Thursday, July 16, 2009

Attitudes Seem Hardening In Italy Against Knox Campaign And Defense

Posted by Peter Quennell

Increasing negativity is now being reported.

Lack of respect for the victim and for the police, investigation, prosecution, and in some respects Italy itself, do seem not to be paying off. Some of our commenters in the posts below suggested that the behavior and attire of Knox’s family in Perugia seemed a seriously wrong move.

Our posters and readers in Italy and the Italian media report pretty much the same perception.  In Perugia amd Italy generally, sympathy and goodwill seem perilously close to empty. Now Newsweek reflects this deteriorated situation.

1) On behavior around Perugia, attire in court, and those photographs.

There should be a basic set of rules when on trial for murder: Don’t antagonize the prosecutor and judge. Dress appropriately in court. Don’t let your family pose for photos in front of the crime scene…

Two weeks ago, Ashley Knox defied the prohibition on minors attending sex-related hearings and had to be removed from the proceedings. Then Deanna Knox showed up in a red, white, and blue ensemble, complete with hotpants, on July 4.

2) On the strength of the case the prosecution presented

The prosecution took five months to make its case, which relied heavily on circumstantial evidence, including Knox’s lack of alibi, her behavior after the murder, and contradictory statements she and her co-defendant, Rafaelle Sollecito, made during questioning.

Newsweek quotes Alessandra Batassa, a Rome-based criminal lawyer who defends murder suspects, as saying that Italian courts have handed down guilty verdicts on less evidence than this. And an unnamed Perugia judge is quoted as saying “Lies can discredit the suspects as much as hard evidence.”

3) On the muddled wrapping-up of the defense part of the case

The Knox-Sollecito defense team plans to wrap up their case this weekend even though they have presented only a handful of witnesses. Knox’s original witness list contained 35 names but defense lawyers have retracted 23.

Sollecito’s chief forensic consultant walked away from the case (and stuck lawyers with a 50,000 euro bill) in May because he disagreed with the defense strategy.

The witnesses who actually testified for the defense caused even more confusion: two forensic scientists placed on the stand contradicted each other. (Sollecito’s expert told the jury that Kercher was killed by a single assailant from behind; Knox’s said Kercher was killed from the front.)

Among the lawyers, chaos reigns: Sollecito’s lead attorney, a parliamentarian in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party, has not been in court for weeks, and his other two attorneys have dismantled their joint practice during the course of this case.

4) And on very important prosecution evidence still uncontested

Nobody has testified about Knox and Sollecito’s whereabouts that night. Nor has the defense broached the topic of the mixed DNA in the bathroom the girls shared. Legal experts who follow this case have suggested that blood evidence cannot be dated and therefore could have been left weeks before the murder.

But when Knox testified in her own defense in June, she conceded that there was no blood in the bathroom the day before the murder, effectively dating those blood stains to that night.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/16/09 at 02:13 PM in The officially involvedThe defensesAmanda Knox


Another excellent (and objective) report from Ms. Nadeau.  Nice to see that at least one US news source is doing more than parroting the empty protestations of the Knox camp.  The article sums up the status of the case concisely—the key issue being how the judge and jurors interpret the extremely damning circumstantial evidence coupled with the defendants’ lack of alibi and repeated confused, untruthful and contradictory statements.  The fact that Knox and her “entourage” have repeatedly shown contempt for Italy and its justice system as well as monstrous bad judgment and lack of tact in their various “appearances” only serves to make her situation more dire.

Posted by Sierra1049 on 07/16/09 at 04:45 PM | #

Apologies as I have been away, but what is the part about the hot pants and posing in front of the house as a family? Are there pictures of this somewhere I have missed?

I just hope Italians can understand not all Americans and British view their country with such disrespect. I think the case for the defence is looking weaker and weaker.

Posted by Ginny on 07/16/09 at 07:19 PM | #

Ginny - if you click on Barbie’s article, in her text there is a link (titled: ‘posed somberly in front of the courthouse’) which will redirect you to an article in the Mail Online, showing pictures of Knox’s sisters posing in front of the murder scene (the cottage), both in hot pants and the youngest one in full make-up.

Posted by Scooby on 07/16/09 at 08:48 PM | #

Ginny - There’s also a link in a comment to the Birthday article below to Nick Pisa’s article which included a number of photos.

Nick Pisa in the Daily Mail

Posted by Sierra1049 on 07/16/09 at 11:08 PM | #

I wonder if the Seattle Post Intelligencer would have written anything of the level shown here on Newsweek.

Amanda e her entourage definitely did not act wisely with their behaviors throughout this trial and I don’t see how they can think they can gain sympathy in Italy.

When I read readers’ comments to articles about this case in Italian newspapers I can hardly find any commenters who take the defendants’ side. I’m sure the sentiment is shared by the 6 jurors and 2 judges.

Personally I have few doubts that the two are implicated in the murder, but the more I read Rudy’s story in Micheli’s sentence, the more I wonder whether he in fact might be the only one telling the truth. Wouldn’t it be interesting if his story turned out to be the truth and he was really innocent of the murder? Good luck getting the Italians to believe that an immigrant is not guilty of sexual assault these days!

Posted by Commissario Montalbano on 07/17/09 at 04:33 AM | #

While I agree that the sisters were dressed inappropriately for a courtroom and they certainly should not have posed in front of Meredith’s house, I think we should give them the benefit of the doubt with regard to their clothes. Italy is HOT in summer, and not all buildings are air-conditioned like they are in the States.  The sisters were dressed for the heat.  The shorts they were wearing were not “hot pants” but simply the type of shorts that young American girls tend to wear in summer.  They chose their clothes badly, but I don’t think they meant disrespect to Meredith.  The whole family just seems kind of clueless.

Posted by CamilleGrace on 07/17/09 at 11:40 AM | #

Those Knox girls are STILL cooking in their own kettles! No brains and no class. Makes me think of a nasty brew in a warlock’s cauldron.

I agree it would have been more appropriate to take some glamour shots in front of the prison.  This family just continues to show the world they are simply weirdos. Heat? What are we going to see next, Edda in a mumu and Chris in a aloha shirt?  Good grief.

Posted by Professor Snape on 07/17/09 at 04:47 PM | #


Yes, I agree about the clothing to the extent that this is “normal” informal wear.
This is what teen-aged American girls would run around to the mall in during a hot summer.
And probably the girls mean little by it.
(Though the red-white-and blue on July 4th was a bit pointed.)
But this is not what a teen-aged American girl would wear to go to work at Walmart, let alone a classy job.

Someone has to have at least mentioned to the family that a murder trial is a somewhat formal occasion.
After all, they are paying for (and soliciting funds from strangers for) both expensive lawyers and PR experts.
Their behavior, then, slips from “clueless” to deliberate if it is in the face of advice.
I think it shows a complete lack of respect, not so much for Meredith as for the Italian legal system.
They’ve drunk their own kool-aid, and it effects their ability to react properly the situation they are really in.
Sadly, the last people in the world to understand what AK is will be her family.

Posted by lauowolf on 07/17/09 at 09:16 PM | #

Edda Mellas is ... a teacher! She should be more responsible, have more common sense. The daughters do what they feel they can do as Mon says it is OK!

But I do NOT believe they would do all that if the trial had been in the US… Stupidity or disrespect, I do not know…

Posted by Patou on 07/17/09 at 10:31 PM | #


Interesting comment. I agree with you.

I find the fact that Edda Mellas teaches children quite terrifying. I would expect a mother and teacher to be reasonable, modest and decent, but this woman doesn’t even have common sense.

Posted by Nell on 10/20/09 at 05:51 AM | #
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