Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dissecting The Hellmann Report #2: How Judges Zanetti And Hellman Tilted The Legal Playing Field

Posted by Cardiol MD

The Calunnia section of the Hellmann Report is about 4 pages in a 94 page document and it covers the Knox framing of Lumumba.

The Calunnia section was used in the first post of my series (“Dissecting The Hellmann Report #1: Highlighting Representative Examples Of Its Many Bizarre Quirks” ) to demonstrate the weaknesses typical of the whole report

Following publication of that post, it was kindly brought to our attention that the contributions of Assistant Judge Zanetti were so extensive - the report is said to be argued and written throughout in his style, and far from Judge Hellmann’s - that it should be called The Hellmann/Zanetti Report.

Post #1 exemplified, among other defects, some Orwellian DoubleThink from Hellmann/Zanetti:

Early in Calunnia, on Report page 22, Hellmann/Zanetti attribute Knox’s inconsistent, and incriminating, often illogical, falsehoods and behaviours, to Knox’s confusion caused by prosecutorial oppression, from which, by unspoken implication, guilt cannot be inferred, Hellmann/Zanetti informs its readers.

However, on page 23, still in Calunnia, Hellmann/Zanetti admonishes the reader not to infer any implication of guilt from the Knox falsehood that was the very subject of Calunnia, because the falsehood “is in fact not at all logical”.

The two relevant passages, using very convoluted language, “constructively” argue:

  • Firstly, that if Knox uttered any falsehoods (including illogical falsehoods) it was because of prosecutorial oppression, is not evidence of guilt, and,

  • Secondly, that if Knox uttered any illogical falsehoods, with or without prosecutorial oppression, it was because Amanda would not say anything illogical if it was easier to tell the truth than to tell something illogical, and is also not evidence of guilt.

Among the specific defects in the Hellmann/Zanetti Report, exemplified in its Calunnia section were the Report’s ploy of flooding the discussion of each evidentiary element with real and imagined reasons-to-doubt the significance of each element.

Report #1 also mentioned the issue of whether Meredith did scream just before she died, and if so when Meredith screamed.

Hellmann/Zanetti’s endemic use of the word “certain” revealed a biased perspective, as if “certain” (as in “beyond doubt”), is Hellmann/Zanetti’s equivalent to “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

This post in my series, “Dissecting The Hellmann Report #2”, focuses on the whole Report’s constructive substitution of “certain” for “beyond a reasonable doubt”:

First we take into account a semantic quirk: In the English language the word “certain” is used in multiple senses. In the Italian language, its Italian-equivalent the word “certo” is used in a much narrower sense.

Generally, when absence-of-doubt is intended, a verb-sense is used e.g. “It is certain”. In contrast when a figure-of-speech-sense is intended an adjectival or other modifier-sense is used e.g. ”“¦a certain smile”¦”.

The Hellmann/Zanetti English translation-draft uses both of these senses.

It uses the figure-of-speech sense 12 times, but where the absence-of-doubt sense is constructively intended, it uses forms like “certainly” (41 times), “certain” (36 times), and “certainty” (11 times), for a total of 88 times.

Other ways of expressing certainty are also used.

Judge Zanetti is the one who made “opening statements” variously reported to have been “”¦nothing is certain except the death of Meredith Kercher.”,  or “”¦ the only fact that is objectively certain, indisputable and that has not been discussed is the death of Meredith Kercher”. 

Neither version of Judge Zanetti’s “opening statements” appears in the Hellmann/Zanetti English translation-draft, although the draft does include references informing the reader that the report contains an error (see footnotes 2 & 3 in the draft, on pp 18 & 19)

The Chief Prosecutor, Dr Galati, both in his Appellate Brief for the Supreme Court and in his oral statement at his press conference, excoriated Judge Zanetti for his start-of-trial remarks:

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.”

Here are some examples, emphases are mine :

Page 12 ““ “It is clear that if, for the sake of argument, the DNA found on the clasp is actually Raffaele Sollecito’s, this [piece of] evidence, while yet remaining such, is of particular significance: and the same can be said for the DNA found on the handle and on the blade of the knife seized at Raffaele Sollecito’s house, provided it is certain that this is actually one of the weapons used by the aggressors.”

Hellmann/Zanetti’s 1st explicit use of the idea of certainty, in the printed document, using a qualified “provided it is certain”

Pages 16-17:

...About the footprints, they observe that those recovered from the inside of the residence reveal the presence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the scene of the crime. These are prints that in the scientific view cannot be classed as usable for positive comparisons but, however, are useful for negative comparisons, in the sense that, based on these prints one cannot reach a certain identification [23] but one can, however, arrive at a certain exclusion on the basis of the compatibility, or not, of these prints with a specific subject.

The Scientific Police (Inspector Rinaldi and Chief Inspector Boemia) were able, thus, to exclude that the footprints could be attributed, in contrast to the shoe prints, to Rudy Guede, while they were judged compatible with the characteristics of Amanda Knox (imprints recovered from her room and from the corridor) and of Raffaele Sollecito (imprints recovered from the small mat in the bathroom and in the corridor).

