Monday, April 07, 2014

Italy Pushes Back On Dirty Tricks And Frame-Ups: Examples Of What Sollecito Must Defend In Court

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Florence prosecutor Gianbartolomei will announce charges later this month]

Many posters contributed to this analysis and to what is to come. Special thanks to James Raper and Sara, and also to Vivianna, Yummi and Kermit.


Sollecito’s blood-money book gets published

Sollecito’s hapless book Honor Bound was released in English on 18 September 2012.

Within ten days all of Italy knew that the book was a crock.

Bruno Vespa, the persistent host of Porta a Porta, Italy’s most popular crime show (for the equivalent of which American TV cries out) forced Sollecito’s father in national prime-time to admit that at the core of the book was a huge lie.

Other claims about the case and the officials were shown to be wrong too.

Smarter people than Sollecito’s help in the US (Andrew Gumbel and Sharlene Martin, later John Q Kelly, and Simon & Schuster) might have put the brakes on until they got the truth straight and a revised version out.

But no, a media blitz was all ready to roar. The blood-money couldn’t wait.

Huge numbers of professional book reviews and Amazon reader reviews swallowed Sollecito’s claims in the book whole. The nastiness toward Italy and its justice system and officials was ratcheted onto a whole new plane.

Needless to say, official Italy did take note

For the legal reasons explained in this key post an investigation by the Florence Chief Prosecutor’s Office was mandated to begin.

In that same post it was warned that for the period the investigation would require, it would be taken below the radar, so that the Sollecito defense team would have no way to respond through dishonest PR or legal dirty tricks.

A not-unsurprising result of that stealth move was that in the meantime, in the last year, very full of themselves and feeling no constraint, Sollecito and his team went hog-wild in adding more crazy claims.  And still more.

Now the investigation is complete

Now Prosecutor Gianbartolomei has issued his announcement of the conclusion of his investigation. The content of the notice is at present confidential except to the defenses.

As Yummi reports, from this point on, the defense has 20 days to say something, such as to request that Sollecito be interrogated or allowed to declare or explain something.

Then the prosecution will file charges against Sollecito and Gumbel, and possibly Sharlene Martin and Simon & Schuster, their careless publishers in New York.

Which precise false claims Prosecutor Gianbartolomei has made the target of his report we do not know. But this is a target-rich environment, that is for sure:

Consider for starters these 20 false claims which, believe it or not, all appear in the first seven pages of the book.

1. That Italian justice authorities took the easy way out

This is the story of two ordinary people who stumbled upon an extraordinary circumstance, the brutal murder of a British student in Italy. Neither Amanda Knox nor I had anything to do with the crime, but we came perilously close to spending the rest of our lives in prison because the authorities found it easier, and more convenient, to take advantage of our youth and inexperience than to mount a proper investigation.  It’s that simple. And that absurd.

No advantage was taken of them. The two stood out very sharply from all the others of similar age, and of similar inexperience (whatever that means). They did and said dozens of things in the early days that set them sharply apart.

They were interrogated quite fairly, the Italian media was not especially hard, Dr Mignini never ever leaked, and they had lawyers and family handy at every turn after they were arrested. They each gave the authorities less than zero help - they tried to lead them off on wild goose chases, for example the false claim AK made against Patrick and dozens of other false claims, and apparently tried to finger yet another north African, Hicham Khiri, in a conversation they clearly knew was being recorded.

A “proper” investigation was indeed done. Simply read through all the posts on the trial here in the first half of 2009, and the prosecutor’s excellent summations, and you will see what a smooth comprehensive job was done. And the Supreme Court concluded that THREE had to have been involved, from the recreation of the attack and all the wounds on Meredith’s body. AK and RS and their lawyers never came within light-years of throwing real suspicion on anyone else.

2. That the preventive custody was very harsh

On November 1, 2007, Amanda and I were carefree students at the beginning of a cross-cultural love affair in a beautiful Umbrian hill town. Within days, we were thrown into solitary confinement in a filthy prison, without access to lawyers or loved ones, accused of acts so heinous and disturbing we may never be able to banish them from our thoughts, or our nightmares.

Raffaele was sent to preventative prison on Tuesday November 6. Capanne Prison was almost brand-new then, and far from crowded. Cells contain TVs and private bathrooms.

All questioning had been stopped early on 6 November until Sollecito could have a lawyer present. He himself wrote to his father in his “prison diary” on November 7:  “I may see you tomorrow, at least that is what I was told by Tiziano [Tiziano Tedeschi, his lawyer at the time], who I saw today and who defended me before the judge.”

Mr Tedeschi made no complaint about any delay in the first meeting with his new client. In Italy, a judge must determine within 48 hours whether to hold or release detained suspects. Judge Matteini did so meticulously and refused his release.

