Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Witness Tampering By Defenses? Investigations Launched After Witness Aviello U-Turns

Posted by Peter Quennell

To whom Aviello now points a finger

1. Witness Aviello’s U-Turn

Sources tell us they believe Vanessa Sollecito and her family are again under investigation, this time possibly with Sollecito’s defense lawyers.

The investigation was said to be sparked by the specific claims of Luciano Aviello yesterday under oath before a magistrate in Capanne Prison that Vanessa Sollecito paid him 30,000 Euros for his testimony on June 18 with Sollecito’s counsel in the loop.

2. Aviello’s Testimony 18 June

We repeat here a summary already posted of what Luciano Aveillo testified to on 18 June by Will Savive:

Another prison inmate Luciano Aviello [42] who has served 17 years in jail after being convicted of being a member of the Naples-based Camorra, testified today that his brother Antonio and his colleague had killed Meredith while attempting to steal a “valuable painting.”

Aviello said that the Albanian (who offered his brother “work” in the form of a robbery) had inadvertently jotted down the wrong address, and they instead went to the house where Kercher and Knox were living, and they were surprised by Meredith’s appearance. According to Aviello, his brother and the Albanian man then committed the murder and fled.

Aviello is from Naples, but was living in Perugia at the time of the murder. He claims that his brother, who is currently on the run, was staying with him in late 2007 and on the night of the murder he returned home with an injury to his right arm and his jacket covered in blood.

Flanked by two prison guards, Aviello described how his brother had entered the house Meredith shared with Knox and had been looking for the painting when they were disturbed by a woman “wearing a dressing gown.” So many convicts, which one to believe, if any?

“My brother told me that he had put his hand to her mouth but she had struggled,” Aviello testified. “He said he got the knife and stabbed her before they had run off. He said he had also smashed a window to simulate a break in.”

Aviello said his brother had hidden the knife, along with a set of keys his brother had used to enter the house. “Inside me I know that a miscarriage of justice has taken place,” he asserted. Consequently, Aviello had been in the same jail as Sollecito and had told him: “I believe in your innocence.”

3. New Aviello Claims 26 July

In light of the betrayal by his cellmates, Luciano Aviello now states that all of this above was fiction.

There were no hidden keys, and no knife, and his brother was not living in Perugia at that time.

Here is a translation by our main poster ZiaK of one of the most comprehensive reports of what Aviello now says. We’ve added the emphasis to key passages..

“I lied following agreement with Sollecito’s lawyers in exchange for money”

Aviello claims he received 30 thousand euros in exchange for his testimony

Published 27/7/11

by Francesca Marruco

After having received notice that investigations had been completed by the Perugia prosecutor, the ex supergrass (state’s evidence), Luciano Aviello, requested and was granted a hearing with the Perugia prosecutors.

Last Friday in Capanne prison, the witness who had been brought into the court case by Amanda Knox’s defence team admitted - in a roundabout way - to Dr Manuela Comodi that everything he had declared was false: that it was false and had been agreed with Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyers in order to create confusion in the case.

He denied all the statements he had made in court. Luciano Aviello, who had told the judges of the Assize court that Meredith had been killed by his brother and that he himself had hidden the knife with which she was killed as well as the keys of the via della Pergola house, told the assistant prosecutor, Manuela Comodi - who, together with her collegue Giuliano Mignini, was in charge of the investigations into the death of Meredith Kercher - that he recanted everything he had previously declared.

His brother had nothing to do with it, he had never hidden any knife nor any bunch of keys. And he had never lived in Perugia - as he had stated in court before the judges.

Aviello: “Nothing is true, and it was all by agreement.” As to why he had told this flood of whoppers, he gave his explanation in fits and starts in over 80 pages of court records.

It was from a desire to help someone he had met in jail, and whom he loved - Raffaele Sollecito - by means of his lawyers, some of his family, and one of Amanda Knox’s lawyers, who apparently went to the Alba jail to hear him in order to deflect suspicion from Sollecito’s team.

Aviello heavily accused Sollecito’s lawyers and sister [Vanessa]. He said that it had been Vanessa who had delivered the 30,000 euros to an acquaintance of his in Naples, who was to act as a go-between. The money was to be found in an apartment in Turin which the Perugia police will check.

Aviello declared himself as being willing to appear in court and repeat everything before the appeal judges of the court of Assizes.

His first motives and his current ones:

The reasons for which he had agreed to tell these lies, according to what he told the prosecutor, was that he had been assured that the Perugian prosecutors would not investigate him - contrary to what had in fact happened - and that he was fond of Raffaele Sollecito.

And also because he was to receive in compensation those 30,000 euros which he would use for a sex-change operation, as he himself had declared several times.

But now that he had received notice that the investigations were finished, and since (he claims) he no longer hears from Raffaele any more, because otherwise no-one would believe him [translator’s note: I assume “him” means Raffaele being concerned that if he stays in touch with Aviello no-one would believe hi, Raffaele, any more], he no longer has any reason to continue lying.

Whereas he has plenty of reasons to try and lighten his own position as someone under investigation for calunnia (criminal slander).

Aviello: Raffaele had told me that it was Amanda and that he was also there.

Around the middle of the interrogation, Aviello said - referring to something that Raffaele apparently told him - that “the murderer, in fact, was not him: it was Amanda, during an erotic game”.

Raffaele apparently also declared “I actually know that it’s true that Amanda did it, but I didn’t do it: it wasn’t me that did the murder; I didn’t do it”.

This is what [Aviello] declared between one allegation and another, and he also declared that he was prepared to repeat everything before the judges. Before those very judges to whom, on 18 June last, he had so shamelessly lied.

What has changed? The repercussions which these new declarations - made by a man who has already been convicted 8 times previously for slander [calunnia] - cannot be conjectured.

Or at least, not all of them. The lawyer Giulia Bongiorno has already declared that she will defend her honour in court against anyone who might accuse her of having paid a convict to create confusion in the case.

It is foreseeable that Luca Maori and Carlo Dalla Vedova will take the same stance.

What the Prosecution will do is more difficult to determine. The investigations on Aviello’s slander against his brother may have ended, but how many others may be instigated as a result of these declarations?