Hellmann/Zanetti here argue that the idea of ”˜certainty’ is asymmetric (my paraphrase), it may not justify certain inclusion, because of its mere compatibility, but it may justify certain exclusion because of its incompatibility. 

This is valid and historically well-accepted; Massei had already said so.

Pages 20-21:

And so, the re”examination of the outcomes from the first instance trial, and the subsequent acquisitions [of evidence] during oral argument in the current appeal, do not confirm the hypothesis that more than one person was necessarily involved in the crime.

This hypothesis, as appears from a reading of the December 22, 2009 judgement, was shaped by substantially accepting all the arguments presented by the Prosecution and in particular holding the following items to be certain:

““ that the DNA, recovered by the Scientific Police from the bra”clasp in the murder room, be attributed to Raffaele Sollecito and that this DNA had been left behind precisely during the occasion of the murder; [28]

““ that the DNA, recovered by the Scientific Police from the blade of the knife seized in Raffaele Sollecito’s house, be attributed to Meredith Kercher and that it had been left behind during the occasion of the murder;

““ that the wounds present of the body of Meredith Kercher, by their number and their directions, as also by their various characteristics (length of wound, width, etc.), could not have been occasioned by a sole aggressor but by multiple aggressors;

““ that the absence of defensive wounds on Meredith Kercher’s hands and arms confirm the necessary participation of more than one person in the aggression; ““ that the ingress into the interior of the via della Pergola apartment had been allowed by the only person who, in that moment ““ apart from Meredith Kercher ““ had the means of doing so, that is to say, by Amanda Knox, the Court of Assizes of Appeal having held that the ingress through the window, by means of breaking of the glass, was no more than a mise”en”scène to falsely lead the investigations towards unknown authors of an attempted theft.”

Hellmann/Zanetti here lay a reasonably neutral factual-foundation, before launching their attack.

Page 30. re [42] Defense-witness-statements of Alessi, Aviello, Castelluccio, De Cesare, Trincan:

“¦.If these testimonies cannot be considered as evidence in favour of the present accused, this does not mean, however, that they can be considered ““ as argued by the prosecution ““ as circumstantial [evidence] against them. That these witnesses decided to report such circumstances, hypothetically in favour to the accused, either spontaneously or solicited by others is of no importance; it is certain that there is no evidence to maintain that it was the present accused, (who did what?) arrested a very few days after the event and, therefore, held in prison for years, to plot such a plan, so that the unreliability of [43] these witnesses cannot be considered as confirmation that the defendants provided a false alibi.

Hellmann/Zanetti here slip-in an unnecessary, incomplete, assertion to protect the false alibi. It was already obvious that those witnesses were brought-on in defensive desperation to distract, and didnt seem important to the issue of the false alibi, one way or the other.

[Added: Cardiol edit of 7 Aug. 2012: Until the translation by PMF of the first half of Galati’s Appeal reached me on 6 August after writing this, most of us did not realise that Hellmann/Zanetti had improperly omitted, selectively & deliberately, Aviello’s statements which in fact are crucially important, not only to the issue of the false alibi, but also to the issue of AK/RS’s very guilt. Therefore I retract the “didnt seem important” above.  Hellmann/Zanetti’s “slip-in” seems deliberately incomplete, to protect their own criminal misconduct.]

Page 49:

3. Taking into account that none of the recommendations of the international scientific community relative to the treatment of Low Copy Number (LCN) samples were followed, we do not accept the conclusions regarding the certain attribution of the profile found on trace B (blade of knife) to the victim Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher, since the genetic profile, as obtained, appears unreliable insofar as it is not supported by scientifically validated analysis;

Hellmann/Zanetti here buy into the questionable DNA testimony (“not supported by scientifically validated analysis”) of Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, whose consultancy is called “˜illegal’ in the Supreme Court appeal of Chief Prosecutor Dr Galati.

More to follow in the next posts in my series. 

If you are not yet familiar with them,  you should read in conjunction with this series the posts by one of my lawyer colleagues on TJMK. James Raper, explaining the strength of the prosecution case and how hard it is to challenge. See here and here.

Also here by another of my lawyer colleagues, SomeAlibi.


Hi Cardiol,

What international scientific community is Judge Hellmann referring to?

As FBN pointed out, there are no internationally accepted forensic science management standards, but multiple perspectives:

“An in depth reading of the expert report uncovers allegations that Dr. Stefanoni has not followed internationally established forensic science management standards and that in doing so she has committed analytical errors, such as the misattribution of peaks in her bra clasp DNA analysis.  What the report fails to mention, however, is that no such standards exist and that there are currently multiple perspectives from which a scientist might argue their case regarding the proper interpretation of DNA data, as evidenced in any sampling of current forensic science journal articles.”



