Friday, January 30, 2009

Is The Amanda Knox Defense Team Being Undermined?

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

Carlo Della Vedova (left) and Luciano Ghirga.

Two of the smartest defense lawyers in Italy.

They are widely regarded as supremely competent and as truly superb players within the Italian system. They have a long list of acquittals to their names.

And they are said to get along very well with Prosecutor Mignini and to respect his role in the process and him personally.

If there are any lawyers in Italy that Amanda Knox can look to for a really powerful defense that could get her off and out of there, it would seem to be the team she has now.

Mr Ghirga and Mr Della Vedova have in the past voiced extreme irritation over past sliming from safely-distant Seattle of the Italian judges, the prosecutors, the police, and the evidence service.

They had essentially asked Seattle to pipe down.

We haven’t yet heard from them on the rabid new sliming of Prosecutor Mignini from Seattle. But lawyers following the case in New York and Italy seem stunned at the ferocity and pure foolishness of the attacks.

Several have remarked that they might walk right off a case if they were so undermined in their handling of a defense. And that they might file suit if they were the prosecutor.

Now Mr Mignini himself actually has filed suit. He has just filed a defamation complaint and Mr Ciolino and a small Seattle rag are those cited.

It seems to be a pretty popular move in Italy. We wonder why…


At the Salty’s fundraiser, there was a homemade posterboard at the entrance with cut out pictures of Knox heros, Paul the PI and Knox’s two lawyers.  In the Paul Ciolino interview on KOMO4 here in Seattle, in addition to his denegrating comments about Mignini, he said that the Knox’s were getting bad advice from their lawyers in Italy.  A direct hit to Mr. Della Vedova and Mr. Ghirga.

Since the fundraiser was hosted by the “Friends of Amanda”, and the Knox/Mellas family denies any association with that group, does this enable the family to disassociate themselves from negative comments made about the legal system and legal people involved in Italy?

I don’t think so.

Posted by Tara on 01/30/09 at 07:44 PM | #

Mignini has been remarkably restrained so far, and has mostly ignored the attacks. But last weekend’s assault, apparently led by Paul Ciolino (probably taking his marching orders from more important but more cautious people lurking behind the scenes), was so over the top I suppose some kind of response was only to be expected.

What’s funny is that Steve Shay’s West Seattle Herald article does not specify who the legal experts in Italy and the US are who think Mignini is “mentally unstable.” It also states that Mignini is facing charges in other cases, as opposed to in another case. So it also makes factual errors that are prejudicial to Mignini. It is the local version of tabloid journalism.

But when Shay was questioned, he shifted the blame by saying this is what he was told by people in attendance at the “charity,” as he called it. Was he told by people there that some experts believe this, or was he told by some experts in attendance that they personally believe Mignini is unstable?

I bet this is the most thrilling thing that has happened to Steve Shay since the last time Orcas were spotted off Alki.

All joking aside, this is seriously beginning to look as if some people are so desperate to derail this trial that they will do or say almost anything. These antics obviously run counter to the interests of Knox; what is worse is that they hurt Meredith’s family’s chances of obtaining justice.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 01/30/09 at 08:29 PM | #

”... this is seriously beginning to look as if some people are so desperate to derail this trial that they will do or say almost anything”

True. Being interpreted as a possible sign of real desperation. A case perhaps unwinnable on the merits. Wheel out the FUD team instead.

It is never a good idea to rattle the defense lawyers. They need to look calm and smiling and confident that their client can get off via their actions.

And most defense lawyers want to paint their client as a real cherub, who hales from a cherubic family, and a cherubic neighborhood.

What is erupting from Seattle seems to be looking far short of cherubic to much of Italy today.

It is going to look peculiar if the good-character witnesses all arrive in Perugia from Seattle - having shot themselves in the foot first.

“These antics obviously run counter to the interests of Knox; what is worse is that they hurt Meredith’s family’s chances of obtaining justice.”

True. Very sadly, true. On both counts.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/30/09 at 08:52 PM | #

Amanda Knox sure looks like she has time for her legal guys on the ground there. Can you also put up a shot of her smiling at Paul Ciolino? There must be one, right?

Posted by Anne on 01/30/09 at 09:19 PM | #

How can she smile and laugh like that. It’s not professional and looks bad. Does she not feel the gravity of the situation a) for the dead girl b) because she could be facing a long prison sentence. She’s weird. I think she’s probably guilty because all the evidence adds up to that she was at least involved in or knows something about the murder that she is not telling.

