Monday, November 08, 2010

Another In Seeming Never-Ending Disasters For Hapless Knox Campaign

Posted by Peter Quennell

Apparently xenophobia and sliming and serial misconstruing of the evidence isnt working. The Italian authorities continue to be relentless and unblinking.

In court today, Amanda Knox was indicted by the judge and she WILL stand full trial next May for calunnia.  This first report on the BBC News website as follows.

American student Amanda Knox is to face trial for slander after saying police beat her during questioning over the killing of Briton Meredith Kercher.

A judge made the decision at a closed indictment hearing in Perugia, Italy.

Knox, 23, told the judge she never intended slander and was just trying to defend herself, her lawyer said.

Ann Wise of ABC News adds this.

American student Amanda Knox was indicted for a second time by an Italian court today, this time for allegedly slandering Italian police for saying they were abusive when they interrogated her for the murder of her roommate.

Knox, who was convicted last year of murdering Meredith Kercher and sentenced to 26 years in prison, stood up in court and made what Italian legal officials call a “spontaneous statement” before the judge’s ruling.

“I have always tried to defend myself. I never wanted to offend or slander anyone,” Knox said in Italian.

Nevertheless, preliminary hearing Judge Claudia Matteini indicted Knox, 23, for slander.

The charge refers to Knox’s testimony during her murder trial that Italian police were rough with her when they interrogated her overnight just days after Kercher’s body was found in a pool of blood in the house they shared.

She claimed the officers yelled at her, discouraged her from calling a lawyer and cuffed the back of her head. The 12 officers named in the slander complaint have denied being abusive to Knox.

At the end of the long interrogation, Knox signed a statement in which she said she had a confused dream-like recollection of being in the house and hearing Kercher scream, effectively placing her on the scene of the crime.

Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said Knox was “saddened” by the decision.

Another lawyer for Knox, Maria Del Grosso, told reporters that “for Amanda this (interrogation) was the genesis for her homicide accusation. She is very frustrated and obviously disappointed, but she knows that today’s was only a preliminary hearing and the truth was not ascertained today. Let’s hope it is when the case is debated because there was something that went wrong that night.”

Knox was driven into the courthouse in a police van with darkened windows. The hearing was closed to the public, but photographers were able to get a glimpse of her in the courtroom hallways. Looking thinner and drawn, Knox wore a dark green sweater and black pants, her hair is a jaw-length bob.

Before the hearing, Knox’s stepfather Chris Mellas told ABC News that “Amanda is doing better. She is rightfully angry about the slander accusations, and told me she was going to speak out in court this morning. She told me she wanted to tell them that she sees police interrogations shown on TV all the time, and would like to know why her interrogation was not recorded or videotaped.”

But according to her lawyers, she limited her statement to saying she was just defending herself and did not want to offend.

Knox will go to trial for slander on May 17, 2011 before a single judge, Cecilia Bellucci. Matteini said the case needed to go to trial to resolve some formal technical matters, and to debate the accusations, possibly with witnesses.

The lawyer for eight of the police officers, Francesco Maresca, said that the “framework of the request for an indictment was confirmed, and now we await the debate.”

Conviction of the charge could add as much as six years to Knox’s prison sentence.

Again, this is the nexus of Amanda Knox’s accusation against poor Patrick Lumumba who spent two terrifying weeks in Capanne Prison and later lost his business when the customers fled.

Whatever else she may be, Knox does seem to be a serial blamer of others. Blaming the cops for her blaming Patrick, Knox seemed to us to think, was an easy way out.

Italian reports say that she seemed to be scowling or sour or very serious or depressed (no mention of nervousness) and that she had put on a few pounds.


By Storm Roberts (Innai)

I think it is good that Judge Matteini has sent this case to trial because that is the best way to have a proper debate as to what happened that night. 

I can understand Knox’s disappointment and I know there will be vocal comments on blogs and news reports from those who claim to support her, however with a full trial she will be able to tell her side of the story and explain what happened.  Those on the other side of the debate will also be able to have their say and thus the court will be able to ascertain the truth of the situation.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 11/08/10 at 04:29 PM | #

Agreed. Way better than it festering. We have always wanted a clean and unequivocal end to the long search for justice for Meredith.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/08/10 at 04:41 PM | #

On responding to comments the general public, court observers and journalists made regarding the smiling and laughing demeanor of Amanda Knox while on trial for the brutal murder and sex attack of her friend, her family and friends always responded with a cheerful “thats Amanda”.

