Thursday, May 16, 2013

Knox’s Interrogation: A Major Contradiction Between Knox’s Book And Her Trial Testimony

Posted by James Raper

Amanda Knox now faces the prospect of not one but two trials where her claims in the book will become a real minefield to the defense and a major plus for the prosecutions.

If she goes back for the trials she may or may not get up on the stand, but either way she may blow it. If she doesn’t go back, she will indeed blow it in the eyes of the courts and it will be hard to escape guilty verdicts.

This post describes a particularly dangerous part of this minefield which seems quite certain to preoccupy both courts. It is about what actually happened on the 5th November 2007 when Amanda Knox was questioned at the central police station.

The police had called her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito in to the station for questioning and Knox had accompanied him because she did not want to be alone. They had already eaten at the house of a friend of Sollecito’s.

Knox’s interrogation was not tape recorded and in that sense we have no truly independent account of what transpired. The police, including the interpreter, gave evidence at her trial, but we do not yet have transcripts for that evidence other than that of the interpreter. There are accounts in books that have been written about the case but these tend to differ in the detail. The police and the interpreter maintain that she was treated well. Apart from the evidence of the interpreter all we have is what Knox says happened, and our sources for this are transcripts of her trial evidence and what she wrote in her book. I shall deal with the evidence of the interpreter towards the end of this article.

I am going to compare what she said at trial with what she wrote in her book but also there was a letter she wrote on the 9th and a recording of a meeting with her mother on the 10th November which are relevant.. What she wrote in her book is fairly extensive and contains much dialogue. She has a prodigious memory for detail now which was almost entirely lacking before.  I am going to tell you to treat what she says in her book with extreme caution because she has already been found out for, well let us say, her creative writing if not outright distortion of facts. I shall paraphrase rather than quote most of it but a few direct quotes are necessary.

Knox arrived with Sollecito at the police station at about 10.30 pm (according to John Follain). The police started to question Sollecito at 10.40 pm (Follain).

In her book Knox describes being taken from the waiting area to a formal interview room in which she had already spent some time earlier. It is unclear when that formal questioning began. Probably getting on for about 11.30pm because she also refers to some questions being asked of her in the waiting room following which she did some stretches and splits. She then describes how she was questioned about the events over a period from about the time she and Sollecito left the cottage to about 9 pm on the 1st November.

Possibly there was a short break. She describes being exhausted and confused. The interpreter, Knox says, arrived at about 12.30 am. Until then she had been conversing with the police in Italian.

Almost immediately on the questioning resuming -

“Monica Napoleoni, who had been so abrupt with me about the poop and the mop at the villa, opened the door. “Raffaele says you left his apartment on Thursday night,” she said almost gleefully. “He says that you asked him to lie for you. He’s taken away your alibi.””

Knox describes how she was dumfounded and devastated by this news. She cannot believe that he would say that when they had been together all night. She feels all her reserves of energy draining away. Then -

“Where did you go? Who did you text?” Ficarra asked, sneering at me.

“I don’t remember texting anyone.”

They grabbed my cell phone up off the desk and scrolled quickly through its history.

“You need to stop lying. You texted Patrick. Who’s Patrick?”

“My boss at Le Chic.”

Stop right there.

How were the police able to name the recipient of the text? The text Patrick had sent her had already been deleted from Knox’s mobile phone by Knox herself and Knox hasn’t yet named Patrick. In fact she couldn’t remember texting anyone.

It is of course probable that the police already had a log of her calls and possibly had already traced and identified the owner of the receiving number for her text, though the last step would have been fast work.

In her trial testimony Knox did a lot of “the police suggested this and suggestd that” though it is never crystal clear whether she is accusing the police of having suggested his name. But she is doing it here in her book and of course the Knox groupies have always maintained that it was the police who suggested his name to her.

The following extract from her trial testimony should clear things up. GCM is Judge Giancarlo Massei.

GCM: In this message, was there the name of the person it was meant for?

AK: No, it was the message I wrote to my boss. The one that said “Va bene. Ci vediamo piu tardi. Buona serata.”

GCM: But it could have been a message to anyone. Could you see from the message to whom it was written?

AK: Actually, I don’t know if that information is in the telephone”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦..

GCM : But they didn’t literally say it was him!

AK : No. They didn’t say it was him, but they said “We know who it is, we know who it is. You were with him, you met him.”

GCM : Now what happened next? You, confronted with the message, gave the name of Patrick. What did you say?”

AK : Well, first I started to cry…....

And having implied that it was the police who suggested Patrick’s name to her, she adds”¦.. that quote again -

“You need to stop lying. You texted Patrick. Who’s Patrick?”

“My boss at Le Chic.”

Here she is telling the Perugian cops straight out exactly to whom the text was sent. “My boss at Le Chic”.

But that does not quite gel with her trial testimony -

And they told me that I knew, and that I didn’t want to tell. And that I didn’t want to tell because I didn’t remember or because I was a stupid liar. Then they kept on about this message, that they were literally shoving in my face saying “Look what a stupid liar you are, you don’t even remember this!”

At first, I didn’t even remember writing that message. But there was this interpreter next to me who kept saying “Maybe you don’t remember, maybe you don’t remember, but try,” and other people were saying “Try, try, try to remember that you met someone, and I was there hearing “Remember, remember, remember…..