Posted by The Machine on 07/24/12 at 10:10 PM | #

I understand simple logic the best. If Knox was present when Meredith was murdered then she told a falsehood by saying that it was at the hand of Patrick Lumumba, but if she wasn’t then why say she was and name Lumumba when she couldn’t have known that he was responsible. That again was a deliberate falsehood.

As to whether this was evidence of guilt re the murder itself, on what basis is the above falsehood “illogical when it would be easier to tell the truth, such that this cannot be taken as evidence of guilt”. What on earth are Hellmann/Zanetti waffling on about?

The falsehood could only be illogical were Knox innocent. There is no point thinking of it as illogical otherwise. This gives the game away. The trick (a fairly transparent one) that Hellmann/Zanetti employ here is the one of hiding their conclusion in the premise of the argument. Do that and the falsehood is illogical:  accordingly why indeed would Knox not take the easier path of telling the truth?

I would paraphrase the argument something like this : it would be illogical to have this contradiction which asserts that it is evidence of guilt when we have already decided she is innocent. Accordingly it is not evidence of guilt.

This is of course specious.

Posted by James Raper on 07/24/12 at 11:51 PM | #

Specious and circuitous. Demonstrating the extreme prejudice with which the evidence has been approached. In fact we can find this trick in a number of places, including using assumptions rather than evidence based fact as the premises for their arguments.

It was not a surprise to read somewhere that Dr Galati actually refers to a textbook on basic logic somewhere in his appeal, as a guide for Cassation, lest they be as gullible. Dr Galati, as I understand it, stresses the underlying prejudice and illogicality of most of the Report.

I really want to read the english translation when it is available. Please.

Posted by James Raper on 07/25/12 at 12:32 AM | #

A copy of the translation of Hellman/Zanetti by the excellent team at PMF is linked to near the top of each of Cardiol’s posts. Here it is again.

the Hellmann Report

Our main poster Earthling has been reformatting it into spaced paragraphs with a smaller font size, also single spaced lines to make it quicker to read and less to print. That should be ready soon.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/25/12 at 02:14 AM | #

Hi James

Yes you’re right. How is the name of Patrick Lamumba simply picked out of midair. It’s so obviously a childish and desperate attempt to deflect blame. ie “Patrick was there he did it.” ergo she was there also and in spite of her protestations to the contrary that alone is an admission of guilt.

Her defenders desperate though they are will twist anything to change the subject. Point of fact do you notice that whenever faced with a question they either can’t or refuse to answer their basic modus operendi is to ask’ Prove it” or “Where did you get that information.” Time is not on their side

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/25/12 at 02:22 AM | #

(1) Why is Meredith’s DNA on the knife blade only significant “provided it is certain that this is actually one of the weapons used by the aggressors.” Unless one believes the “fish story”, there’s NO good explanation for Meredith’s blood at Sollecito’s apartment.

(2) Hellmann/Zanetti clearly don’t understand the C-V report, so their analsys is limited to cut and paste and a few failed attempts to say something relevant.

Posted by brmull on 07/25/12 at 03:33 AM | #

Cardiol - Thank you for the detailed and well-written articles, and your painstaking work to unravel the tormented logic of this report.

James - I still can’t wrap my brain around what they meant with the illogical falsehood. No matter how they twist it, she lied, and convicting her for lying about Patrick while absolving her of the murder charges is logically incompatible. 

An innocent under duress might speculate about who the murderer could be, but I don’t see much reason to invent a story like that - which not only involved someone with few connections to the victim, but also placed Amanda herself at the scene. Like you said, it’s backward logic, and poorly presented at that.

I have a question regarding Zanetti’s authorship - how common is it for the secondary judge to write the motivation report, especially in a high-profile case?  Right after the verdict, I was told that Zanetti, rather than Hellman, may have been the plant who led the jury to certain conclusions.

It seems awfully coincidental, in light of that supposition, that he may have written the report too.  It sounds almost like Hellman considered this Zanetti’s mess, and left him to sort it out.

Posted by Vivianna on 07/25/12 at 03:45 AM | #

Hi Vivianna

Well, let us see if we can connect up the dots.

The very respected Judge Sergio Matteini Chiari, the head judge in 2010 of the Perugia criminal division, was in line to preside over the appeal. Andrea Vogt reported on it, and we posted on it in 2010 several times.

Now, Sollecito defense counsel Giulia Bongiorno, who did some very odd things during the trial and appeal to ensure winning, is ALSO the powerful head of the justice committee in the parliament.

Is that the mother of all conflicts of interest or what?! Despite all the caution of the justice system, it is allowed to persist. 

A few years ago, as defense counsel, she went up against then Prosecutor Sergio Matteini Chiari when he prosecuted ex-PM Giulio Andreotti in Perugia on appeal against a 1999 not guilty verdict on mafia entanglement.

In November 2002 Prosecutor Chiari WON his appeal and 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 Judge Chiari once again, in what was to be a very tough appeal. Under UK and US law she might have had to be the one to step aside, or not even take the case back in 2008, because of that conflict of interest.

