Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Transcript Of Today’s Online Chat Session With Barbie Nadeau Of The Daily Beast

Posted by Peter Quennell

Lucas Wittmann:
Hi, I’m the Books Editor at The Daily Beast and I’m delighted to welcome Barbie Latza Nadeau and our readers to discuss her new book, Angel Face…

I’m Barbie Latza Nadeau. Welcome.

[Comment From kcolorado: ]
how was your sense of who she is affected by seeing her in court everyday? Have you spoken with her directly?

Seeing Amanda Knox walk into the courtroom every day was very important in understanding how she interacted with her lawyers and her family, and in understanding how the jury perceived her. Amanda has not yet given any one-on-one interviews so no, I have not spoken to her directly.

Lucas Wittmann:
Just so you know we see your comments and will publish them live as Barbie is ready so please keep them coming…

[Comment From Kevad: ]
You have also stated in tv coverage that “we still do not really know what happened in that room”, is that how you still feel?

[Comment From stint: ]
Great job with book, Barbie. I really enjoyed it.

Yes, after over two years following this case, none of us know exactly what happened in Meredith’s bedroom that fateful night. No one has confessed to the crime, so until someone does, we will not have a clear understanding of the exact dynamic of the murder.

[Comment From Guest: ]
How do you think your journalism during the trial affected its outcome?

Thank you. I’m glad you liked the book. My hope is that it provides perspective of this complex case.

I don’t think that any of us who covered this trial as journalists had a direct impact on the jury’s decision. We were not in the deliberation room.

[Comment From Wade: ]
Why in your opinion did the seattle media frame the events as they did

I think that many of my colleagues in the Seattle market did the best job they could with the information they had. Their primary source was the Knox family, so their coverage was affected by that. When members of the Seattle press came to Perugia, they did not speak Italian and had a difficult time following the court sessions because there was no translator. Those of us who live and work here in Italy often helped the American press as best we could.

[Comment From stint: ]
Regarding earlier comment. Since Knox Family PR firm *very* closely controls any and all media contact with themselves, and they have reportedly blackballed any reporters even seen *near* you, do you really think you might interview Amanda in the future

I have hope that Amanda might want someone objective who understands Italian to conduct an interview with her at some point down the road. But because I have been skeptical, I am fairly sure I am not high on the list of interview candidates.

[Comment From mnh12121887:
But why did the American media take the Knox family version so much on face value without even trying to look deeper?

I think that the economic crisis has played a role. Many bureaus have been closed across Europe and it would have been a major expense to send a correspondent to Italy for such a long trial. I think that had there been a larger Italian based press corp it would have made a difference in coverage.

Lucas Wittmann:
Let’s explore now the facts of the case.

[Comment From Guest: ]
Do you believe Knox’s assertion that she was abused during her final interrogation?

I think it depends how you define “abused.” If you mean to ask if she was flicked on the back of the head (which is a cultural norm here in schools and in criminal investigations), then yes, that very likely happened. If you mean to ask if she was abused in the way the American police have been caught on CCTV abusing detainees, then no, I do not think she was abused.

[Comment From Guest: ]
You seem to have made some strange claims in your book - about AK and RS actually NOT remembering what happened. How on earth did you reach that conclusion?

I gave my hypothesis about the crime based on sitting through 11 months of a trial. I believe that if Amanda and Raf would have remembered exactly what happened, whether they were involved or not, their explanation of the evening of November 1 would have been more clear. A lie is often very black and white. Their confused responses seemed to me to be more consistent with a hazy memory or no memory at all.

[Comment From hattie: ]
I still believe that Amanda Knox is innocent, and I read your book to get another point of book. Thank you for that. My concern is that there is so much more DNA evidence against Rudy. How was Amanda able to clean up and not leave more DNA evidence in Meredith’s room?

Lucas Wittmann:
Don’t have Angel Face yet? Order it now as an e-book or paperback:

I think it is important to remember that the same scientific police and laboratories tested the DNA for all three suspects. That is to say, if the DNA matches Rudy and is accepted, then the DNA that matches the other two should also be accepted. How she may have left so little DNA if she was actually in the room is very hard to square. Whether some of the 14 unidentified fingerprints belong to her is a big question in this case. There were very few fingerprints on any flat surfaces belonging to Rudy either. Is it possible to pick and choose how to clean up DNA? Maybe not, but it is possible to wipe up fingerprints and footprints that you know are your own.

[Comment From Guest: ]
If they didn’t remember then why did they do the clean up? They clearly knew they had ‘something’ to hide!