Doesn’t the above quote make it clear that the police were having considerable trouble getting Knox to tell them to whom her text message was sent? It would also explain their growing frustration with her.

But perhaps the above quote relates not to whom the text was sent but, that having been ascertained, whether Knox met up with that person later? Knox has a habit of conflating the two issues. However there is also the following quote from her trial testimony -

Well there were lots of people who were asking me questions, but the person who had started talking with me was a policewoman with long hair, chestnut brown hair, but I don’t know her. Then in the circle of people who were around me, certain people asked me questions, for example there was a man holding my telephone, and who was literally shoving the telephone into my face, shouting “Look at this telephone! Who is this? Who did you want to meet?”

Then there were others, for instance this woman who was leading, was the same person who at one point was standing behind me, because they kept moving, they were really surrounding me and on top of me. I was on a chair, then the interpreter was also sitting on a chair, and everyone else was standing around me, so I didn’t see who gave me the first blow because it was someone behind me, but then I turned around and saw that woman and she gave me another blow to the head.

The woman with the long hair, chestnut brown hair, Knox identifies in her book as Ficarra. Ficarra is the policewoman who started the questioning particularly, as Knox has confirmed, about the texted message. “Look at this telephone! Who is this? Who did you want to meet?” Again, surely this is to get Knox to identify the recipient of the text, not about whether she met up with him?

In the book though, it is all different.

In the book, the police having told her that the text is to someone called Patrick, Knox is a model of co-operation as, having already told them that he is her boss at Le Chic, she then gives a description of him and answers their questions as to whether he knew Meredith, whether he liked her etc. No reluctance to co-operate, no memory difficulties here.

Notwithstanding this, her book says the questions and insinuations keep raining down on her. The police insist that she had left Sollecito’s to meet up with - and again the police name him - Patrick.

“Who did you meet up with? Who are you protecting? Why are you lying? Who’s this person? Who’s Patrick?”

Remember again, according to her trial testimony the police did not mention Patrick’s name and Knox still hasn’t mentioned his name. But wait, she does in the next line -

“I said “Patrick is my boss.””

So now, at any rate, the police have a positive ID from Knox regarding the text message and something to work with. Patrick - boss - Le Chic.

Knox then refers to the differing interpretations as to what “See you later” meant and denies that she had ever met up with Patrick that evening. She recalls the interpreter suggesting that she was traumatized and suffering from amnesia.

The police continue to try to draw an admission from Knox that she had met up with Patrick that evening - which again she repeatedly denies. And why shouldn’t she? After all, she denies that she’s suffering from amnesia, or that there is a problem with her memory. The only problem is that Sollecito had said she had gone out but that does not mean she had met with Patrick.

Knox then writes, oddly, as it is completely out of sequence considering the above -

“They pushed my cell phone, with the message to Patrick, in my face and screamed,

“You’re lying. You sent a message to Patrick. Who’s Patrick?”

That’s when Ficarra slapped me on my head.”

A couple of blows (more like cuffs) to the head (denied by the police) is mentioned in her trial testimony but more likely, if this incident ever happened, it would have been earlier when she was struggling to remember the text and to whom it had been sent. Indeed that’s clear from the context of the above quotes.

And this, from her trial testimony -

Remember, remember, remember, and then there was this person behind me who—it’s not that she actually really physically hurt me, but she frightened me.”

In the CNN TV interview with Chris Cuomo, Knox was asked if there was anything she regretted.

Knox replied that she regretted the way this interrogation had gone, that she wished she had been aware of her rights and had stood up to the police questioning better.

Well actually, according to the account in her book, she appears to have stood up to the police questioning with a marked degree of resilience and self- certainty, and with no amnesia. There is little of her trademark “being confused”. 

So why the sudden collapse? And it was a sudden collapse.

Given the trial and book accounts Knox would have us think that she was frightened, that it was due to exhaustion and the persistent and bullying tone of the questioning, mixed with threats that she would spend time in prison for failing to co-operate. She also states that -

(a) she was having a bad period and was not being allowed to attend to this, and

(b) the police told her that they had “hard evidence” that she was involved in the murder.

Knox has given us a number of accounts as to what was actually happening when this occurred.

In a letter she wrote on the 9th November she says that suddenly all the police officers left the room but one, who told her she was in serious trouble and that she should name the murderer. At this point Knox says that she asked to see the texted message again and then an image of Patrick came to mind. All she could think about was Patrick and so she named him (as the murderer).

During a recorded meeting with her mother in Capanne Prison on the 10th November she relates essentially the same story.

In her book there is sort of the same story but significantly without mention of the other officers having left the room nor mention of her having asked to see the texted message again.

If the first two accounts are correct then at least the sense of oppression from the room being crowded and questions being fired at her had lifted.

Then this is from her book -

In that instant, I snapped. I truly thought I remembered having met somebody. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I didn’t understand that I was about to implicate the wrong person. I didn’t understand what was at stake. I didn’t think I was making it up. My mind put together incoherent images. The image that came to me was Patrick’s face.  I gasped. I said his name. “Patrick””it’s Patrick.

It’s her account, of course, but this “Patrick - It’s Patrick” makes no sense at this stage of it unless it’s an admission not just that she had met up with Patrick but that he was at the cottage and involved in Meredith’s death.

And this is from her trial testimony -

GCM : Now what happened next? You, confronted with the message, gave the name of Patrick. What did you say?