But she didn’t - and all of a sudden, lo and behold!  Her nemesis Judge Chiari is yanked off the 2011 appeal trial, and seemingly demoted to head the childrens’ branch of the court. Meanwhile, Judge Hellman is in effect promoted, into being the lead judge.

Judge Zanetti was also in effect promoted, right after the appeal trial, to lead the appeal section of the little court down in Terni. Neither had handled criminal trials for years - and we get this nice outcome for the judges and defendants.

Who made the call from Rome that fixed this judge rearrangement? Which by the way was not in the usual way painstakingly gazetted - publicised so that anyone feeling passed over could appeal about it.

Interesting question.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/25/12 at 04:12 AM | #

On the other hand, Matteini Chiari is from Gubbio and has significant ties to Knox’s Italian BFF Rocco. So initially I thought it was a good thing that Hellmann was given the case. Fast-forward to the verdict and motivation report and I would have preferred anybody instead of Hellmann.

FWIW Popper thinks all conspiracy theories related to the judges are nonsense, and a certain percentage of judges are just incompetent. Nothing we can do but wait and hope until next spring.

Posted by brmull on 07/25/12 at 04:29 AM | #

Well, nobody espouses the Italian justice system more than we do, and nobody espouses conspiracy theories less than we do. But sometimes one just has to keep looking until one is sure and a few well-connected Italians are looking.

On waiting till next spring, well, Dr Galati didnt wait - the terms and tone of his appeal will not be overlooked by Cassation. A strong sentencing report was what RS and AK really needed - and as Cardiol shows, that baton has been dropped.

br, give us something to go on, on this connection between Rocco Girlanda and Sergio Matteini Chiari (below)? Apart from both being from Gubbio is there something? We’ve kept an eye out for two years and not seen it.

My friend Popper makes me smile by the way. Berlusconi and his colleagues had a running war with the judiciary over many years and won a few points. Part of why the system is so defendant-friendly is that politicians have leaned on it to help themselves and their buddies over many years.

MP Rocco Girlanda in the Knox case petitioned the President to investigate the prosecution in Perugia, ran meetings, published a book,  and was also pushing a bill in parliament to eliminate the budget for police wire tapping.

But Italian judges and prosecutors are all things being equal the world’s toughest and straightest. http://bit.ly/NVcWzl  And the President watches over them. http://bit.ly/LMwwMj


Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/25/12 at 04:36 AM | #

Neither English or Italian is my mother tongue. However, I do read and write English.

I notice the tone of the written language conveys a lot more emotion in Italian (also in French) and this need to be dissected. Same information written in French or Italian tend to be longer but has more intangible content.

When I first read the statement “...nothing is certain except the death of Meredith…”, my first reaction was “what he is trying to convey? Oh, he means that he is certain that AK is innocent…”

Language is more than words, it makes a man.

How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?

Posted by chami on 07/25/12 at 05:51 AM | #

Pertinent to this, Cardiol, is the Mignini interview.  On the strength of your analysis, I took up the “flooding of the single point” cudgel and was promptly set upon or flooded.

As part of my response, the Mignini interview was revisited and it really does cover all the awkward contingencies.




Small example:

35’17’’ CNN: So, you believed the testimony of a heroin-addict bum?

35’25’’ Mignini: Well, on let’s say the legal position of this person, I have nothing to say because he was judged for something different, for a true and totally different fact, having nothing to do with the present one. For this one, he was a witness. And it’s true that it’s completely different in that he was heard as a witness, with no lawyer. If it had been a related fact, he would have had to be assisted by a lawyer and he would have had the choice to abstain from making declarations. But for this event, he is a plain and simple witness. Then, also, I wouldn’t want to, because the witness, it’s not that we ask the witness if he has a previous record, previous condemnations. We can ask that to the accused, to the accused, amongst the other questions that we ask the accused, we ask him if he has a previous record, but we don’t ask witnesses this question, except during the defense’s investigations. This is the…so he’s just a witness who made declarations. His declarations have remained quite, rather credible.

There’s also for example the fact that, well, take for example the rain. Curatolo remembers that the evening during which he saw the two young people, it wasn’t raining, and it’s true that on the evening of the crime it wasn’t raining. Vice versa, and they say this, also other witnesses say this, on the previous night, only in the town of Perugia, there was a limited weather phenomenon; in the late afternoon of October 31, it rained. And even I remember that, because I remember that the street was wet. So, this is to say that this is a detail which was confirmed by…there. I’m giving an example to tell you that also a person who has a criminal record…and then, one would have to go see all the witnesses who were heard at the first degree trial, all of them, to see if they had them. We don’t do it because it isn’t relevant.


44’44’’ CNN: not that she lied but this is a fundamental question for your work. Is your job finding the truth and solving the problem or is it following your intuition and trying to incriminate the first person you find suspicious?