Ciolini is so obviously biased, it’s laughable. Saying things like that she couldn’t have done it because of her image as a ‘good girl’ - such a flimsy argument and shows a complete lack of understanding of human nature. She needs someone who is more balanced and measured on her side.

Posted by bluebird002 on 01/30/09 at 10:50 PM | #

Paul Ciolino’s Do It Yourself Hypnosis


You too can learn how to entertain your friends, with this handy new and exciting list of chants, never seen before, Paul has copyrighted all of them, and apart from the famous Free Amanda Knox, T-shirts a la Nelson Mandela, as well as the mugs and posters, now you can buy our new set of dolls, the ‘Paulie Detective Doll’s’, $35,95, buy one get one half price.

Detctive Paul comes with sets of suits, hats and sunglasses for undercover operations, he speaks just like Paul and you’ll have hours of fun, This is A Railroad Job from Hell, over and over and over, until even your grandmother emigrates to Australia.

Hear your friends roar with laughter.

Note to parents; These are adult diolls, not for use under 12 years of age.

Paul’s list of enchanting phrases, repeat 3 times before retiring and wake up completely convinced that you are superman (woman)

1/ there is not one shred of credible evidence

2/ this case reeks of police and prosecutorial misconduct

3/ it is time to end this charade and bring (whoever Paul decides is innocent????)  home

4/ zero criminal background

5/ a) We must now aggressively seek out new helpful information related to (whoever Paulie decides is innocent) case and with

5/ b) the help of qualified experts.

Author’s note here as to the meanings of what the dear chap Ciolino means.

In 5b, it means, if in Rome do not do as Romans do, but hire someone through Ciolino, he won’t get you out, but he sure will make a lot of noise - and Euros.

If you are in India, do not do as the Indians do, leave the curry alone and call us in, we will see to it that you are driven to court on an elephant, you may lose but you’ll not be forgotten.

If you are in France, don’t go to France, but avoid anything with frogs and again, just call us in, we’ll see that you get an English speaking lawyer, but our ones will not wear a beret,  strings of garlic as bead necklaces nor chain-smoke Gauloise whilst sleeping with the Eiffel Tower next to the bed, he or she may not speak French, but, We’ll show-em!

Posted by Central Scrutinizer on 01/31/09 at 04:31 AM | #

Increasing numbers of Seattlites seem to be realizing it is high time to get a grip, with the international spotlight on the city and some of its residents. Here’s a first commentary posted on the Seattle Crime Blog and more is promised there for this weekend.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/31/09 at 01:46 PM | #

Most Seattleites are smart enough to see this smear campaign against Mignini for what it is: a desperate attempt to distract attention away from the facts and key events of this complex case. A judge has just presented his reasons for sending Knox and Sollecito to trial; before him, at least eight judges have ruled that there was enough evidence to hold them in jail while the investigation proceeded (Matteini, Ricciarelli and six supreme court judges).

Most Seattelites are smart enough to realize that Paul Ciolino does not make sense when he speaks off the cuff and that, when he is reciting his standard mantra, he applies the same formula each time he is asked to do so. As for Anne Bremner, she’ll have to do better than whine because a murder suspect had to spend her 21st birthday in jail. Lately, she has merely taken over from Paul, launching hyperbolic attacks against Mignini. She sounds just as foolish and inarticulate as he does. They make a great team!

Seattleites are like people everywhere. They believe that justice is imperfect but necessary and that it usually leads to the right result if allowed to proceed properly. They believe that if Knox and Sollecito really had nothing to do with Meredith’s death—and especially if they can come up with a cogent explanation for the many inconsistencies in their stories and the circumstantial evidence (like why were they standing outside the cottage with a mop when police arrived? why did Raffaele change his story and say Knox went out while he stayed home? why did he write in his diary that Meredith must have been pricked with his knife while cooking at his place when she never went to his place? and so on…), which on the face of it looks damning—then they will be exonerated.

You have to wonder about the wisdom of the “demonize the prosecutor strategy” that has recently gone into overdrive. It smacks of desperation.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 01/31/09 at 07:37 PM | #

The sideshow will remain open until Friday. then we’ll actually have some real evidence to ponder.  Speaking of waiting for the trial to resume, does anyone know why there are these large gaps in the trial schedule?  It can’t just be to let blogs get up to speed.

Posted by Arnold_Layne on 02/01/09 at 01:43 AM | #

Hi Arnold,
Because the judges and lawyers work on different trials so they can’t schedule daily hearings.
Actually it seems to be a better way, since they have more time to review and think about the case without being under time pressure.

Posted by Nicki on 02/01/09 at 02:37 AM | #

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