Being Reported: Significant Developments In The Sollecito Crime Family

Posted by Peter Quennell

That photo above was taken in a Montreal court in January of last year. 

Rocco’s son Stefano was being charged with a number of crimes, and Rocco was there to manage and observe. Five months later, Rocco was dead, gunned down by a hitman still not identified, and Stefano was temporarily free on bail but still facing numerous charges and soon to go back inside.

Rocco was believed to have muscled his way to the leadership of the Rizutto mafia clan, then possibly the largest mafia family in the world, not too long after this happened back in 2010.

On November 10, 2010, [crime boss Nicolo] Rizzuto was killed at his residence in the Cartierville borough of Montreal when a single bullet from a sniper’s rifle punched through two layers of glass in the rear patio doors of his Montreal mansion. His death is believed to be the final blow against the Rizzuto crime family.

Nice shooting. But it was not quite the final blow to the Rizutto crime family.  Today Stefano Sollecito and Leonardo Ri‎zzuto, grandson of Nicolo are believed to be the joint heads of the mafia clan.

The relevance to our case becomes apparent if you know that the Dominican Republic is considered by the FBI etc to be the playground of various mafias.

The Dominican Republic is a very useful waypoint for drugs headed to the United States and Canada - and even Italy.  The Rizutto/Sollecito clan pretty well dominate the eastern town there, and they have unsavory gambling interests there. The country has few extradition treaties, so it’s tempting as a mafia retirement abode.

Quite ostentatiously - sending a threatening signal? - Raffaele Sollecito visited there twice in 2013.

First he arrived some months before the Nencini appeal in Florence, and then again right in the middle of that appeal, when it may have appeared to him (rightly) that the outcome would go against Knox and himself.

What was said between Rocco and Raffaele has not yet been leaked to the public. What favor if any did Raffaele ask of Rocco, and how did he make out? A job? Safe retirement? Muscling the Italian courts?

Well, it was observed among other things by those who do observing professionally that Amanda Knox and Sollecito and his lawyer Bongiorno became exceptionally macho upon his return and for the next 12 months

Sollecito was downbeat only briefly twice in 2014, first when he and his Italian girfriend scampered northward before Nencini’s verdict, and second when he was trying and failing to get American girls to marry him. Remember this and also this about the macho press conference in mid 2014?

Mostly the pair were exceptionally macho right through to the Fifth Chambers “mysteriously” being assigned the final appeal, and two judges inexperienced in murder cases mangling the evidence and breaking Italian law in the written judgement which sort-of cleared RS and AK.

That’s some of what is out in broad daylight so far. There is much more under official wraps for now. That both the Hellmann appeal and the Marasca/Bruno appeal were bent seem dead-certs to officialdom.

Meanwhile, back in Montreal, Leonardo Ri‎zzuto and Stefano Sollecito remain locked up awaiting trial. Bail was denied them - no surprise there, the state does need its witnesses.

Here as of a week ago is their trial status.

The last of the leaders accused of the mafia in Montreal, Stefano Sollecito and Leonardo Rizzuto, will be entitled to a mega-trial, which will be specially reserved [for them alone].

The judge Eric Downs has just confirmed that the two men, charged with gangsterism and conspiracy to traffic cocaine, will be judged separately from the 15 other accused in the operation Nest Egg… The dates of this trial will be held before a judge and jury, in Montreal, will be fixed within two weeks.

Stefano Sollecito, whose father Rocco has already led the clan Rizzuto, before his murder by a professional killer… had long sought a trial as early as possible since he is fighting a serious illness.

Note “fighting a serious illness”.  Hmmm. The presumed end of that branch of the family as a fighting force. There is also another development of the maybe-not-good-news variety for Raffaele.

Events described above might have evolved quite differently if Sammy Nicolucci had not been put away a few year ago by the Canadians.

Both Sammy Nicolucci and Rocco Sollecito had once been on a career path to head the Rizzuto crime family. But Sammy was put away in prison, opening a clear way forward for Rocco.

As Rocco was gunned down, while Sammy walks free, maybe Sammy thinks he has the last laugh? Could he have Raffaele Sollecito looking over his shoulder these days, or at least not vacationing in Canada any time soon?

Rocco’s silencing by death was clearly to Raff’s and Amanda’s advantage, even assuming they had no hand in it. It is likely if Rocco had managed to stay alive that the Italians would have figured out a way to nab him.

It’s their experience-based and effective way with the mafias: dont ever talk about it, just do it: keep up a relentless pursuit without ceasing until there are clear grounds to isolate and take down some bad guys. See this latest example and also this one here.

If you think about it, it’s a great pity for our case that Rocco did get gunned down. He got off easy and our case remains messy. Damn you Rocco!

