Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Knox’s Damning Luminol-Revealed Footprints, In Her Own Room

Posted by The Machine

Dr Stefanoni with Dr Comodi, main DNA prosecutor

Long post. Click here to go straight to Comments.

1. Post Overview

If you visit those few sites and twitter feeds still craven to Knox and her unsavory pals, you’ll see true desperation now.

Ignoring the other vast swathes of evidence, they still beat their brains out “proving” that Italy bungled and misread the DNA. 

They desperately want you to ignore these telling facts: that on the DNA the defense teams were all over the map, that after prosecution presentations they usually tiptoed on, and that they had had observers at every single collection and processing of DNA -  and not even one complained or found fault.

At the Massei trial in 2009, Dr Stefanoni gave a 137-slide PowerPoint presentation to the judges and lay judges to give them a basic understanding of DNA evidence and to help them understand the significance of the DNA evidence in this case.

It included the main forensic findings, images, photographs, the DNA profiles of Meredith and the three defendants and the electropherograms.

One of the last pieces of forensic evidence Dr Stefanoni presented to the court during this PowerPoint presentation was a Luminol footprint - Rep.180 - that was found in Amanda Knox’s room.

Rep 180 was attributed to Knox because it matched her foot size. There were two other Luminol footprints in her room, but Dr Stefanoni regarded this Luminol footprint as particularly significant evidence against her.

Rep 180 - see version with Knox measurements below

2. Why Rep 180 Is So Telling

In this post, I’ll carefully examine the reasons why Dr Stefanoni considers Rep 180 to be significant evidence against Amanda Knox as well as consider the significance of the other Luminol prints in Amanda Knox’s room.

I’ll also explain why Judge Masse and Judge Marasca were both wrong to think they know about forensic science that some of Italy top DNA experts and debunk the myth that a negative TMB test result means the Luminol wasn’t reacting to blood.

Prosecution case on bedroom prints

On 18 December 2007, the Scientific Police completed their forensic investigation at the cottage. They collected more DNA evidence and they sprayed Luminol on the floor of different rooms in the cottage to see whether there were any traces of blood that had been cleaned up.

It was a safe bet that there would be bare bloody footprints at the cottage because there wasn’t a trail of bare bloody footprints leading up to the bare bloody footprint in the small bathroom. The Scientific Police sprayed the hallway outside the small bathroom and a number of bare bloody footprints magically appeared.

Unsurprisingly, they matched the foot sizes of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. They had been arrested on 6 November 2007 after they had both lied repeatedly to the police and changed their stories dramatically. The DNA and forensic evidence was starting to provide the explanation for Knox and Sollecito’s multiple false alibis and numerous lies

There were two Luminol traces in Filomena’s room - where the break-in was staged - and three Luminol footprints in Amanda Knox’s room. Two of the luminol prints contained the DNA of Amanda Knox and Meredith; one was in the hallway and the other was in Filomena’s room.

Judge Massei and Judge Nencini accepted the Luminol prints as damning evidence against Knox and Sollecito because they matched their feet and they reasoned the Luminol must have reacting to Meredith’s blood as there was an abundance of her blood at the cottage.

The defence experts had pointed out that Luminol also reacts to other substances such as rust and fruit juice. The idea that Knox and Sollecito had dipped their feet in rust or turnip juice and then walked around the cottage in bare feet is too ridiculous to take seriously.

Judge Massei interprets Knox’s prints

Judge Massei thinks Amanda Knox tracked Meredith’s blood into Filomena’s room and her own room when she was checking to see what the situation was outside of the cottage.

These traces, besides constituting further evidence of the presence of Amanda in Meredith’s room when she was killed, lead us to believe that Amanda and Raffaele, before deciding to break the glass in the window of Romanelli’s room and leave the house, wished to make sure that there was no-one in the street; a worry that may have had its basis both in the scream let out by Meredith and which could have been heard by someone who, being in the street, had stopped in curiosity, and in the presence, only slightly earlier, of a broken-down car, in the very near [409] vicinity of the house on Via della Pergola, a car which both Amanda and Raffaele must have noticed when they entered the house; in fact, it should be considered that Raffaele must have already noticed the presence of such a vehicle when he was in the square in front of the University when, as Curatolo testified, he went close to the grating located there in order to look below, where that same broken-down car, causing an obstruction to the traffic, may have caused horns to be blown.

“The biological traces attributable to Amanda (one to Amanda alone and one to Amanda and Meredith) highlighted by Luminol and present in the rooms of Amanda and Romanelli can therefore be adequately explained by the need to check what the situation outside the house was, and to do this Amanda had to look from the window of her own room and from the window of Romanelli’s room, leaving in these areas the prints which were then highlighted by Luminol.” (Judge Massei’s report, pages 380-381).

This is a very plausible scenario. However, it should be pointed out that Dr Stefanoni and Judge Massei don’t completely agree on the DNA evidence and the Luminol prints.

Dr Stefanoni claims Amanda Knox was bleeding on the night of the murder and her blood was mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations at the cottage: in three sports in the small bathroom, in a Luminol footprint the hallway and in a Luminol trace in Filomena’s room.

Dr Stefanoni’s forensic finding that Amanda Knox’s blood was mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations at the cottage has been confirmed by Professor Biondo - the head of the DNA Unit of the Scientific Police - and Professor Garofano - the former head of the RIS Carabinieri.

Judge Massei thinks Amanda Knox’s DNA - not her blood - was mixed with Meredith’s blood in the small bathroom, the hallway and Filomena’s room. However, he doesn’t provide any scientific evidence to support his assertion. As I’ve pointed out before, Judge Massei has no forensic qualifications, experience or training. He clearly doesn’t know more about forensic science than Dr Stefanoni, Professor Garofano and Professor Biondo.

Dr Stefanoni is regarded as one of Italy’s leading forensic experts and that’s the reason why she was part of the disaster investigations team that was sent to the scene of the 2004 Asian tsunami to identify victims and she was appointed the Chief Technical Director in the Forensic Genetics Investigations section of the Scientific Police.

Why Dr Stefanoni sees Rep. 180 as hard evidence against Knox

On slide 136 of Dr Stefanoni’s PowerPoint presentation, she states that Rep. 180 is one of the “more significant biological results.”

alcuni risultati biologici più significativi
Rep.180: campionatura di presunta sostanza ematica evidenziata
mediante test del Luminol (st. KNOX)”

In-depth analysis
some more significant biological results
Rep. 180: sampling of presumed blood substance highlighted
by Luminol test (st. KNOX)

If you look at the electropherogram for Rep.180, you’ll understand why Dr Stefanoni regards it as significant evidence against Amanda Knox. Her DNA peaks are extremely high. Even higher than her peaks on the electropherogram for the cotton bud box. 14 peaks are over 1,000 RFUs, four peaks are over 2,000 RFUs and one peak is over 3,000 RFUs.

In other words, Amanda Knox’s DNA in this Luminol footprint clearly wasn’t touch DNA. It must have come from a source that provides an immense amount of DNA e.g. blood.

Professor Garofano pointed out that extremely high DNA peaks indicates the sample is undoubtedly blood:

“However, here is the electropherogram and you can see that the RFU value is very high, so the sample is undoubtedly blood, which is the body fluid that provides the greatest amount of DNA.” (Luciano Garafano, Darkness Descending, page 371).

There were three Luminol footprints in Amanda Knox’s room: Rep. 178, 179, 180 (L3, L4, L5). Dr Stefanoni thinks they all contained blood.

The pertinent question is: Whose blood was it?

The DNA test results can help us answer the question: all three of the Luminol prints in Amanda Knox’s room contained her DNA. None of them contained Meredith’s DNA.

The fact that that 14 of Amanda Knox DNA peaks in Rep.180 were over 1,000 RFUs indicates it was her blood.

These three forensic findings corroborate Professor Garofano’s claims there was “copious blood loss by Amanda” and that she “walked around in her own blood, blood that she also had on her body.”

Amanda Knox’s supporters like to point out that Judge Marasca claimed that TMB (Tetramethylbenzidine) test results proved there was no blood in the Luminol prints:

With reference to the asserted hematic traces in the other environments, especially in the corridor, there’s also an obvious misrepresentation of the proof. In fact, the progress-of-works reports of the Scientific Police had excluded, consequent to the use of a particular chemical reagent, that, in the examined environments, the traces highlighted by the luminol were of hematic nature. The work status reports despite being regularly compiled and registered in evidence, were not considered.” (Judge Marasca’s Supreme Court report).

Apart from the fact Judge Marasca isn’t a DNA expert, this is also clearly not true. Luminol and TMB tests are both presumptive tests - not confirmatory ones. In other words, a negative TMB test result doesn’t mean there was no blood.

Dr Sarah Gino - Amanda Knox’s forensic expert - acknowledged in court that a negative TMB test result doesn’t mean there was no blood in the Luminol prints:

“[Dr Sarah Gino] She underlined that the SAL [stato di avanzamento lavoro – work status report] reports which had been made available had shown that a generic diagnosis for blood had been performed and had given a negative result, and therefore it could not be said with certainty that blood was present in the material revealed by Luminol.” (The Massei report, page 282).

Judge Massei noted the reasons why there were negative TMB test results i.e. there wasn’t sufficient material to indicate the presence of blood and Dr Stefanoni had used most of the DNA to determine who it belonged to:

But it must be noted that the negative result for blood does not necessarily indicate that no blood was present. The result may have been negative because there was not sufficient material to indicate the presence of blood. Dr. Gino stated that in her experience there is a probabilistic relation to the number of cases in which the blood test comes out positive or negative. The negative result was also partly a consequence of Dr. Stefanoni’s choice to use most of the DNA to determine the individual profiles and only the remainder to attempt to determine the nature of the trace. “ (The Massei report, 282).

Judge Massei also noted out that Dr Stefanoni had explained it was preferable to know to whom the biological specimen belonged to rather than ascertaining the nature of it:

“The negative result of the test performed to determine the haematological nature of the material of specimen B does not per se exclude the haematological nature of the specimen.

Dr. Stefanoni, [when] questioned on this specific aspect, noted that since any DNA that might be present on the trace in question was certainly of a very small quantity, a minimal quantity was used to determine whether the trace was of a haematological nature or not: consequently the outcome of test, [which was] negative for blood, did not necessarily signify the non-haematological nature of the trace, as it might have been derived from too small a quantity of material to have allowed a positive result, even if that substance had been [310] blood.

She [Dr. Stefanoni] explained that such a choice, whereby the greatest quantity of DNA had been used to determine the biological profile rather than the nature of the specimen, provided a basis for the subsequent assessments: it is preferable to know to whom a given biological specimen is attributable, rather than ascertaining the nature of that same specimen, without any possibility of attributing it to anyone.” (The Massei report, page 288).