In the meantime, everyone will return to court on Saturday to discuss the genetic evidence, which might truly decide the path that this case will take.

4. What Happens Next In Court

This was sworn testimony. Dr Comodi will now file a statement with Judge Hellman. and request that Aviello be brought back to court as a prosecution witness this time for defense cross-examination.

Early announcements might also be expected from the accused Sollecito family, who did meet with Aviello in prison, and from the accused Giulia Bongiorno.

And presumably a beeline is now being made to that apartment in Turin where the 30,000 Euros if it exists might be hidden.

Meanwhile, any search for the knife and keys Aviello had claimed he hid will drop dead.

Added 7 September: see Part

5. Another Investigation Commences

Several sources make us understand that the independent DNA consultants Carla Vecchioti and Stefano Conti might now be under investigation for possible contact or collaboration with one or several defense DNA experts including Hampikian.

Our main poster Fly By Night already suggested that the geographical location and published views of experts quoted by Carla Vecchioti and Stefano Conti looked pretty fishy.

And the lawyer for the family of Meredith, Francesco Maresca, complained on Monday that a request endorsed by Judge Hellman for those consultants to make sure to use European resources on the state-of-the-art of low-count DNA testing had been ignored.

6. Important Update 7 September

Update: We have posted the sworn Aviello statement on the Wiki.

At the appeal-court session today 7 September Judge Hellman without substantive explanation refused to even allow a court hearing on it, let alone to recall Aviello to alow the defenses to cross-examine him.

This looks like more strong anti-prosecution bias - but it also has the perverse effect of leaving a black cloud over the Sollecito family and defense team.

If the prosecution or defense come to believe that an element of the appeal is not being thoroughly and objectively examined, they are entitled to appeal instantly to the Supreme Court of Cassation for a ruling.

Amanda Knox’s defense already took that route late in 2007, long before she ever went to trial, to request that her statement made without counsel present in the wee hours of November 6 2007 should be put aside. The Supreme Court so ordered.

So the power of upward appeal to Cassation is available to the prosecution if they want ti use it.

Hedging their bets, the prosecution has sent the Aviello statement to the Florence courts (to circumvent Hellman?) where Aviello may now be put on trial for perjury. He could then denounce his brother again, or he could denounce the Sollecitos and their lawyers.

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Lots of bombshells, er, surprises in court in the month of July, eh?

Posted by Ergon on 07/27/11 at 08:54 PM | #

Perhaps the jury should be sequestered… Bongiorno and Maori and Dalla Vedova and Ghirga seem intent on making Mignini and Biscotti and Maresca look like towering geniuses.

An odd thing for defense counsel to do.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/27/11 at 08:59 PM | #

Ho Boy!!! I just can’t wait to see how this pans out.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/27/11 at 09:26 PM | #

It is now more than a day since this story broke and there is still no comment from any of those seemingly implicated. Pretty amazing. That does not look good.

The only story to appear in the Italian media in that time about Giulia Bongiorno is about her party wanting her to return to Sicily to run for mayor of Palermo. Maybe she is focussed on that.

Now we hear that the next shoe to drop could be a U-turn by the other defense “super-witness” as the increasingly shrill Candace Dempsey likes to call them. Mario Alessi.

His own lawyer never wanted him to testify and warned him against. He was overcome with nervousness on the day he testified to the extent that he required medical attention.

Alessi of course was the direct cause of Rudy Guede getting on the stand one week later to say that Knox and Sollecito did it. That genie cannot be put back in the bottle.

Guede’s accusation against knox and Sollecito probably looms a lot larger in the jurors’ memory than tortured but still-unproven charges of DNA contamination.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/28/11 at 12:04 AM | #

Okay Giulia Bongiorno’s colleague Luca Maori has made a belated statement to the effect of “why would anyone take that guy seriously?”

Ahem. But he was YOUR witness Mr Maori. This is increasingly surreal.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/28/11 at 01:31 AM | #

Sorry, but what a circus.

Sollecito and Knox should be convicted and send to prison asap and not let the Kercher family suffer any more than they already have. I appreciate the thoroughness of the Italian Courts, but enough is enough. They had their fair chance, now let’s get over with it.

Not only should they be punished for killing Meredith Kercher, but also for trying to derail the investigation. The punishment should fit the crime and 20+ years doesn’t seem enough. Even if serving the full sentence of 26 years (which will never happen in Europe), Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito will still be young enough to enjoy their lives after their release.

Posted by Nell on 07/28/11 at 03:05 AM | #

Several months ago on Peters web site there was a heading that read ‘The ever diminishing support for Amanda Knox.’ While I seem to be the one who speculates the most here let me say that I sincerely hope that their collective sentences will be extended. After all, thirty years is not out of the question and I agree with you not enough.
I suspect that due to the outright denials of Knox plus her accusations of innocents plus the US P/R movement which has decried Italian Jurisprudence Perhaps that that will happen. OK I’m malicious but know what? In this case considering how Meredith was tortured and murdered I don’t care.
Very Sincerely
Grahame Rhodes

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/28/11 at 03:25 AM | #

Witness tampering by the defense? Ho hum, I’d only be surprised by what they HAVEN’T done so far.

Now if we get to hear of judicial tampering re the experts, THAT would take the cake 😊

Posted by Ergon on 07/28/11 at 03:38 AM | #

I often think I am a great example of someone who was completely ignorant of this whole case. I seriously didn’t hear about it until I saw Amanda Knox’s parents on Oprah in early 2010! When I saw Knox’s parents, I was so outraged by what happened to poor Amanda, I went to the web and found True Justice. After maybe 10 minutes of reading, I realized there was so much evidence that pointed to Knox and Sollecito which the Oprah show completely omitted. I was astounded and continue to be shocked at the way American media treats this case. My god has the media even read what happened to this poor girl, the coverup and evidence that points to K and S. Is profit everything just to get Mellas and Knox on these tabloid TV shows. I so hope this appeal will not be overturned. Truly, Knox and Sollecito deserve their sentence and I too wish enough were enough. The bra hook and knife have already been debated in the first trial and as Barbie Nadeau has pointed out were always contested and not the deciding factor for the outcome of guilty. Thank you to True Justice for all your amazing work and digging for evidence!

