is unlikely to have let that damning remark leak out without a heads-up to Amanda Knox and her family. This seems yet another sign that the secret Seattle meetings are not simply a lovefest. 

Both families seem to be struggling with a loose cannon called Raffaele.



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rome Appeal Court Rejects Vanessa Sollecito’s Appeal For Reinstatement In The Carabinieri

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below: Francesco, father of Vanessa and Raffaele, outside their Bisceglie family home late 2011]


In 2008 Vanessa Sollecito and her father Francesco were caught on tape discussing the manipulation of Rome politicians into forcing changes upon the investigation team in Perugia.

Vanessa was fired from the Carabinieri the prestigious Italian national civil-military police force in November 2009 for demonstrating behavior and psychology inappropriate to a law enforcement officer’s job.

Our Italian poster ncountriside has just alerted us to the posting of the official statement that her appeal has been turned down.

The European Court is quoted in that report as confirming that national members have the right to fire official staff for psychological and behavioral cause.

The Carabinieri carried out a very thorough investigation which included the secret bugging of her mobile phone and her father’s phone. Jools translated one key conversation here. Her father suspects they are being bugged by the police but she blithely talks on, digging them in deeper.

This ruling was probably posted when Vanessa Sollecito was already in the air bound for Seattle (see the post below) but she would have known it was coming. This does not bode well for the criminal trial she faces along with her close family, possibly starting in Bari at the end of this month. The charges could incur prison terms.

The Sollecito family arc has almost never been reported on in the English language press. In 21 June 2008 Tom Kington of the Guardian did file this brief report.

The investigation into the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Italy took a dramatic twist yesterday when the family of one of the suspects was accused of attempting to interfere with the inquiry.

Police tapping the phones of the father of Italian student Raffaele Sollecito overheard discussions that appeared to suggest plans being made to get senior politicians to use their influence and get detectives whom the Sollecitos considered hostile taken off the case. The phone tap information is in files handed over to lawyers as magistrate Giuliano Mignini officially completed the investigation into the strangling and stabbing of Kercher, from Surrey, who was found on 2 November semi-naked in a pool of blood in her bedroom in Perugia.

‘We’ve got to flay the Perugia flying squad,’ a family member was overheard saying, according to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. ‘If we can get rid of the head of homicide and that other one, we’ll be OK.’

Relatives of Sollecito, including his sister, a policewoman, were also overheard discussing politicians who could help their case. Giulia Buongiorno, a lawyer and MP in Silvio Berlusconi’s ruling coalition, has now been retained to represent Sollecito. ‘She can help out on this case at a political level,’ Sollecito’s father was overheard saying.

Sollecito’s father, Franco, a well-to-do doctor from Bari in southern Italy, has campaigned to prove his son’s innocence, even to the point of allegedly leaking to a TV station a video obtained from the crime scene showing Kercher’s corpse, as well as highlighting perceived errors by the investigators, including the delayed recovery of parts of Kercher’s bra strap which were found to carry Sollecito’s DNA.

Police are holding in custody Sollecito, 24; his former girlfriend and Kercher’s flatmate, American student Amanda Knox, 20; and a third suspect, Rudy Guede, 21. All three deny involvement in the vicious killing.

As you can see here, Italian reporting like that translated by Jools usually includes a lot more damning detail.




Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In Desperation A Council Of War? All Of The Sollecito Family Suddenly Hop On Flights To Seattle

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




What’s going on here?

Sollecito has been in Los Angeles working on a book with a shadow writer. His father has said very firmly several times that Sollecito and Amanda Knox are through. Finito.

But Italian media are suddenly reporting that Sollecito is hopping on a plane for Seattle. And that his family, seemingly in a panic, is high-tailing it after him.

Are both families really nervous that the two will get back together for better or (probably) worse? Or is this a council of war between the Sollecitos, Knoxes, and Mellases?

Actually, this meet-up is no surprise at all to the close case watchers in Italy. They were wondering how else the two families and their loose-cannon kids could make it through the minefields ahead.  They seem to be facing a five-problem agenda.

Problem One For Discussion

The most immediate problem for the two families is described in the box at the top of the page here. Curt Knox and Edda Mellas are headed for a civil trial brought by aggrieved police, seemingly without an ounce of proof on the family’s side other than any testimony from Amanda Knox herself under cross-examination (for the first time) on the witness stand. 

Almost simultaneously the Sollecitos (five of them) are headed for a CRIMINAL trial for illegal release of evidence and attempted political interference which could eventually land them in prison. The two charges against them seem pretty cut and dried with hard evidence on film and audio tape to which they have not so far offered even a sliver of a rebuttal.

Problem Two For Discussion

The second problem is that officialdom in Rome and Perugia seem to almost universally believe that the two families have all along known that both of their kids were somehow involved in Meredith’s murder. Some of the suggestive evidence is out there in broad daylight and we suspect that prosecutors may be holding back more.

Contrary to the claims of Amanda Knox’s supporters that prosecutors maliciously threw the book at the defendants and their tribes to somehow save face, the truth is that prosecutors stopped short of taking all of the possible actions open to them. 

For example they turned down an offer by Guede to testify fully at first trial (after which he was beaten up in prison and reduced to a jelly which must have pleased him no end) and they seem to know more than they are saying about hard drugs - Knox apparently had a cocaine dealer’s number in her mobile phone. Also they chose not to investigate any of the rumors and backstories in Seattle which US prosecutors might well have done.

In the Sollecito case they may have felt they had no choice but to proceed. The released evidence tape showing Meredith’s naked body was repeatedly broadcast nationally, and the Carabinieri and Rome police are both involved in the political meddling component. Bari prosecutors will of course be trying the case.

