Friday, April 12, 2013

Questions For Knox: Diane Sawyer, How To Push Back Against The False Claims And Emotion

Posted by Media Watcher

Dear Diane Sawyer:

Much of Italy and the UK and US will be curious to see how this interview works out on the ABC network on 30 April.

The extreme overkill of spin and false claims have not worked well for Knox lately. Now twin developments (the blunt and categoric ruling of the Supreme Court two weeks ago, and the ominous legal moves against Sollecito for his own rash public statements) have left Amanda Knox perched on a thin icy ledge.

We have dozens of lawyers and even judges read here. We do not know even one astute lawyer who really understands the case and the Italian system who, in light of those twin developments, considers this interview or Knox’s book as any longer a good idea.

The yanking of the book in Britain shows a creeping realization of this among those with their own necks on the line here.

The twin developments have changed this from the launch of a “promotional” book tour to a very serious inquiry into an ongoing murder trial, with very serious implications for U.S./Italian diplomatic relations.

We’re appreciative that you are the journalist who will be doing the first in-depth interview here. You have a solid reputation for balance and objectivity, and we’re looking forward to seeing your broadcast. 

From Seattle, it often seems as though Americans simply cannot comprehend that a young co-ed could be caught up in a case so violent.  Because the court proceedings were conducted in Italian, most Americans heard the story of what happened through a media filter, which in turn got much of its information from people who had a bias in support of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

Repeatedly, we have heard reporters parrot the defense attorney’s claim that there is no evidence.”  However, the evidence presented was strong enough to convince Harvard Law School’s Alan Dershowitz that the conviction will likely be affirmed on appeal. 

Other legal experts who have said the evidence supports a guilty verdict include New England Law Professor Wendy Murphy, who was herself a former prosecutor, and Nancy Grace, a former prosecutor who now hosts a show on trials and legal issues for CNN.

Contributors to this site, who all work pro bono, have also concluded the evidence supports a guilty verdict. We have studied the evidence presented at trial (in many cases ourselves translating key court documents) and have monitored with growing alarm the huge disconnect here in the U.S. between what happened in court and what has been reported.

What motivates us now is seeing that the reporting of the trial here in the United States is objective and corresponds with the reality of what is happening in Italy and what Italians are seeing and reading. 

Ultimately, if the conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is upheld by the Appeals Court and then Italy’s Supreme Court, we expect that the United States will honor the extradition treaty that’s been in place for decades, because it shouldn’t matter whether a perpetrator is perceived as attractive or sympathetic. While everyone is entitled to a fair hearing and a fair judicial process, we also believe the victim’s family is entitled to justice.

Having said all of that, we’re looking forward to seeing your report and here are some of the themes we hope you’ll explore in the report that surrounds the interview:

    1) We believe it’s important to confront the “no evidence” claim head on by citing the actual evidence that is summarized in the Massei Report.  We believe it’s compelling and we hope you can lay it out”“ including the DNA, cell phone, witness statements, bloody footprint, the evidence of a coverup/cleanup, and the conflicting and shifting statements made by the defendants; all so that viewers can understand the full scope of what that jury heard and evaluated in making the original decision to convict.

    2) Many Americans seem to not understand the automatic three-stage trial process that is typical of the Italian judicial system - actually put in place to benefit defendants.  We hope you can provide an overview of Italy’s judicial process, and help viewers to understand the very limited scope of the contested evidence that was subject to review by the Appeals Court.  We also hope you’ll remind viewers of all of the evidence that was not subject to review during the appeal—again, the cell phone evidence, the conflicting statements from the defendants, the evidence that showed Amanda and Meredith’s DNA mixed together in the bathroom and hallway and Filomena’s room, the bloody (Sollecito) footprint, the evidence of a staged break-in and cleanup, and the witness statements about Amanda and Raffaele’s conduct at the time the murder was discovered and over the following days.