AK : Well, first I started to cry. And all the policemen, together, started saying to me, you have to tell us why, what happened? They wanted all these details that I couldn’t tell them, because in the end, what happened was this: when I said the name of Patrick I suddenly started imagining a kind of scene, but always using this idea: images that didn’t agree, that maybe could give some kind of explanation of the situation.

There is a clear difference between these two quotes.

The one from her book suggests that she was trying hard but that the police had virtually brought her to the verge of a mental breakdown.

Her trial testimony says something else; that a scene and an idea was forming in her mind brought on by her naming of Patrick.

In her book she states that a statement, typed up in Italian, was shoved under her nose and she was told to sign it. The statement was timed at 1.45 am. The statement was not long but would probably have taken about twenty minutes to prepare and type.

The statement according to Knox -

... I met Patrick immediately at the basketball court in Piazza Grimana and we went to the house together. I do not remember if Meredith was there or came shortly afterward. I have a hard time remembering those moments but Patrick had sex with Meredith, with whom he was infatuated, but I cannot remember clearly whether he threatened Meredith first. I remember confusedly that he killed her.

The fact that the statement was in Italian is not important. Knox could read Italian perfectly well. However she does insinuate in the book that the details in the statement were suggested to her and that she didn’t bother to read the statement before signing.

Apart from what has been mentioned above, there are some other points and inferences to be drawn from the above analysis.

    1.  Knox’s account destroys one of Sollecito’s main tenets in his book Honour Bound. Sollecito maintains that he did nothing to damage Knox’s alibi until he signed a statement, forced on him at 3:30 am and containing the damaging admission that Knox had gone out. But Knox makes it clear that she had heard from the Head of the Murder Squad that he had made that damaging admission, at or shortly after 12.30 am. Or is Knox is accusing Napoleoni of a bare-faced lie?

    2.  It is valid to ask why Knox would not want to remember to whom the text had been sent. Who can see into her mind? Perhaps Knox realized that discussion of it would confirm that if she had indeed gone out then it was not to Le Chic, where she was not required. However even if she thought that could put her in the frame it’s not what an innocent person would be too worried about. Perhaps she did just have difficulty remembering?

    3.  If there was no fuss and she did remember and tell the police that the text was to Patrick, and the questioning then moved on to whether she met up with Patrick later that evening, what was the problem with that? She knew the fact that she hadn’t met up with him could be verified by Patrick. She could have said that and stuck to it. The next move for the police would have been to question Patrick. They would not have had grounds to arrest him.

    4.  Knox stated in her memorial, and re-iterates it in her book, that during her interrogation the police told her that they had hard evidence that she was involved in Meredith’s murder. She does not expand on what this evidence is, perhaps because the police did not actually tell her. However, wasn’t she the least bit curious, particularly if she was innocent? What was she thinking it might be?

    5.  I can sympathise with any interviewee suffering a bad period, if that’s true. However the really testy period of the interview/interrogation starts with the arrival of the interpreter, notification of Sollecito’s withdrawal of her alibi and the questioning with regard to the text to Patrick, all occurring at around 12.30 am.  There has to be some critical point when she concedes, whether to the police or in her own mind,  that she’d met “Patrick”, after which there was the questioning as to what had happened next. Say that additional questioning took 20 minutes. Then there would be a break whilst the statement is prepared and typed up. So the difficult period for Knox, from about 12.30 am to that critical point, looks more like about 35 to, at the outside, 50 minutes.

    6.  Even if, for that period, it is true that she was subjected to repeated and bullying questions, and threats, then she held up remarkably well as I have noted from her own account. It does not explain any form of mental breakdown, let alone implicating Patrick in murder. In particular, if Knox’s letter of the 9th and the recording of her meeting with her mother on the 10th are to believed, that alleged barrage of questions had stopped when she implicated Patrick.  An explanation, for what it’s worth, might be that she had simply ceased to care any longer despite the consequences. But why?

    7.  A better and more credible explanation is that an idea had indeed formed suddenly in her mind. She would use the revelation about the text to Patrick and the consequent police line of questioning to bring the questioning to an end and divert suspicion from her true involvement in the murder of Meredith Kercher. She envisaged that she would be seen by the police as a helpless witness/victim, not a suspect in a murder investigation. As indeed was the case initially.  She expected, I am sure, to be released, so that she could get Sollecito’s story straight once again. If that had happened there would of course remain the problem of her having involved Patrick, but I dare say she thought that she could simply smooth that over - that it would not be a big deal once he had confirmed that there had been no meeting and that he had not been at the cottage, as the evidence was bound to confirm.

At the beginning I said that we also have a transcript now of the evidence of the interpreter, Anna Donnino. I will summarise the main points from her evidence but it will be apparent immediately that she contradicts much of what Knox and her supporters claim to have happened.

Donnino told the court that she had 22 years experience working as a translator for the police in Perugia. She was at home when she received a call from the police that her services were required and she arrived at the police station at just before 12.30 am, just as Knox said. She found Knox with Inspector Ficarra. There was also another police officer there whose first name was Ivano. At some stage Ficarra left the room and then returned and there was also another officer by the name of Zugarina who came in. Donnino remained with Knox at all times

The following points emerge from her testimony :-

    1. Three police officers do not amount to the “lots of people” referred to in Knox’s trial testimony, let alone the dozens and the “tag teams” of which her supporters speak.