Posted by Dora Maar on 07/28/11 at 06:30 AM | #

Pete, it is interesting that the mainstream media in Italy have not yet reported the hair-raising admissions of Aviello - ie as far as I can discover. I received an alert from Google on the subject and have posted my translation on PMF 1 & 2.

This is my post:

Under the headline: Meredith, Aviello: “I lied because I love Raffaele Sollecito”, this article from Nuova Società on-line reports the alleged confessions of Aviello to the prosecutors of Perugia. He is said to have made these admissions during a hearing at the end of the prosecution investigations into his testimony at the appeal hearings. As in other media articles, he is reported to have admitted that he made false accusations with the agreement of defence lawyers for Knox and Sollecito, and on the promise of a payment of 30 thousand euros for his planned sex-change operation.

This is a translation of the further sensational claims made in this report:

Now however he (Aviello) has had second thoughts, and in tears tells that he met Raffaele Sollecito in prison, that he was in love with him and wanted to help him. But he adds that his testimony was to be paid for, through Sollecito’s sister, after agreeing on the price of 30 thousand euros with Raffaele’s lawyers.

“I needed that money for a sex-change,” the ex-mafia turn-coat says to the magistrates.

The false version (of events) was to serve in “creating confusion at the trial”.

This whole episode is yet to be cleared up, and it has as its protagonist an Aviello who in the past has already been condemned for calumny eight times and who has been considered to be an unreliable supergrass.

Posted by Tiziano on 07/28/11 at 08:51 AM | #

ADNKronos report on police seizing independent consultants’ DVD of crime scene handling


Perugia. July 27th (Adnkronos)

The DVD used by the two experts Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti has been lodged with the office of the clerk of the Appeal Court of Perugia, in the ambit of the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher. The images have also been acquired by the Scientific Police with a specific authorisation of the court.

The Prosecutor’s Office of Perugia had requested that the DVD be lodged in view of the hearing on Saturday during which the experts will be questioned by magistrate Manuela Comodi.

In the DVD clips of the video can be seen, made on the occasion of the on-the-spot investigation of the crime house and some excerpts of the records of the hearing during which the scientific police were describing the work they carried out. The two experts have claimed that the work of the scientific branch is unreliable and that the results are untrustworthy. The prosecution supports the correct operation of the scientific police and is ready to demonstrate this to the judges of the court.

Posted by Tiziano on 07/28/11 at 10:50 AM | #

Going back to Peter’s hunch of the other day, namely, that Sollecito might get on the stand, the sudden possibility is that Aviello’s recanting has already delivered the bomb: he “quotes” Sollecito to such & such effect & it suffices.

Behind this (as a mere suspicion) the whole thing was pre-arranged: lie AND recantation.  Why so?  Because given the evidence in its full scope & convincingness, Giulia Bongiorno has long since accepted, Sollecito long since acknowleged, his family long since known of his (guilty) participation.

Hence to get the fact out—yes, he was present & no, he did not deliver the fatal stroke—invites the possibility of acknowledgement (rather than open accusation) based on what a prisoner has testified.  Such acknowledgement in turn invites a greatly reduced sentence (a) because it shows his own penitent turn of mind—he acknowledges his role (b) & saves the courts further expense because (c) given such acknowledgement (if it comes) the case is settled.

Settled in Raffaele’s favor & against Amanda.

But why credit Aviello?
Tiziano reports that he “has already been condemned for calumny eight times,” which makes him unreliable. The possibility is that other factors are in play which give him a kind of credit on probation:

He loves Sollecito (what motive could be stronger?)
He lied to introduce confusion, hoping to protect him.
True, also, that he lied for money promised in large amount. (Ah yes, the motive that is stronger.)
Because he wants sex change, which costs.

The seeming risk taken here by the Sollecito family & by Giulia Bongiorno is one way of publicizing Sollecito’s confession without having him get on the stand, thereby avoiding a brutal quarrel with the Knox group.

In view of the magnitude of the issues & the immense convenience to the court of such disclosure, mere witness tampering might be brushed aside (who knows?) Maybe Raffaele will be home for Christmas.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 07/28/11 at 11:20 AM | #

@Ernest Werner

I think your theory of Aviello’s testimony and recantation being pre-arranged, is very interesting.

He apparently tries to put the blame squarely on Amanda Knox. Nonetheless there were two knives involved, two different sizes of blades, the big one making the fatal wound (and by all probability this was Raffaele’s kitchen knife and had Amanda’s DNA on it).

If Amanda used the big kitchen knife to kill Meredith Kercher, then Raffaele Sollecito used the smaller combat knife to cut Meredith Kercher. If the blade of his knife wouldn’t have gotten stuck in Meredith’s jaw bone, he would have been the one who would have delivered the fatal blow. He is as guilty as she is.

Chris Mellas’ reassurances now and then about how taken the Sollecito family is by Amanda’s emotional pleas make me think the exact opposite is true. They hate each other. Sollecito cut Amanda loose and for the Melloxes this is when everything started. The Melloxes probably blame Raffaele Sollecito for the situation Amanda Knox finds herself in right now, while the Sollecito’s already cursed the day Raffaele met Amanda Knox. So in their mind Amanda Knox is the one who is responsible for what happened.

Interesting situation, to say the least.

Posted by Nell on 07/28/11 at 12:10 PM | #

The Knox/Mellas family have always been exceptionally upbeat from the start (ludicrously so) about the “unreliability” of the evidence (all of it), as they see it.

However, even taking that into account, it has been pointedly surprising that they should have been so upbeat about the independent experts’ (IEs) report, bearing in mind how thoroughly the DNA evidence was canvassed and dealt with at the first trial.

It’s almost as if they have known that they have an open channel to the IEs and how the report would turn out.

Contact with the IEs is one thing. No one can criticise them for having an input. Collaboration (particularly by the IEs) is another, and the report is, as far as I am concerned, already exposed as being heavily biased in it’s sourcing. That is a problem the IEs must answer and hopefully we will get much closer to the answer on Saturday.