That is a very good question. Perhaps waking up in a house with a dead body makes one act irrationally. Perhaps because they might not have remembered what they did the night before, they panicked. We do not know, but that is one question I will ask Amanda if I ever get a chance.

[Comment From Guest: ]
After 11 months viewing the trial, do you believe that Amanda joined in any sort of sex game with Meredith? It seems that Amanda did, bt then went to her room BEFORE and DURING the murder.

There is no forensic evidence that Amanda had sexual relations with Meredith. I have a hard time accepting that it started as a sex game. I believe that if they were involved it was because they could not stop themselves from an aggravated escalation of violence. In essence, they could not tell agony from ecstasy and did not realize that Meredith needed their help. Instead, they may have helped Rudy and that is when things got out of control.

[Comment From Lisa: ]
I see that some folks her responded to the question “Who Killed Meredith Kercher” with “Amanda and Raffaele” only. No Rudy. How could that be? Do you think journalism had anything to do with that?

Lucas Wittmann:
We’re going to wrap this up in 10 minutes so please contribute any final questions now.

I think that the fact that Rudy’s trial was sewn up before Amanda and Raffaele’s began is the reason many people separate them in this crime. But Rudy was convicted for his role in the murder, not as a lone assailant. His judge’s reasoning clearly states that he felt Rudy acted in tandem with Amanda and Raffaele.

[Comment From mhm12121887: ]
What is happening now—in Italy?

[Comment From Noel: ]
How do you see the appeal going?

Right now lawyers for both Amanda and Raf are preparing their appeal briefs. Those will be filed within a few weeks and then the date will be set for the appeal hearing, likely in the fall.

[Comment From Kermit: ]
Hi Barbie. Your journalism has opened up transparency and debate from an Iron-Curtain situation of control in the American press. Where do you see each of the three convicted (pending appeal) murderers 10 and 20 years from now?

[Comment From stint: ]
Thanks so much for this opportunity, and again thanks for all your objective coverage in “Angel Face”.... great read.

I think that the appeal will result in a few years taken from the sentences of both Amanda and Raffaele.

[Comment From Guest: ]
hasn’t her real beauty complicated this hugely from day one?

[Comment From hattie: ]
Thank for an excellent book. I read it in one day, and it gave me a different side of the story. I hope that both pro- and anti-Amanda sides will take an opportunity to read this book.

I think that it is very likely that all three of the convicted murderers of Meredith Kercher will return home one day.

Lucas Wittmann:
Here is the link if you’d like to order the Angel Face e-book and paperback:

[Comment From mhm12121887: ]
Thanks also for the book and for the “on the spot” reporting and objectivity

I think that Amanda’s beauty has increased the interest in this case, but I do not think that it dictated the outcome.

[Comment From Patty: ]
Thanks for answering questions Barbie.

Lucas Wittmann:
Down to our final question…

[Comment From somealibi: ]
(For the end) Compliments on the presentation and technology with the poll-type questions

[Comment From Patty: ]
Do you think any of them will ever confess?

[Comment From Guest: ]
You’ve been a real heroine in this case Barbie. Well done for your objective reporting.

Lucas Wittmann:
Thanks for answering the polls!

I think that one day we will have a confession, yes. But not while they are in prison.

Lucas Wittmann:
Wait…one more!

[Comment From Guest: ]
Can you give your reactions to the 2 op-ed pieces in the NYTimes (Seattle writere)?

[Comment From Guest Guest: ]
Can we have another session please????

Lucas Wittmann:
Re: another session. So many great comments and questions, we’ll keep it in mind.

I was in Perugia when those op-ed pieces came out and they were not helpful to Amanda. The prosecutor was angry, the jury members were insulted and Amanda’s own lawyers were not happy. Op-ed pieces are by nature controversial, but they should be weighed to see whether they will impact the topic. That sort of journalism likely had more impact on this case than what anyone wrote with a Perugia dateline.

Lucas Wittmann:
Thanks everyone for participating!
And thanks Barbie for answering all these great questions.

[Comment From ricardoricardo: ]
which ‘op-ed’ pieces > do you have a link ?

Lucas Wittmann:
Here is the link:

[Comment From Guest: ]
Cheers Barbie! Will raise a glass to you tonight…

Thank you. I want to also thank Andrea Vogt, of the Seattle P-I who was a voice of reason in Seattle during the trial based in Italy. The op-ed pieces are by Timothy Egan.

[Comment From Guest:]
Thank you. This is nice technology and nice pace. Could have been twice as long 😊

[Comment From somealibi: ]
Keep it going Barbie - thanks - we value an objective take

Lucas Wittmann:
Thanks again to everyone and we’ll definitely keep this in mind the next time.