    2. She makes no mention of Napoleoni and denied that anyone had entered the room to state that Sollecito had broken Knox’s alibi. (This is not to exclude that this may have happened before Donnino arrived)

    3. She states that Knox was perfectly calm but there came a point when Knox was being asked how come she had not gone to work that she was shown her own text message (to Patrick). Knox had an emotional   shock, put her hands to her ears and started rolling her head and saying “It’s him! It’s him! It’s him!”

    4. She denied that Knox had been maltreated or that she had been hit at all or called a liar.

    5. She stated that the officer called Ivano had been particularly comforting to Knox, holding her hand occasionally.

    6. She stated that prior to the 1.45 am statement being presented to Knox she was asked if she wanted a lawyer but Knox said no.

    7. She stated that she had read the statement over to Knox in english and Knox herself had checked the italian original having asked for clarification of specific wording.

    7. She confirmed that that she had told Knox about an accident which she’d had (a leg fracture) and that she had suffered amnesia about the accident itself. She had thought Knox was suffering something similar. She had also spoken to Knox about her own daughters because she thought it was necessary to establish a rapport and trust between the two of them.

The account in Knox’s book is in some ways quite compelling but only if it is not compared against her trial testimony, let alone the Interpreter’s testimony:  that is, up to the point when she implicates Patrick in murder. At that point no amount of whitewash works. The Italian Supreme Court also thought so, upholding Knox’s calunnia conviction, with the addition of aggravating circumstances.


Great, great post.

James points out here the first of some major contradictions between what Knox wrote and what Sollecito wrote in their books.

They place his cracking under the influence of his phone records in his own interrogation several hours apart.

Knox goes for the “Sollecito was a weenie” version, and Sollecito for the “brave loyal soldier” version. 

The images are of a bold strident feisty Knox on the witness stand in mid 2009 with perfect recall, explaining how she is REALLY weak and silly and confused and when those meanie cops said “boo!” to her what choice did she have but to implicate Patrick?

The reactions on the faces of the jury and the reactions of most Italians who watched her on TV was “Huh? Gimme a break…”

We posted already on her description of the end part of this same witness interrogation, where Mignini suddenly materializes to hammer home her “confession”.

Only he didnt. Pesky details.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/16/13 at 05:37 PM | #

Ci vediamo piu tardi…

See you later!

This is an ambiguous form of greeting which could mean the people involved would meet later the same day, or at a future time and date. At least that is how it is in US English.

Regarding the blows to the head. If several people were standing behind Knox who was seated, and Italians are known for making a lot of hand gestures, especially when talking in an impassioned manner, is it not possible that these were just accidental contacts from hand gestures, interpreted by Knox as blows to the head?

Posted by Domingo on 05/16/13 at 05:40 PM | #

Hi Domingo

Even Italian defense lawyers who have every reason to take the cops down a peg have told us that Italian cops never never touch a woman witness, ever. No examples.

The calunnia trials that Knox and her parents still face for that claim are brought by those she impugned. The prosecution is not involved.

In what James describes she sure muddies the water even further, and could have helped secure “guilty” verdicts for her self and her parents for calunnia.

Perhaps the biggsst smokescreen in the book is about her not being especially talky. You can see that fictional Knox in the fictional Mignini interrogation.

In fact the cops were apparently quite startled at how talky she was, and even between the two interviews on the night her words kept flowing.

She was very distressed, and the cops were making moves to try to quieten her down, not whack her to make her even more talky.

She was apparently also extremely friendly to Mignini on that night and for several days after.

It took a lot of pressure (described in the book) by her parents and lawyers to “open her eyes” to the “fact” that that he is a “madman” which is what she calls him in the book.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/16/13 at 05:58 PM | #

James wrote: “Knox’s account destroys one of Sollecito’s main tenets in his book Honour Bound. Sollecito maintains that he did nothing to damage Knox’s alibi until he signed a statement, forced on him at 3:30 am and containing the damaging admission that Knox had gone out.”

Thanks James for underlining that contradiction in Knox’s co-written PR piece, with Sollecito’s co-written PR piece.

Either these two and/or their respective lawyers better get together and straighten out their alibis, or they are both going to get lost in settling in to prison life once again.

Actually, it’s all probably too late in any case, as the Florence court has all the testimony and evidence it needs. I doubt they would want to hear from Raffaele and Amanda again.

So in the meantime outside of the legal arena, all these contradictions that Amanda and Raffaele impose 1) on each other and, 2) on themselves individually, only serve to convince the public even more of their involvement in the crime.

They would have been much better served to have avoided books, interviews and the limelight and to prepare for the new trial with their legal teams.

I’m sure their trial lawyers (as opposed to the PR lawyers) would agree.

Posted by Kermit on 05/16/13 at 06:37 PM | #

@James Raper

Thanks, very analytical - more grist for the mill.

What a sorry, tortured figure AK cuts with her constant, habitual lying. Must be difficult to keep all the balls in the air, and forecast which one needs catching next. She should have included more of Mark Twain in her much publicised reading habits (were they also invented - for image enhancement?): “if you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything”.

The indelible image of AK doing “stretches and splits” immediately after her first interview at the police station is strongly suggestive (to me anyway) of a psyche in turmoil, theatrically and cathartically acting out the inner tension between what she knew to be true and what she wanted the police to believe.