    3) Defenders of Amanda and Raffaele often claim that Rudy Guede acted alone.  Many viewers seem not to understand that the Supreme Court had earlier ruled that Rudy Guede was one of multiple attackers.  We believe it would be useful if you could review this for your viewers and cite some of the evidence that convinced the Supreme Court that Guede could not have acted alone.  Perhaps reminding viewers that Rudy Guede’s footprints lead directly from the murder scene to the outside door would be helpful, given that there was clearly mixed DNA evidence in the bathroom and a bloody footprint in the hallway, which had been cleaned up and later revealed through the use of Luminol (a chemical agent used by forensics specialists to detect trace amounts of blood left at crime scenes).

    4) We hope you’ll help viewers to understand a key point made in a recent NYTimes op-ed about the mathematical value of doing a second DNA test on the knife that was found in Sollecito’s apartment.  As you know, the Appeals Court Judge refused to allow a second test on the knife, even though a confirmation of the original result or a different result would likely have provided additional clarity.

    5) We hope you’ll address the issue of contamination ““ especially as the key issue on the bra clasp is not whether Sollecito’s DNA was on it, but whether Sollecito’s DNA could have gotten on the clasp through contamination.  Given that there was only one other piece of Sollecito’s DNA found in the apartment, and given that at the time it was analyzed, it had been more than a week since any evidence from the crime scene was reviewed in the lab, it might be useful to have someone address the chances of there having been contamination resulting in Sollecito’s DNA ending up on the clasp.

With respect to the interview itself, here are some of the questions many would like to see Amanda answer:

    ”¢ Why did you call your mother in the middle of the night Seattle time prior to the murder having been discovered?  What was it you wanted to tell her?

    “¢ You tried calling Meredith the day after the murder took place and yet phone records show that two of the calls you made to her cell numbers lasted only three and four seconds and you left no messages.  How diligent were you in trying to reach her?

    “¢ Why do you think you falsely accused your boss Patrick Lumumba? 

    “¢ Why didn’t you withdraw your accusation against Patrick Lumumba in the light of day, once you’d had time to rest and reflect? 

    “¢ You have said - though never under oath - that you were treated terribly ““ can you summarize for us what happened the night you voluntarily gave your written statement and very specifically, any circumstances in which you were treated poorly?

    “¢ Were you given food and drink on the night you were questioned?

    “¢ Were you bleeding on the night or morning of the murder in any way that could have left DNA in the bathroom or in Filomena’s room?  If so, why were you bleeding?

    “¢ You’ve said that went back to your apartment to take a shower and to retrieve a mop to clean up some water at Raffaele’s apartment from the night before.  Why didn’t you simply use towels at Raffaele’s apartment to clean up the water - why wait until the next day?

    “¢ Reports indicate that Rudy Guede was a frequent visitor to the flat below yours.  How well did you know Rudy Guede prior to the night of the murder? 

    “¢ Do you stand by the statement you made on the day the murder was discovered that Meredith always locked her door? 

    “¢ You emailed to friends and family that you were panicked about what might have happened to Meredith given the locked door.  Did the two of you try to break the door down?  If not, why not?  And if Meredith always locked her door, why did the fact that it was locked worry you?

    “¢ Have you read the Massei report? 

    “¢ Raffaele Sollecito said during his book tour that no one asked him to testify during the original trial.  Do you believe this is true? 

    “¢ If your conviction is affirmed by the Supreme Court, do you think you should be extradited to Italy.  If not, why not?

Thank you for reading this letter, Diane.  Because of the PR fog around the case, we believe far more attention needs to be paid to the actual evidence that was presented at trial. 

We are confident that you’ll bring all of your considerable skill and experience to bear on this interview in ways that will leave viewers much better informed.


Will Knox now “postpone” this interview?

Posted by Cardiol MD on 04/12/13 at 04:48 PM | #

Very good open letter, MediaWatcher: both to-the-point and respectful.

Katie Couric approached her interview with Sollecito honorably after being made aware of the facts of the case.  Hopefully, Diane Sawyer will follow suit, although she might not have much of a choice if this “interview” is really a paid infomercial.

Posted by Vivianna on 04/12/13 at 05:00 PM | #

Hi Cardiol. Interesting question.

We consider it almost inevitable that the interview and book will become the focus of a contempt of court investigation, because those involved simply do not know sufficient accurate facts about the case or the main actors or the Italian law.

