Powerpoints #19: Placing The Noisy Claimant Doug Preston In The Hot Seat

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This curious incident instigated my own series:

A week or two ago I received an unexpected email from Douglas Preston, co-author with Mario Spezi of The Monster of Florence (Spezi also wrote an Italian version that conflicts at many points with the English version) and a heated champion of the attempt to free Amanda Knox, who is still accused pending Supreme Court appeal of the murder of her housemate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia on 1 November 2007.

Preston explained that he wanted to write a “piece” about the “Knox case” and that he would like to do a 10 question email interview with me.  I got the hunch that Preston and Spezi are going to be active over the next few months in the media as their cause is increasingly thrown in disarray. Along with, I presume, their possible movie based on the Monster of Florence book.

I was surprised that Preston said he would “quote you accurately, honestly, and in context, and represent your views respectfully and accurately”. 

Hmmm. We all have in our memory Preston accusing me (see his comment April 28 2011 at 6:57 pm) of “distortions, falsehoods, and crackpot opinion presented as settled fact. Kermit’s open letter contains many out and out lies”.

He also claimed, erroneously, that I hide behind a “screen of false IP addresses and various other anti-hacker tricks” (what, has Preston tried to hack me?) and that I had “demonstrated a long history of falsehood and dishonesty” (I have?!).

Given that past experience, would you trust Preston? Silly me, I’m always ready to give anyone another chance!!

In return I proposed that the interview be two-way, and that we each proceed question by question on the issues that we wanted to clarify for us to publish in due course. I included a first question on seeming significant errors and mistruths in the “Afterword” or epilogue chapter of his and Spezi’s Monster of Florence book.

Very disappointingly, Preston didnt respond in kind. Nothing useful came back.

He concluded “as for my (Preston’s) ‘objectivity,’ I am a point-of-view journalist in this case. People know where I stand and they know my bad history with Mignini. I don’t pretend to be objective”.

Should Preston really call himself a journalist, or an opinion maker, or a lobbyist?  Why can’t people just respect the Italian legal process, which right now is not (and never was) firmly in the hands of Prosecutor Mignini, Preston’s perceived nemesis?

As we seem set to be subjected once again to seeing Preston and/or Spezi regularly sharing their rancid opinion of Prosecutor Mignini and Italians officials on the case with the public, I decided to get out in front, with this series pre-emptively checking their versions of the “truths”.

The Monster of Florence book is labeled (see above) a “True Story”, and while it does include historical facts related to the MoF murders in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s,  the two authors also personally intrude themselves into events.

This series should help the public to decide how seriously (if at all) they should accept Preston’s and Spezi’s opinions expressed in their media appearances where they interject themselves into Meredith Kercher’s murder case.

And to see if any of Preston’s self-described “point-of-view journalism” truths he shares with Spezi really stand up.

Please check back to TJMK as convenient for we may pose new questions to Preston and his co-author Spezi.

Posted by Kermit on 10/21/12 at 11:23 PM in

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Hi Kermit,

Thanks for creating yet another brilliant PowerPoint presentation. It’s indisputable that Doug Preston has got numerous facts wrong. I don’t believe for a second that he has the courage or integrity to acknowledge these factual errors. I suspect his silence will be deafening. The truth clearly doesn’t matter to him. He’s more concerned with making money from Meredith’s murder.

Posted by The Machine on 10/22/12 at 12:51 AM | #

I agree, Machine, that Preston is more concerned with making money from Meredith’s murder than seeking the truth.  Kermit asks why Preston’s book contains “errors.”  I think that Preston is riding the gravy train that is Knox’s PR campaign with his personal grudge against Mignini squarely on his shoulders.  Preston thinks people will not question what he writes.  Thanks to Kermit and the other posters on TJMK and Perugia Murder File the truth is out there for all to see.  No purchase necessary.

Posted by jodyodyo on 10/22/12 at 02:06 AM | #

Hey TM and Jodyodyo, there’s a contribution from many of the PMF and TJMK posters in this Powerpoint presentation, which I thank you all for.

This is the first in a series of questions that will be posed one-by-one to Preston and Spezi. With each new question, there’ll be an incrementally growing presentation.

Please check back regularly, every few days or so there’ll be a new question (incorporated into an extended presentation), posted amongst the ongoing set of posts on diverse subjects related to this case.

The gravy train is already showing signs of getting bogged down in their own inconsistencies and internal contradictions. I doubt that The Entourage will make it in a cohesive manner to the final appeal in March.

Posted by Kermit on 10/22/12 at 02:24 AM | #

This is absolutely brilliant. I am not surprised at Preston’s feeble bleating in response, this is so superbly presented with evidence to back up each point that he really does not have much scope to twist the truth in any way. No wonder he mumbled something and tried to escape, same tactics that Raffeale is using whenever someone asks him a half decent question.

Posted by Sara on 10/22/12 at 11:52 AM | #

[Quoting Preston:  “..as for my (Preston’s) ‘objectivity,’ I am a point-of-view journalist in this case. People know where I stand and they know my bad history with Mignini. I don’t pretend to be objective”.”

The correct word is “liar”. Because Preston is basically a proven liar. His story is false.

First, because it is impossible.

Second, because it would make no sense (as opposed to Mignini’s account of facts which is totally logical).

Third, because he has at least three witnesses against (if not four, including a second magistrate).

Fourth, because anyway he is just the friend of a suspect and aligned to a person who is convicted for defamation: he is nobody, and his word is worth nothing against the word of a magistrate.

Posted by Yummi on 10/22/12 at 07:10 PM | #

Excellent presentation Kermit.

Thank you.