45’16’’ Mignini: Well this is, in the Italian legal system, the prosecutor is not a lawyer for the accusation. He/she is an organ of the judiciary who must also seek evidence in favor of the suspect. Which we have done, particularly in the case of Lumumba. And all the people, all the witnesses who were suggested by the accused, were heard in cross-examination. A very long preliminary investigation was made, extremely thorough, verifications of all kinds were made, [including] verifications on the phone cells. I have not spoken of the phone cells, for example, but that is another point that showed people’s movements, people’s location, that were confirming the accusatory hypothesis, as we say. So, [after] all these evaluations, the prosecutor, made a few requests. I did nothing. I made an order of detention, I asked for [its] confirmation. Then the judges had to confirm everything. And the Preliminary Hearing judge should have considered, he would have had to, if there had been any grounds of non-credibility of witnesses, they should have been pointed out, they should have highlighted this. But the Preliminary Hearing judge evaluated the indictment request, I asked for an indictment but is was the GUP Micheli who [actually] indicted the defendants.

Well worth revisiting because it is, in itself, an answer to Hellman/Zanetti.

Posted by James Higham on 07/25/12 at 06:14 PM | #

Real truth is often defective: comes with its own problems.

We are not a camera watching some event with devoted attention: even honest eye witnesses can be wrong.

Sometimes we tell lies on the impulse: no reason and and that does not make us a habitual liar.

Credibility is both personal and temporal: mostly we depend on our instincts to decide whether to accept a statement as truth.

A statement remains true till some contrary evidence is found.

Compare, for example, with fabricated lies that are perfect to the last dot and comma, minutes and seconds.

Curatolo has no reason to bluff and his statements are natural with attendant flaws.

he who has committed no sin may throw the first stone

Posted by chami on 07/25/12 at 07:35 PM | #

I have a questions re: this statement of Mignini:

“But the Preliminary Hearing judge evaluated the indictment request, I asked for an indictment but is was the GUP Micheli who [actually] indicted the defendants.”

Is this the Micheli Report that we hear so much about? I think it is, but wasn’t Micheli also the judge who heard Guede’s trial? So did he write TWO reports, one to indict the defendants, and one at the end of Guede’s trial? (the 90-day-after thing).

I’m sorry, but I’m confused about this.

Posted by Earthling on 07/25/12 at 07:53 PM | #

Hi Earthling

The trial of RG and indictment hearings for AK and RS at the end of October 2008 several week after TJMK came alive were in effect simultaneous and Judge Micheli only issued the one report.

PMF translated most of it though it was hard going because we’d known little prior to that of Meredith’s autopsy. Then main posters Brian S and Nicki summarized it in our series here (scroll down).


Now there is yet another pathetic outburst of lurid insanity on Ground Report about Mignini - a totally fictional Mignini - by someone called “Nigel Scott” who reads like the boring long-winded Fischer. 


None of the judges were idiots or pushovers, and all of them made up their own minds on the motive and evidence and witnesses. Judge Micheli was the most cold-minded of all of them, and his report was perhaps the best.

He differed in some ways from Mignini and concluded that AK probably initiated the attack and wielded the fatal blow and that the crime scene had been rearranged. No lone wolf.

So he sent her to trial. RS too. The idea that Mignini put one over on him is ludicrous.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/25/12 at 08:22 PM | #

The more I read and see of Mignini, the better I like him.  Straight down the line, forthright, I believe honest, very angry about the brutality and callousness of it.  While others, including me, were tied up in the who-was-where-at-what-time, he felt it deeply and was therefore perhaps too angry for Hellman’s court.

Yet there’s another side.  Look at the language: “he saw the two young people” and note he refers to Amanda, where I refer to Knox.  I believe he cares about people and must have been terribly hurt inside by many of the things said. 

Peter is right about Micheli being cold, a machine but they are necessary to cut through the rubbish, much as we might personally not warm to them.  Mignini feels ... demonstrably.

Posted by James Higham on 07/25/12 at 10:05 PM | #

Micheli’s report is still available here http://www.penale.it/page.asp?mode=1&IDPag=750

Posted by ncountryside on 07/25/12 at 10:14 PM | #

Thanks, Pete, for clarifying the Micheli report issue. It does seem a bit odd for someone in the U.S. that a sentencing report for one accused could also function as the indictment for two others. But I guess that’s the Italian system.

As for the CNN interview with Mignini that James H. cites, I wonder, did we ever get a better Italian transcription of it? Or an audio/video of the whole thing? (even better, although transcribing audio is VERY tedious; I’ve done it and I don’t wish to repeat LOL).

In addition to re-formatting the Hellmann report (you should have that in your in-box by now, Pete), I’m going to take the Mignini interview and make it into a file as well. I find printing things out from MS Word or Adobe to make things much easier to read. I’m a holdover from an earlier era, I guess LOL.

Posted by Earthling on 07/25/12 at 10:47 PM | #

Thanks Cardiol.  I had noticed upon first reading that H&Z have a terrible issue with certainty.  Motives and even private thoughts are many times written as if by the individuals themselves.  An example is this:

[Sollecito] turned off the cell phone because he had stayed home together with the girl (who was his whole world at that moment)...