[Comment From ricardo: ]
many thanks…

[Comment From Patty: ]
Thank you, and Andrea, for your coverage of the trial. Invaluable.

Thanks to everyone who sent question.

[Comment From Clander: ]
Ciao from Roma !! You ROCK Barbie !


I big old smile always comes to me when I read or see something that Barbie has had her hand in. You know she plays her cards right and she’s just so sassy!!

Posted by Professor Snape on 04/08/10 at 06:05 AM | #

Question:  The bloody knife outline on the bed sheet, the crime scene photo of the room with all the markers shows the purse on the bed beside the outline, the duvet is on the floor over Meredith. Rudy’s DNA and Merediths blood are on and inside her purse. This leaves me to believe Rudy, with blood soaked hands, set a blood soaked knife he was holding down on the bed to go thru Merediths purse, someone has already put the duvet over the body. He stole her money and 2 credit cards and maybe 2 phones and ran off. If Amanda and RS put the duvet over the body after they cut her bra off and faked the rape scene then something doesn’t make sense here, the duvet had to be already on the floor during the struggle and Rudy had to move the purse from wherever it was onto the bed before going thru it, but he is still holding that blood soaked knife. I don’t know what the question is, but something doesn’t add up here to me.

Posted by John on 04/08/10 at 08:56 AM | #

Hi John. The hypotheses here differ substantially from the Micheli sentencing report (recommended reading) and the Massei sentencing report (which we are now translating).

It is not known that Guede wielded a knife, but both the reports in fact conclude not. There was none of Guede’s blood or DNA inside Meredith’s purse, only on the outside. No evidence was advanced that Guede took Meredith’s money, cards, or phones.

As for the knife stain and items on the bed, more then one of them could have gone over to the bed any time for any reason. The reports conclude that the purse and other items were placed on the bed as staging some time after the murder. So Meredith’s purse would not have been on the bed when Rudy touched it. Claiming a connection between the purse and the knife stain on the bed goes beyond the sentencing reports.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/08/10 at 05:03 PM | #

John: Aren’t you missing some crucial points from the timeline? 

The body was moved after death and covered with the duvet. The bra was removed after death. Forensics has established that from the stains on the floor, the spatter and the way the blood collects in a body at the lowest point after death.

It wasn’t Guede who did that because he was busy dancing the night away to try and establish a partial alibi. He didn’t do the staged break-in at the most inconvenient entry point forgetting to rifle the room only AFTER breaking the window (the glass was on TOP of the ransacking and only on the inside)

Likewise it wasn’t him who so desperately and almost thoroughly cleaned the place up, wiping away as many and as much of the footprints as possible. It’s not his dna on the knife which is compatible with some of the wounds. His dna is on the outside of the purse but not on the inside.

It appears he moved it but did not start rifling through it with bloody hands. But the dna of the other two is still there in incriminating places and mixed with that of the victim. ‘Living there’ just doesn’t explain it.

What does not add up is their changing alibis that do not match with each other or the evidence and only served to incriminate them further.

Posted by Faustus on 04/08/10 at 05:05 PM | #

Hi Faustus. “He didn’t do the staged break-in at the most inconvenient entry point…”

That sure made me smile. Inconvenient is a real understatement. There are in fact five easier entry points that any wannabe burglar would prefer to attempting the amazing feat of making through Filomena’s window while leaving no DNA and leaving the grass below undisturbed.

1) The front door.

2) The laundy window.

3) The large-bathroom window.

4) The window of Laura’s room.

5) The balcony around the back, which offers access to the kitchen and the hall.

And there are a similar number of access points to the boys’ apartment downstairs which was empty on the night. Kermit has a great Powerpoint here that nicely nails the hypothesized break-in by the hypothesized lone wolf.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/08/10 at 05:21 PM | #

Barb’s online chat was good. She was gracious to her Seattle press peers, and I think rightly so. They were at a disadvantage with language barrier, distance, pressure at home.

I agree that the police cuffed Amanda on the head. Made me mad at AK when she did such a song and dance about her little “injuries” after having murdered MK.

Nadeau saw so much at the trial, but I don’t agree with AK & RS’s memory loss. There’s no drug like adrenaline. Wouldn’t that have seared into their minds the acts they were committing?

Posted by Hopeful on 04/08/10 at 07:09 PM | #

I suppose I wasn’t clear enough in my above statement. I have no doubt once so ever that RS and Amanda cut the bra off during their ‘clean-up’. What I was getting at, or trying to, was the most likely cause for the knife imprint beside the purse, was Rudy.