Problem Three For Discussion

The third problem is that Judge Hellman has done the families no favors. On the day after he issued his verdict he contradicted himself in an unhelpful way. Then he published an emotional report explaining the surprise outcome of the first appeal which is short on logic and correct law, and full of innuendo and bizarre intellectual leaps.

PMF and TJMK will be posting a careful translation of the Hellman report with a full analysis of its weaknesses soon.

Problem Four For Discussion

Chief Prosecutor Galati has already filed a formidable Supreme Court appeal against the first appeal outcome, which argues in part that (1) the scope of Hellman’s report was illegal overreach; and that (2) his appointing of the two independent DNA experts was more illegal overreach. 

As it has done in many other cases in the past, the Supreme Court might send the outcome of the first appeal back to Perugia to be corrected just as soon as it reads that.

And if it reads further, it cannot help but note that Judge Hellman has brushed right by hundreds of questions that still remain open. The Supreme Court has ALREADY rejected Judge Hellman’s hypothesis that Rudy Guede broke in and attacked Meredith all by himself. It has sided with Judges Massei and Micheli that there were actually three perpetrators. 

Problem Five For Discussion

The blockbuster book offers required to pay for all this new legal action seemed very short on due diligence in the context of the calunnia minefield that Italian law creates for writers and publishers. Did the writers and publishers even know about that? 

Past explanations and alibis from Knox and Sollecito have repeatedly contradicted one another’s.  At one point, each seemed to be accusing the other of the crime. At trial, Knox seemed to want to talk all the time, while Sollecito barely ever said a word. Now we are seeing the exact opposite. Sollecito seemingly cannot keep quiet to save himself, while Knox seems petrified and terminally tongue-tied.

Their books are going to need to be line-by-line supportive of one another, and they will be disasters if they rely on slamming Italian officials and moping (Knox’s apparent angle) or on denying all the hard evidence and moping (Sollecito’s apparent angle).

There will be cancellation clauses in the publishers’ fine print, and what they are we may all soon find out.  From the two families’ point of view, this entire landscape must look very nasty and foreboding. An ill-advised legal and PR strategy has led them into this minefield.

Not surprising that they now find a sudden need to chat.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Excellent Sunday Times Report On The Many Killer Questions The Second Appeal Next Year Might Answer

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Rome: St Peter’s and Vatican in foreground; Supreme Court large white building in right background by River Tiber]


It really ain’t over until it’s over, and knowing the hyper-cautious Italian justice system, maybe not even then.

Now the drama moves to Rome.

Before any verdict and sentence in the case can become final, under Italian law and the constitution the verdict and sentence must be endorsed by the Supreme Court of Cassation.

If either the prosecution or defenses demand that issues be looked at by Cassation (as we know, the prosecution will) Cassation will do so, and it may punt the case back down to the first appeal court to re-examine questions or even run a complete re-trial at first appeal level.

At Cassation level the prosecution is likely to have at least five advantages.

    1) A confusing Hellman sentence report seems likely which won’t be able to dispose of the Massei and Micheli reports because the Hellman court did not re-examine all issues

    2) Cassation’s ruling on the final appeal of Rudy Guede which points to three perps, and Cassation’s general tendency to side with trial courts against first-appeal courts.

    3) The likelihood that only the prosecution will file issues for consideration by Cassation and not the defenses and so the prosecution will dominate all proceedings.

    4) Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and entourages seem unlikely to be there in person for the Cassation hearings or a retrial, and emotive factors would be less in play.

    5) The Italian media and Italian public opinion and increasingly UK and US opinion seem to be taking the position that the Hellman appeal decision was unsatisfactory.

Two days ago, the Sunday Times ran this fine analysis below by their reporter on the case, John Follain, of the open issues that will be facing Cassation and possibly again facing the lower appeal court. 

With a dozen books out John Follain has by far the largest and most impressive book publishing record of any reporter on the case.

Publishers Hodder and Stoughton have announced that his book Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher Case will be released first in the UK later this month - on 25 October.

KILLER QUESTIONS; The acquittal last week of Amanda Knox only deepens the confusion surrounding the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher. John Follain, who has investigated the case for four years, unpicks the evidence How could one man pin Meredith down and inflict those injuries?

By John Follain in Perugia.

They may have been coached to hide their true feelings, but the expressions of the judges and jurors were an open book. Surprise and shock registered on the faces of the appeal tribunal in Perugia as they watched a video taken by the forensic police who searched the whitewashed cottage where Meredith Kercher was murdered.

That summer’s day in the medieval, vaulted Hall of Frescoes was the pivotal scene of the 10-month appeal trial of Amanda Knox, 24, and Raffaele Sollecito, 26 “” the moment that freedom suddenly became possible, if not probable, for the former lovers.

The rotund, bespectacled Stefano Conti, one of two specialists in forensic medicine appointed by the court to review two crucial traces of DNA evidence, gave a sardonic running commentary on the behaviour of the Roman scientific squad searching for clues in the cottage. They failed to use clean protective gloves to handle each item of evidence or biological sample, Conti pointed out. They passed Meredith’s bra clasp to one another before placing it back on the floor where they had found it. The officer who picked up her bra wore no gloves at all.

As the senior appeal judge, Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, recalled last week after acquitting Knox and Sollecito of sexually abusing and murdering Meredith, the DNA review was “the most difficult moment” of the trial.

“The prosecutors understood that their case was at risk, and it was at that moment that the trial became a battle with no holds barred,” he said.