3. That the prosecution and Italian media demonized the pair

In the newspapers and on the nightly news, we were turned into monsters, grotesque distortions of our true selves. It did not matter how thin the evidence was, or how quickly it became apparent that the culprit was someone else entirely. Our guilt was presumed, and everything the prosecution did and fed to the media stemmed from that false premise.

In the real world, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased. Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see said daily about possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV. Besides, any coverage, which was in part deliberate in the situation as dozens of students were fleeing Perugia, had no influence on anything, neither on the investigation nor the trial.

The Italian system is set up so media can have less influence than almost any other media on any other justice system in the world. The Micheli and Massei sentencing reports show the judges were not unduly influenced even by the lawyers right in front of them, let alone by mild media reports 1 or 2 years before that.

4. That four years were wasted showing where the prosecution went wrong.

By the time we had dismantled the case and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity [in the annulled Hellmann appeal] we had spent four of what should have been the best years of our lives behind bars.

“We” meaning the defense lawyers did very little in the annulled Hellmann appeal that they hadn’t flailed uselessly against in the trial. Except of course maybe shopping for an inexperience and pliable judge, and for DNA consultants who they could then spoon-feed. Much of the hard evidence they simply kept well away from in the trial and annulled appeal. Such as the extensive evidence in the corridor and bathroom and Filomena’s room, which were all considered parts of the crime scene.

On the other hand, RS’s claim could well apply to what Dr Galati and Cassation did for the Hellman sentencing report. Dismantled the appeal verdict, and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity.

5. That Knox was made a target because timid Italy was scared of her.

Amanda and I certainly made our share of mistakes. At the beginning we were too trusting, spoke too frivolously and too soon, and remained oblivious to the danger we were courting even after the judicial noose began to tighten. Amanda behaved in ways that were culturally baffling to many Italians and attracted a torrent of gossip and criticism.

An inaccurate and xenophobic remark originated by the American Nina Burleigh, who was having severe culture shock of her own and surrounded only by other foreigners with similar mindsets. What EXACTLY was so baffling about Knox to the very hip Italians? That Knox was pushy, obnoxious, humorless, rather lazy, rather grubby, and not especially bright or funny or pretty?  That she put off Patrick, Meredith, her other flatmates, the boys downstairs, the customers in the bar, and just about everybody else except for the distasteful druggie loner Sollecito?

Read this post by the Italian-American Nicki in Milan. To quote from it “As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public….. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”....Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence.”

6. That Knox and Meredith were really great, great friends.

We were young and naive, unthinking and a little reckless. Of that much we were guilty.  But what we did not do—and could not have done, as the evidence clearly showed—was murder Meredith Kercher.

Meredith was Amanda’s friend, a fellow English speaker in the house they shared with two Italian women just outside Perugia’s ancient city walls. She was twenty-one years old, intelligent, and beautiful. She and Amanda knew each other for a little over three weeks, long enough to feel their way into their new surroundings and appreciate each other’s interests and temperaments. I never heard about a single tense moment between them.

Plenty of other people did know of tensions. Meredith’s family and friends all knew Meredith was finding the noisy dirty lazy loud unfocused Knox and her one-night-stands hard to take.  Her other flatmates found her hard to take. Her employer Patrick found her hard to take. His customers in the bar found her hard to take.  The Lifetime movie got this strident angle pretty straight.

Remember, Meredith enrolled for a full academic load at the main university. Knox in sharp contrast took only one undemanding language course - which anyone could walk into - requiring maybe 10 hours of study a week.  They increasingly did less together. In fact after several weeks nobody was lining up to have anything to do with Amanda Knox.

Seemingly unable to reverse herself, she was headed to being among the least popular of students in Perugia.  It should be recalled that the callous remarks by Amanda Knox about the death of her so-called friend Meredith included “Shit happens”, “She fucking bled to death”, and “‘I want to get on with the rest of my life”.

7. That an intruder knew about the rent money and so murder ensued.

Meredith, of course, suffered infinitely worse luck than we did: she came home, alone, on an ordinary Thursday night and had her throat slit by an intruder hoping to steal the household rent money.

There is zero evidence that this was the case. Knox herself ended up with a similar amount of cash that she has never been able to explain. There is zero possibility that Guede would know that any money was lying around - or not lying around, as it was concealed in Meredith’s drawer.

And take a look at the many images of the brightly lit house at night. There are several dozen other houses behind it in the dark which any smart burglar would have chosen first.  In 2008 two real break-ins occurred at the house - both were in the dark behind the house, which is by far the easiest place to break in.

So much for the spurious lone-wolf theory, which Judge Micheli first ruled out even before trial.

