Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On-Steroids Knox/Marriott PR Provokes Sollecito Reaction, Guarantees Long-Term Hurt To Knox

Posted by Peter Quennell

Act 1. Hubris Of The Knox Public Relations Described

A long report on Marriott’s PR appeared late in 2011 after Knox was provisionally released.

David Marriott never visited Amanda Knox during her four years in an Italian prison.  He met her this month, when she stepped off a plane in Seattle.

Yet for Knox and her family, Marriott was as important a player in her ordeal as anyone in the courtroom. As Knox’s publicist, beginning three days after her arrest, Marriott worked to convince the international public that she did not murder her British roommate while studying in Perugia.

“Hiring him was one of the smartest things we ever did,” said Curt Knox, Amanda’s father.

The article goes on to describe how family and friends were pushed into the limelight and specific big TV networks targeted.  It talks about great financial opportunities for Knox.

Marriott himself demonstrates no understanding of the case - in fact. he sounds proud of his ignorance and his reflexively anti-Italy stance. To a smarter Curt Knox those might have been red flags.

Act 2: Brutal Overkill Of A Flailing Campaign Described

In October 2013 our main poster Media Watcher laid the blame for the slow-moving Knox media cooling at David Marriott’s door.

Now The Examiner is only one of many preparing to take another retaliatory whack.

Public relations is perfectly understandable for celebrities, politicians, or executives, but murder suspects too? At first this aggressive proliferation of pro-Knox articles, tweets and commentary were justified as a defense against the European media’s negative portrayal of her. However, as time wore on, the overpowering presence of Knox’s media campaign has reached outlandish proportions.

Nowadays no blogger is safe to write a factual article about the Meredith Kercher Murder Case without contemptuous comments filling up their Disqus community. Patient webmasters at must brace themselves for the onslaught of tens of thousands of interjections cluttering up each and every news article concerning the Meredith Kercher cum Amanda Knox murder case. Mob mentality seems to have taken over Knox’s PR initiative. Knox’s advocates have gone so far as to aim their crosshairs on the victim’s family.

The article, very well researched so far as it goes (it omits the third act below) goes on to describe how Sollecito’s camp has had to open a PR front to unchain Sollecito from Knox. 

Act 3: How Knox Herself Is Losing Big Described

Know your enemy. Dont go about attacking the king unless you can kill him dead. Italy’s Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) wrote about it in The Prince:

If one is striking out at an opponent, one should make sure that the fatal blow is struck, successfully ending the confrontation. Machiavelli wrote that “the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.”

Wise words for Marriott and Curt Knox. They have remained steadfastly ignorant of the enemy. The attack has clearly failed. Wall-to-wall Italy now has the upper hand. And the PR is a millstone around Knox’s neck.

Here are seven of the ways the Knox-Marriott campaign has fallen short and has actually done real harm.

    1) The real case for conviction remains rock-solid with many times the number of evidence points that a US or UK court would require for guilt.

    2) No paper trail helpful to Knox exists between the American Embassy and the State Department, and the extradition agreement is precise and firm. 

    3)  Knox’s bedrock claim, that she was pressured into a false accusation, not only cost her three years for calunnia but will cost her a defamation trial.

    4) The defamatory Knox book that was the windfall David Marriott so jubilantly talks about is turning into an albatross around Knox’s neck.

    5) The bloodmoney windfall will not remain Knox’s to keep, under Italian and American laws, and even Marriott’s fees could be at risk.

    6) The PR is being unresponsive to ANY damaging claims, such as Knox’s attempted framing of Mignini, and its output is increasingly surreal junk.

    7) The PR is making the Sollecito camp hostile, Italian media too; at the same time, since the failed appeal, the US media have chilled.

And so we see the slow death of a campaign built on xenophobia, racism, personal abuse, zero understanding of the details of the case, and zero understanding of the real Italy and its law.

Italy is actually rather a sucker for confession and penitence. Against a famously impervious justice system, the hard line was a terrible, terrible mistake.