The courtroom fight over this international cause célèbre ended with a sobbing Knox being rushed out by guards and flown home to a heroine’s welcome in Seattle.

But, far from resolving the mystery of how and why Meredith died, the acquittal has fuelled the unanswered questions over her fate. Are we “back to square one”, as Meredith’s brother Lyle said after the verdict? What are the mysteries still to be resolved? And will we ever know what truly happened? MEREDITH, a 21-year-old language student from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found lying virtually naked, her throat cut, in her bedroom in the house she shared with Knox and two other young women on the afternoon of November 2, 2007. “Case closed,” an overoptimistic police chief proclaimed just four days later.

The investigators thought Knox had handed them the keys to the mystery. Under questioning she placed herself at the crime scene on the night before the body was found. She had been in the kitchen, with her hands over her ears, she said, while Patrick Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner for whom she worked as a waitress, killed Meredith.

Police promptly arrested Lumumba, Knox and her boyfriend. But Knox later went back on her testimony, insisting she had been with Sollecito at his flat all night.

Investigators were forced to release Lumumba after witnesses testified he had been working at his bar on the night of the murder. Knox and Sollecito stayed behind bars.

Forensic evidence then prompted the arrest of another African immigrant, Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast drifter. Part of his palm print was on a cushion under Meredith’s body, his DNA was in her body where he had apparently groped her sexually, and his DNA was mixed with hers in drops of blood inside her shoulder bag.

The prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, accused Guede, Knox and Sollecito of killing Meredith when she resisted their attempts to force her into a sex game.

Certainly, there appeared to be compelling evidence that Knox was lying. She had tried to frame Lumumba. The defence now claimed that an intruder had broken into the cottage and attacked Meredith; but the break-in had clearly been staged. Amateurishly, a room had been ransacked before the window into it was smashed “” the glass lay over the strewn clothes instead of under them. Was this to cover Knox’s tracks? There were mixed traces of Knox’s and Meredith’s blood in the bathroom and another room. Bloody footprints had been left by Knox and Sollecito in the bathroom and in the corridor. Knox had behaved bizarrely at the police station after the murder, kissing and caressing Sollecito and doing yoga exercises. Sollecito had said he spent much of the murder night on his computer, but this was disproved by experts.

Still, this was all circumstantial evidence rather than proof. The Rome forensic police came to the rescue of the prosecution team. They reported that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of a kitchen knife found at Sollecito’s flat “” and Knox’s was on the handle. This was believed to be one of the murder weapons.

Forensic pathologists said Meredith’s wounds had been caused by two knives, pointing to more than one killer. The team from Rome also reported that Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp. (Only much later would it emerge that the police had retrieved this from the bedroom floor a full 46 days after first spotting it.) The case rapidly became a sensation. The prime suspect was an intelligent and alluringly pretty American, only 20 at the time, who, reporters joyously discovered, had been nicknamed “Foxy Knoxy” back home in Seattle. That this was for her skills on the soccer pitch was lost in the rush to find out more.

Dozens of witnesses and expert consultants passed through Perugia’s Hall of Frescoes during the first trial, which lasted for much of 2009.

Knox was portrayed by the lawyer for the bar owner, Lumumba, as an unscrupulous and manipulative she-devil, and by her defence team as “a wholesome girl” wrongly accused.

The prosecution case was that Kercher, a hard-working young woman from a modest background, had become exasperated by Knox’s slovenly and promiscuous behaviour as a housemate.

She had remarked to her father that “Amanda arrived only a week ago and she already has a boyfriend”. She told friends that Knox left a vibrator and condoms in the bathroom and brought “strange men” to the cottage. Investigators leaked Knox’s diary, in which she had listed seven sexual partners, three of whom she had slept with after her arrival in Italy, including a man she had met on the train on her way to Perugia. On Facebook she had put down as her interests: “Men.” Unable to prove exactly what had happened on the night of the murder, Mignini offered a plausible scenario based on Meredith’s 43 knife wounds and bruises.

He suggested that an argument between Meredith and Knox escalated when Guede and Sollecito joined the American “under the influence of drugs and maybe of alcohol” in trying to force Kercher into a heavy sex game that ended in murder. The sensational 11-month trial ended in guilty verdicts and jail sentences of 26 years for Knox and 25 years for Sollecito.

Some months later, in August 2010, I met Knox briefly in Capanne women’s prison, which is a short drive from Perugia. She had cut her hair and looked younger and more frail than during her trial. She wore a red Beatles sweatshirt, black leggings and silver nail varnish.

When I arrived, she was pushing a trolley down a corridor.

A guard explained that her job was to collect orders from other prisoners for small goods they could buy: newspapers, cigarettes, coffee, magazines and “” at that time of year “” strawberries. We were allowed to talk for only a few moments, but a guard told me: “She’s pretty well. Amanda’s confident that the future will bring freedom for her. She doesn’t break down in tears. It’s nothing like the night of tears after the verdict, when we had to comfort her.”

I was told she had been reading “” in Italian “” the 427-page summary by the two judges at her trial, who had dissected the inconsistencies in her evidence.

This summary included the judges’ own reconstruction of what might have happened on the night of the murder, based on the evidence that had been put before them.

They suggested that Knox, Sollecito and Guede had arrived at the cottage at about 11pm. Knox and her boyfriend had gone to her bedroom to have sex, and, excited by a situation “heavy with sexual stimulus”, Guede had walked into Kercher’s room wanting to have sex with her.

Kercher rejected him “” she was tired, and had a new boyfriend anyway “” but Knox and Sollecito intervened to assist him. According to the judges, they were probably drugged on hashish and seeking “erotic sexual violence”. Forcing Kercher to yield to Guede was a “special thrill that had to be tried out”.