So where is the smiling and laughing Amanda now, if “thats Amanda”?

This is a mere slander charge, it is not a brutal murder and sex attack trial.
I suppose one could draw the obvious answer.

Posted by Black Dog on 11/08/10 at 05:40 PM | #

To add to my above comment, it has been reported that Amanda briefly gave a half smile to the waiting cameramen in the corridor leading into the courtroom (captured above).

This is not accurate as her half smile is directed at her stepfather Chris Mellas who can be seen on the left of the shot with his back to the camera.

Posted by Black Dog on 11/08/10 at 06:21 PM | #

Here is confused commenter Tom Mariner on the Reuters website.

“Even here this blatant demonstration of ultimate prosecutor power would be hauled in. But face it — if by some miracle, Ms. Knox is found not guilty by a reasonable judicial system in Italy, she will be arrested going to the airport because she told her police escort to speed and be sentenced to 20 years.”

Let us offer some clarifications to the hyper-ventilating Tom Mariner.

First, the case was not brought by a prosecutor, and so there are no prosecutors involved, and so there is no demonstration of “ultimate prosecutor power” and none to be hauled in.

Second, in Europe generally and in Italy especially there is very little slander because the penalties are so very high. Something called common sense and something else called decency seems to restrain most Europeans.

Third, the idea that Knox would face no similar charges in the US is absolutely incorrect. Dozens or hundreds of similar charges are filed DAILY for bringing false charges or for lying to or about the police.

And fourth, Italy’s crime rate is about 1/8 that of the US and such flippant charges as the commenter claims could happen on the way to the airport do not exactly happen often in that country.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/08/10 at 09:47 PM | #

Have you noticed:

If only there had been some recording while she was interrogated, she would be off the hook as it would show she was mistreated by police, and she would not be there;

if only police had not messed up with computers and destroyed photos of her and Meredith being “friends”, she would not be there.

She accused Lumumba because the police had her do it after a long and threatening interrogation. Of course!

But every time there is a proof, they deny it.

Then they have defenses denying the proofs and insinuating other proofs would be available if only the police, this messy police ... etc….

No wonder she looks tired and worn out. It is almost time she got rid of this stupid smirk.

Posted by Patou on 11/08/10 at 10:18 PM | #

Good observation Patou. Her shrill chorus would have everyone believe that the witness interrogation is the lynchpin of the entire prosecution case.

Good luck with that one. Just to repeat a few well-known points here.

This relatively brief witness interrogation was unscheduled, there were many witnesses, and she had apparently accompanied Sollecito to the police station only to keep him on a short leash, so no police trap.

Prosecutor Mignini was not there, and she had an interpreter; she had no lawyer present because this was unscheduled and because she was just a witness. 

Interrogators told her Sollecito had pulled the rug out from under her by changing his alibi, apparently in real fright when he was confronted with evidence he had been lying, and he blamed her for the lies.

And apparently in her own real fright, after not having had ANY alibi for a few minutes, she “confessed” to Patrick doing the crime when she saw his number on her mobile phone.

Then came her written confirmations - twice - and the second one is still in evidence.

She didnt recant the accusation of Patrick until he was sprung several weeks later, and she didn’t make the “beating” accusation until very much later when she realized what a hole she had dug.

Neither of her Italian lawyers has ever confirmed that she was mistreated and neither of the lawyers has ever filed a formal complaint, which they could still do in theory if they actually believe her.

Read here It ain’t pretty. Frankly, on this she seems cooked.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/09/10 at 12:05 AM | #

Amanda apparantly burst into tears in the Courtroom. No tears when Meredith was murdered.

All about Eve..Sorry, about Amanda.

Posted by capealadin on 11/09/10 at 02:24 AM | #

Did you mean at the Right of the shot with his back to the camera, Black Dog? And if the “half smile”—or demented grin—was intended for Mellas, why is it still stuck on her stupid face some twenty feet down the corridor? Perhaps because it was that forced?