Coming soon? “Firing him was one of the smartest things we ever did” says Curt Knox.

Below: From the Examiner, David Marriott and Seattle TV reporter Linda Byron


Thanks to the Machine for the headsup and input for this post.

Jeffshana posted a comment on the Examiner’s report on Marriott’s PR on the thread below. Here it is again.

Great Examiner piece. I find the protestations about the PR firm by FOA shills in the comments section highly annoying.

The hiring of the PR firm is a factual event that David Marriott crowed about in the Puget Sound Business Journal. There’s no debate to be had on that topic.

And instead of denying it, it would be more effective to say “of course they were hired” and state why its a good thing. But when do Knox supporters ever make a coherent and effective argument?

Money has indeed been spread around. Ergon in several great posts showed that. There are several reasons why they deny that it came straight from Knox:

1) David Marriott wants it that way. He has tried hard to make out that any US reaction is spontaneous and not engineered. In the 2011 report on his supposed amazing success he jumped the gun and made a huge mistake.

2) Several (Moore, Fischer, etc) are trying to jumpstart careers from the murder of Meredith and “sleazy paid poodle” does not look good on a resume.

3) Tough Son of Sam laws exist at federal and state levels in the US to stop perps and those close to them from profiting from their crimes. Moore & Fischer dont want to have to give it all back.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/16/14 at 02:24 PM | #

Given the reprehensible way Moore and Fischer have behaved I truly hope that they do indeed have to repay every cent of their blood money.  How people like this manage to sleep at night is beyond me.

Posted by MHILL4 on 07/16/14 at 02:43 PM | #


Fischer has already bleeted that Son of Sam laws dont apply to him because he is in Illinois and not in Washington State.

Try telling THAT to a judge.

It doesnt matter where he lives or runs his rancid little schemes; he runs them on the internet and as Ergon showed he cons the FOA sheep from anywhere. He was given a fare to attend the notorious Vashon Island hatefest.

If illegal money was made out of a crime, then federal and state prosecutors in any of 40 states can consider charging him, based on a single complaint.

One from the Republic of Italy would carry a great deal of weight.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/16/14 at 03:10 PM | #

Marriott lied in 2011 about the reason why he was appointed. Curt Knox sought him out even before Knox made her notorious false accusation. She was not yet in the news.

My guess is Curt Knox really wanted to keep a lid on this:

Curt Knox had never previously shown that he gave a damn about Knox, as she herself makes plain in her book.

Had he appointed a serious American lawyer, he would have to divulge his bullying, and explain why it was or was not a factor in his bullied daughter commiting a horrific crime.

And if you want to see a giant collection of all those meanie tabloids demeaning Knox, you will be out of luck. There were almost none.

Look at the gossip magazines sold in any US supermarket and you will see ten times worse about a whole lot of possible perps.

Those few reports which the avid self-promoter Knox herself did not push out had zero effect on Judges Matteini or Micheli, or on the Massei court in 2009.

The psychological examinations in 2008 (never released but they sure spooked Judge Matteini) did AK and RS way more “harm”.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/16/14 at 03:17 PM | #

Over time it has become obvious that Moore, Fischer, Knox and Mellas, to name just a few, would never read this site. They obviously go around with their fingers stuck in their ears only talking to each other.

I can say this with out tipping them off for that reason alone. There is an old saying by a favorite of mine Sun Tzu in his little book ‘The art of war’ which was compulsory reading when I was younger. It goes

“Know yourself, Know your enemy, a thousand battles a thousand victories.”

It also has a chapter on spies which is very interesting in that spies should be cosseted far more than the run of the mill military personnel for obvious reasons.

It amuses me from time to time how virulent and toxic the pro Knox bunch are. The more the losing battle the louder the screaming.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/16/14 at 04:18 PM | #

@Grahame Rhodes

Once you know yourself, you know your enemy better than anyone else.