How do H&Z know that Sollecito felt that Knox was ‘his whole world at the moment’?  He didn’t say that in court.  Knox didn’t say it in her testimony.  So where did they get the idea that Knox was ‘his whole world’?

That’s not the only example of this certainty that borders on mind-reading.

Posted by Stilicho on 07/25/12 at 11:05 PM | #

Good that James has opened up the issue of Mignini’s diligent performance throughout the case. I linked above to yet another crazed attack in Ground Report on a totally fictional Mignini.


t’s hard to pick the dumbest comment underneath but maybe it’s this one by Michele Moore:


“Why did Mignini do so many other illegal things?  From the very start he broke laws left and right, and yet he was in CHARGE. What kind of incompetence is in charge over there, and why did no one else he worked with seem to know things like “put the tape in now”? “She needs an attorney” .

He took advantage of her age, her being a foreigner, and even and hurried things before her own mother got there manipulatively to get his way. Over and over and again…

I DO believe in good and evil. Either Mignini is evil or crazy. I think he’s both. He did too many wrong things purposely for me to believe he is not an evil man.”


First Michele Moore may have already committed one crime in Perugia (screeching at the prosecutor outside the court) and this falsely accusing him of crimes looks very like another.

Second Mignini wasnt even there at the impromptu unplanned witness interrogation of Knox that began around 11 pm. And under Italian law no taping was required for that and no lawyer.

Third the outcomes of all her interrogations didnt even matter so much. They were not made a lot of at the trial, and she was on the stand for two days desperately trying to retract.

Fourth Judge Micheli decided almost exclusively on the physical evidence in the house and the physical wounds on Meredith’s body that Knox almost certainly did it and must stand trial.

There was no way Mignini could slant any of that - and Micheli even rejected Mignini’s suggestion for a motive and a scenario. Some mastermind!

Fifth Mignini didnt hurry things while Knox waited for her own mother. Sophie Purton’s parents arrived the same day from the UK, and Knox’s parents had three days to get there before Knox was charged.

And finally it was Knox’s own choice to make a written statement soon after that impromptu witness interview, and Mignini’s sole role on the night was to do little more than just watch.

Precisely this same ground was covered in the Machine’s exposure of Saul Kassin and if anyone thinks it is important to rebut it please drop this link off at Ground Report.


If they cant prove Mignini falsely influenced a boatload of judges and Ms Comodi (as he didnt), and if they cant prove he was out of order on the night (as he wasnt), their hairbrained conspiracy collapses.

Then we all turn to looking at Knox. Here is a failed previous attempt to drive some sense into the mind of Michele Moore, who seems to have been hornswoggled by a Knox-infatuated Steve.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/26/12 at 12:30 AM | #

The one gripe I have with Micheli’s otherwise excellent work is that he assumed everything Guede said was a lie. My approach has been to assume everything Guede said was true, and then eliminate those elements which cannot be true. I believe this leads to an understanding of the case that is better supported by the facts.

Posted by brmull on 07/26/12 at 12:53 AM | #

Sometimes it’s good to go back to basics of what we actually have here.  I’ve just waded through all the DNA again and then this summary:


... which has to be one of the most lucid.  There were also questions raised by various contributors but one, [I think by the Machine] asked how Meredith’s and AK’s DNA was on the knife but not RS’s in his own home and with that knife in the drawer.

I realize you’ve all probably discussed that ad nauseam but it is significant.  And why did RS have bare feet in AK’s house?  That’s been mentioned many times.

I went through on the basis that they were 1.  innocent of any involvement and when that failed 2. innocent of the actual murder.  Coming round more and more to RS being the nasty piece of work in it suggesting it, Guede without boundaries initiating the action, setting it off and AK providing the means.  AK doesn’t seem to me to have courage.  Guede does.  RS is most definitely warped in the head.

What is innocent?  Remember Louise van Houten?  Only stabbed the woman after she was dead from stabbing but until then had just held her down.  Does holding the victim mean murder as well?

Yet AK’s DNA was on the handle and MK’s on the blade.  We can’t get past that.


Posted by James Higham on 07/26/12 at 12:56 AM | #

Hi Earthling

“It does seem a bit odd for someone in the U.S. that a sentencing report for one accused could also function as the indictment for two others. But I guess that’s the Italian system.”

Not really so odd that Judge Micheli issued only one report. The two-day court sessions were simply one proceeding. All three of the accused were in this courtroom here.


Meredith’s family were there, Knox’s couldnt face them and waited outside. Guede’s lawyers took the short-form trial and Knox’s and Sollecito’s lawyers took the long-form trial that began in January 2009.

Judge Micheli wrote up his sentencing report from what was in the 10,000 plus pages which applied to all three. Only his conclusions separated out. They described the reasons for sentencing Guede, and the reasons for remitting the other two for trial.