They suggested Sollecito cut Meredith’s bra with a small knife he always carried “” collecting knives was a hobby. As Guede sexually assaulted Kercher with his fingers, Sollecito stabbed her in the neck. Kercher screamed “” a neighbour heard her “” and Knox stabbed her in the throat with a kitchen knife, the judges argued. She took several minutes to die as she inhaled her own blood.

THAT was the lurid and damning case that Knox had to fight when she returned to the Hall of Frescoes last November for her appeal.

Her demeanour had changed. Gone was smiling and self-confident “Foxy”, whose manner may have helped secure her conviction. After three years in prison, Knox was much more demure.

The appeal hearing began auspiciously for her when the deputy judge remarked: “The only certain and undisputed fact is the death of Meredith Kercher.”

The comment prompted prosecutors to complain that the court had already made up its mind, but it was a portent of what was about to be revealed.

The appeal court’s decision to grant a defence request for an independent review of two items of DNA evidence “” the kitchen knife and the bra clasp “” proved devastating for the prosecution’s case.

The two experts “” Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, from La Sapienza University in Rome “” said the DNA trace on the knife blade could not be attributed to Meredith because it was too slight. They said Sollecito’s Y chromosome was on the bra clasp, but it could have been the result of contamination by police mishandling of the evidence. From then on, the prosecutors fought a losing battle to discredit Conti and Vecchiotti.

Outside the courtroom the Knox camp’s media offensive exploited the experts’ conclusions.

Knox’s family “” her mother, father, stepfather and friends “” had come well primed for battle. Homes had been remortgaged and funds raised.

With the help of a PR company in Seattle, they dominated prime-time shows on the leading American TV networks, dramatically influencing public opinion there “” so much so that the prosecutor Mignini thundered in court that he had never seen a convict hire a PR firm to prove her innocence.

Mignini himself was a key target. In what appeared to have been a turf battle with prosecutors in Florence, he had been given a suspended 16-month prison sentence for abuse of office after tapping the phones of police officers and journalists in a separate investigation into a serial killer. It was a reflection of the fragmented and politicised condition of the Italian justice system.

The prosecutors tried but failed to switch the focus away from the forensic evidence by introducing Guede, the third party to the murder. He had been prosecuted separately because he had opted for a “fast track” trial that offers a lighter sentence as an incentive. Jailed for 16 years for murder, he had appealed to the Supreme Court in Rome “” Italy’s highest court “” which confirmed his conviction, ruling that Guede had sexually abused and murdered Kercher with “unidentified accomplices”.

This was an insight into the mystifying processes of Italian law. How could justice be served by trying Guede separately? Why had he not been brought to give evidence at the first Knox trial? Why were his accomplices “unidentified” when Knox and Sollecito had been convicted of joining him in the murder? The answers lay in the fact that his supreme court appeal started just after Knox’s appeal began in Perugia “” and the two cases overlapped, a bizarre way of seeking out the truth.

Once Guede’s Supreme Court appeal had been dismissed he was summoned to the witness box in Perugia, where his contribution was damning yet so limited that it did not sway the judges and jury.

Rather than taking him through the events of the killing, Mignini read out a letter in which Guede had written of “the horrible murder of a ... wonderful girl by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox”. Challenged by one of Knox’s lawyers, Guede stood by the letter, saying: “It’s not as if there is my truth, and the truth of Tom, Dick and Harry. What there is is the truth of what I lived through that night, full stop.”

A lawyer for the Kerchers detailed the injuries Meredith suffered, arguing it would have been impossible for Guede to hold her down, sexually assault her, try to suffocate her, try to strangle her and wound her with more than one knife.

But it was too late. The appeal panel of judges and jurors had made up their minds. A juror confided after the “not guilty” verdicts had been delivered that the court had decided to acquit because of doubts over the forensic evidence, and because it saw no motive for the murder.

Pratillo Hellman explained: “To convict, the penal code says you have to be persuaded beyond every reasonable doubt. The smallest doubt is enough to not condemn.”

But he added enigmatically: “Maybe Knox and Sollecito know what happened that night, because our acquittal verdict stems from the truth which was established in the trial. But the real truth can be different. They may be responsible, but there isn’t the evidence… So, perhaps they too know what happened that night, but that’s not our conclusion.”

The judge’s comments earned him a new nickname, which investigators texted to each other delightedly: “Pontius Pratillo”, after Pontius Pilate, who washed his hands of responsibility for the execution of Jesus Christ.

The prosecution scored one potentially significant victory. The court found Knox guilty of slandering the former bar owner Lumumba by initially claiming he had killed Kercher. It sentenced her to three years in prison, but released her as she had spent almost four years behind bars.

“That’s absurd, absurd,” Mignini fumed. “Knox accused Lumumba to throw the police off her tracks. Why else would she accuse him?” IN PERUGIA, at least, the prosecution can count on overwhelming backing. After the verdict, a crowd several thousand strong massed outside the courts, amid jeers at defence lawyers and chants of “Assassini, assassini!” (murderers, murderers) and “Vergogna, vergogna!” (shame, shame). In bars across the picturesque city, and on the main cobbled street, Corso Vannucci, many dissected the case for days afterwards “” the consensus was that Knox and Sollecito were at the cottage when Meredith died, but no one agreed on what role they played.

For the Kercher family no outcome could have been more bewildering. As Knox flew home, Meredith’s mother Arline, her brother Lyle and her sister Stephanie spoke to me.