I tend to think that a tactful, firm, and relentless cross-examination would be more productive than a police investigation. In fact I am just wondering what crime could be proved to have been committed unless it could be established that the IEs were in “the pockets” of the Knox/Mellas entourage. That seems a bit far fetched but then such are the aspects of this case that one would not a priori rule out anything. However an investigation (if one is underway) would have to tread very carefully or it could be counterproductive.

Quite clearly this appeal still has some more hearing dates to go the other side of the summer recess.

Posted by James Raper on 07/28/11 at 01:00 PM | #

Thanks, Nell.
You in turn give me something more to think about.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 07/28/11 at 02:19 PM | #

Hi Ernest Werner

You are thinking that even if the 30,000 Euros are not found in Turin than Aviell has still done Sollecito and his team a favor by saying Sollecito was there but Knox took him unawares?

Certainly that would have to be Sollecito’s position on the stand if he hopes for a real break, because of both the footprint on the bathmat and also his own cellphone and computer record which do not support him having been at his place all night.

And as Nell points out, there were at least two knives wielded from Meredith’s two sides in addition to whoever was doing the sex tormenting of Meredith from behind.

Aviello could have evolved this position either with or without Bongiorno’s active encouragement - he seemed to not quite close the loop for her and the jury with his tale of his brother on the stand, and Guede’s appearance and accusation ticked Bongiorno off no-end.

(Those being jubilant about the DNA testimony Monday sure seem to have forgotten very quick the 80,000 pound gorilla Guede placed in the jury room.)

So Aviello might conceivably think he is helping both himself and the Sollecito team here (and the prosecution) with limited downside (unless the prosecution now charge him with perjury) and maybe a hope of a reward in future years.

To work, his version of Sollecito’s limited involvement would now have to get in front of the jury one way or another.  Media reporting might be enough to achieve that. But a better way would be for the prosecution to now recall Aviello to the stand and repeat all of his Tuesday testimony, again under oath. 

On Saturday we are going to see if the prosecution wants to have Aviello back on the stand. And if Bongiorno turns up in court (she was keeping mum yesterday). And if the 30,000 Euros turns up. And maybe if Sollecito or Bongiorno want Sollecito to get up on the stand.

As Nell says, the inter-family dynamics aint so sweet. Sollecito’s family will not be holding him back. Interesting situation, to say the least.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/28/11 at 03:46 PM | #

Afterthought. Maybe a lot of the jubilation on Monday was being intentionally beamed at Sollecito to make him think the DNA questions give him a real shot at getting off - and so best for him to stick with Knox.

What happens in front of Knox and Sollecito on Saturday should determine whether they hang together or whether one or other makes a dash to dump the other and get off.

By the way Mignini seems to me to have considerable talent for these mindgames. He sure ties the FOA up in knots. I dont think the depiction of him in the Lifetime movie was too far wrong.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/28/11 at 04:33 PM | #

Interesting comments.

In my opinion it is not relevant if Aviello lied or not, if he was paid or not. The question that should be asked is why did the defence called Aviello to testify, if it was so clear that he was an untrustworthy witness? To what end?

The usual suspects try to dismiss Aviello’s latest revelations by saying he is well known for being unreliable and a liar, let’s move on. That is easier said than done.

Right now the jurors and the judge are looking at two witnesses who obviously lied under oath for the defence teams (paid or not, doesn’t matter), one of them already recanted his statement and now accuses the defense and defendants of bribery. On top of that, they have an “independent” experts report that is tainted with the views of radical Knox supporters who have admitted contacting the defence teams in the past. Furthermore, the family of Amanda Knox was very well aware of the final content of the “independent” experts report, even days before it was even deposited in court. Now connect the dots, it’s not that difficult.

This is why the Kercher’s have expressed their worries now. They see what we see, that the families of the defendants are trying to buy their freedom.

Again, I am very sympathetic to Ernest Werner’s train of thought about Sollecito getting the word out through Aviello, that it was in fact Amanda Knox who killed Meredith. Reading through the various forums, it seems the Knox supporters haven’t been prepared for that turn of events. The silence is deafening. It finally happened: Guede threw the first stone by testifying he was there and acknowledging it was Sollecito and Knox who in fact killed Meredith Kercher. Now Sollecito points his finger to Knox. I don’t think that Dalla Vedova and Ghirga have an ace up their sleeves at this point. This is it.

Posted by Nell on 07/28/11 at 05:24 PM | #

Hi Peter,
You are certainly right that Aviello’s testimony has to get before a jury—by why not from the horse’s mouth, Sollecito himself?  He doesn’t take to the stand to accuse but is called only to verify.

Certainly, he had his knife & was pricking Meredith, but what counts in Aviello’s version is Raffaele’s frank acknowledgement of being right there & knowing who killed Meredith. Which disposes of the latest scruple about the murder weapon—& Dr Stefanoni wins her point.

(Note: Amanda’s suggestion that Sollecito may have put the knife in her hand while she slept—as if that wouldn’t waken her!—not only blames him but allows that the knife may have been in her hand & maybe shows her “fingerprints.”  Also, as she slept: the lack of consciousness may well carry psychological truth.)

It’s almost story-book. While the Americans take to publicity & try by main force to blast Amanda out with talk shows & articles & while a good-looking, wholesome American girl is much in view & savoring every moment, the other side with an Italian subtlety is quietly at work behind the scenes until just the right time to spring the deadly accusation.

We have all seen the willingness on the part of either side to implicate the other.  And Sollecito has already served his what? three years & 8 months?  He does the court a real favor by naming Amanda the killer.  Finish it, be done, resolved by Confession of Fact. (Dr. Sollecito can pay a small fine.)

My dictionary defines debacle in a primary sense as the breaking up of ice in a stream, something my father witnessed in a Siberian boyhood, but then secondarily as:
a violent disruption
a rout
a sudden breakdown
a collapse. 
As of Aviello’s recantation (it seems to me) the Knox group suddenly find themselves in the midst of a debacle.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 07/28/11 at 05:27 PM | #

I wonder if in case Aviello would be called to testify again to recant his former testimony, could that trigger Raffaele Sollecito to be called to take the witness stand? I imagine he could refuse to give testimony, being the defendant? Could someone shed light into this, please?

