Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Appeal Court Sessions This Wednesday And Thursday Dont Look Very Promising For The Defenses

Posted by Peter Quennell

Expected proceedings and backdrop

The Carabinieri DNA report will be the main item and after an interruption from Sollecito we could see the final summations begin.

It is hard to believe that Doug Preston and other deniers of the plain facts have exulted in recent months that the Florence prosecution and court could be a big plus for the perps in their appeal. Presumably their joy was based on highly out-of-date takes on the 2010 move against Dr Mignini by a rogue Florence prosecutor in front of a rogue Florence judge.

Well, guess what? Both have been edged aside (like Hellmann and Zanetti), and the Florence Appeal Court and the Supreme Court have scathingly reversed Dr Mignini’s (and Dr Giuttari’s) faux conviction. And despite some ill-advised smearing still emanating from the Fischers, Moores, and other Knox parasites, Dr Mignini and his colleagues are seeing their careers and popularity (and 2009 success) riding very high. 

Judge Nencini and Prosecutor Crini are both hardened anti-Mafia battlers, and the not-so-hidden hand of the mafia in the Italian media campaign to poison public opinion against the court will not have escaped their attention for sure.

At least half a dozen of the parties on the defense bandwagon are known fellow-travelers of the mafia, and at least two are already headed for court - Luciano Aviello is already there for obstruction of justice, and Mario Spezi is headed there soon for a false and very elaborate framing of murder, a charge which could put him (and maybe Preston) away for a long while. The editor of Amanda Knox’s favorite mouthpiece, Oggi, is another we may see.

The same Florence prosecutors and courts will also be putting Frank Sforza on trial starting this wednesday with a preliminary hearing at which the details of the charges against him will enter the public domain. We will post then at more length. Our past commentary on Sforrza can be read here.

Frank Sforza has been a very close ally of some of the more hotheaded and misleading Amanda Knox supporters (both the Mellases, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, Michael Heavey, among others) and if he squeals to keep himself safe and out of jail, their own legal fortunes could take a big fall.

Frank Sforza is also required to appear for trial both in Perugia and Seattle, in both jurisdictions for physical abuse. If he fails to show in Florence (his Rome address is quite well known) we expect to see him nabbed by the police and sent on his way in handcuffs to all three trials. 

The same Florence prosecutors and courts are also contemplating new charges against Raffaele Sollecito and his publishing and PR bandwagon for the wild claims in his book, which were designed to poison public opinion agains the court and make him a ton of money. Those claims are a real minefield for Sollecito when he gets up and talks as they conflict both with what his team has said in court and what Knox said in her book.

Knox’s book, which was also designed to poison public opinion against the court and make her a ton of money, is being investigated by the chief prosecutor in Bergamo up north. At a minimum, the Florence prosecutors and judges will already know of this attack on the chief prosecutor which seems enough for a guilty verdict all by itself.

Contexting the DNA report

The main findings of the Carabinieri labs were summarised in the post directly below.

This further take on the context, and on who is up and who is down, was kindly contributed by one of our Italian court-watchers, who has many connections in Florence and Rome, and who sees the prosecution DNA teams as riding high now, and the defense forces and Vecchiotti and Conti as left with with no place to hide.

Dr. Barni and Dr. Berti, the two court-appointed Carabinieri RIS experts, are the authors of various internationally-circulated articles about presumptive blood tests, where they prove the opposite of some of the things the Sollecito—Knox sycophants deny. For example that bleach does decompose quickly when exposed to air and does not react to luminol after some 1-2 days.

Patrizia Stefanoni also has respected publications as a scientific author. In fact, in 2011 she was in the top 25 hits of forensic science with her publications, she has been even in first place  with this report.

The Carabinieri RIS note that the refrigerator has no temperature log; from this detail, albeit small within the overall report, we can deduce that Vecchiotti’s laboratory cannot have had ISO 9001 certification or any other international certification, given that the standards would require a temperature log.  Apparently the refrigerator doesn’t have an accurate thermometer either,  since the Carabinieri measured the temperature using one of their own.