“It almost raises more questions than there are answers now,” Lyle said, “because the initial decision was that [the murder] wasn’t done by one person but by more than that. Two have been released, one remains in jail, so we’re now left questioning: who are these other people or person?” Did they believe that Knox and Sollecito were guilty? “In a way we have to believe what the police say because they are the ones compiling the evidence,” Arline replied. “We haven’t a clue. I think that’s what he was saying. It’s the police “” it’s their job.”

“It’s difficult for anybody to make a valid opinion on any case, not just this one, unless you’re a trained expert,” Lyle echoed. “There are forensics, detectives, psychological profilers and so on, who are trained to do this and read the information and draw the hypotheses from that, which of course no lay person really is. So if that’s the conclusion they come to, then we’re happy to stand by that.”

“We have to accept, don’t we, just like now we have to accept this,” Arline said.

“And that’s why it’s so disappointing, because we don’t know,” Stephanie added.

It is not over for the Kerchers.

Last week’s acquittal is far from the last word on the case. The judges have 90 days to draft a report explaining the reasons for the verdict. Then the prosecution and the defence will have a further 45 days to lodge a new and last appeal. Only rulings by the Supreme Court are considered definitive in Italian justice.

Guede’s lawyers said he would appeal for a new trial if the Supreme Court confirmed Knox’s acquittal “” on the grounds that it would contradict the Ivorian’s conviction for killing Meredith alongside unidentified accomplices. “So I’m supposed to be Meredith’s only assassin?” Guede is reported to have told a prison visitor. “I’m supposed to have struck that poor girl with a knife 40 times? I confessed my responsibilities and I accused those who were in the house with me.

“I’m in prison, and the others are free and happy at home. If it wasn’t them in the house that damned evening, who are the other accomplices supposed to be? The money made available to Amanda and the media strategy helped to free her.”

Many investigators and lawyers admit privately that the Italian judicial system may simply never come up with a full and convincing explanation of Meredith’s death.

Italian justice is agonisingly slow. Judges and lawyers attend several trials in the same week, with the result that the appeal trial saw 20 days of hearings over no fewer than 10 months. It is also full of safeguards for defendants, including long preliminary hearings enshrined in the post-war constitution to eradicate the caricature of justice delivered by the courts under Mussolini.

Many of the most notorious cases in Italy’s post-war history have yet to be resolved in court. Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire prime minister, is embroiled in a string of corruption, fraud and sex offence investigations and trials, and claims that leftist prosecutors are plotting to oust him.

This week Berlusconi will push through parliament a bill banning publication of phone and other intercepts before a case reaches trial “” a measure that has become a priority for him, as investigators are expected to release within a few weeks dozens of intercepts of reportedly embarrassing conversations between Berlusconi and a convicted drug dealer.

In such a climate Italian justice itself is on trial. The truth of what happened to Meredith Kercher may emerge one day, but it’s no safe bet that it will do so in an Italian court of law.


Friday, October 07, 2011

US And UK Media: Make RS & AK Answer The HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS Of Open Questions

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





It seems Judge Hellman has begun sweating.

Maybe Judge Hellman already sees as much of the Italian public and commentators do that he’ll have a REALLY tough time answering all the open questions in his December sentencing report as he is required to.

Constitutional requirement of Ministry of Justice never met?

That so many questions exist but are not generally even known about, especially in the US and UK, is because a key requirement of the usually very careful Italian justice system seems to have been (illegally) ignored.

The key requirement is built into the justice system by the Italian constitution. It is that trial and appeal sentencing reports MUST be made available to the maximum extent, so that the general public (usually only the Italian public) can readily check on the legitimacy of trial outcomes.

Italy is the only country in the world that has that public check and balance on trials.  Under that requirement, if it existed in the US, Barry Scheck of the US’s Innocence Project would likely find that most of the travesties of justice his team uncovers would never have happened in the first place.

Here is how things are meant to work. 

Back when the Micheli Report on the Rudy Guede sentence was released in January 2009 with Judge Micheli’s reasons for remitting Knox and Sollecito to trial it was released in THREE formats.

    1) It was released digitally (in a Word Doc) to the media with the one requirement that it not be posted in full. We translated most of our copy and posted an extensive summary (scroll down) in English in four parts (three by Brian and one by Nikki) in September 2009.

    2) It was released in printed document form by the Ministry of Justice in Rome and anyone in Italy could buy a copy.

    3) It was also posted on the website of the Ministry of Justice in text and Acrobat document format. It appears that this Internet version was checked out by hundreds of thousands and quite possibly even by millions.

Now when the Ministry of Justice in Rome released the Massei sentencing report for Knox and Sollecito (links at top of this page) in March 2010, they released it in only ONE format.

The Ministry of Justice released it ONLY on paper, and it was obtainable ONLY by the press and by those in the general public who managed to figure out how to buy a copy of the book-sized document from the Ministry.

To our knowledge the Ministry of Justice never ever posted the required Internet version.

The effect of this serious and seemingly illegal shortfall by the Rome Ministry has been that even in Italy few people have ever read the Massei Report. The number of Italian readers might be only in the hundreds and at most in the low thousands. Way, way less than ever read Micheli.

As a result only very few people in Italy may have ever realized how powerful, logically complete and conclusive that report is. Probably few or no peers of the lay judges in Perugia have ever read it. The most important document in the entire case is essentially unread.

In August 2010 a PMF team finished translating the Massei Report and made available the Masssei report in English in Acrobat format on the PMF forum and on TJMK.

In June 2011 Skeptical Bystander and a PMF team posted a Massei summary in text on TJMK and PMF.

