Saturday, June 18, 2011

Current Court Reporting: Seattle Post Intelligencer Still Posts The Best, Least Bias, Most Detail

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Seattle waterfront just north of downtown - Seattle PI building is at front center with globe]

Witness Andrea Vogt’s excellent report on the proceedings today in Appeal Court.

1). On the assorted criminals testifying today. 

The dramatic day of testimony, requested by the defense, brought together a gang of criminals of whom Hollywood scriptwriters could only dream, including a convicted rapist and childkiller, a mafia snitch and other hardened long-timers with little to lose.

Their riveting testimony (complete rubbish or explosive and key new revelations, depending on your point of view) led jurors down some of Italy’s darkest alleys, from the desperate gangster neighborhoods of Naples to the powerful masonic lodges of Umbria and tough Italian prison wards with their own code of honor….

Only one of the five had no connection to Sicily or Naples and that was a Romanian who claimed on the stand that his signature had been forged on a document presented by the defense and that he knew nothing about anything….

2) On the testimony of Mario Alessi

Alessi took the stand around noon, after a sharp drop in his blood pressure required a nurse’s attentions (the stress of testifying had caused him to lose 15 pounds over he last 10 days, his lawyer told seattlepi.com). Alessi said he earned Guede’s trust while they were incarcerated together.

One day, Guede took him by the arm and led him to a corner of the prison yard where they would be out of view of closed-circuit cameras, he said. Then, Guede told him that the real truth was that a drunkard who had gone to Kercher’s flat with Guede from the disco had sexually assaulted her and then killed her to avoid “rotting in prison” for the rape….

Toward the end of Alessi’s story, the lawyer for Meredith Kercher’s family, Francesco Maresca, branded him a repeat liar. Maresca held up a photo of “Tommy,” whose high-profile disappearance and slaying in 2006 shocked Italy….  In response to the photo of Tommy, Alessi said no, he didn’t recognize the boy, to which Maresca said, “That’s OK, we do.”

3) On the testimony of Luciano Aviello:

But on the night of Kercher’s murder, Nov. 1, 2007, Aviello testified, his brother came home with a ripped, bloodied jacket and was covered in scratches on his arms. He eventually said he had stabbed a young woman after surprising her during a break-in to steal a painting, Aviello said…

The brothers had then hidden the murder weapon and keys to the house in a nearby wall and covered the hole with mortar. “Go and see for yourselves. Verify it! You’ll find I am telling the truth,” said Aviello. “Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent.”  Police and prosecutors have never publicly confirmed that such a search was done. Aviello’s brother’s whereabouts are unknown.

When prosecutors asked him about his connection to Alessi and the other cons, Aviello took offense, saying he had nothing to do with those “pedophiles and rapists,” but was rather just an “honest” gangster from Naples doing time for routine organized crime.

Toward the end, Aviello’s testimony grew increasingly aggressive toward prosecutors and police with whom he had collaborated. At one point guards held his shoulders as he yelled accusations through the gap where two front teeth should be. “You are a klan, not the judiciary!” he yelled.

4) And on the prosecution’s many new rebuttal witnesses.

... the court agreed to call a number of counter-witnesses requested by the prosecution, including two more prisoners and two police officials. The court also agreed to hear Giacomo Benedetti, the friend of Rudy’s whose Skype conversation with Guede while Guede was on the lam in Germany led to his arrest, as well as Guede himself.




Comments

If any single one of the very few truly bilingual English/Italian journalists is to be acknowledged within the media realm for providing the most objective and best comprehensive coverage on the Meredith Kercher murder case, it would have to be Andrea Vogt.

After 4 long years and amongst many of the US and UK major news network’s misreporting, misinforming and outright omissions, Andrea Vogt’s remarkable journalistic achievement on this high profile case continues to stand out above them all.

Thank you Andrea Vogt for a job well done!

Posted by True North on 06/18/11 at 10:02 PM | #

a job well done and no doubt not without lots of local backlash! my thanks as well to Andrea Vogt for reporting the facts.

Posted by mojo on 06/19/11 at 07:19 AM | #

Aviello’s testimony is so utterly comical and preposterous that it is not surprising that the police have not attempted to find a knife and keys hidden in a wall.

