Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tomorrow In Rome: Italian American Foundation Panel - May Be Tilted Anti Truth

Posted by Cesare Beccaria

The venue Palazzo Marini above and at bottom

1. Notice Of The Panel

[See at bottom for a report]  Strange panel. Perhaps we are wrong, but none of these names seem to have surfaced before in connection with Meredith’s case.

Nobody seriously acquainted with the facts to be there? The introducer and organizer Rocco Girlanda blatantly pro-Knon?

This is the notice of the panel posted on the Italian American Foundation website. And these are the experts who will speak.

  • Anthony Sistilli, lawyer, Novastudia Law Firm

  • Catherine Arcabascio, Dean of Nova Southeastern University Law Center of Fort Lauderdale FL, and a co-founder of the American organization The Innocence Project

  • Rebecca Spitzmiller, Faculty of Law University Roma Tre

  • Patricia Thomas, Associated Press

The chairman will be Moreno Marinozzi, Sky Tg24 journalist. And the meeting will be introduced by the President of Italy-USA Foundation Hon. Rocco Girlanda.

2. Andrea Vogt Reports

Excerpts from the Seattle PI 18 March

In Rome, a discussion of Amanda Knox tries to improve U.S.-Italian relations

Amanda Knox sits in a prison in Italy, convicted of murdering her roommate, Meredith Kercher.

But in Rome on Thursday, lawyers and professors gathered to consider what would have happened if Knox, a Seattle native and University of Washington student, had been tried in the U.S.

The gathering was not so much an exercise in legal theorizing as one to smooth the hard feelings between Italy and the United States over the trial of one American college student. It’s a case that has spawned books, Websites and congressional involvement.

In fact, experts decided they couldn’t say what would have happened in an American trial.

“The only answer is, it is impossible to answer this question,” lawyer Anthony Sistilli told the audience, according to ANSA Italian wire services that covered the forum. “We do not want to retry the case. We want to help bridge the gap of understanding, which is our mission for this meeting.”

The debate, held at a parliamentary annex in Rome, was sponsored by the Italy-USA Foundation. The panelists included Sistilli and two American law professors, Catherine Arcabascio, dean of the Nova Southeastern University Law Center in Fort Lauderdale and Rebecca Spitzmiller, who teaches at the Roma Tre University, as well as the American University in Rome.

“Trial outcomes are unpredictable. You really can’t guess what the outcome would be,” Arcabascio, who is co-director of the Florida Innocence Project, told the crowd.

“But reasonable doubt is a standard of proof we use in both countries.”

Arcabascio also noted that sequestered juries are still used in the United States, but less and less common due to the high cost.

The forum’s aim, organizers said, was to bridge the widening gap between observers of the case in Italy and in the United States, where Washington state politicians in particular have made their voices heard on the case.

“No-one had any intention of bringing up criticisms,” said Rocco Girlanda, president of the U.S.-Italy Foundation told “Our scope was simply to compare the judicial systems and trial processes of Italy and the U.S.”

Girlanda ended the evening on a light note, saying that perhaps after the case’s expected appeal, the association would even have the chance to have a “special honored guest,” meaning Knox.

He also mentioned that the association is continuing to meet regularly with Knox in prison. Italy-USA Association officials said that prison authorities have called Knox’s behavior in Capanne “exemplary.”

Though she had requested work in the prison laundry, she has been given a less menial task with the prison commissary. Her job, according to foundation officials who meet with her, is to take orders from the various cellmates about what they want from the prison store. Inmates are able to buy items such as candy, cheese, soda or other small shopping items….

The Italy-USA Association, which works closely with the U.S. Embassy in Rome, has waded into the Knox debate before.

When angry reactions criticizing the Italian justice system flared after Knox’s guilty verdict, Girlanda, the association’s current president, used his position in the Italian parliament to arrange for a visit to Knox in the Capanne prison.

Parliamentarians are able to request access to the prisons at any time to review prison conditions. Girlanda, is from a small Umbrian town of Gubbio, near Perugia.

Girlanda has spoken with Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini about concerns raised over the case. He works in public relations.

Behind the scenes, a few observers speculated that Girlanda might become the Italian version of David Marriott., the Seattle public relations expert who represents the interests of Amanda Knox and her family and who has coordinated media appearances of Knox’s family and friends in the U.S.

Marriott is also the gatekeeper for Italian journalists who have wanted to interview friends and family of Knox’s in Seattle.