This English language version has been downloaded close to 30,000 times and there are many people in the US and UK who are very well informed on the conclusions.  Every lawyer we know who has read the report has agreed that it arrived at the right conclusions. Many say and several do right here in these posts (scroll down) that the case would have been way more than enough for a US or UK conviction.

A slam dunk in effect. Evidence overkill.

But few of the busy people in the US and UK media have read the Massei Report and no one in the media to our knowledge has extensively analyzed or quoted from it. None of the books out so far go into the Massei Report in depth.

WHY did the Italian Ministry of Justice fail to fully distribute the Massei Report, and in particular not post it on their website? And is the Supreme Court of Cassation aware of this huge shortfall in its distribution?

This is such a serious mistake that our Italian lawyers believe that the Supreme Court or even the President of the Republic of Italy if he is petitioned could throw out the entire Hellman proceedings, verdict and sentence.

The hundreds and hundreds of open questions

Arising from the Massei Report are literally hundreds of questions for the released defendants and their teams. They have been around since early 2010. The defense teams and PR campaign have never ever tried to answer these questions, or for that matter to produce a convincing alternative scenario that hangs together implicating Guede but not Knox or Sollecito.

Here are four lists of the many, many outstanding questions.

Here from the Daily Beast are those ten questions with the Beast’s annotations showing how they are STILL unanswered:

1. Why did you and Raffaele Sollecito turn off your cell phones at the same time the night of Nov. 1, 2007, and on again at the same time the next morning? You told the police that you and Raffaele slept late the morning of Nov. 2, 2007, but phone records show that you both turned your phones back on very early that morning. How could that be? This question was never addressed fully in the appellate process except when Giulia Bongiorno for Sollecito said that perhaps the cat stepped on the phone and turned it on. At that time the prosecutor Manuela Comodi quipped, “I’ve got a dog and he has never done that.”

2. Why were you bleeding? Your lawyers agree with the prosecution’s findings that at least one of the spots of Meredith’s blood found in the house where she was killed had your blood mixed with it. Your mother told me that you had your period. Your stepfather told others that your ear piercings were infected. Which was it? Even if this mixed blood drop is contentious in its genetic makeup (all blood or blood mixed with DNA), the appellate court was shown a picture of a drop of blood attributed entirely to Knox on the faucet.

3. Once you realized your mistake in blaming Patrick Lumumba for Meredith’s murder, why didn’t you tell the authorities? You told your mother that you felt bad about it, so why didn’t you alert an official so Patrick could be set free?

4. Why did you go with Raffaele to the police station on Nov. 5, 2007? You were not called in for questioning. Did you realize at that time that you were both under suspicion?

5. Why weren’t your and Raffaele’s fingerprints found in your house after the murder if the two of you had spent time there that morning and the day before? Only one half-print on a glass in the kitchen has been attributed to you, yet you have claimed that you took a shower there that morning. How did you spend so much time there and leave virtually no trace? Much of the crime scene has since been determined to have suffered from sloppy investigative work, meaning the absence of fingerprints in any room of the house may be due to that rather than any sort of cleanup.

6. Why did you take the mop and bucket from your house over to Raffaele’s house? You told the prosecutor during your testimony in June 2009 that you took the mop and bucket to his house to clean up a leak under his kitchen sink. But by your own testimony, the leak was minuscule and could have been easily cleaned up without it. What were you really doing with the mop?

7. What would you do differently if you had a chance to rewind the clock back to Nov. 3, 2007? Would you go to the memorial service for Meredith? Would you still have gone to the police station with Raffaele? Would you have left for Germany when your aunt asked you to?

8. What do you think happened the night Meredith was killed? You have professed your innocence. Who do you think killed her and under what circumstance? Your supporters say Rudy Guede was the lone killer. Do you agree? Or do you think there are still others out there who were involved in your roommate’s murder?

9. What do you really think of the Italian justice system? You told an Italian parliamentarian that you got a fair trial, and you even thanked the prosecutors for trying to solve the mystery of Meredith’s death, but your supporters at home in Seattle maintain that the Italian system is corrupt and unfair. In your appellate hearing you said you lost faith in justice and the police. Now that you are out, what do you really think of the system that has both convicted and acquitted you?

10. Is there anything you wish you would have said in court during your (initial) trial (in which you were convicted)? You talked about your vibrator and about how you did not want an assassin’s mask forced on you. But in your final appeal after the closing arguments on Dec. 4, 2010, why didn’t you say the words, “I did not kill Meredith Kercher”? Raffaele did when it was his turn to speak. Why didn’t you? You have said on many occasions during the appellate trial that you did not kill her and you have never hurt anyone. This question has been addressed with your denials. What about the rest?

Judge Hellman may be able to answer all of these unanswered questions AS HE MUST under Italian law in his sentencing report. He cannot simply address points defense raised about small parts of it. He must be able to explain the totality of the evidence or his report risks being thrown out by Cassation and a retrial at the first appeal level ordered.

Possibly Judge Hellman might be able to achieve this. But why do we seriously doubt it?


Monday, October 03, 2011

Is The Raffaele Sollecito Defense Team About To Separate Him From A Radioactive Amanda Knox?

Posted by Peter Quennell





Sollecito has at least five advantages over Knox in what may be the final day of court tomorrow.

First, the smartest and most influential of all the lawyers in MP Giulia Bongiorno. Second, a relatively attractive family which has run a low-key smiling campaign. Third, relatively little evidence (the bra clasp and footprint) placing him at the scene of the crime and unlike Knox no alibi that says he was there.