In which case Diane Sawyer and ABC themselves might be drawn in, in the same way as Knox’s publishers will be. ABC themselves might chose to pass.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/12/13 at 05:01 PM | #

Does ABC televise interviews of murder-defendants in cases under current judicial-review in the US?

Is it wise to do so in cases under judicial review in Italy?

Is it appropriate?

Posted by Cardiol MD on 04/12/13 at 05:18 PM | #

The Independent today was fairly noncommittal but the comments were surprising - still a smattering of the Knox is a poor hard done by girl but many more questioning her making money from this murder.

The heartland of the pro-Knox forces, America, especially its media, seems to me will be the last one to face the facts, given the snowjob done by PR firm/media tag team.

Posted by James Higham on 04/12/13 at 06:12 PM | #

Finally the Karma is catching up.

She is free but cannot move.

Fate is so cruel.

Posted by chami on 04/12/13 at 07:26 PM | #

Diane Sawyer should realize after reading this that the best course is not to go through with this interview given that Knox is basically still on trial for murder. The publishers should have waited until the SC ruling before bidding on the book. Ironically, the book deal and ABC tie-in could be a tipping point in public awareness of the PR supertanker that has tried to interfere with a legitimate legal process and, in doing so, deny justice to a murder victim.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 04/12/13 at 07:35 PM | #

Thanks Media Watcher. Excellent post.

One question I’d like to see asked : is what Knox’s opinion of Guede’s sentence is.

We know what happened on trial; Knox and Sollecito tried to blame the nearest Mafiosi, as opposed to pinning the whole crime on Guede.

During Sollecito’s book-related appearances (Couric esp.); he was given ample opportunity to condemn Guede but again refused to do so.


Posted by Rocket Queen on 04/12/13 at 09:20 PM | #

Diane Sawyer’s gotta read this! Points number 1) and 3) will give her the hard evidence in a nutshell.

The questions to shake up Knox are outstanding.

Media Watcher, thanks so much. This is sharp.

Posted by Hopeful on 04/12/13 at 09:25 PM | #

This is great Media Watcher! Have you actually mailed a copy to her, either email or snail mail? Please let us know what response you receive!

Posted by bedelia on 04/12/13 at 09:52 PM | #

Diane Sawyer should ask Knox almost exactly what Katie Couric asked Sollecito: 

“Do you think the punishment Guede received is adequate?”

I suspect this is not going to be so much an interview as an infomercial.  Just replace “Magic Bullet” with “Amanda Knox”. 

Listen to hear how many times the words “acquitted” or its synonyms are used.  If they are used at all then the programme will be factually wrong.

Posted by Stilicho on 04/12/13 at 11:03 PM | #

Yet AK seems oblivious as she gives an interview with the Amazon “author interview” chap Travor Day.

Posted by TruthWillOut on 04/12/13 at 11:16 PM | #

Another fine post of informed observations from Media Watcher! It will be interesting to watch how this plays out. There will be winners, and there will be losers.

Sawyer should definitely make note of the decision by Harper Collins UK to not publish a UK version of the Knox book.  This does not mean that the USA versions will not be on sale there via Amazon and the like, but it does amount to a recognition that the book and author are likely to be in conflict with British libel law.

This makes lawsuits even more likely because it amounts to an admission that the book is actionable. As Hugo has noted over on HarperCollins have in effect painted a huge target on their own back.

In facing this convicted felon for the first interview, I’m sure Sawyer & Co. will want to avoid doing the same.

Posted by Fly By Night on 04/12/13 at 11:30 PM | #

I don’t think the network would have got this interview if they had not already agreed to specific questions and talking points.  This will be another “poor little Amanda” whitewash job.

Posted by Eodril on 04/13/13 at 01:52 AM | #

I hope you will email this letter to both HC and Diane Sawyer - well done.

Posted by believing on 04/13/13 at 03:28 AM | #

Excellent post, Media Watcher.  Very to-the-point. 

Have you sent her the post directly?  Relying on her to read here may be a missed shot.