The police know this kind of stuff intuitively and from long experience - innocence just doesn’t present itself in this way.

Posted by Odysseus on 05/16/13 at 06:58 PM | # just occurred to me how appropriate, and symbolic, a spontaneous and unconscious urge to do “the splits ” can be in representing a deeply divided psyche.

Posted by Odysseus on 05/16/13 at 07:05 PM | #

@Domingo:  One thing we know about Knox is that she hits herself on the head when she feels upset.  Mignini noted this before Knox signed her second voluntary statement.

A minor correction:  The GCM in the court transcript is not Guiliano Mignini (abbreviated as GM) but instead Giancarlo Massei, the presidente of the court and the author of the Massei report.

Posted by Stilicho on 05/16/13 at 08:41 PM | #

I would like to include five other prominent inconsistencies between her book and either her court testimony or other voluntary declarations.

1.  The bathmat shuffle is missing from the December 2007 meeting with Mignini in her book.

2.  In her book, Knox claims drugs were as common as pasta at her home in Perugia and that ‘we all chipped in’.  In her court testimony, she claims that she only used drugs when they were given to her.

3.  In court, she professed ignorance of the first call made to her mother but in the book it is described in considerable detail.  Reverse amnesia?

4.  The timing of her supper with Sollecito has changed from 23:00 to 22:00 to a vague ‘after 9:15 pm’ once she finished watching a movie with him.

5.  In the book, Knox claims to know with certainty that Guede murdered Meredith yet did not say anything close to that in court.  There was this infamous exchange between Bongiorno and Knox:

GB: Did Raffaele Sollecito know Rudy Guede?

AK: No.

Strange, eh?  How can Knox claim to speak for Sollecito about his acquaintances?

Great stuff, James.  The appeal court will have a very easy time picking through the inconsistencies and confirming Knox as both a liar and a murderer.

Posted by Stilicho on 05/16/13 at 09:02 PM | #

Good job and a great analysis.

Just for the fun of it, forget the little details for the time being. I am pretending that I do not read or write English and I cannot make out any head or tail of the whole stuff.

What do I get after I read this? Quick!

The new staff arrives at the police station. They want to talk to RS: after all we all understand him perfectly and he does not need an interpreter!

He must have been called to come at or around 8 PM but being the son of his father, he comes royally at 10:30 PM. Fine with Italians, no problems with that. Bit nervous but confident about his alibi. Well, almost.

AK has still not got him by the **** and is not willing to leave him alone. Can’t do any harm, right? Better to have him on a short leash, correct?

I blame the night: she gets nervous as time passes because people are going in and out almost continuously and they are also watching her. It is impossible not to watch her. Her face gives away. She is also asked to come in for questioning. The goose is cooked.

It is not the words but her expressions that give her away. Remember that she still does not have the power to manipulate the language (even her writing in English is far from satisfactory) but the detectives are now convinced that she knows a lot and is also hiding a lot.

I believe they pressured her to remember what happened that fateful night was done in a real and friendly manner.

When you do not follow the language, you focus more on the generic expressions. That was well done.

RS did not need any of these persuasions. The classic good kid! We all know what they need.

Posted by chami on 05/16/13 at 09:41 PM | #

Thanks Stilicho. Re GCM - edited to correct.

Posted by James Raper on 05/16/13 at 11:33 PM | #


I like that idea - the language barrier working in favour of the police by helping them focus on non-verbal clues.

Will there be a jury in Florence? If so, could it be arranged that AK must testify in English and the jury not include anyone who can speak the language.

Unanimous verdict of “guilty” would be ensured.

Posted by Odysseus on 05/16/13 at 11:34 PM | #

@Odysseus…agreed. Am quite stunned by what the body language reveals.

@chami….that’s perceptive. It helps to imagine the human context.

I find the following of significant interest in the book (describing the questioning when AK has accompanied RS, and the alibi has held) :

“​The interpreter offered a solution, “Once, when I had an accident, I didn’t remember it. I had a broken leg and it was traumatizing and I woke up afterward and didn’t remember it. Maybe you just don’t remember. Maybe that’s why you can’t remember times really well.”

​For a moment, she sounded almost kind.

​But I said, “No, I’m not traumatized.”

To me, this shows two important things :

- it indicates, strongly, that the police are trying to handle her as well as possible, to try and get to the truth, whatever that may be. They are actually giving her a lot of benefit of the doubt re her inability to remember anything essential.

- it emphasises that she is not traumatised. Therefore not under duress?

Both points contradict her assertion of police bullying / pressure/ coercion .

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 05/16/13 at 11:55 PM | #

Apologise - meant to say ‘the alibi had not held.’ RS - to her fury, no doubt, had just changed the account of the evening.
She lambasts him, in the book, Incidentally, in no uncertain terms. ‘How could he..’ etc.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 05/16/13 at 11:59 PM | #


I haven’t read the book but I’m not surprised she’s contradicting herself (again)! Re the alibi not holding and lambasting RS: am I missing something or is her fury not tantamount to an admission that the alibi was an agreed story between them?

I can only think I’ve got the wrong end of the stick here - surely even AK is not careless enough to reveal that? If I haven’t got it wrong I think the pair of them should be whisked away to jail without further ado. No need for legal niceties, we can’t be doing with the expensive farce any longer - the game is surely up?