That was the reason why Rudy Guede testified in court, to refute Alessi’s testimony. Could the same happen to Sollecito?

I imagine Sollecito would be given the opportunity to take the stand, but same as Guede, he might be able to refuse to answer?

Posted by Nell on 07/28/11 at 05:46 PM | #

Yeah the PR scheme and jubilant supporters like David Anderson (right here on TJMK) clearly thought they had fixed things with Judge Hellman with the cooked DNA report. Now Guede and Aviello place not one but two new 80,000 pound gorillas in the jury room facing Knox - and the FOA have no Plan B.

Sollecito himself decides whether he gets on the stand. There can be no compulsion. He can then choose to pass on some questions if he takes the Italian equivalent of the fifth. He would not be under oath so he can say what he likes without fear of reprisal.

He can also make one of those spontaneous statements from his chair in court. Knox tried that late last year, and rambled on blaming everyone but herself, and as far as we could see winning no new friends.

That latter course can look to a jury like a coward’s way out as it escapes cross-examination and if the jury is to give Sollecito a REAL break he really would have to provide his explanation from the stand and give a credible performance when it’s the prosecution’s turn.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/28/11 at 06:08 PM | #

I hate to state the obvious but if Giulia Bongiorno has aspirations with regard to being the mayor of Palermo then getting Sollecito off, or at the very least a reduced sentence, it would a create a larger feather in her cap than getting the same for Knox. On the other hand if she gets anything for Knox then that would be gravy of course. You couldn’t write stuff like this.

After all this is over can the Mellas/Knox family profit in any way. I understand Knox herself can’t because of the damages but can the family?

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/28/11 at 07:03 PM | #

Hi Grahame. Feather in her cap? In Palermo? I doubt if that’s correct. She likes to win, but there will be a cost if she does as the first trial was widely seen as fair, and the several times she (and Ghirga) have signaled a desire to walk shows she knows that.

If the 30,000 Euros turns up in Turin, Bongiorno might have her own trial to worry about. Still no word from her rebutting Aviello’s charges (presumably the magistrate gave the Umbria24 reporter helpful access)  and Bongiorno is not normally the shy retiring type. 

Sadly, perps’ families in all countries we know of can profit without constraint. Some of them certainly have. Victims’ families have a far harder time of it.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/28/11 at 08:39 PM | #

The latest chapter on likely witness tampering by the defense comes as no surprise given the ethical shortcomings of many of the Sollecito/Knox players, especially the ones in Seattle who thought their xenophobic misinformation PR campaign could trump copious evidence and rational examination thereof.

Posted by jennifer on 07/29/11 at 01:03 AM | #

Thank you Peter
And as always A huge thank you for everyone who is concerned with true justice for Meredith. And as always if I can be of any help at all please do not hesitate to contact me.
cheers G

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/29/11 at 01:03 AM | #

Hi David,

Knox and Sollecito weren’t convicted solely on the basis of the knife and bra clasp evidence. The following evidence was also key: the mixed blood samples, Sollecito’s bloody footprint on the blue bathmat, the Luminol footprints, the three traces of Meredith’s blood in Knox’s room, the mobile phone and computer records that provide irrefutable proof that Knox and Sollecito lied, Knox’s telephone calls and conversations with Filomena on 2 November 2007, Knox’s false and malicious accusation against Diya Lumumba which she didn’t retract the whole time he was in prison, the staged break-in, the testimony of Nara Capezzali and Marco Quintavalle, and the testimony of numerous forensic experts who testified that more than one person killed Meredith.

Posted by The Machine on 07/29/11 at 02:36 AM | #

Ernest Werner wrote “As of Aviello’s recantation (it seems to me) the Knox group suddenly find themselves in the midst of a debacle.”

I agree. It already emerges that they play Aviello’s statement down. For them, it doesn’t have any bearing on Amanda’s imminent acquittal. They vehemently try to move everybody’s focus back to the (in their little minds) “astounding” revelations from the “independent” experts report.

What can I say, I hope Raffaele Sollecito throws her under the bus. Once for all.

Thanks for your earlier response. I would like to know if you can tell me, if there is the possibility of a reduction in sentence if Raffaele would come clean and tell the court what really happened?

Posted by Nell on 07/29/11 at 04:25 AM | #

Even if he decides at this late date to throw the cow under the bus, how can he possibly come off smelling any sweeter? Knife in hand or not, if by her side he remains an accessory. He, just like Guede, failed to phone for help, but unlike Guede, lacks the excuse of “black man found, black man guilty”.
According to Aviello, RS claims “It wasn’t me! i didn’t do it!” Just as Guede had the gall to say to the Kerchers,” I am lower than a worm (my words, but you get the gist)... but I did not harm your baby girl” . Guede didn’t walk, and neither will Raffie. They were not juveniles, and stoned to the moon or not, they knew right from wrong. They could have stopped Knox. They could have called for help anonymously.
And this Aviello; was he hoping that after his reassignment surgery his beloved Sollecitto might become his husband? Do they give these surgeries in prison??? You couldn’t make this rubbish up!!

Posted by mimi on 07/29/11 at 05:17 AM | #

I agree with what you say, mimi.

Nonetheless it doesn’t matter what we think or know, what matters is what Raffaele Sollecito believes to be within the realms of possibility. Maybe, from his point of view, and because he isn’t responsible for the fatal stab wound, he feels unjustly convicted as a “murderer”, even though according to Italian law he is considered a murderer.

I don’t believe for a minute that he will come forward with the truth, for the same reasons Rudy Guede kept the full truth to himself. He would have to admit what he did and he did plenty. Another option would be that he hopes to get off with a lighter sentence, if he accuses Amanda of having killed Meredith Kercher. He might claim to only have helped her staging the crime scene. Of course we know better, as the evidence indicates there were three attackers. But from his actual position, he might feel it is worth a try.

So far, it is only Aviello who made a statement and we don’t know if there is any truth to it (I would be surprised). The interesting fact remains, why did the defence teams felt it necessary to put him and Alessi, both known liars, on the witness stand? There is something fishy about all this nonsensical witness testimony and the experts report that was written with the collaboration of Greg Hampikian and released to the Knox/Mellas family at least a week before it was deposited in court.