As others have said she may not be able to change the script if it is a pre-paid infomercial however I hope she follows Katie Couric’s lead and puts a few pertinent questions to the charming Amanda.

It is good to finally see the tide turn in favour of the victim and, although I note some of the concerns about the strict libel laws in the UK, I am PROUD that the UK is standing up to be counted in this instance. 

May it continue thus.

Posted by thundering on 04/13/13 at 04:18 AM | #


A very well written and respectful post. There are so many questions Diane Sawyer could ask given the time, but I feel we need an answer as to why her diary, from early October onwards, had the pages ripped out. Maybe she will if she reads these posts….......

Posted by starsdad on 04/13/13 at 02:37 PM | #

This advertised Interview has already garnered much publicity, and will continue to do so whether or not it proceeds as advertised.

It Will be an interview while the matter is in the middle of judicial revue.

The interviewee is accused of murder, and of (criminal?) defamation.

What questions dare Sawyer ask? What responses dare Knox give?

Legal costs on both sides may not be trivial.

Would ABC come out ahead? Would Knox ?

I suspect it will not proceed as advertised.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 04/13/13 at 04:14 PM | #

If this does work and the interview goes ahead then I suspect that the questions (which will have been submitted before hand) will be soft in the extreme. Example. “Why did you wear the T shirt that said ‘All you need is love’?? and “do you have a new boyfriend.” etc:?

Just bet there will be no reference to Jody Arias and the commonality of their birthdate.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 04/13/13 at 06:19 PM | #

Media Watcher’s carefully crafted letter is much to the point in offering questions for the prosecution. We may reasonably suppose that nothing pertinent in this letter will be ignored by the prosecution.

Diane Sawyer’s role is that of respectful (or tactful) inquirer—how could it be otherwise? Rehearsed or otherwise (& I don’t think it will be rehearsed) it’s a given that she is willing to let Amanda set forth her own case.  Anything too glaring would contradict a widespread common knowledge. That she might question.

As for payment, it’s surely ABC that’s paying Knox. And surely anything as velvet glove as this interview promises to be would be safe for ABC. Can one really imagine an Italian legal suit against a major American network?

It will be entirely to Knox’s advantage to go ahead with the interview (as the Knox people see it & surely Amanda herself.) Remember how attractively she comported herself during the initial trial whenever she felt the least bit flirtatious or friendly or whenever the cameras were on her. She can handle the attention—it’s what she craves.

And I agree with Fly by Night that the UK book delay doesn’t as such, automatically, mean an American delay. Why should Harper’s fear a lawsuit stateside any more than ABC?

Read the worshipful praises given the interviewer on TruthWillOut’s second reference above (very brief but adulatory.)

Too clearly my role in offering comments here is to keep doubt alive (over in the corner, so to speak) lest the final result be crushing.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 04/13/13 at 06:59 PM | #

@Brownstone on 04/12/13 at 02:20 PM

Your keen observation will not be wasted. But I doubt the blushing crow effect.

I hope RG has been (or will be) handsomely compensated for keeping his mouth shut. But he has started thinking recently that the amount is too low and calls for a fresh negotiation…

Posted by chami on 04/13/13 at 09:26 PM | #

Hi Ernest, on 04/13/13 at 11:59 AM :

“Diane Sawyer’s role is that of respectful (or tactful) inquirer…”

Yes, she both enjoys a well-deserved reputation for respect and tact, and is well aware of the importance to her of her own credibility.

If Sawyer even-appears to accept a significant Knox lie, she may lose credibility; it’s a tight-rope.

“Can one really imagine an Italian legal suit against a major American network?”

Who imagines the cost of that ? That’s not the cost referred-to.

Knox’s potential legal costs in Italy, or costs in the US to evade deportation to Italy, are included, as are Sawyer’s potential costs as an individual; as well as her credibility.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 04/13/13 at 11:58 PM | #

If anyone would like to weigh in on the appropriateness of releasing Knox’s tabloid memoir at this time, there is a thread on Amazon which is heating up a bit:

I don’t know if anyone of the media or publishing agents read those, or if it does any good at all to push back in those forums, but I can’t help but feel that now’s the time to try. Frustrating as it is.