8. That the media got hysterical and portrayed heartless killers.

But the roles could easily have been reversed. If Meredith’s Italian boyfriend had not gone away for the weekend and if Amanda had not started sleeping over at my house, she—not Meredith—might have been the one found in a pool of blood on her bedroom floor. That reality was quickly lost amid the hysteria of the media coverage. But it continued to hover over both of us—Amanda especially—as we sank into the legal quagmire and struggled in vain to overcome the public image of us as heartless killers.

There was zero media hysteria. This silly claim was addressed above. Watch the Porta a Porta YouTubes and dozens of other Italian reports and try to find ONE that is not fair and cautious and mature.

How precisely did the two struggle in vain to overcome their public image? By coming up repeatedly with stories which didnt even tally with others of their own, let alone with one another’s? They never between them made even one helpful statement which actually helped the police.  And even their respective parents strongly suspected or knew of their guilt and were all caught incriminatingly on tape.

9. That Rudy Guede did it alone; ignore vast evidence that proves not.

This should not have been a complicated case. The intruder was quickly identified as Rudy Guede, an African immigrant living in Perugia with a history of break-ins and petty crimes. His DNA was found all over Meredith’s room, and footprints made in her blood were found to match his shoes. Everything at the crime scene pointed to a lone assailant, and a single weapon. Guede repeatedly broke into houses by throwing a rock through a window, as happened here, and he had been caught by the authorities in the past with a knife similar to the one that inflicted Meredith’s fatal wounds.

This is laughable. It has in fact been demonstrated in numerous ways that the attack involved multiple assailants and this was accepted by the Supreme Court.

Sollecito’s own lawyers never forcefully argued this. They produced two non-credible witnesses in the appeal trial (Alessi and Aviello) to actually prove that Guede had some other accomplices or that several others did it. Also Amanda Knox if anything diverted attention AWAY from Guede as he did in turn from her. He wasn’t quickly identified precisely because Knox had rather credibly fingered Patrick.

There is no proof Guede was an intruder. The trial court concluded Knox invited him in. Guede had zero proven history of break-ins or petty crimes or drug-dealing, and late in 2008 at his trial Judge Micheli became angry at such claims. Guede had no prior criminal record at all. He had only been back in Perugia for a few weeks, after an extended stay up north.  His DNA was not found “all over” Meredith’s room. A major surprise, in fact, was how few traces of him were found.

The recreation of the crime scene and the autopsy both pointed AWAY FROM a lone assailant, not toward.  From Meredith’s wounds, it was quite evident that two and perhaps three knives had been used, and not a single weapon. What lone intruder carries or uses two or three knives?  And footprints in blood outside the door matched the feet of both RS and AK. This is why the Supreme Court confirmed Guede’s guilt only “in concorso” (with others).

10. That the cops could have caught Guede fast, despite Knox’s frame

Guede did not call the police, as Amanda and I did, or volunteer information, or agree to hours of questioning whenever asked. Rather, he fled to Germany as soon as the investigation began and stayed there until his arrest two and a half weeks later.

Guede’s apprehension and eventual conviction on murder charges should have been the end of the story. But by the time Guede was identified, the police and the public prosecutor’s office had convinced themselves that the murder was, incredibly, the result of a sexual orgy gone wrong, in which Amanda and I had played leading roles. Their speculations ignited a media firestorm, inspiring sensationalist headlines across the world about the evil lurking behind our seemingly innocent faces.

The authorities had no shred of evidence to substantiate this story line, only erroneous suppositions and wild imaginings. We had an alibi for the most likely time of death, and none of the initial forensic evidence tied us to the scene of the crime. Nothing in our backgrounds gave any hint of a propensity for violence or criminality. We were both accomplished, hardworking students known to our friends and families for our gentleness and even tempers.

Four more untrue remarks. All three were convicted of a murder with a sex-crime element and nobody was wrongly “convinced”. Which alibi is Sollecito talking about now? He himself admits in chapter 1 (Love and Death) that they had no “real alibi”. They still have no alibis at all for the second half of the evening, neither of them, when Meredith’s murder indisputably occurred.

Extensive forensic evidence within days tied them both to the scene. Not a single element of it has been discredited in the eyes of the Massei trial and Nencini appeal court. Not even one. Nothing was falsified.

Neither of their backgrounds was squeaky clean. Both had long been into illegal drugs, the loner Sollecito had to be watched by his father and teachers, the increasingly disliked Knox had a history of doing and saying crass off-putting things. Both were lagging behind their brighter peers in their studies and Knox was taking a year off.

11. That the prosecution fed the media a huge number of false claims.

Yet the authorities stuck to their guns. They fed the media a steady diet of sensationalist stories of how Amanda, the promiscuous American she-devil, and I, her sex-and-drug-addled Italian helpmeet, had tried without success to drag Meredith into our depravity and punished her by plunging an outsize kitchen knife into her neck.