The silencing of Rocco does close off the easiest way forward, of extraditing him to Italy and putting the screws on him. But it does not close off ALL roads forward. Work goes on. Someone will talk.

Stay tuned. It may take a while, but it ain’t yet over.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/07/17 at 01:20 PM in


So. Does Amanda Knox talk about THIS in her high-priced talks to goofy lawyers? Or write about THIS in her West Seattle Herald pieces?.

And did Netflix manage to report all about this in its slobbering Knox-fest?

There has been excellent chat on this mafia angle over at PMF with many additional details ascertained about the Bari Italy end of things. Please do a search over there.

Without question we will have more coming, though Rocco’s death IS proving something of a nuisance - if not to Amanda Knox or Raffaele.

Uh-oh: here’s more already.

And if you retire from the Montreal mafia please dont expect any respect.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/07/17 at 03:05 PM | #

That Mignini bravely takes on mafia cases (he is especially trained and protected for it) is THE major reason behind his demonization.

If you encounter anyone going right over the top about him, ask if they know that about him - in fact, ask if the mafia has a hand up their tail?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/07/17 at 04:48 PM | #

So that’s why Raffaele visited Dominican Republic twice. “The Rizutto/Sollecito clan pretty well dominate a town there”.

Maybe Raffaele was asking them to help him disappear if the verdict went against him? Or to exact revenge? Or to put pressure on someone in Italy to buy a verdict?

Raffaele once said he really liked risotto, the chicken flavored rice dish. Maybe it was a play on words, Rizutto.

So the Rizutto/Sollecito crime family is active in Dominican Republic, now in path of Hurricane Irma.

I’m praying Irma will turn back out to sea and leave Florida and Georgia and North Carolina unharmed. The US has just borne the brunt of Hurricane Harvey, and now a storm named Jose is forming.

Posted by Hopeful on 09/07/17 at 09:30 PM | #

Hi Hopeful

Yes, all those possibilities came to official minds when Sollecito made those trips. Actually there seemed a certain amusement.

It is strongly presumed that Marasca and Bruno were the outcome of more judge-shopping - but remember also that the US and Italian elected governments were wanting to head off an unpopular extradition, and that might have reached their ears also.

There’s an ambivalence to the Marasca/Bruno report which suggests the fire in their bellies was dissipating, though Bruno became pretty sick also.

The most damaging thing in their final report was not the somewhat damning wording of the final verdict - which even now few people here know about.

The most damaging thing was their very strident condemnation of the absence of evidence and the bungling of investigators. THAT is quoted everywhere.

Where did THAT come from? It was highly untrue, and such barking criticism had never surfaced previously.

It clearly came from Bongiorno. She was ranting on like a crackpot at the Nencini appeal after Sollecito returned from the Caribbean. She tried to frame Nencini soon after.

And then at the Cassation hearing in March 2014 she screeched on wildly way beyond the legally allotted time for her. 

Her enormous appeal submission - hundreds of pages long - is said to have strident language identical to what Marasca and Bruno used in their written report.

This whole arc was so incredibly blatant.  This is really really fraught for RS and AK. One peep from any of a pool of people who know more, and their castle of cards crashes down.

Whither Netflix, mafia tool? Whither Preston? Whither Heavey? Whither Moore? Whither John Douglas? Whither Burleigh? Whither Fischer?

Whither Bruno & Marasca? Especially, whither Frank Sforza, in it up to his ears? 

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/08/17 at 01:21 AM | #

The 5th Chambers’ judgment, which had Knox at the cottage at the time of the murder, but not necessarily Sollecito, pretty much reflects Francesco’s own thinking. Remember how critical he was of Knox in private. She was the one who had something to do with it and had got his precious boy into trouble. In fact he would not have been that bothered if she had been convicted provided his son was acquitted.

He was going to deliver for his boy come what may, and whatever his involvement, and Bongiorno was to be his instrument.

1. Bongiorno : head of the parliamentary commission for legal reforms and whose most important client had been former Prime Minister Andreotti, charged with links to Cosa Nostra and the mafia murder of a journalist.

2. And where did Della Vedova, with his business links to organized crime, pop up from? Ghirga and Maori were positively provincial, straight-forward guys, by comparison. Vedova was not a criminal lawyer, and it showed as he messed up a bit in court, but with offices in Rome and stateside Washington he was a useful player and conduit for extraneous participants, for both the accused.

3. And where did Hellmann pop up from? Appointed to preside over the first appeal just one month beforehand? With little experience of criminal trials and replacing a judge, who had that experience, and just happened to be the prosecutor, disliked by Bongiiorno, in the Andreotti trials.

4. And where did Conti and Vecchiotti pop up from? Selected by Hellmann of course. And why did C+V hobnob with Francesco and produce such a biased, amateurish and unprofessional report?