Judge Massei pointed out that the defence experts didn’t put forward a significant counter-argument to Dr Stefanoni’s claim that a negative TMB test doesn’t necessarily mean there was no blood:

With respect to the affirmation according to which the negative test for blood does not necessarily signify absence of blood in the sample being analysed, no significant counter-arguments were put forward. Moreover, Dr. Stefanoni’s explanation of this point seems convincing: if the quantity is minimal, the negative outcome of the test may also be a result of the insufficient quantity used for the test itself.” (The Massei report, page 288).

Judge Marasa’s ignorance with regard to forensic science led him to assuming that a negative TMB test result means there was no blood in the Luminol prints and traces at the cottage. He essentially accused Dr Stefanoni of misleading the Massei court about the TMB test results when she did no such thing.

She specifically pointed out that the Luminol identified presumed blood traces in the Luminol prints in her official court report for the Massei trial.:

‘‘un profilo genetico derivante da mistura di sostanze biologiche (conententi presumibilemente ematica) appartenenti ad almeno dui individui entrambi di sesso femminile”

‘‘a genetic profile deriving from a mixture of biological substances (presumably containing blood) belonging to at least two individuals both of female gender.”

She also pointed out that TMB tests on blood traces revealed by Luminol have negative results about half the time,

“She added that, in her own experience, analyses performed with TMB on traces revealed by Luminol give about even results: 50% negative, 50% positive,” (The Massei report, page 258).

This is to be expected because Luminol is significantly more sensitive than TMB and that’s the reason why It is the blood detection technique most commonly used by forensic investigators.

Judge Marasca has not only accused Dr Stefanoni of being dishonest, he has also by extension accused Professor Garofano and Professor Biondo of being dishonest because they confirmed Dr Stefanoni’s forensic finding that the Luminol was reacting to blood. The only person who is guilty of misrepresenting the evidence is Judge Marasca.

It defies belief that Judge Marasca who has no forensic qualifications, experience or training thinks he knows more about the forensic science than two DNA experts who have PhDs in forensic science.

Dr Stefanoni and Professor Garofano have both pointed out that you can determine whether the Luminol was reacting to blood by the luminosity of the presumed blood trace and the DNA test results.

“But let’s see what the prints actually mean. First of all, from their sheer luminosity they are blood. The DNA test showed Meredith’s blood in all cases except for two places in which we have a mixed Amanda and Meredith sample.” (Professor Garofano).

“So I, with genetic analysis, can say with certainty that there was blood”. (Dr Stefanoni).

“in other words everything that is not blood, is nonetheless different even if it is still a bluish fluorescence: that is, the colour does not change, [but] the intensity and the duration change. So in effect, the intensity, thus, of that blue or that azure, so intense, is not given off, in general, by other reagents that are not blood: they give a weaker fluorescence”. (Dr Stefanoni).

3. Some conclusions from the above

Sometimes judges make embarrassing schoolboy errors. This usually happens when they arrogantly opine about subjects they know nothing about.

Judge Masipa didn’t understand the legal concept of dolus evantualis and applied it incorrectly when acquitting Pistorius of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.

In South African law, under the principle of dolus eventualis, a person can be convicted of murder if they foresaw the possibility of their actions resulting in the death of someone but continued regardless.

Judge Hellmann claimed obtaining the same result twice does not increase the reliability of the result. He was referring to carrying on a test on the remaining DNA on the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife.

Mathematicians Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez point out in their excellent book Math on Trial that Hellmann’s comments show a ‘’complete misunderstanding of the probabilistic result of considering two separate results from two performances of the same test.’’

Judge Marasca’s claim the TMB test results means there was was no blood in the Luminol prints is demonstrably false. The defence experts didn’t even claim this. He can be inducted into the hall of shame alongside Judge Masipa and Judge Hellman for judges who have made embarrassing and painfully stupid mistakes.

But let’s not let the stupidity of the judges mentioned above distract us from the significance of the three Luminol prints found in Amanda Knox’s room, especially Rep.180.

Judge Massei thinks Amanda Knox tracked Meredith’s blood into her own room when she was checking to see what the situation was outside of the cottage. It seems she also tracked her own blood into her room and a lot of it.

Posted by The Machine on 06/24/20 at 12:40 PM in


Hi Machine. I am going to play devil’s advocate. You quote Garofano a lot from Darkness Descending, but not everything he said.

How about -

“The TMB test is extremely sensitive and if it is negative this sample is not blood. Remember that the TMB test looks out for haemoglobin in red corpuscles, while the DNA test works on the white, so there is no excuse for not carrying out both tests on the sample - you don’t destroy the sample by using it once for each test.”

Actually there is a further distinction as far as the use of luminol and TMB is concerned.

Both tests are looking for something quite specific, but quite different from each other, in the red corpuscles.

Luminol reacts to the iron content whereas TMB reacts to the peroxidaise enzyme. Therefore luminol and TMB can also be used together, without the former affecting the latter, though obviously the TMB after the luminol.

The DNA is of course in the white cells, as Garofano says, and one can do a DNA analysis even after using luminol and TMB.

You are quite right that the electropherogram chart for Rep 180 shows alleles that are high - 14 are over 1000 RFUs. Given that the sample was discovered by luminol, this does indicate that the sample contained blood, and as it was Knox’s DNA then the assumption is that the blood was her’s.

However, as I understand it, the sample, and the other two in her room which had her DNA in them, were put to the TMB test, and the results were negative.

I know that luminol is more sensitive than TMB, but as Garofano said, TMB is still a very sensitive test.It is surprising that with three washed out traces in Knox’s bedroom, and a few more of the same in the corridor, and Romanelli’s room, that the TMB did not have one hit!

If the DNA alleles in the traces in Knox’s room were high, because it was blood - be it that this comes from the white cells - then why not one TMB hit there?

Was Stefanoni using a faulty TMB kit?

I have a theory, though it would be an embarrassing one for Stefanoni to acknowledge, and of course, I may be quite wrong.

Stefanoni was not one for additional tests and repeats. Conceivably she took one swab from each luminol identified trace. On the assumption that it was blood she wanted to ascertain whose blood it was and who put it there. Therefore the DNA analysis was the priority. She put the whole sample to amplification, as seems to have been her practice. This repeats many times over what DNA there is in the sample. It doesn’t increase the quantity of DNA but makes the DNA easier for the electropherogram to read.

The thing about amplification is that one has to break the section of double helix in the sample for the enzyme with the DNA extract solution to rebuild it over and over again. It is therefore subjected to considerable heat (over a bunsen burner, no doubt, or in the machine) to achieve this.

It is known that the enzyme for which TMB is looking denatures at high temperature, between 94 and 98 Celsius. Part of the process of amplifying a sample for DNA analysis is to heat it up to about that temperature. This could explain why the TMB tests failed.

Did Stefanoni carry out TMB tests on amplification residue? Perhaps as an afterthought? Only she would know.

Incidentally the TMB tests on Guede’s luminol enhanced disappearing left shoe prints in the corridor and kitchen/living room, were positive. That said Meredith’s DNA was found in each trace. So much for that theory.

Posted by James Raper on 06/25/20 at 06:55 PM | #

Hi James,

Professor Garofano was referring specifically to sample 36B - Meredith’s DNA - that was extracted from the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife - not the Luminol traces. Dr Stefanoni didn’t claim this sample was blood. It was Meredith’s flesh that had become wedged in a microscopic groove on the blade.

Dr. Stefanoni carried out three different tests on the sample on the knife - one for the TMB test and one for OBT to check for human blood and one for DNA. She explained the process at the Micheli trial (pages 175-176 of her courtroom testimony).

Dr Stefanoni noted on 23 May 2009 (page 178 of her courtroom testimony) that TMB can yield a false negative if there isn’t enough material when she was being questioned by Manuela Comodi about sample 36B.

Dr Sarah Gino also stated that the TMB can yield false results at the Micheli trial (page 176 of Dr Stefanoni’s courtroom testimony). She also acknowledged that a negative TMB test doesn’t mean there was no blood at the Massei trial.

The bottom line remains the same i.e. a negative TMB test doesn’t mean there was no blood.

Posted by The Machine on 06/25/20 at 08:21 PM | #

Sample 36B was not tested for blood. There wasn’t sufficient material and Dr Stefanoni made it clear that she couldn’t do both tests on the sample. She said that testing it for blood meant very little without knowing whose blood it was. Garofano was referring to TMB testing on other parts of the blade.

PS It need not have been flesh. It could have been white cells from blood.

PPS What’s OBT?

Posted by James Raper on 06/25/20 at 09:46 PM | #

It seems Dr Stefanoni took and tested three samples from the blade of the knife.

She refers to OBT in her courtroom testimony. I think she’s referring to the Hexagon OBTI test which is also a presumptive test for blood.

Barbie Nadeau claims that Dr Stefanoni found seven traces of human biological matter - flesh, not blood - on the blade of the knife in her book:

“She [Dr Stefanoni] also found seven traces of human biological matter - flesh, not blood - between the grooves at the tip of the blade.”

Posted by The Machine on 06/26/20 at 04:57 AM | #

Strictly speaking sample 36B was the extract which was amplified and submitted to analysis by the electropherogram. That, per se, was not tested for blood.

But we could be into “splitting hairs” territory. This is what Stefanoni said, according to Massei -

(Massei)  -  “the test for blood had to be carried out on a small portion of this striation, because otherwise……we would remove the probable genetic material which would no longer be available for the genetic test, because after examination of the blood derived material, it is not possible to preserve the same material and use it for a genetic analysis, And so we, to try this kind of analysis, an analysis of the kind of specimen, we sacrifice a small part of the specimen…..after which, I went ahead and sampled the rest of the striation with this swab, because this was the main purpose of the genetic analysis, to establish a genetic profile. Therefore, the origin of the specimen is sacrificed for the benefit of the possible identification that you get with DNA examination, because knowing that it is blood, but not knowing who it belongs to, means very little.”

Whilst the gist seems clear, the detail leaves something to be desired.

We know that 36B came from a striation on the blade, but it seems that a small portion of the same striation may have been used for a blood test i.e “we sacrifice a small part of the specimen”.

I am not sure what she means by “sacrifice”. She would have already known that what she had was LCN DNA, so does sacrifice mean that she understood that by doing that she risked forgoing some of the DNA for the electropherogram analysis, or does it mean that she suspected that the blood test would be likely to fail for not enough material, or both?

Neither do I understand why she says that it would not be possible to preserve the small amount used for a blood test for DNA analysis, since TMB should not affect the white cells. Perhaps it was all a judgement as to quantity.

Finally, the text quoted isn’t actually clear as to whether she did test for blood on the same striation, as it could be read as her reasons for not doing so.

Indeed I had always understood that she swabbed the striation and used the whole extract from the swab, once she had realised it was LCN, on a once only DNA analysis.

Posted by James Raper on 06/26/20 at 05:08 AM | #

Stefanoni took 4 swabs from the blade denoted by the letters B,C, E and G.