1) Set out to steal a valuable painting but went to the wrong address by mistake? Please! Although the cottage may have a certain sort of rustic charm, with excellent views, it is little more than a converted cow shed. So what did they expect to find there? A Titian! The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies! Allo, Allo.

2) Let themselves in with keys!

3) Meredith in her dressing gown!

4) Staged a break in! Why?

5) Threw away the phones but kept the keys and knife!

6) Despite a vicious assault, left no DNA or other evidence (unlike Guede)?

As for Alessi, there may be a teeny weeny smidgeon of credibility, but for:

1) The fact that he is a callous baby murderer with a track record for lies and slander.

2) The alleged conversation in the prison yard out of sight of the closed circuit cameras would be an unnecessary precaution given that if the cameras had observed them the content of their conversation would not have been overheard anyway. Clearly this is part of his story because he knew that the cameras would be checked and no such encounter would be observed. Because it never happened.

3) The three back up witnesses appear to be useless because in so far as they heard anything this would appear to be hearsay i.e from Alessi.

4) As willsavive has observed the claim that Guede says he followed Meredith back to the cottage to ascertain where she lived would appear to be a glaring inconsistency given that he must have known where she lived.

5) Again, where is the evidence for the presence of Guede’s mate given the nature of this guy’s involvement?

As to why the defence should have called these shady characters in the first place, I completely take the point made by others that as the Supreme Court of Cassation has ruled that there was more than one assailant, then they have to substitute somebody, anybody, for their clients at the scene.

Ironic isn’t it, that two basic tenets of the FAO have now been discarded :

1) The Lone Wolf theory. and
2) No DNA in the room means that they were not there.

The discarding of the latter means for sure that the defence already know where the DNA review is going.

All in all a disastrous day for AK and RS and I await the rebuttal testimony, including, of course Guede’s, with great interest.

Posted by James Raper on 06/19/11 at 08:31 AM | #

Hi there all,

Very sage points James, I hadn’t twigged those!

A few things I’d be interested in hearing opinions on:

1) Why don’t the police just humour the gangster, go to the wall and show that there’s nothing hidden there? I don’t understand why they don’t and it just gives the defence a line of attack (albeit very flimsy.)

2) “the court agreed to call a number of counter-witnesses requested by the prosecution, including two more prisoners and two police officials. The court also agreed to hear Giacomo Benedetti, the friend of Rudy’s whose Skype conversation with Guede while Guede was on the lam in Germany led to his arrest, as well as Guede himself.”

Just out of interest, are the witnesses obliged to attend or can they refuse?

3) I read in the comments to Saturday’s posts that Guede’s sentence cannot be increased now. So if he does testify, does he have anything to lose by coming clean and telling the court exactly what did happen that night? Can he be asked that kind of question, or will questioning be limited to denying or confirming what the other cons have said?

Thanks all,

Jane

Posted by janeelisabeth on 06/20/11 at 07:34 AM | #

@jane,

Yes, it’s interesting as to why the prosecution have called Giacomo. Does he figure anywhere other than as to the Skype conversation? I can’t remember.

One reason may be that the prosecution want to go over that conversation again prior to calling Rudy and Giacomo is necessary simply to authenticate the conversation so that it can be admitted into evidence. although I suspect the police officers who set it up and recorded it could do that just as well.

It could also be that it is a matter of interpreting things said in it and a participant (and someone who knew Rudy well) would be better at that.

The question remains as to why they would be doing this.

I see a tactic. Rudy may think he is simply there to counter the jailbird’s evidence. He may though have other ideas but if not I am sure that the prosecution will want him to open up more, at least to go over certain things he mentioned in that Skype chat and at his separate trial. Such as Amanda’s relationship with Meredith. Giacomo’s presence and testimony may be the way in. Soften Rudy up and get him chatty on the subject. Go on to Rudy saying that Meredith was upset at the missing money and how she immediately suspected Amanda and so on up to his final trial evidence that Amanda and Meredith had a fight over the issue on the night Meredith died.

Would Amanda stay tight lipped during this?

Hmmmmm. Very interesting.

Yes, anyone called by the court has to attend. As they are all witnesses, including Rudy, they can be compelled to answer all questions. But, as I say, with Rudy they may want a more subtle approach.

Posted by James Raper on 06/20/11 at 09:21 AM | #


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