I see a few elephants in the room. I feel that many are intimidated by the Knox crowd rejoicing at their latest “accomplishments”. I, to the contrary, feel that the latest developments have hurt the defence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito significantly. I think they have already crossed the point of no return. It’s over.

Posted by Nell on 07/29/11 at 07:27 AM | #

Suppose as a premiss that both families quite understand that Amanda & Raffaele are guilty, as convicted.

Then suppose (as a somewhat far-out possibiity) that while the Americans would never admit to this, the Italians approach the case (as it stands) with a deeper psychological realism.

It is only as Sollecito takes a measure of genuine responsibity on himself that his (presumed) accusation of Amanda gains real credit.

Moreover, Sollecito senior takes on himself the risk of witness tampering (plus fine) to achieve a reduction of Raffaele’s sentence, possibly even reduced to time already served.  This witness tampering is less serious because the original paid-for testimony has collapsed by being recanted.

And finally (still a far-out hunch—the hunch of a suspicious mind) suppose that Giulia Bongiorno “sees it” this way, based on her deep prior experience in the ways of Italian law. It is she, then, who throws Amanda under the bus, her master plan conceived & carried through all out of sight.

As aforesaid: mere suspicion. And I ask for no privileges.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 07/29/11 at 12:28 PM | #

I think you are quite right that Sollecito senior is willing to sacrifice himself to some extent for the sake of his son. I also believe that in his mind his son’s drug use and ultimately Amanda Knox are to blame for what happened.

No matter what he has planned, it doesn’t seem to include Amanda Knox being acquitted and I must admit I don’t see Raffaele Sollecito walking either, no matter what he says.

The only advantage that Raffaele Sollecito has over Amanda Knox is that his father has brains and Amanda’s family has not.

I guess if Raffaele Sollecito plans to make a move, he will do it during this appeal. I am not sure the Supreme Court would be the appropriate venue for a confession, but I might be wrong.

Posted by Nell on 07/29/11 at 01:19 PM | #

I don’t understand why none of the English speaking world is reporting on Aviello’s statements!

- Raffaelo says he was there and Amanda did it
- Aviello was paid to ceate confusion in favour of Raffaele and Amanda

These should be making headlines!? No?

These prisioners made enough news when they were speaking from their cells - this is a confession to a magistrate! Is it just me?

Posted by Giselle on 07/29/11 at 02:21 PM | #

American media will only cover it if it is favourable to Amanda Knox. Otherwise it won’t sell and the sensational story of an “innocent abroad, American girl - Italian nightmare” is over. If the media would report truthfully about Amanda Knox, it would bore the hell out of their readers.

This is business.

My heart goes out to the Kercher family. What they have been put through by the Melloxes and their PR campaign doesn’t have a name.

I have faith in the Italian justice system, the judge and the jurors. I believe they will confirm the initial guilty verdict and I hope they are going to increase the sentence to the maximum.

Posted by Nell on 07/29/11 at 02:36 PM | #

May I ask what is really known about Judge Hellman beyond the fact that he is not usually involved in murder trials?

He reportedly has not granted the Prosecution their requests in this appeal.

The C/V report ignores the prosecution requests.

And now, I read this on the internet - I do realise who its author is but where did she get this information and is it true?:

‘Police forensic expert Patrizia Stefanoni had vowed to strongly defend her testing results in court, but Judge Hellmann has forbidden her to take the stand.  She is threatening to sue his experts for “false statements” she claims to have found in their report.’

Posted by thundering on 07/29/11 at 03:20 PM | #

Hi Thundering. Yes Judge Hellman is normally a business judge. Judge Massei as President of the Umbria Assizes (equivalent of a US County Supreme Court) is his senior in the hierarchy.

Judge Hellman has in fact granted the prosecution ALL of their requests for the scope of the appeal, including the insistence that the independent review of the DNA be built on European LCN state of the art (and not American) and it was the consultants that ignored him.

Also he agreed that Massei’s mitigating circumstances which knocked 5 years off all three perps’ sentences should be argued again (still pending).

Judge Hellman granted the defenses VERY FEW requests for review and further investigation. He turned down about 90 percent which is a very ominous fraction.

So much evidence has already been accepted by Judge Hellman without review (including now all the papers on Guede) that the appeal was seemingly below critical mass from the get-go for reasons to spring the two perps that would get past the Supreme Court..

Most damningly, Judge Hellman did not grant reviews of all the other forensic evidence in the house including the incriminating samples of mixed blood.

Look for the defense tomorrow to ask for a review of the samples of mixed blood. If they dont they know they are cooked. They have acted as if they have known that for some weeks. Why things are so shrill and being so wildly spun.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/29/11 at 04:05 PM | #

I’m not convinced that Dr. Stefanoni won’t be called to the stand tomorrow. Surely the prosecution can call her as a witness since it’s HER report that’s being challenged?

But as I understand it Manuela Comodi will be cross examining the experts tomorrow, and I’m sure she’s been briefed quite well by Stefanoni!

Posted by Ergon on 07/29/11 at 04:57 PM | #

Isn’t there another appeal hearing on Monday, August 1st?

Posted by bedelia on 07/29/11 at 05:14 PM | #

Hi Ergon. Yes I should have asked Thundering about that. We have NO firm confirmation that Dr Stefanoni is not to take the stand tomorrow to defend her work. It looks like another shrill Dempsey claim. It could be appealable if forbidden.

Mind you, if true, it could be a sign Judge Hellman has made up his mind that Massei got the verdict right and just wants to close the show down. He is far from having the goods to reverse the original verdict.

Possible contamination of the DNA unproven is not enough.  And the image Frank Szfarzo posted of the “dirty” glove merely shows a clean glove with the same specks of dust from the floor as the bra clasp. Take a look below - click for a larger version.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/29/11 at 05:27 PM | #

Former Bad Girl, the monday hearing was cancelled as too many people take their break in August. And as the caustic Perugia blogger would have noted there is no overtime paid on Mondays courtesy of Giulia Bongiorno and her baby.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/29/11 at 05:37 PM | #

I should rephrase that too. She might well be called after the recess as a witness, and just isn’t being called tomorrow, which might well be because the whole day will be taken up in crossexamination of the experts.