The enemy within is the one most difficult to fight. And win. But the battle continues.

The Knox army is the most clueless: they simply do not know what they are fighting for. Fighting a battle, or a war? Winning the Heart or Head? Is their measure of victory is by the strength of their vocal cord?

Who can tell them?

Posted by chami on 07/16/14 at 07:11 PM | #


“Do you have ears, and hear not?”

We have to hear with our hearts and our conscience…as you say, it’s their internal, unresolved conflicts that are being played out with words (often inadequate words) on the virtual stage.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 07/16/14 at 07:40 PM | #

The conman got conned. Marriott is another John Douglas, great at their stuff until they ran into Knox and she could sink a battleship of good intentions. They never found a silver bullet for this case.

Ghirgha and Carlo dalla Vedova begged Curt and Edda not to give interviews. Amanda’s lawyers… “didn’t want it to seem as though the family was trying to prejudice the judge and jury.” Wise lawyers, but were they listened to?

Nooooooooo Not for long (Puget Sound Business Journal, an article by Heidi Dietrich October 2011)

Ghirgha had been recommended to Edda, maybe Curt didn’t like that part, Edda. Maybe Curt was afraid Edda and Chris would take the driver’s seat for Amanda and run up big bills that they would press him to go halves on. Peter’s comment that hiring Marriott was first of all a shield for Curt, amen to that. Maybe Marriott was to shield Curt emotionally and politically.

Marriott’s being hired was to abdicate his parental responsibility yet again. Think: David’s your new dad, so anything that goes wrong with your legal defense, ain’t my fault. We thought you were in sunny Italy and out of our hair for at least one year. Now in two months here you are back and in trouble. Wash my hands of you. David will reshape your image Amanda, best I can do. Defending self first, Amanda second.

The turmoil of media at his Seattle front door and a mosh pit of reporters in his front yard, offering money for interviews, was probably the main reason a “publicist” was hired. The media offers, suddenly bad news was good news cha-ching.

To maximize the media earnings, that’s what David Marriott knew.

Then they forgot the Sollecitos, a family so unlike their own, much higher class. They didn’t know the enemy, nor realize the Sollecitos had a greater advantage being in Italy than Knox did being far away. They didn’t know their disrespect for the Sollecitos after they used them like Amanda did Raffaele and then dropped them, would not go unavenged.

Final result of that hubris: Today Raf is closer to the courthouse door and the ear of the judge to make a plea and change his story asking for leniency. That has to be done in person, not by an email like to Nencini. Raf is not an ocean away. At any moment he could approach the court with a new plea and change his story to lying accomplice and change Knox’s fate. He is the new Marriott with magic cape and rabbit in hat. He might beat Knox to the punch in the last and most critical battle. Her distance is a shield but a disadvantage.

“The truth was my mission,” Marriott said in 2011 after Hellmann let Knox go free. “The DNA review got us there” (to the truth) Marriott said. Ha! no way

“Curt Knox reached out to an executive at the Macy’s…where he was employed. He asked for advice on a publicist…the exec recommended Marriott.” Marriott “had made a name for himself in crisis management….”

“It was, Curt Knox says, instant relief”.

Then Marriott developed a long term media strategy “trying to redefine her persona,” writes Dietrich.

Anne Bremner said Marriott’s most important goal was to suggest there was no evidence. Seems they veered from the truth right there.

Well, we got mighty tired of hearing the one tiny nugget he came up with, a drum he was beating for 7 years and forcing the Melloxes to repeat: no evidence of Amanda in the murder room. They drummed that soundbite into the national ear. It was a lie. Her lamp was in the murder room. Her female tennis shoeprint was there in blood. The entire cottage was the murder room.

Marriott says on his webpage

“we were helping the family get the truth out about their daughter”. That blurb also says, “At the same time we balanced the family’s need to have the truth told about their daughter’s innocence with that of the legal constraints…” What a strain that must have been, to turn fiction into truth and be ghostly defense attorneys for Knox.