Complete fiction. Again, in the real world, as the media reporters all confirm, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media, and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased.

Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see daily on possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV crime shows. There is zero sign this mild coverage mattered to the courts. As the media reporters all confirm, they were fed next to nothing by the police or prosecution on the case,

But whereas Mr Mignini famously never leaks, the defenses are widely claimed to have leaked throughout like sieves. So did Sollecito’s own family - they leaked an evidence video to Telenorba TV, for which they were considered for trial. Even we at TJMK and PMF received several offers of juicy leaks. Here is one example of where the Knox forces leaked - wrongly in fact - and then nastily slimed the prosecution and defenseless prison staff.

12. That the authorities had lots and lots and lots of scenarios.

It might have been funny if the consequences had not been so devastating. Listening to the tortured language of the prosecution—“one can hypothesize that . . . ,” “it is possible that . . . ,” “one can imagine that . . . ,” “this scenario is not incompatible with . . .”—it became clear that the authorities, like the media, were treating our case with the bizarre levity of an after-dinner game of Clue, or an Agatha Christie mystery. Everyone, even the judges in their black robes, had theories they were itching to air.

Have Sollecito and Gumbel ever before been in any other court in Italy or the UK or the US?  Every judge and/or jury has to arrive at a scenario on lines not unlike this. That is the whole POINT of having courts - to weight the probabilities in what happened in the crime.  The only difference in Italy is that the judges have to think their verdict through for weeks, and then write it all out, and then see it scrutinized by a higher court. This is hardly a requirement to be sneered at.

Gumble and Sollecito should have studied how US and UK juries arrive at their own scenarios. Very few US and UK lawyers think they do a better job. Ask those who watched the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials and bitterly criticised the outcomes. And Italy has a vastly lower rate of false imprisonment than the US does.

13. That Italy is a medieval country with a primitive justice system.

It could have been Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the revolver; instead it was Amanda and Raffaele in the bedroom with the kitchen knife. How was it conceivable that a democratic country known for its style and beauty and effortless charm—the Italy of the Renaissance and la dolce vita—could allow two young people to be catapulted to international notoriety and convicted of a horrific crime on the basis of nothing at all?

This is not remotely what happened. There was very far from nothing at all. Convictions in the US and UK regularly result based on evidence 1/10 or 1/100 of that here - sometimes from one single evidence point. Any one or several of maybe 100 evidence points here could have convicted them in a US or UK court.

Italy gives defendants every possible break, and the justice system is seriously loaded against victims and their families. Read here and here.

14. That the prosecutors office and media were in a grim embrace.

The answer has something to do with the grim embrace that developed between the prosecutor’s office and the sensationalist media. Like addicts constantly looking for the next fix, each fed the other’s insatiable appetite for titillation and attention. The casual cruelty of “Foxy Knoxy” and her Italian lover became too good a story line to abandon, even when it became apparent it was overheated and unsustainable. Our suffering was the price to be paid for the world’s continuing entertainment.

WHAT grim embrace? WHAT addicts? WHAT fix? WHAT insatiable appetite? WHAT titillation and attention? This is clearly defamatory if it can’t be proven, and we can turn up no evidence that any of it is true. It has to be one of the most foolish lies in the entire book, it is so easy to disprove. These who are being accused of crimes here are career police and prosecutors secure in their jobs, and none have the slightest gain to make from false convictions.

15. That in the justice system speculation and hearsay run rampant

The meandering complexities of the Italian legal system, where speculation and hearsay are allowed to run rampant and time invariably slows to a maddening trickle, did little to help our cause.

Total mischaracterization. First note that by comparison with any country in the world THERE IS NOT MUCH CRIME IN ITALY.  There is some minor corruption and still some minor mafia action, but thefts and burglaries and assaults are few and murders even fewer. The main crime if you can call it such is not lining up to pay taxes.  Italy’s murder rate is 1/6 that of the United States and its prison incarceration rate is 1/30 that of the United States, so where IS all this crime about which the claimed speculation and hearsay are running rampant?

The legal process could have been fully over by the end of 2009 if (1) there was not the entitlement to two automatic appeals; in UK and US terms there was very little to appeal about;  and (2) the Hellmann appeal court had not been fixed to produce a corrupt outcome, as the displaced judge Sergio Matteini Chiari and Cassation and the Council of Magistrates have all made plain.

And compared to American police and prosecutors, their Italian counterparts are famously taciturn under their unusually firm rules. There is media interest, for sure, as there should be when there are crimes, but that also is comparatively restrained. Watch the various Porta a Porta shows on YouTube and you will see how sedate crime discussion tends to be.

The Constitution and judicial code set out to achieve the exact opposite of speculation and hearsay affecting justice, and they do so.  Creating this restraint is a primary reason for the judges’ sentencing reports and all the magistrates’ checks of investigations along the way.