The more I read about Barbie Nadeau the less reliable I find her as to a source for the scientific evidence.

If Stefanoni had detected 7 instances of human biological material on the blade then why not take a swab of each for DNA analysis, starting with quantification for any DNA? As it was, B was the only one with any quantifiable DNA reading.

Luminol, TMB, the Hexagon OBTI test : they’re all presumptive tests. TMB can even react with bacteria, apparently. If the 7 instances were a consequence of the rapid screening OBTI test, then presumably that was followed up with the more specific TMB test.

Posted by James Raper on 06/26/20 at 06:12 AM | #

If anybody is seeking more depth here (!) they will be thrilled to know that the Machine has repeatedly remarked in emails that even now only a fraction of Stefanoni’s documentation has been translated. Her output in this case was truly astonishing.

To some extent this is typical of Italian investigations which leave those of most nations (the US included) in the dust in their depth and transparency.

But Stefanon may have seen an attempt at the CSI Effect coming. She had a huge heads-up about defence game-playing when they failed to field an observer for OVER SIX WEEKS in Nov-Dec 2007 to observe the collection of the bra clasp.

In Italy the CSI Effect fizzled at the Massei trial and Nencini appeal. It took the bending of entire courts (Hellman appeal and Marasca/Bruno appeal) to give it limited traction.

But it’s still THE mainstay of those US and UK hoaxers craven to Knox and the mafias.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/26/20 at 07:49 AM | #

Unless you delve deeply into the official court documents, you will never fully understand how thorough and comprehensive the police investigation was.

I’ve been looking at the PowerPresentation regarding the mobile phone evidence. The images really help you understand which locations are covered by the different phone masts in Perugia.

Amanda Knox was nowhere near Sollecito’s apartment when she received the text message from Diya Lumumba on the evening of the murder.

Judge Massei and Judge Nencini name the roads where Knox might have been, but you can’t fully understand how far she was from Sollecito’s apartment from their reports. The colour-coded maps make it clear that she was a considerable distance from Sollecito’s apartment and on her way to Le Chic.

Why did she lie about being at Sollecito’s apartment the entire evening?

What inconvenient truth was she trying to hide?

If the Postal Police hadn’t turned up at the cottage first, the RIS Carabinieri would have investigated the case and Professor Garofano might have led the investigation.

I don’t think anyone could have foreseen that the case would be subjected to intense media scrutiny and there would be an expensive PR campaign designed to discredit the police investigation and undermine the evidence.

Posted by The Machine on 06/26/20 at 08:44 AM | #


Can I stick my head over the parapet?  Bear in mind blood contains between 40- 45% red blood cells and just 1% white blood cells.  The rest consists of other substances.  This explains why luminol is more sensitive to blood: there is 40 times more red to white blood cells.  Thus it is quite possible to get a positive luminol result, with adequate luminence to rule out mundane causes for the flash but still get a negative TMB result (which seeks white blood cells).  In addition, to get high peaks in a DNA test it suggests the DNA comes from rich source, and red blood cells have zero DNA, whereas white blood cells are nucleated and DNA-rich.  A scientist will always say ‘presumed’ or ‘compatible with’as there will always be a statistical probability, no matter how vanishingly small that the test is not 100% accurate, although to a layman the answer would be, ‘It is certain’.

Posted by KrissyG on 06/26/20 at 09:52 AM | #

@The Machine

Marasca and Bruno are legal guys.  They probably went into law because they were rubbish at science and maths but very good at Italian and learning rules off by heart (tax experts are similar).  (Of course there are exceptions: James Raper is the walking embodiment of this!)  I had a hearty laugh when I read this part of the Marasca-Bruno report - written by Bruno as the ‘junior judge’ - and signed off by Marasca.

The rigorous respect for such methodological standards provides a reliabillity, conventionally acceptable, in the assembled results, firstly related to their repeatability – that is the possibility that those findings, and those alone, would be reproduced by an identical investigative procedure in identical conditions, according to the fundamental laws of the empiric method and, more generally, of experimental science, that since Galileo has been based on the application of a “scientific method” (typical procedure meant to obtain knowledge of “objective” reality, reliable, verifiable and sharable; by common knowledge this consists, on one hand, in the collection of empiric data in relation to the hypothesis and theories to be confirmed; on the other hand, in the mathematical and rigorous analysis of such data, that is associating – as stated for the first time by aforementioned Galileo – “sensible experiences” with “necessary demonstrations” that is the experimentation with mathematics. 4.2. As we will see, all of this is basically missing in the current judgment.

It’s as though he raided his kid’s elementary school book and copied it verbatim.  I like the way he writes all that and then claims the forensic scientists didn’t know any of this and failed to do it, when the first thing that’s drummed into you in your first higher school science class is the obligatory setting out the terms of your ‘experiment’, ie., headers for ‘Experiment@ to….’ ‘Apparatus…list…’ ‘Method.1,2.3.4’ ‘Results… graphs, calculations, diagrams’, and finishing with ‘Conclusion’.

The Marasca-Bruno report makes it sound as all of this is quite new to them.  Frustrating for Stefanoni that they should assume she is the ignoramus.

Posted by KrissyG on 06/26/20 at 10:13 AM | #

Hi KrissyG

(1) re yours 06/26/20 at 09:52 AM. Actually you should keep your head down. Just joking! But you are wrong. TMB does not seek white cells, but the peroxidase enzyme in red cells.

The following is from my book though I pinched it from somewhere, probably Wikipedia -

“Haemoglobin, which is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloproteinase in red blood cells, has the ability to cleave oxygen molecules from H2 O2 (hydrogen peroxide), the reagent in the TMB solution, and catalyse the reaction which we see, which is that the TMB solution turns a bluish green colour. However this is because of the peroxidase enzyme, and not the iron, in haemoglobin.”

But also -

The enzyme’s function is to break down hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2), which is one of the toxins produced as a byproduct of using oxygen for respiration.

It is the proteins in red cells that do all the heavy lifting of keeping us, and all animal biology, alive. They (inter alia) carry oxygen to our tissues and then carry away the byproducts to be removed from the body. There are, of course, far more red cells than white. The white cells contain DNA which is the blueprint and the command centre for how the proteins are structured and work. An enzyme is just a sort of protein that acts as a catalyst to bring about chemical change.

(2) re yours 06/26/20 at 10:13 AM.  Yes, the quote from Maresca would be a scream were it not so pathetic. So, it was Galileo who got them off, or at any rate what Marasca had understood from reading an “Understanding Science” book at elementary school! Science has obviously stood still since. There’s patriotism for you.

Posted by James Raper on 06/26/20 at 12:19 PM | #

@James Silly me!  What on earth was I thinking?  Should have checked with wiki first.  _DOH!

Posted by KrissyG on 06/26/20 at 02:40 PM | #

Hi Krissy,

Judge Massei and Judge Marasca thinking they know more about the DNA evidence than experienced DNA experts such as Professor Garofano and Professor Biondo who have PhDs in forensic science would be like a high school student with a GCSE in biology or chemistry thinking they know more about biology and chemistry than a professor at university.

I wouldn’t dream of thinking I know more about mathematics than Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez.

There is no scientific evidence to support Judge Massei’s claim that Amanda Knox’s epithelial DNA was mixed with Meredith’s blood in the small bathroom. He doesn’t refer to the electropherograms or the height of the DNA peaks in his explanation in his sentencing report.

Knox wouldn’t have even needed to scrub her hands to remove Meredith’s blood from them. Putting her hands under running water would be sufficient to remove any blood.

It’s extremely unlikely the mixed-blood trace on the cotton bud box was due to Knox’s scrubbing her hands. She clearly touched the cotton bud box with her hand that had her blood and Meredith’s blood on it. The electropherogram for this mixed-blood trace shows that Amanda Knox’s DNA peaks were extremely high and that there seems to be more of Knox’s blood than Meredith’s blood.

Judge Marasca made a whole catalogue of false claims regarding the DNA evidence e.g. a negative TMB test means there was no blood, absence of evidence is evidence of absence, and a scientific test has to be repeated. He is also labouring under the misapprehension there is a universally accepted set of standards with regard to the collection and testing of DNA evidence that all forensic scientists from around the world must adhere to.

Judge Marasca conveniently doesn’t explain how Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA ended up on Meredith’s bra clasp, or explain how Meredith’s DNA ended up on the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife, or explain what the Luminol was reacting to. He must have known his alternative scenarios would be completely implausible and ridiculous.

Does anyone really believe that Sollecito’s DNA floated on a speck of dust under Meredith’s door and landed on the exact part of Meredith’s bra clasp that had been bent out of shape during the attack on her?

Do anyone really belief that Meredith’s DNA was floating in the air at Dr Stefanoni’s laboratory and then landed on a microscopic groove on Sollecito’s kitchen knife?

Does anyone really believe Knox and Sollecito had dipped their feet in rust or fruit juice and then walked around the cottage?

Does anyone really believe that Meredith’s blood landed on five spots of Amanda Knox’s saliva in three different locations in the cottage?

Posted by The Machine on 06/27/20 at 07:58 AM | #

Great post. Luminol is much more sensitive and accurate than TMB in revealing blood, so the negative TMB test meant little or nothing. The Luminol indicated blood was on the floor, found in Amanda Knox’s footprint. Dr. Garofano suggests it was Knox’s own blood and not Meredith’s. She must have cut her foot?

Unfortunately for the truth, the early TMB tests became a source of confusion and a feast for the defense to obscure matters when the final scientific word was that the naked footprint of Knox’s did contain blood. It was a sad day when Dr. Stefanoni’s expert opinion was cast aside.

The blood evidence IN MORE THAN ONE PLACE in the cottage clearly ascribes guilt to Amanda Knox, especially the spots where Knox’s DNA comingled with Meredith’s blood in not just one but in several locations in the cottage. Knox lied about everything.

Her crafty lies will never wipe out the bloody footprints she left in her bedroom and in the bedroom where she took a rock and broke a window to pin her crime on a burglar.

Her blood and Meredith’s blood cry out.

Truth never dies.

Much is hidden from the naked eye that microscopes can see and that tried and true Luminol can detect.

Posted by Hopeful on 06/27/20 at 03:25 PM | #

I correct myself. The blood trace in Filomena’s bedroom was not really a clearly defined footprint but a spot or droplet of dripped blood, that had both Knox and Kercher’s blood mingled in it? I confused “footprint” with droplet.

This mixed blood occurred either when Knox broke the window or, as the judge speculated, went to look out the window to assure herself no observers had overheard Meredith’s scream.

The main point in this post is how serious and damning are the Luminol-revealed naked footprints in Amanda’s own bedroom. They were made in her blood.