5. How did Alessi and Aviello pop up all of a sudden and why did Aviello make, and then retract, allegations of improper inducements offered by Bongiorno for his testimony?

6. Yes, you’re right Pete. Bongiorno became supercharged, almost maniacal, the longer the case went on. Waving a knife around in court, pacing frenetically during recesses, the bizarre press conference with Raffaele (the first real wedge between the defendants positions - had she had the nod that this could work, even for both?), his, her and Francesco’s television appearances, the humungous final appeal recourse with Peter Gills’ misleading contamination hypothesi craftily, and quite unacceptably, included.

7. Rocco was murdered in May 2016. Francesco attended a private memorial service for him just outside Bari. Why would a pillar of the community, a respectable doctor, do that? Either he didn’t think he would be noticed or he didn’t care. If the latter, that’s some chutzpah! Are he and Rocco distant cousins? Rocco was originally from Bari. That’s where Francesco lives and Raffaele was born. I suspect that they share more than a surname and Raffaele’s sojourns in the Dominican Republic was more than a coincidence.

8. And the final, ludicrous, 5th Chambers Motivation, long overdue when it finally came out.

An aspect of the Italian judicial system that needs to be looked at, in my opinion, is the final stage of proceedings.The fact that each case has to be signed off by the Supreme Court places a considerable administrative burden on the system, which is why there are, at the last count, some 396 SC judges. This allows IMO for a measure of under the radar judge shopping, inconsistencies in judgements, rivalries and factions, and judges who are susceptible to improper influence in a country where mafia influence and corruptability stretches even into respectable institutions.

You just have to know how to go about it, and Bongiorno and Vedova tick the boxes.

Posted by James Raper on 09/08/17 at 08:22 AM | #

Building on James Raper’s first paragraph above on an implacable Francesco Sollecito.

Remember that under Italian law he could not run a dishonest or defamatory PR campaign - and anyway, he had little wiggle room: from their reading and TV the average Italian knew THE one set of facts.

Nevertheless! We did often observe a disgusted hardline anti-Knox father belying his benign exterior with sharp elbows and a sharp tongue. Raffaele’s own book paints his father like that. More here:

Sollecito’s father is present in the [Porta a Porta] studio. His father talks about the innocence of his son, and only of his son, without mentioning anything in defense of Amanda. “My son was not at that house….  Curatolo could not have seen my son because he was at his house”. He says that if Raffaele was present at the crime scene he would have helped Meredith, and so on.

The host Bruno Vespa asks Sollecito’s father why did Amanda accuse Patrick, an innocent man? Francesco Sollecito responds “You are giving me a hard task, that of being not only the defender of my son but also of Amanda Knox”.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/10/17 at 04:02 PM | #

Building on James Raper’s Point 1 above about Bongiorno’s political powers.

She was also the chair of the Justice Committee in Parliament and had a vast say in the annual budgets for national police, prosecutions, courts and prisons.

NO WAY would almost any other country in the world allow that AND taking on a defense role at trial.

When she screamed at Nencini and later at the Fifth Committee about “corruption” they knew she had power over them.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/10/17 at 04:50 PM | #

Building on James Raper’s Point 2 above on Della Vedova.

He always went the extra mile for Knox even when late in the trial we thought any or all of the other defense lawyers could walk, they were all so down.

He keeps very chummy with the American Embassy and may have counseled them that some diplomatic pressure behind the scenes could pay off (as it did).

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/10/17 at 04:58 PM | #

Building on James Raper’s Point 3 above on Hellmann. Well we KNOW where he came from. We were told!!

Evidence of his pro-defendant bias would fill another book. For example he turned a blind eye to this.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/10/17 at 05:04 PM | #

Building on James Raper’s Point 4 on Conti and Vecchiotti. Hellman DID appoint them though it is possibly illegal to have new consultants at appeal.

They played to the CSI Effect which Hellman and later Marasca and Bruno swallowed whole - all three were complete amateurs at DNA.

See the state of the lab they used, causing it to be shut down, here:

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/10/17 at 05:15 PM | #

Building on James Raper’s Point 5 above on Alessi and Aviello.

Bongirono brought them both in, eagerly, though Alessi and Aviello both backfired on the defense.

BOTH shot down the Guede as lone wolf killer theory (which was already on life support).

Baby-killer Alessi caused Guede to write his damning statement about seeing Sollecito and Knox at the scene.

And sex-changing mafioso Aviello caused this.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/10/17 at 05:25 PM | #

Building on James Raper’s Point 6 above about Bongiorno on steroids ... what can I add!

That is already quite a list! This also is a vital read:

This also, the notorious 10-point case for KNOX as the lone wolf reflected a year later in Cassation’s final report.