This whole series of dishonest claims about the the Italian system in the preface of the book and in a later chapter have clearly not been read through or okayed by even a single Italian lawyer.

16. That in Italy proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists

For reasons deeply embedded in the country’s history, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy, and the very notion of undisputed fact is viewed with suspicion, if not outright aversion.

So Gumbel and Sollecito are historians and legal experts now? It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if either were able to explain the remark. This may be an ignorant swipe at the Napoleonic Code on which the law of a lot of continental Europe is based. Ignored is that Italy carried out its own reforms to the Code in 1990 and more subsequently. Much of that reform, it should be pointed out, was procedural or structural rather than substantive law.

There are two things wrong with “..the concept of reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy.”

1. It is factually wrong. Italian jurists, the courts, and so on, are well acquainted with the concept as it has been a fundamental aspect of criminal proceedings in Italy as elsewhere for many decades if not centuries.

2. It suggests that Italians are not intelligent enough to understand the concept anyway. That of course is an insult to Italians.  Actually they are no less intelligent than the rest of us elsewhere who strive to understand it.

Until the 1990 Reforms the relationship between criminal and civil proceedings in Italy were governed by the principles of unity of jurisdiction and the prevailing status of criminal proceedings. Hence, if the facts were the same then criminal proceedings (to punish the guilty) and civil proceedings (to render liable the guilty for damages) were heard at the same time and still sometimes are, as in the Meredith Kercher case.

What has changed (relevant to the above quote) is that civil cases can be and are more likely to be heard independently from the related criminal cases and, where not, the standard of proof in civil cases (the preponderance of evidence or, as we usually refer to it, the balance of probabilities) is to be applied to the civil case, and the civil case only, rather than be confused with or overriden by the criminal standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt).

Not an easy task, admittedly, to apply different standards to different tasks, based on the same facts, in the same proceedings, but Italian judges are trained to do this because that is their system. No judge would EVER confuse “beyond reasonable doubt” with “the balance of probabilities” when the issue at stake is depriving an individual of his freedom.

17. That the Italian judiciary has vast, unfettered powers

Few in Italian society wield as much unfettered power as the robed members of the judiciary, whose independence makes them answerable to nobody but themselves.

Radically the opposite of the truth. The paranoid claim reads like it came from ex PM Berlusconi fearful of his own conviction or one of his parliamentary lackeys such as Girlanda.

The checks and balances on judges in the Italian system are enormous, perhaps the toughest checks and balances in the world. Read here and here about them.

All of the best judges in the world are independent and they all follow a demanding career path, not elected (as ex-Judge Heavey was) under zero criteria, or appointed under the political sway of politicians. We wonder if Gumbel and Sollecito have ever heard of the US Supreme Court? Do those judges answer to anybody? No? How unfettered. 

18. That the courts are the most reviled institution in Italy.

Many Italians retain a healthy skepticism about the reliability of their procedures and rulings. The courts—tainted by politics, clubbishness, pomposity, and excruciating delays—are the most reviled institution in the country.


As our Sollecito Book pages make clear again and again and again, the Italian system is remarkably NOT tainted by politics, as even the most surperficial watcher of the trials of ex Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi would know.

And on the issue of popularity we have previously posted this and this and also this.

Our Italian poster Machiavelli (Yummi), who posted our deep analysis of the appeal to the Supreme Court by Dr Galati, has provided these hard facts:

For comparison, in 2011 the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the justice system “a lot” or “enough” was 53.3%. By comparison, the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the government “a lot” or “enough”  were 14.7%, and those who trust the parliament were only 15%.

In 2012, the percentage of Italians who trust the parliament is now only 9.5%, and those who trust the Mario Monti administration are only 21.1%.

Over the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the percentage of Italians who trust the justice system was always bigger than those who trust parliament or government by at least ten points, and in some years we can see a spread of 20, 30, even 39 percentage points achieved by the judiciary over the parliament and government.

However, some cases of corruption (such as our Hellmann-Zanetti case, but also several others indicated by the Rapporto Italia 2012) do hamper trust.

The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).

Which means the most trusted institutions are precisely those law enforcement instruments which are deployed to enforce the orders of prosecutors.

19. That prosecutors can spin their cases into any shape they please.

Because the Italian legal system is almost completely blind to precedent and relies on a tangle of impenetrable codes and procedures, prosecutors and judges have almost boundless freedom to spin their cases into any shape they please and create legal justifications on the fly. Often, they are more interested in constructing compelling narratives than in building up the evidence piece by piece, a task considered too prosaic and painstaking to be really interesting.

Whoever wrote this either wasnt an Italian or a lawyer, and either way didnt have much of a clue. The entire Italian system under the post WWII constitution was designed to PREVENT what Sollecito & Gumbel claim it allows here.