Now for a wild idea that’s a stretch, but maybe Knox’s still tender or throbbing but under a bandage cut foot was the desire for duper’s delight and why she showed off her feet in 2 separate incidents after the murder:

(1) in doing a little jig and dance as she put on shoe covers to enter the cottage with Mignini at which point she said something like “oop-la” to make light of the shoe covers and thus blow off mental steam or vent her suppressed emotions, because soon inside the cottage by the knife drawer she shook and had a minor breakdown;

(2) and the 2nd incident where she showed both of her feet inside the Questura by the strange roundabout way of throwing them up in the air as she turned cartwheels. ?? just speculation.

Twice she put her feet in the spotlight so to speak.

I don’t know how Knox’s own blood could have been found in a footprint if she did not shed her blood in some way, and most likely a cut foot that left blood on her sole or between her toes? speculation.

Posted by Hopeful on 06/27/20 at 03:42 PM | #


I think you are a bit hard on Massei. I do not think he was the sort of judge to think that he knew more about forensic science than the experts.

That said, he was remiss in evaluating two items of evidence:

(1) the dollop of Knox’s own blood on the faucet - surely evidence of the source of mixed blood.

(2) her lamp on the floor behind Meredith’s locked door.

Judges, or rather juries, the 12 in our own trials, and the 5 lay judges in the Italian system, are more susceptible than people imagine to the closing speeches of the Prosecution and the Defence.

If the Prosecution were to overlook these two items of evidence then the Defence certainly wouldn’t mention them.

However that would not be an excuse for the two professional judges on the jury.

That error, for that is what it was, was compounded by a complete lack of any further mention of this evidence through the rest of the case.

Posted by James Raper on 06/27/20 at 04:20 PM | #

Hi James,

I think Judge Massei is a very good judge and his reasoning in his sentencing report for the most part is excellent. However, he was wrong to rely on his own very limited understanding of forensic science instead of Dr Stefanoni’s expert opinion.

He shouldn’t have rejected her claim there were three mixed-blood samples in the small bathroom when he wasn’t in a position to do so. He doesn’t know that it was Knox’s epithelial DNA and not her blood DNA that was mixed with Meredith’s blood. He should have acknowledged this fact in his report.

He didn’t provide any scientific evidence to support his assertion that it was Knox’s epithelial DNA mixed with Meredith’s blood. He made no reference to the electropherograms or the height of her DNA peaks.

His reasons for rejecting Dr Stefanoni’s claim there was mixed-blood evidence were tenuous to say the least i.e. there were no visible wounds on Amanda Knox’s body and Dr Stefanoni couldn’t definitively rule out that that Meredith’s blood was mixed with a substance other than blood. Forensic science is probabilistic. He actually cited Amanda Knox’s claim the blood came from her own ear as if she’s reliable and trustworthy source of information.

Dr Stefanoni couldn’t definitively rule out Meredith’s blood was mixed with a substance other than blood and he couldn’t definitively rule out that Meredith’s blood wasn’t mixed with Knox’s blood. Dr Stefanoni provided scientific evidence to support her claim. Judge Massei didn’t. Dr Stefanoni also analysed the three mixed-blood traces in relation to the large blob of Knox’s blood on the tap. Judge Massei didn’t join the dots.

The DNA and Luminol tests provide compelling evidence that Amanda Knox tracked her own blood into the hallway, Filomena’s room and her own room. Judge Massei’s claim that Knox tracked Meredith’s blood into her own room isn’t supported by any scientific evidence. None of the Luminol footprints in Knox’s room contained Meredith’s DNA.

Posted by The Machine on 06/28/20 at 06:32 AM | #

I didn’t find Judge Massei’s scenario very compelling, especially his claims that Meredith’s murder was committed “without any animosity or feelings of rancour against the victim” and the covering of her body showed “a feeling of pity for the victim”. He made it sound like Knox and Sollecito were a decent young couple who had a bad day at the office and it was just a combination of unfortunate circumstances that led to Meredith being sexually assaulted and murdered.

Knox and Sollecito armed themselves with knives at his apartment and they used them a short time later to slash and stab Meredith. You could argue this shows intent and malice aforethought. It’s actually a crime in England and Italy to carry a knife. The maximum sentence for carrying a knife in England is four years in prison. Decent law-abiding citizens don’t break the law and carry knives.

Sometimes rape and sexual assault are committed to humiliate the victim. Laurie Ann Swank encouraged some of her work colleagues to rape and murder her friend Janet Chandler. Her motive was jealousy - they both liked the same man. Janet Chandler slept with him and this is the reason why Laurie Ann Swank wanted her to be gang raped and murdered.

Amanda Knox’s supporters claim she had no motive to murder Meredith as if murder is a logical and rational act. They’re labouring under the misapprehension that nice girls from respectable middle-class backgrounds don’t commit horrific murders.

There have been a number of cases where seemingly normal girls and women have committed horrific and senseless murders with little or no motive e.g. Laurie Ann Swank, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel, Amy Bishop, Karla Homolka, Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker, Kelly Ellard, Anna Maria Botticelli and Mariena Sica, Erika de Nardo, Jasmine Richardson, Rachel Shoaf and Shelia Eddy and Harmohinder Sanghera.

Harmohinder Sanghera was a straight-A dental student who stabbed her lover’s pregnant wife 42 times. The motive was jealousy.

Amanda Knox was undoubtedly jealous of Meredith. Meredith was in a relationship with a man that she liked. They were tensions between the two of them. Meredith complained about Knox to her family and friends. I suspect Knox documented her feelings of resentment towards Meredith in her diary and that’s the reason why she ripped out the pages for October.

When Diya Lumumba sent Knox a text message on the evening of the murder, informing her not to go to work that evening, it could have triggered more feelings of resentment towards Meredith because she had recently done a shift at Le Chic and impressed him.

If Judge Massei is right about Knox and Sollecito not feeling any animosity or rancour towards Meredith - and I don’t think he is - that would make them dangerous psychopaths who committed sexual assault and murder because they thought it’s fun and exciting.

Posted by The Machine on 06/28/20 at 07:55 AM | #

I’m finding the comments by Machine and James R on the Massei report’s quirks incredibly interesting.

In common-law countries like the US and UK the juries are black-box: no report or explanation for a verdict is generally required.

A black-box jury sprung OJ Simpson for murder despite seeming enormous evidence.

We only know what caused that verdict because jurors chose to speak up later - and in fact they attributed it to payback against the over-zealous cops of Los Angeles.

The unanimous Massei jury was the very opposite of black-box: it issued a 400-plus page report explaining itself.

But what we don’t yet know (we may, one day) is what the first voting of each member of the jury was.

Any one or several could have been more hard-line or soft-line (possibly Judge Massei himself, even), and then there would be horse-trading.

So as the “price” for a unanimous verdict, these quirks could have wandered in. They are not neccessarily very logical.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/28/20 at 08:25 AM | #

I am convinced that Knox and Sollecito had similar, but also competing, psychopathies. Reacting with each other, and in a stimulating environment spinning out of control, the combination was to prove lethal.

Probably the only thing that the parents did for which they can claim any moral credit, be it that most of it was a matter of self-interest was, after the acquittals, to keep the duo apart or when they did meet, chaperoned.

I’m quite sure that Curt and Edda would have made it quite clear to Amanda that any thought of shacking up with or marriage to Sollecito was out of the question. Similarly I’m sure Raffaele’s father would not have countenanced that either as he regarded Amanda as a loose cannon and his son as a weak minded clot who needed constant supervision, an impression against which his son later rebelled - there being the occasional display of independence - and in the course of which he rather proved his father’s opinion of him.

Posted by James Raper on 06/28/20 at 11:47 AM | #

As I’ve repeatedly pointed out, the German police and prosecutors wouldn’t say they are convinced Madeleine McCann is dead and Christian Brueckner killed her unless they had a very good reason to justify their claim.

I know journalists are trying to work out what the concrete evidence is. Someone pointed out to me that Hans Christian Wolters announced that the German police are convinced Christian Brueckner killed Madeleine shortly after they had found thousands of disturbing images and videos on USB sticks and hard drives in a plastic bag on Christian Brueckner’s property in Germany.

An Australian TV presenter asked Hans Christian Wolters whether any of these images or videos are linked to the Madeleine McCann case. He refused to answer the question:

Mr Wolters however declined to confirm if any of these pictures and videos includes evidence linked to the Madeleine case.

Speaking on Aussie TV, he said: “At the moment, I am not allowed to contend on that, so I am not able to say if there are pictures or there are no pictures of Madeleine.”

He did however continue to insist that Madeleine is dead, despite British police continuing to treat her vanishing as a missing persons probe.

The prosecutor said: “We have strong evidence that Madeleine McCann is dead and that our suspect killed her.

Posted by The Machine on 06/28/20 at 02:14 PM | #

@Peter Quennell re: black box juries who horse trade among themselves to reach a unanimous verdict and may feel personal pressure by stronger personalities or capitulate despite conscience and agree to any verdict due to a desire to get out of the sequestered hotel room. They may be physically exhausted and finally say “hey, I’ve missed 3 weeks of my Bingo, I’m sick of living out of a suitcase, I don’t like X or Y on this jury, they’re jerks, let’s go home, let’s just rule the defendant Not Guilty and stop worrying about it”...This unforeseen human pressure among a jury is why I would waive a jury trial and request a decision from a Judge if I were facing trial. The judge KNOWS the law at least.

@The Machine @James Raper, I agree there was animosity against Meredith and great envy. With James I agree there were dueling psychopathologies in Knox and Raffaele. One commenter said to research “Catathymic sexual murder” as explanation for Knox’s motive. Catathymic crisis: an isolated, nonrepetitive act of violence that develops as a result of intolerable tension. There may be stalking and jealousy of the victim as a precursor to violence, where the killer violently reacts to a perceived rejection due to a fractured ego and a threat to his or her sexuality.

In a book review by Denise C. Kellaher, D.O. of the book, “Sexual Murder: Catathymic and Compulsive Homicides” by Louis B. Schlesinger, Boca Raton, Florida CRC Press 2004, it says:

“Catathymic murder is performed for an affective catharsis, fueled by an underlying sexual conflict in which the victim is perceived as a threat to ego. Typically, the victim stimulates feelings of sexual inadequacy in the perpetrator, yielding an explosive homicidal revenge followed by psychic relief.”

“In contrast, compulsive murderers are driven by an internal, irresistible urge to kill, providing a thrill comparable to that of sexual gratification. [These are serial killers, different from catathymic killers who do not need to repeat their acts, unlike the serial killer who does because he has psychic insatiability.]

Schlesinger uses multiple cases to expound on the differences between these two types of sexually motivated murderers to clear up the often blurred distinctions between them.

In simpler terms and from my limited perspective, I see Knox as having felt very threatened by the smooth, refined Meredith who had physical attractions, a private school education, a lovely accent unlike Knox’s, and a maturity far beyond Knox’s.

On top of that Meredith was extremely modest about her really fine intellect, but Knox knew she was Erasmus scholar, and her intellect greatly surpassed Knox’s own. Additionally Meredith had emotional restraint that Knox lacked.