Another detail noted at the beginning is this: the Carabinieri RIS expected the sample volume to be 24 microliters, since this was the remaining volume declared by Conti and Vecchiotti,  while Barni and Berti found it to be only between 16 and 17 microliters.  They infer that Vecchiotti and Conti might have been inaccurate on the estimation of the remaining amount after quantization, or hypothesize that the content might have evaporated over the last two years because the samples were not wrapped inside a protective film.

Vecchiotti and Conti had been already discredited, and have no credibility in the present appeal trial. However, the RIS finding might deliver a further blow to whatever might be their residual credibility. They had already previously been completely discredited because: 

    1. They were appointed by judges who are now completely discredited, whose conduct was found illegitimate for reasons of unprecedented gravity, and who received a devastating bashing from the Supreme Court;

    2. Vecchiotti and Conti were also discredited by Prosecutor Manuela Comodi in her court cross-eamaination in 2011, as the speciousness and falsehood of their arguments was exposed (this was the famous hearing where they claimed contamination on the ground that “everything is possible” and where Vecchiotti admitted she didn’t request negative controls)

    3. Vecchiotti and Conti were discredited scientifically by Novelli’s argument, as he explained that they should have tested the 36-I sample, and as he also explained that that he found no trace of contamination in the Scientific Police laboratory’s work, or any reason to suspect contamination of Meredith Kercher’s DNA, and he explained that attribution could be done accurately based on bio-statistical calculation without requiring a second confirmatory test.

    4. Finally, Vecchiotti and Conti were egregiously discredited by the Supreme Court which addressed a manifest issue in their “intellectual honesty”. Here is the Supreme Court ruling, page 65:  ” ... a member of the panel of experts could not assume any responsibility for unilaterally narrowing the scope of the mission, which was to be carried out without hesitation or reservation, in full intellectual honesty, giving a complete account of the possible insufficiency of the material or unreliability of the result. (...) “

The court mentions sardonically the judge-appointed expert’s “intellectual honesty”, and that is a very striking comment when found in a Supreme Court ruling: since the Cassazione is not a fact-finding panel, they don’t write about factual conclusions unless they appear prima facie as manifest and undisputable.

So the Supreme Court considers there are problems of intellectual honesty in the work of Vecchiotti and Conti, something manifest and obvious; the Court acknowledges they are obvious, something that anyone can see, which does not require a fact-finding by a judiciary organ to be pointed out.

Now the Carabinieri RIS report may bring further discredit upon Vecchiotti and Conti, if they have any credibility left. There are at least two reasons for this:

    1) Because the finding of a reliable DNA profile belies the assessment that was given by Vecchiotti and Conti that extraction of a profile would be impossible, and demonstrates that in fact it was possible to extract a reliable profile; incidentally the fact that a Carabinieri RIS test was ordered itself implicitly denies Hellmann-Zanetti’s assessment that any result from 36-I would anyway be useless because contamination could have occurred outside the laboratory; but also it credits Novelli while it discredits Veccchiotti and Conti on a scientific level,  because it explicitly denies the idea that small (Low Template) DNA amounts are unreliable.

    2) Because the Carabinieri RIS test employs the method proposed by Novelli, that is to couple Stefanoni’s “˜biologic’ analysis method with the statistical probability assessment method, in order to come to a certain attribution. Moreover, the Carabinieri RIS also point out that they can do this by assessing only 11 loci from a complex trace which also has foreign alleles (whereas trace 36-B analysed by Stefanoni was a “˜clean’, non-mixed profile matching a 17-loci sequence).

The Carabinieri RIS ran the test in “˜duplicate’ while Stefanoni made a single profile extraction. The Carabinieri point out that they can do this ““ divide even a smaller and more complex trace, and test it for comparison even on a smaller number of loci - because they now have “a system with extremely higher analytical performance which is able to provide result quantitatively and qualitatively better compared to previous systems”.


Will Sforza show? Looking forward to that, but the truth is already out there.