Posted by Jeffski1 on 10/22/12 at 07:31 PM | #

I look forward to Preston correcting all the errors and insinuations in the Afterword, as he promised.

However I do not for a moment believe this will happen because I think he couldn’t really care less about facts. Furthermore I suspect that this is what he means by “point-of-view journalism”.

Excellent work, Kermit. Looking forward to further episodes.

Posted by James Raper on 10/22/12 at 10:59 PM | #

Hi James

It will happen. This is a process. A huge game of chicken if you like. Today Kermit has only put a few corrections out there - but as with the corrections to Sollecito they are set to grow and grow till they’re simply not ignorable.

Kermit’s great strength (and Machine’s and Stilicho’s and Cardiol’s and so many others) is in the impeccable checking and quoting of their sources, even if their work rules prevent them being named. All sources would stand up in a court of law and many already did.

Preston in sharp contrast almost never ever quotes any sources. No footnotes, no bibliography, no nothing. The only source he quotes in the Afterword (the reporter Francesca Bene) turned out to have feet of clay - assuming he quoted her inaccurate claims correctly. 

As you of all people know, that is weak legal ground, to say the least. So Preston’s ability to ignore corrections and to simply go on publishing just what he wants, unsourced, is not infinite.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/23/12 at 12:44 AM | #

The parallel between Preston/Spezi etc: is so close to Sollecito I wonder where their main influence lies.  How they can possibly hope to get away with writing this nonsense without any consideration of any aftermath convinces me that they are obviously living in a dream world of their own making. Of course I understand that they are preaching to the choir, but they must realize that they can’t get away with it. The best thing is that as soon as the going get rough those in their personal choir, FOA for example, will drop them like a hot potato.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 10/23/12 at 02:39 AM | #

Although it is, in one sense, unsurprising that Doug Preston emailed Kermit witbh questions I am actually very surprised.  Surprised that his ilk continue to pursue their ill-advised agenda for ill-gotten gains at the expense of a beautiful victim and her long-suffering family.

His making contact in this way, as if he were a welcome friend or comfortable acquaintance, is not just bizarre but quite frankly cynically audacious.  At what point will he - and others like him - stop? 

Clearly he perceives financial gain here.  I am stunned that he thinks there is yet another book to be written and that he is the one to write it.  How many books have been written about Meredith’s case to date?!

So it is now almost November and the Supreme Court hearing is 25 March - not too far off.  I really hope that this does not herald yet another onslaught from the vicious PR campaign. 

How long will it be before the good folk of the US actually look at the reality of this case and kick these fraudsters into touch?

Posted by thundering on 10/23/12 at 03:53 PM | #

And Kermit - your Powerpoint presentations are excellent.

So much painstaking detail and Truth.

You are a star.

Posted by thundering on 10/23/12 at 03:55 PM | #

Hi Thundering
You can clearly expect another outburst from the Amanda Knox supporters come November. I am totally amazed that even now there are those who firmly (in spite of all the evidence to the contrary) believe that she is innocent of any wrong doing at all.
Just what is wrong with these people? Obviously there must be something in the drinking water in Seattle/

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 10/23/12 at 05:40 PM | #

Great contribution as always, Kermit.  You know, the Knoxophiles out there really ought to read and listen to her own court testimony—repeatedly if possible.  Her supporters continue to call her a liar for admitting to have known Guede, to have encountered him prior to the murder on at least two occasions, to have accompanied Sollecito to the police station uninvited, to have been supplied with an interpreter at the police station, and to have provided the police with Patrick’s name and not the other way around.

They continue to make such claims without any apparent regard for the credibility of the woman they seek to defend.  Is it any wonder that Knox is now in hiding?

Posted by Stilicho on 10/23/12 at 08:59 PM | #

When I review some work (and I do that very often), I first read it quickly to get the overall idea. The first reading is just to create a mental index of the contents. When I have to write the report, I read it once more, very slowly and carefully and that is the time the inconsistencies flare up. Sometimes the inconsistencies are internal, i.e., work is not self-consistent. I often tell young people that it is very important to be self-consistent. But often the information does not add up with our existing knowledge as of now and this can mean only two things: the author is proposing some radical ideas that is tough to swallow, or (more likely) he is flaunting his ignorance proudly.

The damage they do is substantial: future people will often quote and refer to this work and this becomes a part of the culture and, more importantly, the error becomes genetic or hereditary and only people with the detailed knowledge will recognize this as erroneous.

Most of us read books only once and accept, somewhat strangely, whatever is written in a book as gospel. Such books spreading misinformation and untruths should be withdrawn from circulation and destroyed. Already these books have become a tool in the hands of the FoA. But the long term damage they made is incalculable.

The current book appears to be an work of fiction although it refers to incidents that have actually taken place. That is another dangerous trend: when half-truths are blended with lies and presented with the dessert, people implicitly accept the lies as truth, because subconsciously they recognize the half-truths.

Posted by chami on 10/23/12 at 09:03 PM | #

Hello Chami and yes as always you are right. Just to underscore what you wrote consider my piece concerning the very first page of Sollocito’s scribblings. Oh by the way since I couldn’t come close to everyone else critiquing it I have bowed out…..However and perhaps a more important thought, it’s just possible that Knox is also hiding from her vitriolic and rabid supporters

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 10/24/12 at 01:07 PM | #
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Or to next entry Powerpoints #20: Diane Sawyer’s Very Tough Interview With Amanda Knox: ABC’s Sneak Preview!

Or to previous entry Powerpoints #18: Katie Couric Interviews Raffaele Sollecito! We Already Have A Sneak Preview!!