She was almost an empath, or at least had emotional knowledge and depth and was a wise and kind counselor to her peers. She was driven and studied hard.

She was smiling and happy, not depressed. She had enough money for her Italian studies, she wasn’t hampered by worry over a job to earn income. She could freely study and move up academically while Knox was teetering on the edge financially to sustain herself living abroad. And as The Machine noted, Meredith was dating Silenzio a guy Knox liked, while Knox was bouncing from man to man despite having linked up with Sollecito.

The biggest factor that I think made Knox so jealous of Meredith was the fact she had a father’s love plus she was super close and devoted to her mother. Not only that but Meredith had brothers as well as sisters (Knox may have assumed Meredith’s brothers would offer her protection in this world which Knox did not enjoy). So despite a divorced family, Meredith seemed to have enjoyed an intact family with very strong loving ties to one another much longer than Knox had.

Immediate triggers: Meredith made friends easily in Perugia and was socially successful whereas maybe Knox, not so much. Even on the job Knox was being ousted.

Knox seemed more desperately striving to be noticed, to grab friends by pretending to be a leader but having to act out to achieve attention. She had to put on a false show of bravado while inside she was afraid, very insecure and envious.
Meredith just seemed to have it made and despite their shared language as English speakers, the two females were poles apart. As both women had Catholic backgrounds, maybe Knox thought Meredith was the better Catholic? maybe Meredith had quoted the Church fathers to her in advising her about men, and Knox was ashamed of her lapsed status? When was her last time at confession? who knows? unknown… Whatever the variance between them Knox felt inferior, and I agree she probably wrote much of her anger down in the October journal page which vanished after Meredith’s death.

I agree with James that Sollecito was a loose cannon emotionally, seeking some kind of anchor in life or change, wanting to do important deeds like his manga heroes, and wanting to lash out in violence for perceived injustices and suffocations in his own life.

Sollecito’s big crisis was that he who had no clue what he wanted to do in life was on the brink of university graduation and forced to face finding employment. This shook him.
His first experience living with a woman (Knox) was confusing to him; he probably wanted to introduce her to his family after graduation and hoped she would become a fixture in his life, but soon saw she was fickle and would not be marriage material. He may have sensed she was looking for other men while she was still with him? Not good for one’s ego to have instant rejection by one’s first love.

I think Meredith represented both of the culprits’ mothers.
They’d each experienced some smothering mothering and absentee fathers due to workaholism in the doctor’s case or divorce in Curt Knox’s case.

Knox and Raf both had felt set aside by one parent’s choice to build a new family apart from the family of origin. They felt displaced and sidelined by strangers in the parent’s affection.

On top of that Sollecito’s mother killed herself when he left home for college. What a cruel wound she gave him, what a burden to face such guilt, false guilt one hopes. It was like his mom’s last angry pitiful act to slap back at him and his Dad and to say how rejected she felt and how she felt betrayed by them both. This would not endear him to women.

His mom’s depression was anger repressed. Depression is always inverted anger.

Raffaele was depressed when he met Knox, and I think she was getting depressed herself from too many sleepless nights and absurd long hours partying or at LeChic working, and she was seeking a replacement for her first love David Johnsrud who was far away in China, even had she returned home to Seattle.

She was lost and maybe Italy wasn’t the panacea she’d hoped for, the bloom was off the rose. She was using drugs, she became a walking time bomb. She fixated on Meredith’s tranquil life and wanted to destroy it because it condemned her ways and her life choices and attitudes and even her past history highlighted by Mom Edda’s divorce and remarriage and her Dad’s moving on with a new woman and two replacement daughters to outshine her and Deanna, all actions in the past which she had no control over.

Posted by Hopeful on 06/28/20 at 05:28 PM | #

@The Machine There is also Joanna Denehey who came from an ordinary middle class background; home was in leafy St Albans, nice school just went off the rails.  Diagnosed psychopath, the only motive she could give for her crimes was that she wanted to see if she could ‘feel’.

In the case of Knox, I believe that one of her key motives was the pain of being snubbed by Meredith, which stirred up feelings of rejection by her former classmates.  Whilst Sollecito wasn’t bothered by Halloween as a practising Catholic, for Knox it was a major annual event.  Meredith going out and having fun with all her friends whilst Knox spent it alone whilst Sollecito studied for his finals may well have been the last straw that brought her resentment and anger to a head. 

@James I agree, Solleito and Knox empowered each other in their aggressive instincts.  I see it as a classic ‘young adult’ thrill-seeking crime in which a peer is given their just desserts.  We saw it with the 14-year-old girl who killed her mother and sister with her boyfriend, planning it carefully as an exciting adventure/drama (watching ‘Twilight’ afterwards) as revenge for her mother grounding her and because she ‘didn’t want her 11-year-old sister to suffer from the lack of her mother’.

In this type of murder the motives are trite to any normal person but seem reasonable to the perpetrators.

Posted by KrissyG on 06/29/20 at 01:03 AM | #

@The Machine Whilst Hans Christian Wolters did say he had evidence Madeleine was dead, he did qualify it later as being a simple calculation of criminal statistics.  The probability of her still being alive now as a young adult is small.

The broadcasters and journalists specualting about what the ‘evidence’ is use the word ‘could’ and ‘might have’ quite a lot.  Wolters did not say he had a particular image or video.  The SUN newspaper hack suggested this.  In the meantime the press are scrabbling around looking for sundry people who knew ChristianB so they can get a good quote.  For example, his co-partner in crime Taschtl - diesel theft - was likely paid a handsome sum of money for his picture and quote saying, ‘I think he did it’.

Then there are others claiming, ‘He looked at me funny’.

Let the media circus begin and round and round we go again.

I hope there is a trial so that then ALL of the witnesses - including the McCanns and the so-called Tapas-Seven - can be cross-examined.


Posted by KrissyG on 06/29/20 at 01:16 AM | #

@Hopeful re ‘“Catathymic sexual murder” as explanation for Knox’s motive.’

That is an interesting theory and of course, the Kercher murder was also a sexual assault, or some believe, made to look as though oit was to throw of the scent of a female attacker.

Small correction: Meredith went to the Old Palace School, which is linked to Croydon Parish Church, where Meredith’s funeral was held.  It is Church of England by denomination, not Roman Catholic. In England, people don’t tend to be avidly faithful, most only going to church to hatch, match or dispatch.  It is all pretty agnostic in feel (‘British’) as compared to an RC one.  And she had her mother’s culture, too.  Arline came from Lahore, I believe, although might have grown up in England as second generation.  She was involved in the Pompeii excavations, so appears to have passed on her love of Italy to her lovely daughter.

Posted by KrissyG on 06/29/20 at 02:02 AM | #

Just to add to Hopeful’s words, Knox’s job was handing out leaflets till the early hours.  That must have been so demeaning. I’d say the polar opposite of what she was expecting and wanting when she embarked on what was meant to be a lovely adventure.
Seeing Meredith having the time of her life on Halloween must have been so humiliating.

Posted by DavidB on 06/29/20 at 06:45 AM | #

Hi Krissy,

Hans Christian Wolters made the following comments: “It is concrete evidence, facts that we have, not mere indications.” In other words, it’s not a simple calculation of criminal statistics because that clearly wouldn’t be concrete evidence.

Curt Knox and Edda Mellas tried to discredit the police investigation and undermine the evidence before they knew the details of it because they didn’t want to believe that their daughter was guilty of murder. It seems that you’re doing the same with regard to the German investigation because you don’t want to believe Christian Brueckner abducted and killed Madeleine McCann.

It’s highly unlikely that Kate and Gerry McCann and the Tapas Seven will ever be cross-examined in court. There is no credible evidence against the McCanns - which is the reason why they were never charged with any crime in Portugal.

The claim that Madeleine McCann died in accident in the apartment, Gerry and Kate McCann disposed of her body and their friends helped cover their crime is regarded as ridiculous and completely implausible by the CPS and Scotland Yard. The German police and prosecutors don’t believe Kate and Gerry were responsible for Madeleine’s disappearance either.

In England, it is possible to charge a suspect in limited circumstances, where the Full Code Test is not met by applying the Threshold Test in order to charge a suspect. The CPS couldn’t even do this because there are no reasonable grounds to suspect that Kate and Gerry McCann committed any offence.

The reactions of the two sniffer dogs are not credible evidence against them. One of the dogs - Eddie the cadaver dog - also detected dead body odour at the Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey, but the police didn’t find any dead bodies. Cadaver dogs can indicate the possible presence of DNA and forensic evidence in a certain location, but their reactions can’t be used as evidence in court.

The DNA evidence collected from the McCanns’ hire car can’t be used as evidence against them because the Forensic Science Service that the results were inconclusive.

Kate McCann refusing to answer 48 questions can’t be used against her as evidence in court.

Small discrepancies with regard to timings are to be expected and certainly not evidence of a dastardly conspiracy on the part of the Tapas Seven.

Posted by The Machine on 06/29/20 at 07:09 AM | #

@The Machine.  I wouldn’t say I want Christian B to be found innocent.  Just call me sceptical.

I have ever claimed the parents were guilty of anything.  On the the other hand, Gerry McCann changed his initial police statement quite drastically.  Perhaps he was embarrassed and didn’t want to be seen as a bad parent so overstated how often they checked the kids and when.  However, by that same criteria, who is to know that the last time they checked the kids was as long ago as 7:30pm?  This was when Kate McC. was seen outside the apartment with David Payne making frantic calls on her mobile phones.

I am sure it is innocent.  I would just like to see them called as witnesses in any trial, not as the defendant, but to help the court establish the fact of what time Madeleine ‘disappeared’ for we only have Gerry and Kate’s word that it was circa 9:15 pm or 10:00pm depending on which report you read.  If Christian B is a suspect because he was pinged in the area - in which he lived - at about 8:00pm then it becomes important to corroborate the time the incident happened.  Otherwise you are just relying on the word of one married couple, who, as we have seen, have been economical with what they chose to tell the police.  I dare say they were advised by their lawyer to say nothing, as has Christian B by his lawyers.

Nobody claimed that Kate refusing to answer 48 questions could be used against her as it is a suspect’s right to remain silent and the duty of the state to prove the case.

BTW cadaver bodies do not find bodies, they simply pick up the scent, which can linger for a long time after a body has been removed.  Springer spaniels are renowned for their fantastically acute sense of smell, so I wouldn’t blame the dog if the police don’t manage to locate the body that goes with the scent the dog picked up, quite impartially.

Posted by KrissyG on 06/29/20 at 09:22 AM | #

Hi Chrissy,

Christian Brueckner isn’t the prime suspect just because his mobile phone was pinged in the area. You’ve consistently tried to undermine and understate the evidence against him.

He’s obviously going to be a person of interest in a case where a young child has gone missing because he’s a paedophile with multiple convictions for sexually abusing children over a significant period of time.