Posted by Ergon on 11/05/13 at 04:34 AM | #

Hi Ergon

(1) Frank faces the one trial where he can win big by turning on the Knox parasites and saying it how it is.

(2) If Frank doesnt show he is expected to be rounded up and sent on his way to all three trials (Perugia and Seattle included) where he could lose big.

Frank strikes many who know him as as a few bricks short of a wall these days (possible cocaine overuse in recent years) but the pluses of (1) might sink in.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/05/13 at 04:41 AM | #

Here’s hoping, Peter.

But in the mean time, a photo of Knox and Sfarzo taken July 2012 before everything went south for him? 

This one maybe?

Or this one

Posted by Ergon on 11/05/13 at 04:52 AM | #

Hi Peter, Hi Ergon

Thanks for the update. Regarding Hellmann and Zanetti, are they going to face the music later on, after all it was they who set Knox free, gave her 2 years which she should not have had, and worst of all nearly 4 million dollars in blood money.

They are as despicable as the murderers themselves.The 2 pictures say it all. A picture is worth a thousand words as the saying goes

Posted by forres on 11/05/13 at 05:40 AM | #

But I heard somewhere really stupid that this trial was over.

Posted by Jeff Friend on 11/05/13 at 06:24 AM | #


The photo on top is very significant. They are in the middle of some serious discussions- perhaps trying to settle some dues!

It did not occur to me before, I was thinking of Sforza as a foot soldier only, but it will be real fun to see him sink the Knoxen!

What was the party (bottom photo) for?

Posted by chami on 11/05/13 at 07:20 AM | #

Hi Jeff: Yes, funny in 1-2 places how that rumor took hold! Bur it aint over till its over and Florence is turning on an impressive show.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/05/13 at 11:41 AM | #

Hi Chami, Ergon might confirm this.

At the time of that shot Frank Sforrza was staying at the Mellas house and Chris Mellas had put up a renegade Perugia Shock website - the original site was taken down by the hoster Google when evidence of extreme defamation was shown.

But not so long after, Sforza was apparently evicted from the Mellas house for getting fresh with Knox and Chris Mellas tried to eliminate all signs he was involved with the website.

Sforza then went to Hawaii, and was evicted by his kind hostess there too. He seems to have been shaking people down for money in those places and in Canada, and reacting badly when his demands were not met.

The hapless Bruce Fischer apparently still defends Sforza, as he was a main source of misinformation and a good cash cow, but the Knox-Mellases presumably rue the day he was ever born. He doesnt seem to have been close to Curt Knox.

Expand that second image by clicking on it and you will see that many have their middle fingers raised, in effect saying “FU” to Italian justice and the officials that have had to be involved. Much discussed (including who is in it) on the two PMF’s..

I believe that getting-together was a Mellas-only event and Curt Knox kept them all well away.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/05/13 at 11:50 AM | #

Hi forres

“Regarding Hellmann and Zanetti, are they going to face the music later on”

Yes, they sure helped the process to jump the tracks for a couple of years and allowed the PR campaign to gain such traction. The defenses were involved in their bending and that of C&V.

As to whether they will face the music in a court or diciplinary body we dont yet know. Hellmann is edged out and Zanetti more or less too. Charges might be hard to prove and Italy wants to move on.

Complete annulments by the Supreme Court are rare and that court and the Council of Magistrates (which decides main appointments and promotions) have rained shame on their heads.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/05/13 at 12:06 PM | #

Re: the 2nd picture

It’s an enduring mystery to me why many of a certain age and grotesque shape think it’s the height of fun to don childish beachwear and trainers and gather with like-minded morons similarly attired to make abusive gestures at foreigners.

Posted by Odysseus on 11/05/13 at 01:05 PM | #

Barni and Berti will be in court tomorrow to answer questions. I expect them to be professional and provide a contrast to the way that C&V went about their oral testimony. I hope Mason2 or someone can give us a detailed summary as I don’t expect the media to be able to cope and report accurately.

Actually I don’t expect B&B to be detained long on the stand as their report is already a very detailed one.