Heidi Dietrich quoted Marriott, “...I felt it was our responsibility to tell the truth.”

OK, so after Amanda’s lawyers told Marriott and the family not to make the Italian system hostile, not to allow the family interviews or criticizing courts and Italian judges, Marriott skirted around that advice by dredging up Amanda’s Seattle Prep and UW friends to talk Amanda up as an exemplary student and great friend. “Redefine her persona” as not promiscuous or irresponsible.

Not that it dredged up much positive about a supposed honors student. Deanna did come up with the story of Amanda carrying a spider outside rather than killing the arachnid. Seliber talked her up and went to Perugia. David Johnsrud was kind. Madison of course is blind or disturbed. But there were not many folks from Seattle Prep who were willing to speak on the record about Amanda’s great persona. Mostly the school wanted no part of the case, Tom Wright notwithstanding.

Ghirgha’s advice fell on deaf ears because Marriott by “early 2008” said to Amanda’s lawyers, “We are getting killed here. We need to have Mom and Dad”.

That’s when Marriott pressured Ghirgha and Dalla Vedova to let him loose with his grand media design. Let him run with it, let Marriott make the big decision to put Mom and Dad on the airwaves all over the media talking about the defendant (probably as early as January 2008 Marriott was pushing for this which flew in the face of Ghirgha and Dalla Vedova. It wasn’t long after November 2007 when he was hired. So they honored Ghirgha’s request for what, one month? then they pounced).

Marriott got the “20/20” news program aired in February 2008. Fast. A few months later he got “48 Hours” on tv sympathetic to Amanda.

Marriott “took the publicity campaign one step further by persuading Amanda’s lawyers to allow the Knox family to give interviews.” So Marriott persuaded the lawyers into a big mistake. But earned income.

Curt Knox said the TV news magazines were the best vehicle. They were the “key to getting the story out on who Amanda really was….That was a very smart maneuver on David’s part.”

“I really came to strongly believe in her innocence,” Marriott said about Amanda in the October 2011 interview which Dietrich wrote shortly after the Hellmann acquittal once Amanda was safely back on American soil.

I believe Mr. Marriott has been conned by the queen of cons.

David Marriott also went over to UW and spoke to some classes about the dangers of putting junk on social media that could be misinterpreted, like the FoxyKnoxy moniker.

“There will be financial opportunities,” said Marriott. “I’ll be there to walk them through the opportunities.”

This was the main thing Curt wanted, second only to shielding the Knox family from the press. Curt Knox on seeing the furor wanted first of all to run and hide (I would, too) but secondly to negotiate a deal and make money off the story as a commodity, IMO.

After all, Amanda’s involvement in a possible theft of money didn’t look too good for her dad, a Macy’s accountant. He later lost or left his job there. Amanda had put him in a bad light, so he defended himself and ran to a guy who could turn it back on Knox and milk some money out of her troubles, the Marriott man. Curt wasn’t going to allow Edda to hold the only key to the treasure chest of Amanda’s “story”.

One guy from Las Vegas, a publicist named Bruce Merrin, predicted back in 2011 after Hellmann but before Knox’s book was published, that TV interviews with Knox might fetch “between $500,000 and $1 million”. He said speaking fees might be $60,000 or more for an hour talk at trade shows and conventions. Tom Wright’s FOA crew raised supposedly $80,000 for her in fundraisers. (see Seattle Times article by Jonathan Martin, October 4, 2011, Amanda Knox Home At Last).

The whole Marriott arsenal has backfired because they didn’t listen to the delicate nuances of the men genuinely knowledgeable: Ghirgha and Dalla Vedova who knew the way the system really works in Italy.

Hubris on Marriott’s part, too right. He fell into the same trap as Amanda Knox. She can’t be told anything. Curt neither. Neither could the reps at Gogerty. They all knew more than Italian lawyers, they felt.