Related in a broader context, my clock radio this a.m. brought me news of murder charges pending against the long-sought suspect in a Seattle area case from 2008. Arpana Jinaga, a brilliant software intern who had come here from India to study and work, was raped, battered and strangled to death in her apartment by a released sex offender who had seen her at a Halloween party earlier that night. She was less than a week from her 24th birthday, talented, brilliant and well-liked by everyone she’d met during her stay here.

Posted by mimi on 11/09/10 at 06:56 AM | #

Notable, as well, in the case just mentioned, was the great lengths to which the murderer went to cover up his presence at the crime scene, employing various chemicals and cleansers.

Posted by mimi on 11/09/10 at 07:01 AM | #

No, the left of the shot Mimi, and it was very Brief.

Posted by Black Dog on 11/09/10 at 09:05 AM | #

Here is a link to the video I am referring to, in way of making sure we are talking about the same video of Amanda Knox entering the courtroom.

The person on the right of the shot that you mention looks like a woman to me.

The person on the left of the shot is Chris Mellas, I would recognise those ears anywhere.

Posted by Black Dog on 11/09/10 at 09:18 AM | #

Knox is a narcissist. She was grinning and playing around in the murder trial because to her, she was the center of attention, the main character in the “Amanda Knox Story”.

To her, Meredith is just a side character, who might get a brief mention in the credits as “friend of Amanda Knox”.

She relates to everybody as a supporting character in the “AK story”. Everyone else has to play up to her.

She is desperate to maintain the fiction that she’s created for herself, and as it’s starting to crumble around her now she’s scared and ashamed. She can’t admit the truth because that would mean admitting that the character she’s been playing up til now is a lie.

It will be better for her when all the trials are over and she can serve her prison term and hopefully will come to terms with what she has done.

Posted by lilly on 11/09/10 at 10:37 AM | #

There actually appears to be a whole sentence of truth coming from Amanda Knox: I was just trying to defend myself. (But why did she feel the need to?)

A plaintive plead but one that rings true. The alibi evaporated in the sudden heat and she had to do some quick thinking and came up with the ultimate short term solution. One that would precipitate or at least accelerate ultimate disaster; admit presence at the scene and blame somebody else.

The next problem arises when a new gaping hole opens at her feet; how to explain away that accusation when the accused is clearly innocent. No problem. Another spot of quick thinking and the uniformed guy suggested it and waterboarded me. Problem solved.

Can I go home yet? OK it was just a clip round the ear from somebody unidentified. You all look the same to me. Why are you making such a big deal of this? Can I go home yet? Why are you making me out to be a liar? It was no big deal. 

She would rather take a 26 year prison sentence on the basis of false information that she was coerced into giving rather than plainly say who coerced it and why?

Come off it. Nobody in their right mind or even their wrong one would do that. They would be screaming the accusation from the rooftops and saying ‘‘It was him. It was HIM’’

There would be ever so slight a level of anger and resentment at the culprit for causing them this nightmare. But no. The saintly Amanda would have us believe that she does not want to insult the poor chap and just wants it to go away (the charge that is; the accusation of beating still needs to stand as her explanation of why she accused Lumumba.)

So in Amanda World she can leave the accusation hanging but avoid any investigation into its veracity. She was just trying to defend herself. Yes, by lying. She is so used to lying that she imagines that she is good at it. Another delusion.

Posted by Faustus on 11/09/10 at 11:07 AM | #

Thanks Lilly and Faustus. Interesting insights there and very on-target they seem.

Knox may indeed be feeling impatient and nervous and ashamed as you say (as well as enormously pressured by the gigantic expectations of the campaign) and glad to be back in her cell. This court stuff must be a living hell.

A lot more of her effort seems to go into showing the world that she is “not such a bad chap” than into proving her non-guilt. Faustus is right - not naming the one or ones who beat her into fingering Patrick is a sure sign the beating was made up. 

She shows no normal sign yet of remorse. But at the same time she seems to be reconciling herself to spending a long time behind bars and then to settle down in Italy from that point on. Her anger and accusations seem all gone.

Many believe with good reason that she always acts and will do so forever. But could she, perhaps sooner than later, get as far as “yes I did the crime”? What did Knox really want to talk to Sollecito about the other day?