All the pieces of circumstantial evidence against him have to be considered wholly - not separately and in isolation from the other pieces of evidence.

It’s my understanding that the mobile phone evidence places him very close to the McCanns’ apartment on the evening she disappeared. The CPS and Scotland Yard have been convinced that Madeleine McCann was abducted, sexually assaulted and killed by a predatory paedophile for years.

They regard it as significant that he was very close to the apartment that evening. They also think it’s suspicious that he re-registered the number plates of his jaguar the following day when there was no obvious reason for doing so and that he left Praia da Luz shortly afterwards.

A witness contacted the police and told them Christian Brueckner had showed him a video of him raping an elderly woman and claimed he had abducted Madeleine and disposed of her body.

Brueckner was only arrested in connection with this rape after it was discovered that hair found at the crime scene matched his DNA. That’s the reason why the German police regard this new witness as credible. The information he gave the police led to Brueckner being convicted of the rape of a 72-year-old American woman.

The German police have also intercepted an online conversation Christian Bruecker had with another paedophile in which he specifically discussed Madeleine McCann. I don’t know the details of the conversation.

Hans Christian Wolters says the German police have “concrete evidence” that Madeleine McCann is dead. This information hasn’t been shared with the Portuguese police or Scotland Yard. It’s clearly not “a simple calculation of criminal statistics”. I have the utmost respect for the German police and I’ve been reassured by a number of people that they wouldn’t have said this unless they are able to substantiate their claim. 

Apparently, the German police almost have enough evidence to charge him. I understand their reasons for not having done so. They want their case against him to be watertight to ensure he’s convicted of Madeleine’s murder. They would like to find Madeleine’s remains. It’s obviously more difficult to prosecute someone for murder when there’s no body.

We don’t know what the “concrete evidence” is, we haven’t seen the transcript of Christian Brueckner’s online conversation about Madeleine McCann with another paedophile and we don’t know the details of his conversation where he allegedly admitted abducting Madeleine and disposing of her body. Until this details are made known, no-one is in a position to be dismissive of this evidence.

Posted by The Machine on 06/29/20 at 01:57 PM | #

@KrissyG, thanks for clarification that Old Palace School was Church of England, not Roman Catholic. I assumed Meredith’s mother and father were Christians having sent her to that school (although they may have wanted it for academic excellence or various other reasons) and Meredith had a Christian burial.

Plus Meredith at one point had been connected with Caritas, which I thought was a Catholic charity so I may have leapt to wrong conclusion.

Edda Mellas was a rather devoted Catholic, wasn’t she, who even taught her daughters Bible at home? And with Amanda wanting to attend the Jesuit-founded Seattle Prep it might have been a nod to her mom’s choice but also a place she could rebel against. To Knox’s mind a win-win?

Again, Seattle Prep may have been somewhat the “elite” school in Knox’s area and was chosen more for that and for academic prestige than Christian values. I believe Knox wrote on her long long ago “MySpace” that she was Wiccan which was quickly erased from the internet. Now she claims to be agnostic. So much for Edda’s efforts to bring her up in the Faith. All of which leaves us with a good deal of uncertainty as to the Mellas and Kercher family religious persuasions.

I wonder if Laura or Philomena attended a local church in Perugia, assuming that as native Italians they were Catholic?

When I visited London I attended a Church of England service down by the Thames River in the old lawyer’s area, the Temple? And one small church that was connected with the Royal Air Force cadets down in the Strand or some part of old London? forgive me, was 8 years ago, am fuzzy on names of streets.

In small town of Hayle, Cornwall I went to St. Joseph the Worker Catholic church for one Easter service and to C of England in Marazion; to a Quaker meeting there also and a Methodist church in Marazion. All good.

That’s all I know about British faith and practice, except you are right about the more secular feel of British culture.

I assumed Raffaele was RC, he was fond of Padre Pio, so he might have been glad of Knox’s at least nominal Catholic background?

And sad but true, even those steeped in church teachings who pray and have faith can be led into dreadful temptation and run amok and can do heinous things, so the label on a person can’t always be trusted to define him. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” And book of James, “faith without works is dead, alone.” It seems easier to be overcome by evil than to overcome evil with good.

Behavior is all we have to understand people by.

A secular truth: all behavior has a motive.

Another:  past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Posted by Hopeful on 06/29/20 at 08:41 PM | #

Hi James Raper on 06/28/20 at 11:47 AM about both the Knox & Sollecito families not at all keen on the 2 perps ever shacking up.

There’s a post due for sure (and maybe even a book!) just on this as the dialectic really reeks of guilt. Briefly here:

Sure thing on the RS side, the evidence is very strong: (1) the Carabinieri wiretapped an angry Papa Doc anti-Knox rant, (2) also Papa Doc told the Italian media the 2 would never marry (like “over my dead body”), (3) he and Vanessa even flew to Seattle to try to nail that down, (4) also this was a main thrust of RS’s 2012 book: that both Dr Mignini & co and Papa Doc & co wanted strong separation between RS and AK; he claimed he was “Honor Bound” to support Knox but that never showed in court.

On the AK side it seemed more hot & cold, the family & legal team really really wanted RS to confirm AK’s last alibi in court, which of course he never did. RS did try to mend bridges with AK 2012-13, and may have lived with her for some months in 2012 in Tacoma in a mobile home. He did seek marriage, especially after the Hellmann annulment, when he wanted to marry Knox (or anyone) so he could stay in the US, sensing the Nencini outcome in advance. But too late by then. Knox and/or her family had terminally chilled. So no deal.

Today’s apparent status quo:

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/01/20 at 08:25 AM | #

@Peter Quennell, great summary of the yo-yo relationship between Knox and Sollecito. It was mere infatuation on Knox’s part added to the blindness of “first love” on Sollecito’s part and their foolish hasty involvement that led quickly to a bizarre crime. Then a quick parting of the ways for each one to find a legal defense, and yet the need for enough closeness and communication to obtain a shared alibi, and probably Raffaele still had strong feelings for his honey. I doubt Knox cared a bit for him after the murder.

Sauve qui peux? or something the French say, “Let each one save himself,” seemed to be the final decision. Raf withdrew his alibi for Knox, but it only left him without a witness to his being at home all evening.

No doubt the Sollecito family were horrified at Raf’s choice of a wild Seattle hooligan as a girlfriend, but birds of a feather flock together. In Knox he saw his own wild side unleashed.

This is a great thumbnail sketch of their roller coaster relationship through many strained years.

Posted by Hopeful on 07/01/20 at 12:45 PM | #

Christian Hoppe from the Federal Criminal Police Office in Germany refused to say whether there was sufficient evidence to charge Christian Brueckner with Madeleine McCann’s murder. Three weeks ago, Hans Christian Wolters said there wasn’t enough evidence for a trial. I don’t know whether the German police have more evidence or the two men have different opinions about the strength of the prosecution’s case. I do know that the German police have received 800 leads in June.

Hans Christian Wolters seemed to be concerned that Madeleine’s body still hasn’t been found. In the past, prosecutors were wary about charging suspects without the evidence of a body. However, there have been cases in England where people have been convicted of murder without a body ever being found e.g. Stuart Campbell, David Hodgson and Mark Bridger. It is possible to charge a suspect without a body in Germany, but these cases are exceedingly rare.

Posted by The Machine on 07/01/20 at 05:18 PM | #

Ghislaine Maxwell has been arrested by the FBI:

It was outrageous that she went into hiding. She should have been questioned with regard to the serious allegations of sexual abuse that have been made against her by a number of women months ago.

The allegations of sexual abuse against her are serious and they need to be taken as seriously as the allegations of sexual abuse against Harvey Weinstein. No-one is above the law.

Posted by The Machine on 07/02/20 at 09:44 AM | #

Hi Machine

Yes this is flashing into the news here. The oddest enabler ever, and we sure have “known” a few.

Bedford where she was nabbed is a small town west of Manchester NH. She could arrive in Manhattan later today.

“She should have been questioned with regard to the serious allegations of sexual abuse that have been made against her by a number of women months ago.”

I dont think so. The FBI almost certainly made more progress on their case by not questioning her, and letting her think she was home free and okay to stay in the US.

Thus saving themselves an extradition process, that or major frustration if she holed up in say Panama.

Her dad was born in Czechoslovakia, did well in England, and then died (or was bumped off) in a seriously weird way.

In theory worth $1.9 billion but there was this fallout.

Epstein is rumored here to have essentially been a blackmailer and if so this may have some rich victims totally freaking out.

I’d not place bets on her longevity…

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/02/20 at 10:31 AM | #

Hi Pete,

I was concerned that Ghislaine Maxwell was regarded as being untouchable and above the law in the same way Prince Andrew is and the likes of Cyril Smith and Jimmy Savile were.

It seems like the FBI have carried out a meticulous investigation into the serious allegations against Ghislaine Maxwell so that they have a watertight case against her. I don’t think she will be swanning around Buckingham Palace or the Queen’s Sandringham estate anytime soon. She might staying at her Majesty’s pleasure the next time she comes to England, but not in the type of establishment she’s accustomed to. For the foreseeable future, she will be staying in a different type of big house.

Posted by The Machine on 07/02/20 at 04:14 PM | #

Bang, bang, the mighty fall.

The big scepticism point for me is the crimes listed date between 1995 and 1998.  The FBI and CIA knew about the hanky panky years and years ago.  So what took them over twenty years to even lift a finger.

Scotland Yard has ring-fenced Prince Andrew - the never questioned him and appear to have ignored the recent legal order for Andrew to be hauled before a magistrate to explain himself - just like they have done with the McCanns.  I believe it was thanks to Gordon Brown, who was prime minister at the time.

What is shocking about Andrew is that he introduced his daughters to Maxwell and Epstein at various parties and functions.  He has always had a sleazy image.

Posted by KrissyG on 07/02/20 at 06:12 PM | #

Hi Krissy,

I don’t think anyone believes Prince Andrew’s claim that he didn’t sleep with Virginia Roberts Giuffre. However, the police couldn’t charge him with a crime because she was above the age of consent.

I’ve seen no evidence that Kate and Gerry McCann were ring-fenced by Scotland Yard or that Gordon Brown attempted to interfere with Scotland Yard’s investigation.

I’ve seen a lot of these nudge nudge wink wink insinuations on Twitter from a number of people who didn’t fall for Knox’s PR campaign and think she’s guilty and it’s not right. They can believe whatever they want, but the bottom line is there’s no credible evidence against Kate and Gerry McCann. That’s the reason why the Portuguese police didn’t charge them with any crime.

They’ve also been sneering at the German prosecutors and dismissing their case against Christian Brueckner without knowing the details of their case. It would be prudent to wait and see what the “concrete evidence” is. I have no reason to doubt the professionalism and the integrity of the German police and prosecutors.

Posted by The Machine on 07/02/20 at 07:27 PM | #

@ The Machine.