They may do crisis management for airline disasters, but those are usually caused by human error and accident, not malevolence and spite. They should not work with criminals, regardless of the entreaties of family.

Mr. Marriott is now 70 years old I think, and perhaps it was the influence of younger and unwise newcomers to his organization that said a foolish Yes to the Knox deathstar. She has sunk their reputation along with her own.

from:  This is by Heidi Dietrich, Contributing Writer and titled “Seattle PR firm reveals efforts to free Amanda Knox”

Posted by Hopeful on 07/17/14 at 06:00 AM | #

It took less than a day, but the fake Twitter account has been taken down, for abuse of terms of service.

It was really shameful the way it mocked John Kercher, Sr. and addressed him as coming from Meredith. It also mocked TJMK.

People didn’t know how to work their way through the labyrinth of Twitter complaint procedure, but, helpful instructions were posted at PMF NET earlier. I had already complained twice since this morning and yesterday for harassment and, impersonation. Both of him and True Justice, but also, since he and TJMK already had Twitter accounts. Plus they’re appropriating Meredith’s image to mock a grieving father.

Please keep an eye out any more spoofs like this; I’ve been after them with some success for more than a year now when they posted personal data.

So if you need help, let me know?

Around when the spoof account was taken down Bruce Fischer showed up on my timeline to harangue me for something or the other, I don’t know why, but can guess 😊

Posted by Ergon on 07/17/14 at 07:38 AM | #

Thank you for your comment, Hopeful, (and of course Pete for the main post).

It gives me a lot of background to the PR project, and a perspective we don’t have over here in England.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 07/17/14 at 09:18 AM | #

Hi Hopeful

Great comment. Very insightful, and lots of important dots relevant to the entire picture connected there.

David Marriott was asked to get “the real Amanda” onto media radar. But he never knew what was the real Amanda, the troubled grating under-performing nuisance (maybe made that way by Curt Knox’s bullying) that people encountered at the University of Washington and in spades in Perugia.

Marriott jubilantly credits Judge Hellmann and especially the DNA for Knox’s 2011 release.

Well, the ill-qualified rogue judge Hellmann had replaced the supremely qualified Judge Chiari (who resigned in protest) because of shenanigans by Sollecito forces; and shenanigans by Knox forces engineered the illegal involvement of Hampikian with the DNA consultants Conti and Vecchiotti whose biased findings now promise them legal problems.

So, as Prosecutor Comodi publicly pointed out late in the 2011 appeal: it was hardly a level playing field. 

Marriott enabled Knox’s defamatory email to Judge Nencini in lieu of her being there in the court in Florence for her own appeal, a unique event in Italian legal history, because she was really too scared of having to face those many she had defamed in her book - also enabled by Marriott!

Pure genius. A Typhoid Mary. His appalling advice on the book and email did massive damage to a sound legal defense at Knox’s appeal, and ensured a tough sentence with more to come resulting from her book.

If Curt Knox had not had legal skeletons in his closet and a probable consequent dislike of lawyers, the hiring of a good US media-prone lawyer in 2007 would have avoided the giant waves of defamation and massive hurt to the Kerchers and Italians and Knox herself.

A pity that Knox is so spaced-out, and has so many trapped in her house of cards, or she might throw all these rascals under the bus, and start seeking forgiveness of all those good people she had already thrown there.

Mariott’s ignorance and incompetence, PR at its low point, especially deserve exposure or punishment.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/17/14 at 11:37 AM | #

Very good summation Peter of the Marriott PR fiasco.

We have our own seedy PR types here in England (e.g. Max Clifford), but it’s surely time that greasy main-chancers from these image consultancies are viewed with complete disdain. Especially when they operate like Marriott, acting for murderers.

Clifford and Marriott show how screwed up we are as a society. We sort of like these “larger than life” figures who will defend the indefensible and seemingly appear slick and media-savvy, “attuned to public opinion” (which we are all meant to worship apparently).