Best. And thanks Media Watcher for this articulate letter to Ms. Sawyer.

Posted by carlos on 04/14/13 at 01:52 AM | #

Bob Graham has written an article that is riddled with factual errors for The Daily Mail:—Id-Foxy-Knoxys-account-Italian-prison-hell.html

You can complain about the numerous factual errors in Bob Graham’s article and the shameless promotion of Knox’s book to the Press Complaints Commission:

Posted by The Machine on 04/14/13 at 02:26 AM | #

Hi Cardiol,

You make some good points & I really cannot disagree with what you say.

Potential legal costs vs possibly huge profits—that’s the nub of it.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 04/14/13 at 03:54 AM | #

Just read the Dail Mail article Machine posted, shocking to say the least. On a positive note, I’ve been following the DM articles for some time now and there is a significant shift in the comments, the public are clearly starting to realise they have been lied to, the tide is turning is an understatement, the tsunami of lies has gone out far enough but now it’s coming back in and nothing can stop it causing complete devastation to the poison PR campaign.

Posted by Urbanist on 04/14/13 at 09:04 AM | #

Good Morning/Evening,

I wonder IF Diane Sawyer will remind everyone that Knox IS a “convicted felon” because of the false allegations she made against Patrick Lumumba ?

In my opinion, she will not!  The “script” has already been written, and everyone is “practicing” their “roles.”

I will not watch this interview, but I will read here to get the Truth!

Thank You all for you continued efforts for True Justice for Meredith Kercher !

Posted by MissMarple on 04/14/13 at 04:27 PM | #

Hi MissMarple,

I hope as many people as possible remind Diane Sawyer that Amanda Knox is a convicted criminal. She can be contacted via Twitter:


Posted by The Machine on 04/14/13 at 04:41 PM | #

Bravo Machine!

And Is a convicted criminal, whose crimes are still under Judicial Review.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 04/14/13 at 05:42 PM | #

@Cardiol & The Machine:

Given Cardiol’s “Bravo Machine!” I thought I really ought to look up Bob Graham’s article in The Mail.

Yes, it’s tabloid stuff, much given to Graham’s opinions & judgments (not at all objective “news”) & much of it, no doubt, a year old but now updated.

Despite his belittling of Italian courts he does end on a surprising note, which is worth quoting:

“Given what I have seen of the Italian justice system, you might expect me to say that Amanda Knox should never go near Italy again, never mind to stand trial once more. Yet the opposite is true. I believe she – and Sollecito – should return and face their accusers, stand up for their rights and clear their names for good.”

In its way, this could be (indirectly) a concession to an aroused public opinion. Or he could believe (wish to believe) fervently in her innocence. Knox is unlikely to oblige him.

And the Daily Mail this Sunday has it that Knox’s book is “on the way… soon.”

Posted by Ernest Werner on 04/14/13 at 07:41 PM | #

For those who can read Italian, this takes a good shot at Knox.

Posted by Miriam on 04/14/13 at 11:54 PM | #

Barbie Nadeau has an interview with Arline Kercher which we will be posting on.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/15/13 at 03:56 PM | #

I hope Diane Sawyer reads Nadeau’s article.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 04/15/13 at 05:12 PM | #

News from Seattle:

Posted by Hungarian. on 04/15/13 at 07:02 PM | #

Knox wants to go two places: to Meredith’s grave and to see a cellmate (Laura) who was a drug smuggler. Nothing has changed!

And she says in her book she thought Meredith’s absence was due to her staying the night with Giacomo, when she knew full well he was out of town. She risks lying to get a dig in at Meredith.

This horror of her wanting the Kerchers to show her Meredith’s grave is really freaky. If I were the Kerchers, I would move Meredith’s remains to some private mausoleum immediately where this sick Knox can never ever “visit” her.

And in one recent interview Knox laughs at her mom’s consternation that Knox wants to leave the country for a fool’s errand to Ecuador to visit the drug smuggling cellmate. She is so resistant to good sense it is incredible.

The biggest lie of all: that Knox never had a chance to mourn Meredith.

Posted by Hopeful on 05/01/13 at 02:22 AM | #

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