But for her not to be allowed at all to defend her work would be a travesty of justice, and cast a shadow on Judge Hellman’s decision, whichever way that goes. I think it’s just food blogger blather that’s got every one going..

Posted by Ergon on 07/29/11 at 05:42 PM | #

Three days now and not a word out of Giulia Bongiorno. Either she has been caught with her pinkies in the cookie jar or she plans a humdinger of a denial.

The next shoe in a chain of bad news for the defenses may be about to drop.  We hear that a recanting of Alessi’s testimony that Guede told him he did it with two others (already hotly rebutted on the stand by Guede) could soon happen.

Alessi sure is under some pressure. He is not only under police investigation for possible perjury on the stand - the brother, sister and mother of his gaoled wife Antonella Conserva have a judge’s okay to sue him for libel for claiming they were all part of the grand scheme. The trial will take place in 2013.

One has to think that Sollecito would make a better witness in his own defense than Aviello and Alessi?

The jury must sure be wondering.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/29/11 at 06:23 PM | #

Peter Quennel . “Nearly” three days .... TgCom has begun ...

… video ...

… dossier ...

Posted by ncountryside on 07/29/11 at 08:51 PM | #

Thanks Peter for answering the question about the Monday hearing. I hope they have some unbiased journalists somewhere in the courthouse tomorrow, otherwise we will just be tortured more by the liars.

Posted by bedelia on 07/29/11 at 08:52 PM | #

Hi ncountryside. Keep an eye out for Bongiorno’s response to Aviello’s charges or any breaking news from the police?

We have seen Bongiorono blowing smoke over a two-year-old claim as yet unproven that the only other example of Sollecito’s DNA in the entire house on a cigarette butt removed six weeks before somehow migrated onto the bra-clasp. That seems sorta old news.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/29/11 at 10:39 PM | #

Do we know if either Andrea Vogt or Barbie Nadeau are going to be in court for the Saturday hearing?

I was surprised to find out that Barbie Nadeau wasn’t in the courtroom for the last court date, after she has covered the whole trial. If she doesn’t show up on Saturday either, she will have missed the two most important court dates of the appeal.

Posted by Nell on 07/30/11 at 02:38 AM | #

Hi, Peter.  Thank you for your reply.  It seems there is absolutely no balanced news reports on this appeal and all the inflated hyperbole can be most disconcerting.  I imagine it is a way of preparing the ground for even more inflated and shrill outrage should the appeals not go in A’s favour.  This trial sure is descending into a farce of immense proportions / dimensions.  I cannot begin to understand how the Kerchers are taking this - I would be screaming from the roof tops.

Posted by thundering on 07/30/11 at 03:00 AM | #

Hi thundering. I didn’t expect anything else. The less likely it is that Amanda will be acquitted in her appeal, the shriller the fanatic crowd and the reporting becomes.

I have never read anywhere that two pieces of evidence have been re-examined. In all the American media they report that the DNA evidence that helped to convict Amanda Knox has been found to be unreliable by independent experts.

They are trying to suggest there is no other evidence tying Amanda Knox to the crime and they also fail to report that there are different schools of thoughts about the DNA evidence.

Déjà vu all over.

Posted by Nell on 07/30/11 at 03:11 AM | #

Hi Nell. I think Nadeau and Vogt mentioned in tweets that they are both taking foreign breaks with their families. Tough call for all reporters with kids but long school vacations are often their time for travel.

We do get to hear a great deal from Perugia and Rome and so we dont always quote Nadeau or Vogt on court days though of course we do like to. With our many Italian speakers we can read equally good reports in the Italian media (like the one at top) and very few reports reflect the FOA propaganda.

Clearly a furious fight in Perugia is going on and the 30,000 Euros story at top is far from the only one we have heard. There are very sharp elbows and lots of entreaties and especially threats.

But the fact of this report about Aviello being put out there this week in such detail shows how the honest pro-justice pro-Meredith people are really fighting back. We’re proud to help them.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/30/11 at 03:15 AM | #

Hi Peter. What is telling and even amusing is that the Knox groupies are tight lipped when it comes to Aviello’s latest statement. This must have caught them by surprise and apparently they are still waiting for instructions from Marriott on how to deal with it.

I believe there is a high probability that Raffaele Sollecito won’t deny Aviello’s story. He might keep silent like he did after refusing to provide Amanda Knox with an alibi. And my guess is that if he decides to address Aviello’s story, it will be to deal her defence with a final blow.

With that said, Luca Maori’s statements dismissing Aviello’s claims as “lies” gain in importance. His intention might have been to signal Knox’ defence that they are not turning against Knox and that Aviello’s claims came as a surprise to them. Sollecito still has to face Amanda Knox in court. I wonder how that will turn out.

There is a lot going on behind the scenes in my opinion and you have to read between the lines.

I believe Sollecito’s lawyers have made arrangements to be able to blame Amanda Knox for the murder on Meredith Kercher. An acquittal seems out of reach for their client at this point and they want at least make sure that he is attributed a lesser role in the crime, so he might reveal that she was the one who delivered the fatal stab wound with his kitchen knife. If Sollecito decides to take this path, we might even find out about the motive behind the crime, because there is no doubt in my mind that Amanda was the one who held a grudge against Meredith and not Rudy Guede or Raffaele Sollecito, which again would confirm that she was the instigator.

There is no doubt in my mind that Aviello is used as a “spokesperson” to deliver the message. There is no other reason he became involved in this trial in the first place. He had an important role. This mafia snitch liar was actually perfect for this purpose.

The timing is also very interesting. Right now everyone focuses on the upcoming cross examination of the independent experts. What could be more important right now? Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA is on the bra clasp, even the independent experts confirmed it, so for him a bit of distraction is not that bad, but for Amanda it is worse: people are going to focus on the knife with her DNA on it or on Aviello’s latest statement that she was the one who killed Meredith Kercher. She has nothing to look forward to.

Posted by Nell on 07/30/11 at 04:04 AM | #

Hi Nell. I agree with all except for a slightly different take on who drives Aviello. He has knocked both defenses and their teams seriously offbalance with this open talk of bribes and highhandedness, and the police and prosecution had a BIG hand in this.