On the other hand we are not displeased when these same characters are caught bang to rights, sometimes literally with their trousers down: it’s actually very interesting how often these people are “found out” and disgraced. There seems to be an inner compulsion from the core self to reveal what’s underneath the false,  egotistic, “successful” image”, and to sabotage it. Good!

Talking about sabotage by the core self, both Knox and Sollecito seem to me to be on such trajectories. They are being led by their innermost selves towards what they need to face, as distinct from the outcomes they want. How else can one explain the the farcical, self-incriminating stuff they come out with?!

We must co-operate with their deepest selves, and give them both the long periods of confinement they need to reflect on their actions.

Posted by Odysseus on 07/18/14 at 02:39 AM | #

Slightly O/T. This is a contribution by a Ivan Najakov to AK’s blog under her post ‘Rafaelle is not a slave’. Given that the moderator is purportedly Amanda herself it is inferred that the monster of narcissism is a hard one to slay.

As a submissive person, I can see why Raffiale would be Amanda’s love slave, I would if I had the opportunity to. However, that story does not make sense. If Amanda ordered me to help her kill someone, I would say no. I would assume that with my luck we would get caught, and when that happened they would put her in a cell in the women’s jail, and me in the men’s jail, therefore I would not have a motive to assist my Master with the murder.  Get it? I would no longer be able to serve her because I couldn’t get near her. Their problem with Rafael is he can provide Amanda with an alibi therefore they have to make believe he is part of the team who killed Meredith.

Posted by pensky on 07/18/14 at 11:46 AM | #

Hi Odysseus

Our lawyers posting here seem to have no really hard words for the lawyers hired for the case. They have occasional ridicule for some (Joe Tacopino, Ann Bremner, Giulia Bongiorno, Ted Simon spring to mind) but in their lawyering mode they have done what they can with two sow’s ears.

The several PR experts who we know read here in contrast have little time for Marriott. As the post says he has tripped up the lawyers time and again and left Knox much worse off. It takes a while to figure out how screwed up his mind is on the real facts of the case, but he speaks no Italian and never went to Italy to get his message grounded and boy, is he seen as screwed up. Going 180 degrees against hard facts was nuts.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/18/14 at 02:22 PM | #

Hi Pensky

Good catch. Extreme narcissism comes complete with extreme naivety, and AK sure demonstrates both. Many of those comments on her site read like satire, only she doesnt get the joke.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/18/14 at 02:25 PM | #

Hi, Pensky, mental problems on multiple levels there, the worry in their mind is that they would get caught and be separated after the murder, not because the murder itself is horrible. The submission part is also interesting if not completely disgusting, as is the description of a foolish scenario by a luckless Russian gentleman, or whatever the eff “he” poses as.

Posted by Bjorn on 07/18/14 at 08:42 PM | #

Someone claiming to be Amanda Knox posted the following on Ground Report

Amanda • 6 hours ago

Someone said here that “innocent people do not hide”.
I have nothing to hide.
So here I am.

I read a lot but I do not post much.
I am glad this article was taken down by GR, that was a lie.
I will not talk much about the case, the court in Italy is working on the case.
11 â–³  â–½ 
Share ›

My response:

manfromatlan > Amanda • 7 minutes ago

Ms Knox, do you have a job offer to work for a publisher in New York this August, as reported by La Nazione? Addressed to Amanda Knox only, if you are she.
1 â–³  â–½ 
Share ›

Posted by Ergon on 07/19/14 at 03:40 AM | #

Link to her comment:

And mine:

Posted by Ergon on 07/19/14 at 03:47 AM | #

Interesting, that comment Pensky quoted.  Amanda has referred to Raffaele as “Rafael” before, which I’m not sure a random person would do.

Posted by Vivianna on 07/19/14 at 06:14 PM | #

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Or to previous entry Knox Interrogation Hoax #9: Officer Moscatelli’s Recap/Summary Session With Sollecito 5-6 Nov