Fourth, no obvious motive for either the murder or the cleanup compared to the many possible motives for Amanda Knox. And fifth, a weak wishy-washy personality on which Bongiorno has already played, casting Knox as the lead player in the drama and Sollecito as either accidentally there or not at all.

The mood does seem to be moving against Amanda Knox now as the extreme arrogance of the million dollar campaign sinks in. And if her “spontaneous” remarks to the court tomorrow follow her usual pattern, they will yet again make her look callous and concerned only about herself.

Several reports are out now in Italian harking on these themes. This report by the Associated Press with a possible nudge from the Sollecito team gives a sense of what the Italian reports are saying.

Even in Sollecito’s native Italy, it is Knox who commands the most media attention. Two prominent celebrity and gossip magazines, “Oggi” and “Gente,” put Knox on their covers during the final week of arguments in the appeals trial, and newspapers characterize him as being in the background.

Not even prosecutors have portrayed Sollecito as the main protagonist in the murder of Meredith Kercher on Nov. 1, 2007. According to their version, Sollecito held Kercher from behind while Knox stabbed her and another man tried to sexually assault her. Ivorian immigrant Rudy Guede was convicted in a fast-track trial and saw his sentence cut from 30 years to 16 years on appeal.

Attention during the investigation focused intensely on the two young female roommates as the world and prosecutors searched for a motive. Knox was portrayed as sexually promiscuous and lacking inhibition, while at the same time working hard to support herself and trying to learn Italian; Kercher was depicted as more serious and studious, who had at the end of her life began to chafe at her American roommate’s sloppiness.

The good girl/bad girl dichotomy drove headlines across the globe, while Sollecito “” the mild mannered boyfriend “” was largely overlooked in a supporting role.

It’s a role that his defense lawyer plays up. Sollecito is the son of a wealthy doctor from southern Italy who hired a crack legal team to defend his son. It’s led by Giulia Bongiorno, who defended former Italian Premier Giulio Andreotti on charges of mafia association.

“It’s not by chance that Raffaele arrived in this trial as the boyfriend. Nothing connects Raffaele to the crime,” Bongiorno said in her closing arguments last week. “With a girlfriend, you usually get a family. Raffaele got a murder.”

She said the few pieces of evidence in the “Amanda-centric” trial relate to Knox, not to Sollecito. “Nothing connects him to the crime,” Bongiorno said.


Million Dollar Campaign And American Media Come Under Intense Ridicule By An Influential Italian

Posted by Tiziano





Vittorio Zucconi is the US editor of the major daily La Republicca and lives in Washington. He has more influence over Italian perceptions of America than any other. This is translated from the Italian.

A few hours from the verdict, America is in a trance over Baby Amanda - she is the girl from the golden west, an innocent victim of the wicked witches of the east, the ones wearing the robes of the Perugian judges - now awaiting the happy ending that everyone is expecting, which legions of correspondents and American TV cameras talk about and recount, as if the fate of the west depended upon her release from prison on appeal or on the confirmation of the guilty verdict

By Vittorio Zucconi per la Repubblica

She is the “Girl from the Golden West”, the innocent victim of the wicked witches of the east, the ones who wear the robes of the judges from Perugia. It is a melodrama, sung, played and staged for an American audience which relishes it and avidly follows it like a soap opera or one of those legal thrillers which have made the fortune of of authors like Grisham, Turow and before them Earl Stanley Gardner.

Amanda like Puccini’s Minnie, is the snow-white, naive, extremely innocent girl imprisoned on the wild frontier of the Italian justice system, now awaiting the happy ending which everyone expects, which legions of correspondents and TV cameras tell of and which are preparing to recount as if the fate of the West depended on her release form prison on appeal or on the confirmation of her guilty verdict. And which networks like the ABC are already selling for $7.99 to be downloaded to I-pads and tablets.

Such a show of strength, such a shelling out of money on the part of “news organisations”, all now very careful down to the last cent in bad times, about a legal case the like of which has probably not been seen on the other side of the Atlantic since the trial of historic importance of Adolf Eichmann.

Yes, the monster of the SS, the brain and the accountant of the Jewish genocide. Live satellite coverage is expected for the imminent sentence to be pronounced by the Appeal Court and daily services will broadcast, especially those for the morning shows, those desperate housewives, for mothers who have children anxious to escape from the boredom of suburbia, the same old routine of high school parties to fly far away for new experiences, as Amanda dreamed.

The one whom the British tabloid press straight away stained with the nick-name given to her by her soccer team friends, in the football she played as a little girl: Foxy Knoxy, in which foxy means agile, cunning, escaping tackles and not for that “foxy” which, as in Fellini’s Amarcord evokes the arts of an enchantress and insatiable desires. Because while the USA was barracking for Knox, the English cousins were against her.

As well, other than those irresistible ingredients thrown into the cauldron of the morbidity which gains circulation and titillates the worst in every consumer of garbage TV with bombs and horror reconstructions, sex, blood, satanism, the woman with sacrificial lamb and the butcher, in the fury of the American media who throw themselves against this “court peopled with provincial lawyers” (still Rolling Stones which dedicated an extremely lengthy inquest) there is a great repressed and secret desire for vengeance.

There is the repressed rage against that Europe which is always ready with finger raised to accuse American justice of monstrous errors, of inexplicable acquittals (the O J Simpson case), of “puritanical” persecution as is said precisely on our shores, (Clinton crucified for oral sex), of horrible shows, like the arrest and the world-wide shame of Strauss Khan, or the details of the “panties cover-up” - inside or outside? - of the victim of Willy Kennedy Smith, raped on the beach of the Kennedy villa in Florida.