Their role was to apply the screws by investigating Aviello’s claim, maybe threatening a perjury suit and more years behind bars, and then placing him in front of a magistrate when he folded and agreed to squeal.

Primary damage is to the Sollecito defense because they have been accused of a huge bribe. Among other things that makes it look like they think Sollecito really is guilty and they are making desperate moves.

Maori more likely remounced Aviello for the benefit for the prosecution and police than he did for the Knox team. We dont know what the police have since been up to, but it is possible Aviello’s story holds up. In which case Bongiorno could face removal from the case, a trial, and disbarment, plus loss of her parliament post and loss of the mayor possibility in Palermo.

Secondary damage is to the Knox team because now this talk of high-handedness is out in the open. Also Aviello may have quoted Sollecito for real that Amanda did it and Sollecito was caught by surprise. Putting Aviello on the stand to in effect repeat what Guede said about Knox is not what the Knox team want to see happen. Nor is putting Sollecito on the stand to hang their girl out to dry.

Several weeks ago Bongiorno trumped the Guede news with the leaking of the DNA review news. Now the prosecution and police have trumped Bongiorno’s news in spades. It is not making so many headlines, but both defenses have huge daggers now over their heads and they know it. The judges will know it too.

And as the final paragraph in the post at top explained, the prosecution can stop the trial at any time while they involve the Supreme Court in assuring a level playing field. The judges will know that too.

As Prime Minister Berlusconi has just found, and David Marriott apparently not, you mess with Italian justice at your real peril.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/30/11 at 05:16 AM | #

So the Police are now in the process of snaring Bongiorno ???? Can she really be that stupid to leave herself in that precarious position ?

Posted by Smacker on 07/30/11 at 06:18 AM | #

Hi Smacker. As I said, we dont know what the police have since been up to, but it is possible Aviello’s story holds up. We dont know how stupid she is, maybe not at all, but she has played some surprising moves and may yet get her client off.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/30/11 at 06:59 AM | #

Hi Peter. Your theory about how Aviello came to recant his testimony is a real possibility, but I assume that there won’t be any evidence to prove that Buongiorno and/or the Sollecito’s bribed Aviello, even if it was true. Aviello should be in a position to judge that one would guess.

I for one don’t believe anybody will ever find these 30.000 euros he claims to have received.

I don’t think the chances are high to find any evidence that Buongiorno has been involved in this whole matter, but there seems to be evidence that the Sollecito’s visited Aviello in prison. Now that’s interesting. If true, they certainly have some explaining to do. The Sollecito’s have already been caught red handed before.

I am looking forward to what happens next.

Posted by Nell on 07/30/11 at 09:25 AM | #

Hi Nell. We might have to wait a long time. Maybe forever! The prosecution tends to be fairly unforthcoming over its investigations and may already have achieved what it wants - assurance of a level playing field and discrediting of Aviello

Neither of the events we have been waiting on this week - a statement with maybe an indication of a suit against Aviello from Bongiorno, who police and prosecution generally like; or the turning up of evidence Aviello was paid - has been announced.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/30/11 at 02:07 PM | #

Hi Peter. I think you are right that they don’t need any of that to convict Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

He seemed very happy on the photo I have seen. I wonder why?

Posted by Nell on 07/30/11 at 02:58 PM | #

Well… Bongiorno wasnt present! At least that we can see from several dozen shots of the court.

That could have been a relief if she is now a news item unto herself.

Sollecito’s other main lawyer Luca maori did the questioning.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/30/11 at 04:28 PM | #

Well yet another example of the defendants and their families trying anything including bribing to spring the guilty parties. This one seems sure to backfire. To the prosecuters I say remain vigilant because now everyone knows how scummy these 2 families are and that they will try anything including falsely accusing others and bribing. Neither shows any sign of ever doing the right thing, only deny,deny and lie and lie.

Posted by friar fudd on 07/31/11 at 02:59 AM | #


Is Vanessa Sollecito still gainfully employed or has she been suspended?

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/01/11 at 07:42 PM | #

Hi Grahame. She was fired. There is still one more set of hearings to come - it seems that the Carabinieri may impose some punishment on top of the firing. No word on whether she found another job.

Read that second post by Jools. To her father’s anger, in her phone calls she sure dropped herself in the soup. The Perugia trial on that is coming up.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/01/11 at 08:57 PM | #

Thank you Peter

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/02/11 at 02:10 PM | #

Hi Matteo,

Knox and Sollecito weren’t convicted solely on the basis of the knife and bra clasp evidence. Most of the evidence that led to their convictions isn’t being reviewed. For example, the mixed blood samples, Sollecito’s bloody footprint on the blue bathmat and the Luminol footprints.

It should also be noted that Knox and Sollecito lied repeatedly to the police and others. They both gave three different alibis which all turned out to be false and they still don’t have a credible alibi for the night of the murder. Their credibility has been completely shot to pieces. In Italy “character evidence” is of equal value to forensic evidence.

On the whole, the coverage of the case in the American media has been appalling. It has been horribly biased, one-sided and riddled with factual errors. However, there are some journalists who should be highly commended for their excellent reporting such as Barbie Nadeau, Andrea Vogt, Charles Mudede, Clint Van Zandt and Dennis Murphy.

Posted by The Machine on 08/11/11 at 02:48 AM | #

Hi Matteo. Thanks for the vote of appreciation from Italy. That matters a lot.

None of our lawyers take the absurd Injustice In Perugia site at all seriously and apparently nor do any truly informed readers. It simply makes things up. Bruce Fisher is clearly a very poor thinker and also a fraud - although he claims to be reporting From New York to give himself an aura, we know that he does NOT live here and hides out in fear that we find out he is merely an uneducated low-paid salesman in a suburban store with zero qualifications to comment on the case.

Web statistics show that this site and the Perugia Murder File forum have 4 to 5 times the readers of IJP. The IJP crowd makes a lot of noise, but it is actually small, delusionary and ineffective. The Machine above describes what the jury is really looking at, and it is damning. No way out.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/11/11 at 06:35 AM | #

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