Posted by James Raper on 11/05/13 at 01:16 PM | #

I second that.  Will Mason2 or someone be there to tweet?

Re the books and other libellous, nefarious persons (e.g. Conti and Vecchiotti, Hellmann and Zanetti .....) finding themselves facing investigation and legal action there has been a lot of talk about that but I haven’t seen anything at all to confirm that this is happening / going to happen.

Posted by thundering on 11/05/13 at 03:56 PM | #

P.S. The photos are somewhat unsavoury.

Posted by thundering on 11/05/13 at 03:58 PM | #

Hi Thundering

Okay, fair comment, they were rather dominating the thread, the two photos can still be reached via Ergon’s two links near the top. But they will be back!

Mason2 will be there in court for us and at least one other from our Italian community. Andrea Vogt will be tweeting for sure. We’ll post addresses for each live tweeter.

Gianluigi Nuzzi, an Italian reporter for Quarto Grado, has just tweeted that Sollecito is in the air from Miami to Florence and will be in court tomorrow.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/05/13 at 04:19 PM | #

Great! Thanks for the confirmation.

And thank you for hiding those two photos 😊

Posted by thundering on 11/05/13 at 04:22 PM | #

I have a suspicion that knife-boy might actually show in Florence. As always I could be wrong! Is the news of his grave visit being released now as a (badly misjudged) attempt to gain court appreciation of his “respectful” (ha!) character prior to his appearance? I wouldn’t put anything past the perverted little brat.

Anyway, there must come a time - maybe this is it - when that permanent smirk is wiped off his face. It goes without saying that innocent people would rightly look noticeably worried and frightened if faced with similar charges. His breathtaking nonchalance is part and parcel of his unhinged character imo.

Posted by Odysseus on 11/05/13 at 04:25 PM | #

Hi Odysseus

Sollecito seems to be in the air from Miami, see my comment just above.  Few Italians seem to see him as other than weak, a follower and outsider, someone most people would not admire. The (ambivalent) show could be for Knox above all. See the next post by two of our psychologists above.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/05/13 at 04:30 PM | #


I didn’t read your post before my prediction that RS would show, honest!

So ... tomorrow could be interesting.

Posted by Odysseus on 11/05/13 at 04:32 PM | #

Hi, Chami. The two pictures were taken July 28, 2012, at a party on Vashon Island, WA, a week after Frank Sfarzo arrived in America. Links again here and here.

The purpose of the party was to thank her supporters, but also, to coordinate the PR efforts to promote Sollecito and Knox’s upcoming books. The finger salute was entirely their own idea.

Frank is central to the story of the PR campaign to subvert justice. He was the main source for Candace Dempsey’s poorly written book, which started the myths about PM Mignini and Italian justice which still affects MSM reporting today.

I can confirm what Peter wrote about him. Once we know whether he appears in court tomorrow and what the exact charges against him will be, I will be writing an omnibus article for TJMK of all the reports we compiled on http://www.perugiamurderfile.net and yes, there will be photos, and, lots of new information.

Frank Sfarzo managed to insinuate himself into the inner circles of the FOA, but when the true story about his assaults came out they had to keep it quiet and hope it would blow over; he knows too many secrets about them.

And since that time, many supporters of Amanda Knox, dismayed by the actions of her and her family, have come forward and spoken to us off the record. So yes, Frank Sfarzo is a key to all of this.

Posted by Ergon on 11/05/13 at 04:54 PM | #

Here is the information about Frank Sfarzo’s preliminary hearing tomorrow.

“Francesco Sforza is accused of the crime of aggravated defamation(art. 595 Criminal Code and Law no. 47/1948) and the plaintiff, PM Giuliano Mignini. The prosecutor who asked for Sforza’s indictment is the deputy prosecutor Dr. Pappalardo. The GUP (preliminary hearing judge), is Dr. Limongi. Mignini’s lawyer will be Marco Rocchi, of the Court (Bar) of Florence.”

Will update as new information comes in. New charges may be filed as a consequence of his showing or not showing.

Posted by Ergon on 11/05/13 at 06:46 PM | #
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