There are checks and balances and reviews every step of the way. Magistrates (initially Matteini here) determine what a prosecutor may do in developing and presenting a case. Parties may appeal to the Supreme Court AT ANY TIME as Knox’s lawyers did over her second written confession - which she herself had demanded to make in front of Dr Mignini after he finished warning her of her rights.

Hard for Sollecito & Gumbel to believe, perhaps, but the defense is actually present in the same courtroom. They can raise points of order at any time. So can the defendants themselves, at any time, something maybe unique in the world.

And judges actually have minds of their own. And then there are the unique written sentencing reports, and the two automatic appeals if any parties want to pursue them.

Sollecito & Gumbel should have read the 2012 Galati appeal more closely. The Prosecution’s Appeal To The Supreme Court is available in English here.  Precedent has a section to itself - “The non-observance of the principles of law dictated by the Cassation Court in the matter of circumstantial cases (Article 606(b)) in relation to Article 192 paragraph 2 Criminal Procedure Code.”

Well, that’s precedent, via the Court of Cassation no less! How surprising from Gumbel/Sollecito that they should make that claim about ignoring precedent when in fact there it is, going right to the heart of the flawed Hellmann/Zanetti judgement on circumstantial evidence!  What else is a Code but in effect a codification, a gathering together, a rationalisation, of best law - and precedent? 

There is an absurd irony here, were they aware of it. Perhaps they are. Surely it is Hellmann and Zanetti who have displayed “a boundless freedom” in spinning the case “into any shape they please”, and who have “created legal justifications on the fly”?  As for prosecutors doing this, at least Dr Mignini followed the evidence, and American readers may recall the infamous Jim Garrison, the DA hero of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” but who in reality, unlike Dr Mignini, was a total and utter crackpot.

And what issue exploded the Porta a Porta TV show in Italy in September 2012? It was Sollecito’s false claim that the prosecution had secretly tried to offer him a deal if he would roll over on Knox.  NOBODY including his own father and his own lawyers confirmed him. Evidence against both was overwhelming. Nobody needed such a deal, and Italian prosecutors are highly rules-bound against ever offering such deals.

Sollecito was in effect accusing Dr Mignini of a felony with this much-repeated false claim in his book. (In her book Knox also accused Dr Mignini of a felony.)

20. That the prosecutors and judges in Italy are far too close.

Prosecutors and judges are not independent of each other, as they are in Britain or the United States, but belong to the same professional body of magistrates. So a certain coziness between them is inevitable, especially in smaller jurisdictions like Perugia.

Yes, prosecutors and judges in Italy belong to the same professional body of magistrates. But then so does the defense lawyer Ms Bongiorno. The claim that there is no independence between prosecutors and judges in Italy, in fact a coziness between them, is a bit rich.

Consider, say, the UK. It is true cases are prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service, a government body, but in serious cases the CPS will employ barristers from the Inns of Court. There is scarcely a judge in the UK, even up to the highest level, who was not and who is not still a member of one of the Inns of Court from whence barristers, for the prosecution or for the defence, ply their trade.

You can’t walk past an Inn without seeing the names of judges on the roll call on the plaques outside. A judge is still a barrister, just fulfilling a different function, although, of course, now paid by the State.  The old school boy tie? Corruption? No, the fulfilling of different roles by members of the same body is called professionalism. 

Judges and lawyers all belong to the American Bar Association in the US and attend the same conferences. No sign that this lack of “independence” ever affects trials.  This claimed excess of coziness is often ranted about online by the Knoxophile David Anderson who lives near Perugia. Nobody who pays him any attention can get where he derives this from. Maybe he heard it from Hellman?

Perugia prosecutors and magistrates are all known to do a fine job, and the national Olympics & earthquake relief cases involving powerful Rome politicians were assigned for competent handling to where? To Perugia… Defense lawyer Ghirga and Prosecutor Mignini have the reputation of being good friends. And Mignini and Massei would both draw their salaries from the State. But so what? Do not judges and DAs in the the USA do likewise? Are Gumbel and Sollecito impugning the professionalism of the counterparts of Mignini and Massei all over the world? It sure reads like it.

On our further postings

Akk of this above analyzes only the first seven pages, out of a book which has several hundred pages. We will post one or two times more during April. Later in the book, there is a lot of venomous sneering addressed at Dr Mignini, although his performance at trial was excellent - and he is now for Perugia’s region (Umbria) the Deputy Prosecutor General.

In Italy Dr Mignini is now and then on national TV along with Michele Giuttari, who pursued the main Monster of Florence theory - not the crackpot theory Preston and Spezi attempted to use to frame someone. At impugning him,  Sollecito and Gumbel have failed miserably, and for that are now in the crosshairs of the system.