Posted by Odysseus on 05/17/13 at 12:37 AM | #


Expensive farce indeed. And an extremely painful and unjust one.

Here’s some of what is actually written:

“​Just then a cop—Monica Napoleoni,....opened the door. “Raffaele says you left his apartment on Thursday night,” she said .... “He says that you asked him to lie for you. He’s taken away your alibi.”
My jaw dropped. I was dumbfounded, devastated. What? I couldn’t believe that Raffaele, the one person in Italy whom I’d trusted completely, had turned against me. Now it was just me against the police, my word against theirs. I had nothing left.”

“It was the first time since we’d been separated that I’d seen more than his feet. He didn’t look at me. I’d wondered if he hated me.

​Raffaele and I hadn’t been together long, but I’d believed I knew him well. Now I felt I didn’t know him at all.

...I couldn’t imagine why he had betrayed me, ...” And,

“How could the person I’d felt so close to have abandoned me?”

I intuit that the book is heavily sanitized, but still so much comes through. I would estimate at least 50% of the writing could be quoted in the ‘misleading or dishonest claims’ section even so.

It is peppered with what one can at best call ‘spinning’, - and that’s being polite.Creative writing no less. Unfortunately.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 05/17/13 at 01:51 AM | #

Hi Odysseus.

Remember this from Sollecito’s book :

“Meanwhile, we had to worry about Amanda taking the stand. Her lawyers decided that the best way to refute the stories about her wayward personality was to have the court take a good, hard look at her up close.

But my lawyers were deeply concerned she would put her foot in her mouth, in ways that might prove enduringly harmful to both of us. If she deviated even one iota from the version of events we now broadly agreed on, it could mean a life sentence for both of us.”  LOL

Posted by James Raper on 05/17/13 at 02:04 AM | #

Odysseus, of course there will be a “jury” in Florence, this:

And if you have never been in Florence:

Posted by ncountryside on 05/17/13 at 02:36 AM | #

Quote: “What? I couldn’t believe that Raffaele, the one person in Italy whom I’d trusted completely, had turned against me. Now it was just me against the police, my word against theirs. I had nothing left.”

An innocent person would surely say something like “Well, I don’t know why Raffaele is saying this, but like I say, I was at his place all night, asleep from 11:00 p.m. onwards,and he was there when I awoke in the morning, so even if he was secretly hag-ridden during the night, I have nothing to add to what I already told you.”

Posted by Domingo on 05/17/13 at 02:37 AM | #

... continue from above…

... because at that stage of the proceedings the innocent person would not be thinking in terms of providing an alibi, but just telling the truth in the hope that something he/she said would be in some way helpful in identifying, or at least ruling out, suspects so that police could get the job of investigating done effectively.

[I was once interviewed in connection with the Yorkshire Ripper murders, along with about 50,000 other suspects who lived in the area. Apparently someone had mentioned to the police that I had said I knew a couple of the victims, and I had once been seen with blood on my clothing.

However I was able to show from passport stamps that I had been out of the country on the date of one of the murders, and also explain that my work at the time involved handling blood transfusion bags in a hospital, and that one of the victims had been a patient in the hospital where I worked, and that the other worked in a store near my house.

However, even if I had not had these get-out-of-jail-free cards, I don’t think I would have lost much sleep, because there was obviously no possible evidence to connect me to the crimes.]

Posted by Domingo on 05/17/13 at 02:52 AM | #

I also don’t think I would say, “if she deviated one iota from the VERSION of events WE NOW BROADLY AGREED ON,” if i wasn’t guilty.  There would be only one version of events -the truth. If I were him and I were innocent, I would be saying something like, “Amanda may be a loose cannon, but if she will just stick to the truth and not go off on one of her weird, confusing fantasies, everything should be all right.”

Posted by NCKat on 05/17/13 at 02:57 AM | #

Sollecito and Knox have already turned on each other in relatively small ways, and it’s only going to get worse between them.  That’s why I’m confident the truth will emerge eventually.

Posted by Ceylon on 05/17/13 at 03:04 AM | #

Hi James,

Excellent post!

I’ve been reading Knox’s book also, and notice that she discusses Saul Kassin’s theories on false confessions extensively. She claims that Madison Paxton brought his work to her attention after her conviction, but before the appeal.

“I’d make a personal statement at the beginning of the trial. Unlike my declarations during the first trial, this one would be “spontaneous” in name only. I’d weave in Kassin’s work to explain why I’d reacted to my interrogation as I had. At the same time, I’d speak directly to Patrick and the Kerchers. I spent over a month writing drafts. Alone in my cell, I paced, muttering to myself as if I were speaking to the judges and jury. As I honed my statement, I decided it would be stronger to speak from my heart, without Kassin’s academic language. I’d tell the court about how I had been confused by the police and had lacked the courage to stand up to the authorities when they demanded that I name a murderer.” (WTBH p. 404)

She constantly made alterations to her storyline, but here it looks like she made them with an eye to characterize her interview as coercive to meet the academic criteria laid out by Kassin.

She’d have been better off without the book.

Posted by louiehaha on 05/17/13 at 04:03 AM | #

Hi louiehaha

As you may know the fraudulent work of Saul Kassin was posted upon several times back here:

Knox didnt remotely fit Kassin’s own profile for those prone to false confessions, and Kassin was totally screwed up on the facts of the interrogation on the night.