American justice which triumphantly boasts that it is the best in the world, but refuses to recognise that it has sent, and still sends, innocent people defended by useless bar-room lawyers to be executed.

Now swallow this, you supercilious and presumptuous Italians and Europeans. The frenzy of the specials about Amanda is pursued by the satellite nets which have to recuperate their expenses.

CNN, once the authoritative queen of the satellite, yesterday showed a long special on the four years of torments and injustice, with Amanda on show on the site, with her face in the shadow, her fresh-face and prison profile, the “girl next door”, quite different from the she-devil, the satanic female painted by the “baroque” closing arguments (here is another expression which appears in all the reports on the prosecutor, next to “mediaeval”, all that is missing are the Borgias and Machiavelli.)

On the site her face figures in double format in respect to the pallid and sinister image of the jihadist Anwar al-Awaki, killed yesterday, one of the infinite number of aspiring candidates for the succession of Osama Bin Laden. The number of listeners and hits motivates CNN: Amanda is in first place and is beating the terrible terrorists, as well as news on the economy and the stock market, disastrous again.

We are possibly on the way to a second recession, but there is no match, in the ratings, for that travesty, that parody of justice, put in place against the girl from the golden west, martyred in Perugia.

It is a thought that will print books, burn DVDs, work video-recorders to see once more the specials of CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, local broadcasters, which have exalted as a hero,  the blogger from Perugia who was sceptical from the first day. And the first network which succeeds in obtaining - or buying - the truth from Amanda, the “accidental murderer” who was dreaming of the view of Umbrian cypresses and who saw the prison bars of Italian justice, will be transported to the stars.

‘Is it true that you are always dreaming of sex?” the prison guards would ask the girl, according to her diaries, also printed greedily by Time. True, false, it doesn’t matter. Amanda is a victim, a woman, a little girl, and the verdict has already been issued here. An America, year in year out accused of being an executioner by anti-Americanism, even when its own symbols are collapsing, can finally call itself, this time, the victim. Today, here, we are all Amanda.Knox.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A New Book Explains The Unfruitful Emergence Of More And More Conspiracy Theories

Posted by Peter Quennell


Conspiracy theorists have dismally failed to come up with a plausible alternative theory of how Meredith died.

However, they do keep trying. So do the proponents of literally hundreds of other conspiracy theories, constituting vast amounts of effort probably better spent elsewhere - conspiracy theorists very rarely achieve very much, or do well economically, or rise to the top jobs.

The articles here and here look with skepticism on the 9/11 conspiracy theories which on the tenth anniversary of the twin towers coming down have been pushed hard by the various factions.

Now a new book “The Believing Brain” explains the mental makeup that disposes people to so eagerly believe the worst of our fellow man or our governments: One review in the Wall Street Journal..

In Mr. Shermer’s view, the brain is a belief engine, predisposed to see patterns where none exist and to attribute them to knowing agents rather than to chance””the better to make sense of the world. Then, having formed a belief, each of us tends to seek out evidence that confirms it, thus reinforcing the belief.

This is why, on the foundation of some tiny flaw in the evidence””the supposed lack of roof holes to admit poison-gas cans in one of the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers for Holocaust deniers, the expectant faces on the grassy knoll for JFK plotters, the melting point of steel for 9/11 truthers””we go on to build a great edifice of mistaken conviction….

Mr. Shermer offers a handy guide for those who are confused. Conspiracy theories are usually bunk when they are too complex, require too many people to be involved, ratchet up from small events to grand effects, assign portentous meanings to innocuous events, express strong suspicion of either governments or companies, attribute too much power to individuals or generate no further evidence as time goes by.

The increasingly shrill posts appearing daily on the website Ground Report seem to mark pretty high against that list. Could the Evil Mignini have engineered even this?

Oops. Another conspiracy theory in play.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Conspicuous By Their Absence Now: Legal Commentators For Sollecito And Knox

Posted by Peter Quennell


There is a marked sharp contrast now between how various reporters without legal backgrounds and various real lawyers are seeing the state of play in the appeal.

The post below shows how flavor-of-the-month reporters like Nick Pisa are still reporting happy talk from Knox and her entourage, while, within their professional constraints, we see more and more lawyers realisng Sollecito and Knox really are cooked.

Half a dozen of the main posters on TJMK who are lawyers (they identify themselves as such when they post) have explained how tough is the real case. Various Italian lawyers continue to offer us insights and tips from Perugia and Rome.  And we continue to see maybe half a dozen lawyers a week getting in touch by email or signing up, a trend that shows no sign of fading out.

In contrast all of the lawyers and legal commentators who were once suggesting the process in Perugia had taken a wrong turn have gone quiet, and no new legal voices for Solllecito and Knox are speaking up. The CNN legal shows devote almost no air time to the appeal, and Geraldo Rivera, Dan Abrams, John Q Kelly, Lis Wiehl and others have wound down their commentaries to brief equivocations or nothing at all. 

Ted Simon who is believed to be still on the Mellas-Knox payroll seems be operating only from very deep cover. Knox’s own lawyers pass on the (to us sad) happy talk from Capanne while themselves sounding very cautious and down.

And the former lawyer and political commentator Ann Coulter who does us the peculiar favor of including us in her definition of right wing is starkly declaring that the increasingly small number of increasingly shrill non-lawyers for Sollecito and Knox really should get a life.

By now, the only people who believe Knox and Sollecito are the usual criminal apologists and their friends in the American media.

Serial smearer and evidence incompetent Steve Moore as one of the usual criminal apologists?! That has to hurt.


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