No equivalent reports are issued as you know in the UK and US systems, probably to their loss.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/26/12 at 01:07 AM | #

AK has courage to beat the band, James.  Did you see her performances in the courtroom?  She is one of those practically fearless people we all remember from high school or university where there was simply nothing too impossible to achieve or too ridiculous to attempt. 

It’s her capacity to forge social bonds very quickly (severing them when convenient ciao suckers) that allowed her to cruise through four days of police questioning and still—after all that and after spammming her contacts list with serious concerns about the continuity of her story—have the cojones to “do yoga” in the Questura until the police scolded her and reminded her where she was.

This is no “frightened young foreign girl” but a calculating woman who cannot and would not be intimidated by any normal means.  When finally cornered she did the unthinkable and accused her employer of murder! 

That’s bravado.

Posted by Stilicho on 07/26/12 at 01:07 AM | #

Allow me to bring this conversation over here:

Ergon of http://www.perugiamurderfile.net/  wrote a revealing comment under a post at my place http://nourishingobscurity.com/:


“[Ergon] I also noted this over at dot net on July 12:  I am constantly amazed at the tactics of the Innocence Anywhere Project, and how they apply one standard of evidence when it comes to exonerating Amanda Knox or their new object of support, Kirstin Lobato, and another when it comes to police or prosecutors who claim they’re guilty.

Case in point: The call for new DNA testing of the evidence in the Lobato case:  http://justicedenied.org/lobato/dna_evidence_for_testing.pdf

DNA testing of degraded or impure evidence…. “There have also been additional refinements in the ability of a DNA test to detect a DNA profile from a degraded, impure or minute evidence sample. In February 2007 it was announced that STR MiniFiler PCR Amplification was available to generate a profile from “degraded DNA as well as from samples that are limited by an impurity.”  (Applied Biosystem’s press release)”


Do I take it then that Knox’s supporters agree with the Galati Appeal, that Judge Hellmann should have allowed the DNA knife to be retested using the new improved, methods? If not, then why?

Posted by James Higham on 07/26/12 at 09:27 AM | #

@ James Higham on 07/25/12 at 11:14 AM

Hi James, in your above Comment, you quoted:

“CNN: .........this is a fundamental question for your work. Is your job finding the truth and solving the problem or is it following your intuition and trying to incriminate the first person you find suspicious?”

Here, CNN uses its Classic MSM Brand of ridicule:

Good-Guy’s choice/Bad-Guy’s choice.

Should Victims indicate to the victimiser that such Questions are out-of -line, if necessary by walking out?

Does telling them before the interview, before coming a victim, work?

Should Mignini have just shunned CNN?

Posted by Cardiol MD on 07/27/12 at 10:07 PM | #

Cardiol quotes the Mignini CNN interview:

“CNN: .........this is a fundamental question for your work. Is your job finding the truth and solving the problem or is it following your intuition and trying to incriminate the first person you find suspicious?”

This is the classic false dichotomy (or false dilemma).

The “and” in the second clause also adds a conflation error.

Example: Do you love your wife, or do you hate her and beat her regularly?

To paraphrase the CNN interviewer: “Dr. Mignini, do you care about the truth, or are you just going to go after the first young American girl your find?”

To answer Cardiol’s question as to whether Mignini should have walked out of the interview, he’s damned if he does leave, and damned if he doesn’t.

In the first case, he’ll be called “a coward who can’t face the tough questions.

In the second, he’s facing a fundamentally dishonest interviewer. The most he can do is point out the dishonesty of the questions. In a bilingual situation, it’s probably even harder to do that.

Posted by Earthling on 07/27/12 at 10:25 PM | #

Pete re your quote of Michele Moore, in your 07/25/12 at 05:30 PM Comment:

“He took advantage of her age, her being a foreigner, and even ... hurried things before her own mother got there manipulatively to get his way. Over and over and again….”

How about:

“She took advantage of her age, her being a foreigner, and even ... hurried things before her own mother got there manipulatively to get her way. Over and over and again….”?

Posted by Cardiol MD on 07/27/12 at 10:34 PM | #

Hi Cardiol. That is seriously funny and right to the bone. You will tell Michele of course… !

It’s worth recalling once again that Edda showed considerable exasperation with Amanda in the early days from the post-midnight call on, and it was obviously slowly dawning on her that AK was involved.

Things didnt instantly turn around for AK after Edda and Curt arrived. And they were exasperated with her when she began to blab at Capanne in front of a live mike.

I havent yet read all there is to read on Knox’s early days but it is publicly known that Curt bullied Edda psychologically by not paying his child support though he was earning maybe 4X what she was.

Here we have a situation where the mother was struggling to bring up two girls on an income not much above the poverty line.

Rationally, Amanda ought to have a beef with her father, and a great deal of love for her mom. But it doesnt always come across that way. Maybe because Edda had to be the one to tell her to clean her room.