After those posts, to our knowledge Kassin never spoke up on the case again. He is not well regarded by others working in the field.

If he ever pops up again, let him try to account for the Knox described in these posts:

We have very much better psychological profiles than Kassin’s - see this recent post here:

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/17/13 at 05:02 AM | #

Here is how Knox describes the woman in the photo, who was her interpreter in court: Within a few minutes I realized that the interpreter hired to translate my English into Italian—the same useless woman I was assigned earlier in the trial—wasn’t saying precisely what I was saying.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 05/17/13 at 05:10 AM | #

@Skeptical I’ve been trying to find a good quality sample of Knox and her interpreter for some professional evaluation. Any idea where I can look? It’d be nice if there was a clean visual as well as audio to figure out what their communication was like.

Posted by carlos on 05/17/13 at 05:47 AM | #

Re the interpreter : later in the book AK relates that this interpreter had intimated that AK was a liar at some previous point. Hence her denouncement by AK.

AK also contradicts herself,to suit, over the competence of her Italian. Sometimes the language is going over her head, and other times she wants to speak in it etc. so one wonders if she is in fact placed to be able to pronounce on the quality of translation? Elsewhere she insists the subtleties pass her by.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 05/17/13 at 11:24 AM | #


Yes of course I’ve been to Italy on a number of occasions, and Florence in particular (I’m in the U.K. so such trips are no big deal). However that doesn’t logically imply I am bound to have foreknowledge of the nature of an upcoming, re-visited appeal trial taking place there - thus my question:-)

Posted by Odysseus on 05/17/13 at 11:44 AM | #

Fair question. Such juries are part of the extreme carefulness of the Italian system and I suppose one cannot crtitcise them for that.

However they are slightly infamous for second-guessing and looking down upon the trial jury outcome (though only trial juries see all the evidence and witnesses and full presentation of the case) and Cassation is known not to like this tendency and will reverse perverse outcomes if they spot them, as here.

Good appeal judges will stop this tendency and keep the focus of the appeal tight.

Cassation has already indicated it wants a very tight focus in Florence, so we wont see an illegal attempt at a whole new trial as we did with Hellmann and Zanetti - who were not criminal judges, of course. Chief Umbria Judge De Nunzio made a huge mistake appointing them and pushing aside the excellent Judge Chiari - who resigned soon after because of the shady process.

This is the amazing courthouse where the new appeal and the Sollecito contempt of court trial will take place.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/17/13 at 12:46 PM | #

Subject of false confessions is interesting:

Here’s a little quote from today’s The Guardian about another murder case:

Bridger denies abducting and murdering the schoolgirl in a sexually motivated attack, but says he accidentally killed the youngster when he ran over her (with his car). He accepts he must have got rid of her body, but says he cannot remember how it did it.

When people are under a lot of stress, you can’t expect them to recall all the details.

Posted by Domingo on 05/17/13 at 03:35 PM | #

@ Domingo
There’s a different type of memory - sometimes referred to as a ‘flashbulb’ memory - which you might like to do some further research on.
It occurs in situations that are highly charged emotionally, and is/ are processed mainly in the amygdala. It gives very vivid, graphic and detailed, intense memories.
Ordinary, what might be called local, memories are usually processed more in the hippocampus. It is established that it is easier to forget things that have little emotional significance to us. Hence, with mnemonics, - one chooses a symbol, password etc, that one will remember because it has great emotional association.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 05/17/13 at 04:16 PM | #


Yes, I was being a bit ironic in that comment. My main point being that if academic studies of false confessions are to be considered, one might also want to look at the kind of things that convicted criminals say when there is little doubt that they are guilty, but still hope to find some way of reducing their sentence. It is ludicrously obvious that disposing of the body of a child is not the kind of thing that would easily slip from the memory in an absent minded moment or would require a mnemonic.

Normally one might easily forget exactly what time one ate a fish dinner a few years ago, but one would never forget details of events that never happened, but were invented to form a coherent alibi.

Hence the guy I mentioned “remembered” the “accident” in the car very well, but could not remember disposing of the body, though this must have happened as the body was never found. (Of course the discovery of the remains of the body might help to confirm that the death was a motor accident,so would be beneficial to the defendant, but only if his story was true.)

This might explain why Knox’s memory fades in and out.

Posted by Domingo on 05/17/13 at 05:07 PM | #

Hi Domingo
Yes, I wondered that…but irony always tricky in written comments!
There’s a difference between not having a memory, and not being able to access a memory. The latter can genuinely occur through trauma- serious trauma.
Then the memory can return when the person relives the trauma. However, sometimes this doesn’t help at all, or brings severe trauma too much back for real etc.
Hence the therapy for trauma situations is complex.
Of course, too, people who’ve committed crimes may wish to conceal the memory, or ‘re-write’ it etc etc.

Interesting with a type of false confession - for it to be a genuine ‘false confession’(!), the person will give one only if they have been entirely convinced by the interrogators that their amnesia has been caused by trauma…i.e. convinced of the reason for needing to make it up.
It is not known how many true false confessions (!) there are, as it is not easy to tell. There are profiles, as well, of the type of person who do make them.

I do know the dreadful case you refer to. Would imagine he is quite consumed with shame and guilt, and rightly so. As well, as you say, with an eye to a lighter sentence.