Of course the McCanns are presumed innocent until there has been a trial and have been found guilty (however, this belief doesn’t seem to extend to ChristianB).

Problem is, Scotland Yard has cleared them without even questioning them.  The logic appears to be similar to FOAK along the lines of, ‘Why would the McCanns?’; ‘How could they when..’; ‘Why would they…?’; ‘They would not have…’  Then there comes the slur against the dirty lazy Portuguese police daring to make one of our own *official suspects*, bloody backward foreigners.

Notice any parallels with the Friends of Amanda Knox campaign?

The press are still going on about a ‘mysterious phone call’ pinged near the Ocean Club mast when they have already been told it was his ex-girlfriend on the line, who IIRC was no longer even in Portugal.

The claim there was a member of staff involved - this is what the phone call is hinting at - comes straight out of Kate McCann’s own theory about what happened.  However, the McCann’s and the Tapas 7 narrative has never been corroborated in the first place.

Posted by KrissyG on 07/03/20 at 02:16 AM | #

@The Machine

The knee jerk response regarding Prince Andrew ‘she was 17 which is not illegal in England’ misses the fact that sex trafficking or een human trafficking is definitely illegal.  He cannot really claim ‘good faith’ if it can be shown he was fully aware of the Epstein/Maxwell young adults sex /blackmail racket.

In addition, witnesses saw him lying on a beach in Little St James with her and she was topless.  If this island is a part off the USA then he will have broken the law as 18 is the age of consent there, broadly speaking, although it does vary from state to state.

Does anyone really think that if Joe Blogs next door carried on like that, Scotland Yard would just shrug it off?  No he’d be in the clappers before you could say Jack Robinson.

Jimmy Saville had the same type of ring-fence.  The police turned a blind eye to his activities because of his close friendship with Mountbatten and Prince Charles.  Does anyone believe this was true friendship, given the huge class divide: Saville, a working-class Yorkshireman in cheap shell suits and trainers and garishly bleached hair, in close fraternity with stuffy crusty stuck up aristocrats?  Of course not.

The key association was really young children - not young adults as in the case of Epstein - and Saville is known to have abused literally hundreds of them with impunity.  He even referred to himself as the *eminence grise*.  He was ring-fenced.

Posted by KrissyG on 07/03/20 at 02:27 AM | #

Investigations by the Portuguese, British, German, and American police all seem to have been a bit sub-par?

In some instances politics and/or powerful people seem to have entered in. Some systems needing a shakeup, that’s for sure, a welcome mantra in the US right now.

Machine, I don’t fully understand what you were saying here, these are our allies you are not pleased with?

I’ve seen a lot of these nudge nudge wink wink insinuations on Twitter from a number of people who didn’t fall for Knox’s PR campaign and think she’s guilty and it’s not right. They can believe whatever they want, but the bottom line is there’s no credible evidence against Kate and Gerry McCann.

I did note previously that the reflexes of both the Knox-Mellases and the McCanns have been to go for the throat, and make money by the ton, and the McCann interview with Piers Morgan set off alarm bells here.

Our allies could have been influenced by that, and directly after, I watched some YouTubes raising numerous issues. It’s not clear to many including me why the McCanns don’t lay those to rest.

At minimum, had they acted responsibly, Madeleine would be safe at home.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/03/20 at 02:22 PM | #

There are some images of Ghislaine’s house in New Hampshire here - so that’s a secret hideway?! - and some details of her bank accounts with numerous millions therein.

Lovely headline here; so Prince Andrew is invited to drop in on the Southern District of New York for a wee chat.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/03/20 at 02:58 PM | #

Hi Pete,

Peter Hyatt and Nick van der Leek believe that Kate and Gerry McCann are responsible for Madeleine’s disappearance. They can believe whatever they like, but the things they regard as damning evidence against them e.g. the reactions of the sniffer dogs and Martin Smith’s claim that he’s 60%-80% sure that he saw Gerry McCann carrying a child that evening are not enough to meet the Threshold Test. In other words, the CPS wouldn’t charge Gerry and Kate McCann because there’s no credible evidence against them and there’s no chance of convicting them of anything at a criminal trial.

The claim that Madeleine McCann died in an accident in the apartment and Kate and Gerry disposed of the body without anybody noticing isn’t taken seriously by the CPS or Scotland Yard. They believe a predatory paedophile abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered Madeleine. That’s the reason why Scotland Yard wanted to trace certain individuals and didn’t focus on Gerry and Kate McCann. That doesn’t mean they didn’t consider the possibility.

Many of the people on Twitter who think the McCanns were involved in Madeleine’s disappearance don’t understand the reasons why the so-called evidence against them has been discredited.

The reactions of sniffer dogs can’t be used as evidence in court. They are used to help the forensic investigators locate DNA and forensic evidence. Sniffer dogs have proven to be unreliable in the past e.g. at the Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey.

The Forensic Science Service told the Portuguese police that the DNA results were inconclusive. The Portuguese police ignored what they were told and regard the DNA results as significant evidence against the McCanns.

Kate McCann exercised her right to silence and refused to answer 48 questions. This is clearly not evidence of her guilt.

Martin Smith wasn’t certain it was Gerry McCann he saw carrying a child that evening. His witness statement has no evidentiary value.

The Portuguese Supreme Court noting that Kate and Gerry McCann haven’t been cleared is not evidence of their guilt. They haven’t charged been with any crime let alone been convicted of one.

Some people have noted the seemingly contradictory statements made by Hans Christian Wolters and the Metropolitan Police. Wolters said they are convinced Madeleine is dead and the Metropolitan Police say they regard the case as a missing persons case and technically it is because Madeleine’s body hasn’t been found, but that’s not what they believe. They are being diplomatic, but also disingenuous. They know full well that in almost every case of stranger child abduction, within the space of 24 hours the child is dead.

When James Bulger was abducted in 1993, the police publicly said it was a missing person investigation, but privately they were treating the case as a murder investigation - which is the reason why they were using the HOLMES computer system. Sometimes, you have to read between the lines.

This is not easy to watch, but it is an excellent documentary about the Madeleine McCann case:

Simon Foy is right - it is significant that German police have said Madeleine McCann is dead. He was the most senior murder detective at Scotland Yard and he was part of Operation Grange - which was Scotland Yard’s investigation into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.

Posted by The Machine on 07/03/20 at 04:00 PM | #

Ghislaine Maxwell’s friends are using the media to defend her.

Alan Dershowitz has written an article for The Spectator in which he tries to undermine the prosecution’s case against her:

The Ghislaine Maxwell I know

Like every other arrested person, she must be presumed innocent

Laura Goldman claims she was a “victim” of Jeffrey Epstein’s depravity:

My friend Ghislaine: Confidante reveals how Maxwell’s ‘fling’ with Prince Andrew means she’ll never sell him out

Ghislaine Maxwell remains loyal to the royal, says friend, insisting socialite was a ‘victim’ of Jeffrey Epstein’s depravity

Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers and friends will try to use every trick in the book to free her from prison. We can expect more articles in the media that will portray her as a victim of Jeffrey Epstein and his unwilling accomplice and portray his accusers as dishonest money-grubbers who are making these accusation just to receive millions in compensation.

The supporters of the West Memphis Three and Amanda Knox used the media to try to influence the courts and free them from prison. Unfortunately, PR works - the West Memphis were freed from prison and Amanda Knox and Raffaele Raffaele Sollecito were acquitted of murder despite the fact the evidence against them is overwhelming.

There have been PR campaigns to free Steven Avery and Brendan and Adnan Syed from prison and they have undoubtedly influenced the courts. Adnan Syed and Brendan Dassey’s murder convictions were vacated, but then they were later reinstated.

Innocence fraud is a lucrative business because Joe Public loves documentaries about innocent being railroaded by corrupt cops and rogue prosecutors.

The filmmakers responsible for documentaries such as Amanda Knox, Making a murderer, The Case Against Adnan Syed and West of Memphis will have been paid handsomely for their PR propaganda.

DNA experts such as Greg Hampikian, Peter Gill and Carlo Torre can make money by defending people convicted of murder and sexual assault. Vincenzo Pascali was reportedly paid €50,000 to defend Raffaele Sollecito.

The likes of Douglas Preston, Steve Moore, Peter Gill and Malcolm Gladwell have cynically used the Meredith Kercher case to promote their books. Peter Gill has now jumped on the bandwagon to free Daniel Holtzclaw who was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting a number of black women in the deprived area he worked in in 2015.

Posted by The Machine on 07/04/20 at 06:36 AM | #

@The Machine It looks like Derschowitz has disclosed how he thinks her defence lawyers will argue this case.  He mentions the statute of limitations and it seems the charges only includes up to 1998, which indicates no continuity up to the present.  I note that Maxwell is being charged under a Public Order offence rather than as a sex crime (cf Daily Beast [paywall]) so perhaps that is why the SoL has not kicked in.

Whilst of course it must be true that many of the underage women didn’t mind working as prostitutes serving Epstein and his chums, as many of them came from extremely deprived and vulnerable backgrounds and were glad of the generous sums of money for a hour’s work.  On the other hand, it is the law that protects them so whether or not their sex work was willingly, the matter is taken out of their hands by virtue of their being under age and protecred by law.

As for ‘just out for compensation’ it that is their entitlement why not?  The USA is a litigious nation so bully for them.  Epstein came from a humble background and his vast wealth, valued at USD500m when he died was likely mostly from ill-gotten gains, likewise Maxwell as her father was bankrupt when he died and had a Proceeds of Crime order slapped on any assets remaining of the pension fund he rifled, so Derschowitz pointing a finger and accusing the victims of being money grubbers rings a hollow note.

Weinstein tried the ‘They were using me for my money and if they did like it, why did they keep coming back for more?’ defence and it didn’t wash.

Posted by KrissyG on 07/04/20 at 07:47 AM | #

There’s something about Alan Derschowitz that makes my skin crawl. He helped Jeffrey Epstein get a ludicrously lenient sentence despite the fact he had sexually abused countless vulnerable teenagers on an industrial scale.

He doesn’t acknowledge the fact that Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty in his article for The Spectator or show the slightest flicker of empathy towards his victims.

He also defended Claus von Bulow and OJ Simpson.

Posted by The Machine on 07/04/20 at 09:26 AM | #

Hi Machine and KrissyG

Thanks for the lurid detail. Amazing how Ghislaine’s “friends” are coming out of the woodwork, one might almost think they’re freaked she could do them in.

I imagine the FBI is dangling a lot more charges over a much longer period over Ghislaine’s head. She denies being part of the Virgin Islands operation, though it seems she’s just been charged there. Good luck to her with this bizarre lawsuit.

I know a couple of people who know Dershowitz and much admired him, though not in recent years in his openly weird phase.