I’m not suggesting parallels between what we think Knox did and what the Norwegian Brievek did, but what happened between their parents even before they were born and in their first several years was uncannily almost the same.

I wonder if the long distance psychologist in Israel who probably figured out how Breiveks brain evolved ever thought of doing the same for Knox. When Knox got back to Seattle, why was she so quick to move out?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/27/12 at 10:50 PM | #

@ Earthling on 07/27/12 at 03:25 PM:

Hi Earthling, I was hoping to stimulate discussion.

Thanks for your Logician’s perspective; it’s very helpful to know those words.

Handling these loaded questions very much depends on the forum.
They are introduced, variously, in Court, in Deposition, and as in this instance, in MSM.
Your point re ‘bilingual situation’ is most relevant.

In Court there is a Judge/referee/umpire, not necessarily impartial, and an influential, silent audience, the Jury.

Lawyers think a lot about loaded questions like “When did you stop beating your wife?” They can object, need to know the right words when doing-so, and whether to even object at all.

The motive of those who pose such questions is to destroy the credibility of their target. Expert-opinion witnesses are a favourite target. I’ve been so-targetted many times.

Unfortunately, Hellmann/Zanetti shielded the credibility of the Expert-opinion witnesses they improperly introduced.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 07/28/12 at 08:30 PM | #

Hi Pete, re your 07/27/12 at 03:50 PM Comment:

Much enjoyed your phrase “seriously funny”.

“You will tell Michele of course… !”

Of course… ?

Michele’s mind does not even rise-up to the level of a monk. I would never engage in a contest with the likes of Michele.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 07/28/12 at 10:53 PM | #

As I draft the next “Dissecting The Hellman/Zanetti Report…” which will focus on Curatolo, and review the Comments here, I note, for example, that James Higham had already quoted Mignini’s calm responses to hostile CNN questions:

“44’44’’ CNN: not that she lied but this is a fundamental question for your work. Is your job finding the truth and solving the problem or is it following your intuition and trying to incriminate the first person you find suspicious?

45’16’’ Mignini: Well this is, in the Italian legal system, the prosecutor is not a lawyer for the accusation. He/she is an organ of the judiciary who must also seek evidence in favor of the suspect. Which we have done….”

So Mignini had listened carefully to the question and delivered a calm,  professional response.

Also brmull posted on 07/25/12 at 05:53 PM:

“….My approach has been to assume everything Guede said was true, and then eliminate those elements which cannot be true. I believe this leads to an understanding of the case that is better supported by the facts.”

So wise. Guede is reported to have stated that he “...leaned over her [Meredith] as she attempted to speak and [HE had] written the letters “AF” on the wall because HE couldn’t understand her attempted words.”

IMO this is most convincing, profoundly significant to me, and leads to an understanding of the case that is better supported by the facts.

James Higham posted by on 07/25/12 at 05:56 PM:

“…There were also questions raised by various contributors but one, [I think by the Machine] asked how (both) Meredith’s and AK’s DNA (were) on the knife but not RS’s in his own home and with that knife in the drawer.

....And why did RS have bare feet in AK’s house?

....AK’s DNA was on the handle and MK’s on the blade. 

We can’t get past that.”

Really significant stuff!

Posted by Cardiol MD on 07/29/12 at 12:52 AM | #

About Judge Micheli’s reports,

for clarification, in fact Micheli did write three separate documents at the end of the preliminary hearing: one - issued after 90 days - was the actual report, focused on Guede’s sentencing but also including his conclusions on the other two defendants.

But Micheli also issued an order to stand trial regarding Knox and Sollecito, and a few days later he also emanated an order of holding them in custody.

The fact is, by Italian law, the decision requires a written rationale to be released within a certain time, but the sending to trial in fact only requires an order (the “purview”) and the following motivations report will be rather simple.

Posted by Yummi on 07/29/12 at 11:19 PM | #

Thanks, Yummi, for clarifying. So, I presume that this report is the one sentencing Guede:


Are the other two docs available online as well?

Posted by Earthling on 07/30/12 at 05:36 AM | #

The ordnance disposing for keeping Knox and Sollecito in jail was issued by Micheli on Oct 29. 2008, it is a 17-page document. I don’t know if it is available anywhere online. Maybe PMF have it.

I remember reading excerpts of it, but don’t know if I have a copy (don’t think so). There were some very strong statements about why the two are dangerous liars and fully guilty.

The third document, the purview that sends Knox and Sollecito to trial was also read in court, but I don’t think there is something interesting in it.

Posted by Yummi on 07/30/12 at 08:02 PM | #

Thanks, Yummi. Well, I guess that 2nd document would be interesting to have a translation of. Thanks, again.

Posted by Earthling on 07/31/12 at 12:45 AM | #

The recent translation of Galati’s Appeal to Cassation, indicating that Hellmann/Zanetti seem to have criminally excluded crucial parts of Aviello’s testimony, is so shocking that an appropriate editorial comment was been added to this Post on Aug.7.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 08/08/12 at 08:32 PM | #
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