- AK’s memorial referring to events at via della Pergola was in the singular

- AK reported receiving SMS not to go to work from Lumumba, but went out just the same

- AK admitted having lied to RS

- RS did not calumny anyone: the accusation against PL was never confirmed by RS

- AK in her memorial positioned only herself at the crime scene at the time of the scream

- only AK’s blood was on the knife blade

- no mixed traces RS/MK were found and highlighted by luminol in the house

- Quintavalle claimed to have seen AK the morning of November 2nd, not RS

- RS did not know RG and had no reason for wanting MK’s death

- the alleged bad relations and the question of disappearance of money regarded only MK and AK

Also the much-watched Porta a Porta program with a pro Sollecito bias she and Francesco engineered shortly before the Cassation hearings, which built some sympathy for him.

That was aired at immense continuing cost to Knox - absolutely seen as the one who led the attack and wielded the fatal blow, and dragging RS and Guede in way over their heads.


Do note though that Bongiorno walked away from defending Sollecito’s dishonest anti-Italy book, and she didn’t win him his huge damages payoff - before the Fifth Chambers no less!

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/10/17 at 06:06 PM | #

Building on James Raper’s Point 7 above about the private memorial service for Rocco outside Bari.

It was to be a public mass, but the police stepped in and banned it, one of the priests said dead guys are dead guys and lets show them some respect, and so the private service was at 6:00 am.

Coming after Raffaele twice met with Rocco and a year later finally beat the rap, it would make sense for Francesco to be among the very few there at 6:00 am to pay his respects.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/10/17 at 10:21 PM | #

Building on James Raper’s Point 8 about the final verdict and the overload on the Supreme Court.

James’s analysis of Marasca/Bruno is in 5 parts here.

Reduction of automatic appeals which we have often favored was to be one of ex PM Renzi’s reforms. This cumbersome process goes back to post WWII days and a desire to have the very opposite of kangaroo courts.

One nice thing about the three step process is that the first level of appeal WITH JURY often becomes an answer looking for a problem and meddles with a good trial outcome while hearing almost nothing about the prosecution case.

We had three juries in this case (Massei, Hellman, Nencini) and we saw the notorious yin-yang. We also saw it between the First and Fifth Chambers of the Supreme Court.

Like Groundhog Day Bongiorno got to sharpen her act at every stage and could put on a full opera by the end.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/10/17 at 10:34 PM | #

Excellent article! Thank you Peter. On a side note, the “Amanda Knox” fake documentary has LOST at The Emmy Awards tonight in LA:

Morse and his accomplices will have to look for new lines of work from now on. Hopefully, they lost thousands of dollars and are deep in debt!

Posted by Johnny Yen on 09/10/17 at 10:59 PM | #

Thanks Johnny

Good news. A comeuppance of sorts already - there are so many Emmy TV award categories it seems hard not to win in even one of them!

More good news is the reviews (32 currently) on the influential IMDB website where professionals hang out does not the report any favors, 17 reviews positive and 22 negative. Note the reader ratings especially of each review which add up to a big net negative.

More good news is that, though Netflix wont publish its viewer ratings, a tracking company says the viewership was far below what they seemed to be hoping for.

More good news is that we have our own expose of the omissions and false claims coming soon, flowing from our ongoing series.

Over 100 effusive reviews in online media seriously got facts wrong! Some of them really demonized Italy and Mignini and Pisa. But some still suspected Knox.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/11/17 at 08:46 AM | #

Perhaps a good time for the fruitcakes on the pro-mafia forums of Bruce Fischer and the Skeptics to tiptoe away?

Examination is believed ongoing into their giant campaign of personal destruction, which is classic modern-day mafia. Fischer and Pruett and the rest of his gang on the hapless Ground Report seem to do little else. The Moores also.

They have dismally failed to read, let alone process, our huge wave of court translations into English over the past two years. The Wiki Case File is a real sleeper.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/13/17 at 06:31 AM | #

Motivations Report denying Sollecito compensation posted at

Posted by Ergon on 09/16/17 at 12:43 PM | #

What about Raf’s foot deformity showing that it was his foot that made a print stained with Meredith’s blood?

Posted by Cardiol MD on 09/29/17 at 01:17 AM | #

Good grief, Cardiol, dont make us wade into Marasca/Bruno yet again, have you no shame?!

Okay, done, fair point.

To damn Sollecito further yes the two damages appeals courts could have gone back to the first Cassation appeal (the one that annulled Hellman) which the second Cassation appeal simply ignored. Marasca & Bruno simply said this: “Finally, the footprints found at the murder scene can in no way be traced to the appellant.”

But your own extended analysis in point 30 of this critique with key images shows how the first Cassation appeal used that print at length to help annul the Hellman appeal.

Here it is shown on a chart which our main poster SomeAlibi and the trial court figured out. The deformity is highlighted by the striking difference in the big toe widths, right?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/29/17 at 10:38 AM | #

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