Prior to Marasca/Bruno he did suggest there was a strong case against Knox. He was the most prominent US lawyer along with Wendy Murphy to do so.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/04/20 at 10:05 AM | #

Dershowitz is a defence lawyer so of course he makes the most money from high profile cases.  However, it is interesting he thought Knox guilty as charged.  He is now pulling out all his defence lawyerly skills to get himself out of trouble, so he goes for ‘attack’.  He is not exactly attractive so when Guiffre says he slept with her on various ocassion you wonder why she would lie, although one motive could be that she - or her backers - want to bring down the Clinton set, of which Dershowitz is a part.  Seems unlikely because there are literally dozens of women claiming to be victims.  He will have to try for a ‘technicality’ and have it thrown out that way.

Posted by KrissyG on 07/04/20 at 04:58 PM | #

Some seeming solid reporting here that (1) her lawyers told Ghislaine that staying in the US could give her a legal “out”, (2) she was elusive nevertheless and cost a bundle for the FBI to keep in sight, two noisy spotting aircraft circled above in the 4 hours before arrest, (3) a grand jury okayed the case, (4) she could arrive in Brooklyn (aka the Fed’s Eastern District of NY) later this week, and (5) a deal could be in the works, not to the liking of the many victims’ teams.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/05/20 at 10:14 AM | #

This is an excellent article about Ghislaine Maxwell’s background:

“High society to hideaway arrest: Ghislaine Maxwell’s dramatic fall”

Posted by The Machine on 07/05/20 at 11:00 AM | #

I hope everyone had a happy Independence Day over 4th of July weekend. The fireworks over New York City’s East River and over the Hudson River were on TV—outstanding pyrotechnics. I went out of town a few days to paint amateur art; jumped in a swimming pool as heat rises to 90s Fahrenheit. Great to drive beautiful state backroads with green trees and farms in cool A/C with radio music.

On return home I see the recent TJMK discussion is on the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell. The little I’ve read, she seemed to be a sadly needy woman who destroyed her own dignity and went further to become a criminal to stay involved with a man she loved despite his hideous ways and cruelties to her emotionally.

I know little of the case.

Posted by Hopeful on 07/05/20 at 09:59 PM | #

Hi Hopeful

Yes, the never-ending backroads, one of the safer places to be these days (at least if you are putting up a tent each night outside of bear country). A surprisingly large number of Americans live on-the-road more or less permanently.

Not only did NYC have the “official” fireworks but from my windows I could count over 50 separate “unofficial” firework shows, some continuing even after midnight.

In the UK last evening they had a national tribute to the National Health Service with seeming half the population outside their houses clapping.


Ghislaine might be worth your attention for two reasons.

First, seeming major bungles (or corruptions) by American police or prosecutors in four locations: NYC, Miami Beach, New Mexico, Virgin Islands. (Epstein’s NYC property, once a school, is on 71st Street East just off Central Park, bizarrely in about the most sedate, genteel, refined area of the city.)

Second, if you read further, I think you’ll find she is pretty Knoxian and not simply used and love-lorn.

Like Knox, she seems to have inherited some degree of sociopathy from her father and takes pleasure in inflicting cruelty upon others, many not much younger than Meredith.

Main play here this morning is (1) all about Prince Andrew, especially his enabling her to sit on a throne at Buckingham Palace, (2) the bail hearing this Friday in Manhattan.

Also (3) the tabloids’ odd notion that the two aircraft circling her house could have alerted her and set her on the run.

Really? How exactly? There was only one road out, and dozens of cops assembling at the entrance. My guess is they would have loved her to try to run so that they could see bail denied.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/06/20 at 08:11 AM | #

On “My guess is they would have loved her to try to run so that they could see bail denied.”

It seems to me that neither Ghislaine nor Brueckner can really afford in the legal sense to try to run, because that’d be painted as a strong indicator of guilt. Ghislaine’s lawyers had even told her as much, seemingly explaining why she stayed on in the US.

Ghislaine is now in the rather harsh Brooklyn lockup (it’s in a strange place, in the area of the old docks, not anywhere near the Brooklyn courts) and will probably only exit in the short term with an ankle bracelet and payment of a huge bond. It’s not reported here, but prisoners rarely stay in that facility for long:

But Brueckner might walk free as soon as just 10 days away when the European Court in Luxembourg may rule that Germany had no right to prosecute him for rape in Portugal; and the Berlin Supreme Court may rule that his parole usually due after 2/3 of his sentence served can begin.

Whither Brueckner then?


Added: Prosecutor Wolters did say a few weeks ago that he has other charges for Brueckner up his sleeve.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/07/20 at 09:39 AM | #

I don’t think Christian Brueckner or Ghislaine Maxwell will be released from prison anytime soon.

Ghislaine Maxwell has hired Christian Everdell. He’s the lawyer who led the investigation of the Mexican druglord El Chapo. Her legal team will fight tooth and nail to free her from prison and she will undoubtedly try to use her many friends in high places to pull some strings.

It’s outrageous that she and many others have evaded justice so for long and it reflects very badly on the US government at the time and the FBI that Jeffrey Epstein received a ridiculously lenient sentence when everyone knew what he had been doing. This clearly wasn’t justice.

Countless young girls were groomed, sexually assaulted and raped by men and women. No country can claim to be civilised when it allows people in positions of power to get away with such despicable crimes just because they’re wealthy and well-connected.

All of Epstein’s sleazy cronies who sexually abused children or helped facilitate this abuse should be brought to justice. The FBI knows who was involved.

Shame on the amoral lawyers such as Alan Derschowitz and Ken Starr who helped him get away with committing so many vile crimes. I really don’t know how they can sleep at night. The people close to Epstein knew exactly what was going on. It’s no wonder Prince Andrew refuses to answer any questions.

Posted by The Machine on 07/07/20 at 02:56 PM | #

Hi Machine:

“it reflects very badly on the US government at the time and the FBI…”

Yes, though in this country like no other, it pays to separate the often-demonized career professionals in government from the gigantic politically appointed layer above them, almost all of whom are amateurs and, frankly, troublemakers.

It was politicians (Cantwell) and political appointees in State and the US Rome Embassy that tried incessantly to mess with Meredith’s case, and affected the final outcome. The released Embassy cables suggested that the career diplomats behaved very professionally. 

Same of course in Italy. Bongiorno and Papa Doc and PM Renzi and politically appointed Supreme Court justices in Fifth Chambers all worked to influence the outcome politically.

In the Epstein case this was the political appointee that arranged his token imprisonment in the Palm Beach case.

As Wikipedia explains there, the guy eventually took a lot of heat for doing so. (Political appointees are often also the fall-guys.)


My guess is Ghislaines’s lead lawyer, Christian Everdell, will be working overtime to do blame-spreading and plea-bargaining.

His speciality is arduous low-profile grunt-work, not Dershowitz-syle pyrotechnics. That’s how El Chapo was put away.

If he gets a mother of a plea-bargain, we may not even see a proper trial, but incriminating documents and videos would flow by the thousands.

Former colleagues believe he may use his experience in such high-profile cases to get Maxwell to turn on others allegedly in Jeffrey Epstein’s inner circle to strike a deal.

“He will of course do what is in the best interests of his client, but no doubt he will be talking to her about the benefits of becoming a cooperating witness,” tweeted Jennifer Rodgers, who used to be his supervisor as a fellow federal Southern District of New York prosecutor.


Any suggestions as to why Ghislaine chooses to do her guilty/not-guilty plea by videocoference with the Manhattan judge next Tuesday?

Virus maybe? Personal embarrassment? Fear for her life? Some legal advantage?

My first guess: this is Everdell already at work, taking things behind the curtains for now, and freaking all the other alleged co-conspirators.

My second guess: if Ghislaine plea-bargains, a lot of other rats on the sinking ship will try to do likewise. It could be smart to head the parade, Prince Andrew…

My third guess: it’s conceivable Everdell and Ghislaine may not even go for bail: her safest place may be where she is right now.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/08/20 at 09:27 AM | #

AIUI, Brueckner has not yet begun serving his sentence for the rape in Praia du Luz.  His current incarceration is to do with the child pornography USB stick found at his derelict holding.  I think he might have a fair chance of winning his appeal as the crime took place in Portugal and he was arrested in Italy, yet - according to Brueckner, the European Arrest Warrant did not spell out the rape charge.  Maybe Portugal should apply to extradite him, as obviously he needs to face justice for that.

As for Ghislaine Maxwell, let’s hope it is not just a show trial with her getting off scot free,A or with a minumum term and that’s the end of the matter.  It’s the Public Corruption Unit handling it and already Deutsche Bank has been fined for giving Epstein access.  So, will the Clintons, Prince Andrew and many of the other big names on the Lolita Express fall?  Somehow, I think it might all be an anti-climax.  OTOH it could be one of the biggest corruption stories since Enron.

Posted by KrissyG on 07/08/20 at 04:33 PM | #

Scott Peterson, who is imprisoned at San Quentin, where there is a large Covid outbreak, is appealing both his sentence and his murder conviction. The grounds seem pretty thin to me.

Posted by Earthling on 07/09/20 at 01:13 AM | #

There is a clear parallel between the Meredith Kercher case and the Jeffrey Epstein case i.e. money, amoral lawyers, political pressure and friends in high places can pervert the course of justice and allow despicable criminals get away with their crimes. 

If Jeffrey Epstein wasn’t a billionaire with an all-star team of high-profile lawyers, he would have been given a lengthy prison sentence and his co-conspirators would still be sitting in prison now.

Buckingham Palace managed to stop ABC News airing an interview with Virginia Roberts Giuffre:

Posted by The Machine on 07/09/20 at 04:25 AM | #

Happy birthday Amanda Knox, OJ Simpson, Jodi Arias, Thomas Dillon, and a few more murderers whose names escape me . . .

Posted by whatswisdom on 07/09/20 at 10:27 AM | #

. . . Steven Avery . . .

Posted by whatswisdom on 07/09/20 at 10:39 AM | #

Thanks Earthling on 07/09/20 at 01:13 AM on Scott Petersen

So yet another case flares back up which we considered to have some relevance in the past.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/09/20 at 11:24 AM | #

Hi KrissyG on 07/08/20 at 04:33 PM

Yes there are actually two Epstein areas which seem destined to explode: (1) his trafficking and sex crimes, and (2) his mysterious business world and how his millions were actually made.

For a guy tentatively valued at $577 million after he was dead, he sure acquired a lot of properties.

The Lolita Express was of course his large and expensive aircraft (a Boeing 727) where sex escapades were also reported to get done.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/09/20 at 11:43 AM | #

Great to see what’s wisdom and Earthling back!!!

Posted by Hopeful on 07/10/20 at 04:24 PM | #

Hi Hopeful. I appreciate that. I’ve never left. Following every post and, as your handle says, hopeful that some kind of justice is realized.  Wish I had more time to post more. I ain’t going no where. . .

Posted by whatswisdom on 07/11/20 at 05:21 PM | #
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