*******

Many posters contributed to this analysis and to what is to come. Special thanks to James Raper and Sara, and also to Vivianna and Kermit.


[Kermit’s take on Katie Couric, one of several smart TV hosts who suspected a giant con]




Comments

Thanks for this brilliant post. Absolutely crazy to think he thought he could get away with these outrageous lies. The truth always catches up with you, however long it may take…

This has probably been talked about many times before so apologies, but can they do the same for Knox’s book? Or is it slightly different because she’s in the US?

Posted by Sel-Nel on 04/07/14 at 03:40 PM | #

Hi smn123

Good question. Yes the Italian prosecution will do the same for Knox’s book, even though the American edition went through emergency surgery before publication when the UK arm of HarperCollins refused to issue it in the UK on their lawyers’ warning that it was highly defamatory.

An Italian language version was prepared but not published. There was a German version and a Spanish version.

If Italy takes on the publishers (not known if they will yet) they can win huge awards, almost enough to put their Italian operations out of business.

Google rarely blinks in face of legal threat - but it took down the blog it hosted for Frank Sforza in a hurry when an Italian court insisted Sforza’s fictional and very nasty blog (Perugia Shock) was way too defamatory.

As Ergon recently described in posts here, Chris Mellas (who is “secretly” behind all these rogue websites; he is nothing if not a coward) then put up a new version of Perugia Shock, but Mellas soon yanked it in face of legal risk and Frank Sforza going mentally and legally haywire. 

There is a statute of limitations in Italy of one year for this sort of defamation (midway between libel and calunnia, and tried by a prosecutor) but the clock only starts ticking when the book “comes to the attention of” those impugned and they initiate a formal legal complaint as officials are required to.

What has “come to the attention of” prosecutors in Bergamo (north east of Milan where the weekly Oggi has its headquarters) is SOME of Knox’s defamation. This was some sections which Oggi foolishly published.

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/1_the_oggi_article_which_conveys_to_italy_knoxs_claims_of_crimes/

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/with_first_felony_complaint_against_her_book_filed/

The editor of Oggi is a mafia fellow traveler (as are Spezi and several others on the bandwagon) who delight in whacking the justice system along with Berlusconi. But other than with this case where the lies have metastazed, that has been a losing proposition. Italian justice eventually gets round to them.

The defamation in the rest of Knox’s book is a huge legal sleeper, with the one exception of this, which is as bad as what she did to Patrick and by itself could send Knox back behind bars for 3 to 7 years.

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/questions_for_knox_1_did_you_actually_undergo_an_illegal_interrogation/

Did ANYBODY do legal due diligence except the publishers’ UK lawyers, or were they all so swept up in their hate, greed and hubris? What were the the roles of Robert Barnett and Ted Simon? What were they paid for? Why did THEY not haul Knox back?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/07/14 at 04:47 PM | #

#4…It looked like Amanda Knox was having a good time in prison..as demonstrated in dance videos and her physical appearance in court.
The safe secure environment of lockup will be good for society..as well as the killers.
thx

Posted by Bettina on 04/07/14 at 07:08 PM | #

It has never ceased to amaze me that the Knoxophiles have been of the endless opinion that Italian Law would not do anything. They are obviously obvlious to the fact that things would be done to counter all the lies, threats and dirty tricks the Knox publicists have tried in order to misconstrue and twist public opinion.

Towards that end therefore, I am undecided whether it’s abject arrogance on their part or just plain stupidity. I prefer the latter since the usual gang of four/six have over time become emboldened by the lack of reaction from Italian Justice and I see that eventually, since this has become a ‘cause-cerebra’ that Italy will fall on them from a great height.

This I look forward to.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 04/07/14 at 10:01 PM | #

Hi Bettina

Amanda Knox never, never, never seems to have an unequivocally nice word for anyone, ever.

The other day she sneered at her mother on TV. She sneered at her father in her book.

So maybe no surprise that she lams into everyone she encountered in Capanne Prison, in the dull interminable second half of her book.

But nobody agreed with her that that was the true story or that she captured her stay there correctly.

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/the_amanda_knox_trainwreck_1_claims_about_prison_traumas_widely_cont/

That post links to various others that show her being industrious and exuberant, if not the most squeaky-clean or friendly inmate.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/08/14 at 08:36 AM | #

Hi Grahame

You make a terrific point. The Knox extremists have continued to spiral and to double down on their nasty fictional claims.  I suggest there are several causes.

1. Kurt Knox and David Marriott and Chris Mellas are themselves all pedal-to-the-metal extremists, Chris Mellas in particular. They never, that we could see, counseled any restraint.