Only the person who did this knows, and they’re not talking. If Rudy is responsible for setting the knife and purse there, then minutes before, you have him in the room with blood soaked hands and knife, with a murdered person on the floor. That’s pretty incriminating to say the least, by his own confession; he is the last to leave the room. The Duvet had to be on the floor before this happened, and why that would be, I don’t have an answer.

Posted by John on 04/08/10 at 07:28 PM | #

Hi Hopeful. I am inclined to agree. Barbie Nadeau is clearly a caring and compassionate reporter and this shows through in her many non-case reports for Newsweek.

For economic and new-trend reasons, all of the players in the main media tend to be either running scared these days or at least trying to run very, very smart.

Some we have encountered or have watched from afar have clearly decided their own best bet for their personal future is in very high quality: Barbie Nadeau, John Follain, Richard Owen, Andrea Vogt, Charles Mudede spring to mind.

Many of the NY TV network people have very high standards, others prepare badly if at all, and one or two are simply steadfastly biased.  It is disappointing to see Linda Byron and Steve Shay being so non-objective in the key Seattle audience area.

We posted several times on the Seattle PI’s increasing shrillness - and suddenly the paper edition collapsed. The West Seattle Herald is also increasingly shrill these days, and one wonders if its days too are numbered. Can anyone give us a take on it?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/08/10 at 07:28 PM | #

I have always felt Amanda Knox instigated the murder of Meredith Kercher and for the most part orchestrated it including the clean up (after perhaps some spot removing tips received from her phone call home?).  But when it came to the break in I think this is where Amanda really screwed up allowing Raffaele to handle this small but important task. 

After seeing how the Mellas and Knox circus have botched their campaign it’s easy to see how Amanda is as they say a “chip off the old block” and Raffaele is just a sea of misery afloat on his own.

It’s a shame the parents are not sent to Juvenile Detention Centers for being incorrigible - rather than their kids.

Posted by Professor Snape on 04/08/10 at 07:28 PM | #

Hi John. Might it be possible to use the Micheli and Massei sentencing reports as your point of departure in these comments? This hypothesis again is not grounded in those reports, both of which placed all three in the room and AK and RS doing the rearrangement. Your image of Rudy with “blood soaked hands” with “a murdered person on the floor” (her name was Meredith, you might recall) is nowhere in those reports. Again, there is no evidence that Guede ever handled a knife.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/08/10 at 07:43 PM | #

And in these reports, who does it say left the knife on the bed? Again, and I know this seems to be falling on def ears, Rudy is the most likely guy to set that knife there and if that is the case, then he had a lot more to do with it than these reports are guessing at. All the Micheli report states is what he belives to be the most likely senario, bases on the facts he had present, he may of missed this one.

Posted by John on 04/08/10 at 09:03 PM | #

Well, well, Ventura County? That just says it all! I grew up there, lived there for 41 years. Talk about Barnum and Bailey’s circus!
Yes, John, it is falling on deaf ears as it doesn’t make a shred of difference. All 3 were convicted and since Rudy left so much of his DNA all over the place, EXCEPT the knife, how do you feel it makes the most sense that he is the one with the knife?

Posted by tigger34 on 04/08/10 at 09:25 PM | #

Hi, John. I’d like to give you credit for sticking with us, as, if I’m remembering correctly from your earliest comments, you appeared more ready to ignore AK’s invovement altogether?  As an impoverished student/ student teacher who can’t make rent without sharing, I have had (too) many flatmates, most of whom did not make up their beds. Duvets ( tho designed for the ease of bedmaking) often are found scrunched at one end of the bed or, in the case of my piggiest flatmate, thrown off onto the floor. I’m not suggesting that Meredith was like my flatmate, just that it may not have been necessary to move the duvet out from under the purse.

The same piggy flatmate played passive-aggressive by leaving a trail of her dirty laundry in our shared bathroom, along with her bloodied kotex, which stayed on the floor where they’d missed the bin. At least she never had the gall to blame her mess on my ” ew—menstrual issues”.

Was it Judge Micheli who said, ” There are none so blind as will not see”? (and none so deaf as will not hear…?)

Steve Shay was a photographer, who was for some reason given licence to impersonate a journalist. A recent edition of the Herald gave half a page over to singing the praises of the son of Judge Michael Heavey. So they are all quite chummy, it would seem.

Glad to see you back, Prof Snape! Hope you are enjoying Seattle Spring!

Posted by mimi on 04/10/10 at 08:31 AM | #
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