The call was monitored, so it probably ended up as sweet nothings. But had she wanted to suggest they cut bait? Sollecito has cut her few breaks so far, since he said the lies of their first alibi were invented by her.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/09/10 at 08:14 PM | #

What are the visitation rules at Capanne?  Someone brought it up at PMF and I wonder as well what in the world Chris Mellas is doing with his time?  Is he sailing around some of Italy’s lovely lakes? Drowning his sorrows and playing pretend screenwriter with Frank the Tank? Is he there only because Edda and Curt are nervous for their own charges?  I imagine AK’s attorneys start to itch every time the phone rings with a new and very important defense suggestion.

When I contribute to a charity or political campaign I expect answers on how the money is spent.  Interviews pay well but can’t be expected to support two families.  Wait a minute.  Isn’t this all the media’s fault?  Tricky.

Posted by Jumpy on 11/09/10 at 11:08 PM | #

About visitors’ rules this is the law: D.P.R. 30/06/2000 n. 230 (sorry, no English)

This is a short manual, written at Due Palazzi in Padova, for foreign prisoners

Posted by ncountryside on 11/10/10 at 12:04 AM | #

Hi ncountryside. Family visits are normally once a week right? Rocco Girlanda visited Knox now over 20 times in a matter of a few weeks. More than any family member. Is there any precedent for that?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/10/10 at 06:21 AM | #

I believe visits are twice a week. And one phone call, on a Saturday.

Posted by capealadin on 11/10/10 at 09:16 AM | #

Peter Quennell. As far as I know this matter is ruled by law 26/07/1975 no.354

Art. 67 - Prisons may be visited without authorization by:

  a) the Prime Minister and the President of the Constitutional Court;

  b) Ministers, Judges of the Constitutional Court, the Secretaries of State, Members of Parliament and Members of the Council of the Judiciary (= ‘Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura’);

  c) the President of the Court of Appeal, the Prosecutor at the Court of Appeal, the President of the Court, the Prosecutor, the ‘Pretore’ (= Court of First Intance), Surveillance Magistrates, within their respective jurisdictions; any other Magistrate for her/his duty;

  d) Elected Members of ‘Consiglio Regionale’ ( = local Council) and the ‘Commissario di Governo’ (= Government) for the region, as part of their constituency;

  e) the ‘Ordinario Diocesano’ (= Catholic Priest) for his duty;

  f) the ‘Prefetto’ (= I suppose same as in France) and the ‘Questore’ (= Police Superintendent) of the province, the provincial medical officer;

  g) the General Director for the prisons and the magistrates and officials delegated by her/him;

  h) the General Inspectors of the prisons;

  i) the Inspector of the Chaplains;

  l) the officers of the Corps of Guards;

Then, Rocco Girlanda, Member of Parliament, is entitled to visit all the prisons in Italy; exactly like e.g. Giulia Bongiorno, Member of Parliament as well. She might (but she does not) visit her client – as lawyer and MP – and visit AK – as MP.

Different people. Matter of decency.

Abuses? Here. A Member or Parliament, Sandro Delmastro Delle Vedove, went to Le Vallette Torino with the journalist Cristiana Lodi falsely pretended to be his secretary. Only italian.;=&TrmM;=

Posted by ncountryside on 11/10/10 at 03:35 PM | #

Update. At a brief court hearing Tuesday May 17 on her calunnia trial which Amanda Knox attended, Judge Daniel Cenci agreed with Luciano Ghirga to postpone the calunnia trial to November 15th after the appeal.

The police plaintiffs did not object.  It continues to seem to us that neither this calunnia trial or the Curt + Edda calunnia trial would have happened if the PR campaign had not been so nasty and very hard-line.

Why roast the professionals? There is little precedent for this in Italy where the justice professionals and system are respected. Italy is a fotgiving country and the hard-line campaign really got it 180 degrees wrong.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/18/11 at 02:59 PM | #
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Where next:

Click here to return to The Top Of The Front Page

Or to next entry A Perugian Media Report (Neutral As Usual) In Italian On Knox’s Calunnia Hearing

Or to previous entry Rocco Girlanda’s Very Criticised Book On Knox Is Discussed By A Panel In Rome