2. More and more media were whacked into adhering to their hard line. Soon they were riding a tiger.

3. The crazies who surfaced after trial (Moore and Fischer and Girlanda) were permanently out to lunch on the hard facts, eager to head the parade, eager for sex with Knox (probably).

4. The Hellmann outcome was heady stuff, though few of them realised the playing field had been been tilted; many thought Knox and RS had won on the merits.

5. Starting with Preston, Dempsey and Burleigh, so many were eager for fame and fortune. For so long it seemed to be going their way.

6. The two books came out, and the five star reviews and the huge payments and the firebrand promotions went to everybody’s heads.

7. Even more hotheaded commentary started appearing, from Saul Kassin and John Douglas and (again) Doug Preston.

And then in the past few months we watched as the two perps themselves, Knox and Sollecito, double-downed on the nastiness and fiction of everyone.

And now? Florence prosecutor Gianbartolomei pulls away one key prop of their giant edifice. All of Sollecito’s claims become radioactive. And soon, Knox’s will become the same.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/08/14 at 10:58 AM | #

I am quite unsure, as always, but on the face of it this looks like that lover boy is showing the red flag to the authorities: catch me if you can!

He could have written his story without being unduly provocative. I think there is a meaning in his actions. He is trying to tell something that we are unable to guess.

I think he is trying to say that it was wrong for me to keep silent in the previous trial. I was told of a different outcome. Now that I am worth less than a used tissue, I want to tell everything if anyone wants to hear. Anybody interested?

The perfect time to throw his love of one week under the bus. I only wonder is he really so meticulous a planner? Sure he did not know all these when he wrote the book?

Truth is stranger than fiction. We all have to wait till the curtain rises.

Posted by chami on 04/08/14 at 02:59 PM | #

I’m answering questions about the case as a guest blogger on Justice4Ever:

http://justice4ever.com/2014/04/amanda-knox-case-questions-answers-harryrag/#disqus_thread

Justice4Ever is an excellent website that covers the Meredith Kercher case and other high-profile trials. If you have any questions about the case, please feel free to ask me.

Posted by The Machine on 04/09/14 at 07:20 AM | #

I checked it out. Very good Very concise and to the point. It must be good and hitting all the right spots because their are screams from the from the pro Knox web sites who have nothing more intelligent to say about it except.
“Lies All Lies” After all their hysteria is all they have.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 04/09/14 at 11:01 AM | #

Sallyoo posted this update on Judge Nencini at dotORG http://www.giornaledellumbria.it/article/article160297.html

Translation from Jools: “Judge Nencini’s comments to the press in the aftermath of Knox & Sollecito second conviction in the murder of Meredith Kercher by the Florence Court of Appeal the Csm has decided maybe it was «inopportuno» ill-timed, but the Judge will not be transferred.”

Posted by Ergon on 04/09/14 at 12:42 PM | #

Hi Ergon

Nice work, you & Sallyoo. This storm in a teacup was initiated by political allies of Giulia Bongiorno.  In no other legal system in the world would judges be so muzzled - though the judges always seem to have the last laugh.

Here Judge Nencini actually gets to have two last laughs.

(1) He writes the sentencing report due within a couple of weeks in a way that suits him. Language which might have been soft on Sollecito is now pretty certain to be counted out.

(2) The charges against Sollecito for the felonies in his book have have put Bongiorno in a huge bind. In fact you might have noticed that Sollecito has had to employ other legal help.

Bongiorno sounded quite unhinged during her summation at the end of Nencini’s appeal. Some of that anger seeps through in the 20 points against the system and the officials analysed above.

To save his own skin a bit Sollecito has just over two weeks to convince the prosecutor that it is Bongiorno that should be the one at fault for those.

It gets worse. Extremely elaborate measures have been taken in Sollecito’s book (and Knox’s) by the serial framers to try to frame Mignini and Stefanoni and some others on the government side.

Unless one had been a lawyer in the court it would be impossible to follow the extreme intricacies of what has been cooked up for the book. (We’ll analyse them soon.)

They read like Bongiorno would have had to write them out. If Sollecito is going to go down for new felonies he might as well take Bongiorno down too. Right?

Let’s guess. Would that bring a broad grin to Judge Nencini’s face or what?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/09/14 at 01:09 PM | #

It is so obvious to me that the fiction writer Andrew Gumbel wrote most of the RS book.  The language is so incredibly American, the vocabulary is way beyond what RS could do in English, and the lines are so fanciful and colorful in every way that they have been done to entertain rather than to inform.  I love #13 - It could have been Colonel Mustard in the drawing room…. - I would be laughing my head off at this one if the whole situation had not been such a tragedy for the Kerchers.  Do they even have the game “Clue” in Italy, and if so, is the character called “Colonel Mustard”??  I highly doubt it. All written for the American audience it was catering to.

Posted by believing on 04/10/14 at 12:54 AM | #


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