Thanks Cesare. Nice to have a new Italian poster. Perhaps next the Foundation will host a panel on Meredith, comparing the respect and reverence with which she is held in Italy with the massive attempts to disappear and replace her as the “real” victim in the US.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18/10 at 12:11 AM | #

Amertican Int Club of Rome

Anthony Sistilli hails from the upper Ohio Valley near Pittsburgh, PA. After finishing a law degree and a brief stint with Federal prosecution at the US Attorney’s office, he landed in Rome in 1992 through an international lawyer exchange program. A dual citizen whose family originates from Abruzzo, he thought this would be a great way to spend a year in Italy discovering his roots. Little did he know that he would still be here 17 years later running his own law practice. Anthony has been active with the American community in recent years, has a passion for politics, currently sitting on the board of Democrats Abroad in Rome and is an avid fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18/10 at 12:19 AM | #

Nova Southeastern University

Catherine Arcabascio

Associate Dean, International Programs & Professor of Law

Email: arcabascioc [at]

B.A., New York University, 1983
J.D., Boston College Law School, 1987

Very active in the Florida Innocence Project.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18/10 at 12:27 AM | #

American University of Rome   

Rebecca Spitzmiller, J.D., currently teaches Business Law (BUS 200) at AUR.  She has also taught International Business Law (BUS 302) and International Law (POL 402), beginning in Spring Semester 2006.  Prof. Spitzmiller is a researcher in Comparative Law and teaches in the Facoltà di Giurisprudenza at the Università degli Studi di Roma Tre.  She organizes joint events with the students from both institutions (AUR and Roma Tre), such as a seminar entitled “Legal Aspects of the International Job Market” and a special symposium on Antitrust Law.  Her AUR students also participate in workshops on Interviewing skills, posing as employers to give international students a chance to hone their skills during mock job interviews in English.  Besides learning substantive law in these fields, AUR students have opportunities to network with graduate and undergraduate law students from Italy and other countries.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18/10 at 12:29 AM | #

Patricia Thomas, Associated Press

No online biography that we can see but a writer of gushy articles like this in USA Today about Amanda Knox.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18/10 at 12:34 AM | #

Moreno Marinozzi, Chairman

No online bio in English that we can see but there is this rather strange one in Italian.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18/10 at 12:38 AM | #

The Italian American Foundation was in the news in December 2009:

Rocco Girlanda and Katia Polidori, MPs from the Italian-American Foundation, gave [Amanda Knox] a book about Pope Benedict XVI.

Their visit came after Maria Cantwell, a senator from Knox’s home state of Washington, publicly criticised the Italian justice system.

The MPs gave Knox a book on Pope Benedict XVI’s thoughts and meditations and said they were visiting the American to ensure that she was being treated well in prison.


No similar reports online that we can see of the Foundation reaching out to Meredith’s family and many friends. Perhaps they are unaware of her name?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18/10 at 12:46 AM | #

Interesting about Moreno Marinozzi. He’s originally from Porto San Giorgio, in the Marche region. The same town Giacomo Silenzi (Meredith’s boyfriend who lived in the apartment downstairs) is from. I wonder if they knew each other.

Posted by Commissario Montalbano on 03/18/10 at 02:58 AM | #

Hi Commisario. You noticed he is the only Italian on the panel? And as chairman he doesn’t get to speak very much. How handy.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18/10 at 05:24 AM | #

Do you suppose that Mellas/Knox and their new mouthpiece Ted Simon had anything to do with setting up this meeting?  I can only hope that the meeting produces a consensus that the evidence speaks volumes for itself and that the result gets published here in America for the FOA group to see.

Posted by Mo-in-Mass.,USA on 03/18/10 at 12:54 PM | #

Perhaps we are wrong, but none of these names seem to have surfaced before in connection with Meredith’s case. We wonder who will speak up for her.

The answer to this question is easy: nobody, at least not at the conference in question. Reading the names of people who are going to speak there and their association, it smells like more FOA to me.

The FOA know on base of what evidence Amanda Knox has been convicted, they just deliberately chose to ignore it and divulge misinformation and lies, because they have an agenda.

Posted by Nell on 03/19/10 at 02:44 AM | #

I am hoping that as some of the people present are lawyers that they will use common sense and agree with the trial judge and jurists that Knox and Sollecito are guilty.  I’m also hoping that when they voice their collective opinion that they are able to debunk the Knox/Mellas/FOA garbage.

Posted by Mo-in-Mass.,USA on 03/19/10 at 03:23 AM | #

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