Very important that such people aren’t allowed to run rings round us,-that is, people who do honour law. And the latest research will help us.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 05/17/13 at 06:18 PM | #

I have been making a number of amendments to my post, but I am now done. Thanks all.

Posted by James Raper on 05/17/13 at 07:37 PM | #

The latest News from Seattle:
Amanda Knox’s tell-all book hits No. 5 on best-seller list

And one telling comment:
“Since it’s release, “Waiting to Be Heard” has sold 36,225 copies. The #4 book on the list, “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” by David Sedaris, has sold 69,180 in roughly the same amount of time.
Knox’s book is not exactly flying off the shelves.”

Posted by Hungarian. on 05/17/13 at 09:16 PM | #

@James Raper

Thankyou, James, for all your postings…much appreciated

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 05/17/13 at 09:26 PM | #

One thing I wish that someone would make clear—It seems to me (and seemed to me at the time) that the Hellman appeal “trial” was rigged in favor of the two defendants.  The fact that the judges were not trial judges and were appointed over an experienced judge, as well as the way the trial was conducted—obviously favoring the defense and selectively evaluating the evidence with an eye to acquit.  In fact, Peter has hinted on more than one occasion that this trial was corrupt. 

But what has changed now and why has it changed—to return power to the prosecution?  It appears to be a political shift, but I’m wondering if anyone has analyzed the underlying reasons for it.

Posted by NCKat on 05/17/13 at 10:37 PM | #

Hi NCKat

Frustrating, right? That the appeal was rigged or bent or out of control was made clear when the Supreme Court threw out the appeal. Italians all understand.

Complete annulments are very rare and that kind of bitterly critical language almost unique.

We now await the written version ofCassation’s report due any time which may be reported by English language media here.  Andrea Vogt struggles to explain the complicated case here but only John Follain behind the Times paywall gives her any help. 

On what has changed, mostly it’s what is said in the first part of my comment above:

Such juries are part of the extreme carefulness of the Italian system and I suppose one cannot critcise them for that.

However they are slightly infamous for second-guessing and looking down upon the trial jury outcome (though only trial juries see all the evidence and witnesses and full presentation of the case) and Cassation is known not to like this tendency and will reverse perverse outcomes if they spot them, as here.

Good appeal judges will stop this tendency and keep the focus of the appeal tight.

Cassation has already indicated it wants a very tight focus in Florence, so we wont see an illegal attempt at a whole new trial as we did with Hellmann and Zanetti - who were not criminal judges, of course. Chief Umbria Judge De Nunzio made a huge mistake appointing them and pushing aside the excellent Judge Chiari - who resigned soon after because of the shady process.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/17/13 at 11:33 PM | #

I was surprised at all the negative comments on the Komo website.  I expected them to be more positive.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls - too funny!

All I know is that the book already has 25% off in my supermarket and I haven’t yet seen anyone pick it up to look at it.

Posted by believing on 05/18/13 at 01:05 AM | #

Not sure if you already went over this - just noticed this on Amazon.  Must be aimed at your website?  Written by Douglas Preston. 

What’s strange to me is that, if the charges he levels at Mignini in his book are all false, why he has not been prosecuted for defamation?  Many people seem to quote from this book.

Posted by believing on 05/18/13 at 02:37 AM | #

OMG, some people don’t know when to button it.  That’s just as well, in his & AK’s case.
Amanda Knox’s ex Raffaele Sollecito: She thinks I’m a hero.

Posted by all4justice on 05/18/13 at 03:48 AM | #

Over on PMF Catnip has provided a translation of the court testimony of the interpreter, Anna Donnino.

I have therefore updated my post on the interrogation to include a summary of her evidence at the end. It seemed relevant to put it in. Hope I haven’t upset the editor.

Posted by James Raper on 05/20/13 at 09:43 PM | #

The editor is never upset. Especially not by James Raper!

We knew that the Donnino testimony was in translation. Several of our Italian speakers had been working on it but were impressed with the first part Catnip shared and said fine to wait for all of it.

James Raper did know this and had already kindly agreed to do a full analysis and walk-through of what it all means. Thanks again James…

What it seems to show is that AK very forcefully fingered Patrick and with no special police provocation in the time the interpreter was present at the witness interview.

Anna Donnino testified on 13 March 2009:

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/20/13 at 10:21 PM | #

Very interesting James…and makes a good deal of sense.

I also believe AK knows her behaviour over this episode can neither be excused nor explained away. I thought so from her reaction and tone of voice in the radio clip (under a newer post). In spite of just being radio, and therefore no body language visible, there are still a lot of involuntary micro expressions coming through, which do say a lot.
Eventually, the truth must come out.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 05/20/13 at 10:23 PM | #

The editor is never upset. Especially not by James Raper! He has the magic keys for a purpose.

We knew that the Anna Donnino testimony was in translation. Several of our Italian speakers had been working on it but were impressed with the first part Catnip shared and said fine to wait for all of it.

James Raper did know this and had already kindly agreed to do a full analysis and walk-through of what it all means. Thanks again James, in expectation.

What it seems to show is that AK very forcefully fingered Patrick and with no special police provocation in the time the interpreter was present at the witness interview.

Anna Donnino testified on 13 March 2009.

The only person noted as hitting Amanda Knox on the head was Amanda Knox herself. She seems to do that when mind-changing, and it hurt her credibility on the stand in 2009.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/20/13 at 10:29 PM | #
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