Thursday, November 18, 2010

First Appeal Hearing Next Wednesday In Suggestive Absence Of Sollecito Lead Lawyer Giulia Bongiorno

Posted by Peter Quennell

The first appeal hearing next Wednesday 24 November will be technical or procedural.

The hearing to be presided over by by Appeals Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman will cover the lawyers’ motions on evidence and witnesses.

If at the next hearing on 11 December those requests are disallowed (all of the Guede team’s requests during Guede’s appeal last December were disallowed) this level of appeal for Knox and Sollecito might be over within two months if we assume two hearings a week. .

Appeal Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola will be joined by main-trial prosecutors Manuela Comodi and Giuliano Mignini. This was a judge’s decision, and not Ms Comodi’s or Mr Mignini’s, and it was to ensure that many months would not be wasted mastering the complexities of the Massei Report and the further many thousands of pages of documents that make up the case.

The defence teams will consist of Giulia Bongiorno, Luca Maori and Donatella Donati for Raffaele Sollecito, and Luciano Ghirga, Carlo Della Vedova and Maria del Grosso for Amanda Knox. Ms Bongiorno is five months pregnant, and she has said that it is for this reason that she will not appear in court next wednesday. 

Is this move a sign of something more to come?

During the trial last year, the prosecution hardly missed a beat and the pace was relentless. When it came time for the defense phase, it was slow and hesitant, some court days were canceled, and some of the defense presentation seemed decidely ad hoc.

Once last year Ms Bongiorno disappeared for weeks on end, ostensibly on parliamentary business, and later in the year she developed an attack of appendicitis at a key moment. That threw into question whether she would handle the end-of-trial defense summation - at the last moment, some part of it she did

She presumably isn’t liking this case very much. Her attempt amidst much publicity to have someone actually simulate Guede’s supposed climb through Filomena’s bedroom window was a total ignominious failure. And we have heard that the Sollecito family and defense team despise the Knox entourage and PR scheme with its incessant sliming of the Italian justice system and its main players in this case, which has done them nothing but harm.

Raffele Sollecito himself has still not provided Amanda Knox with a full alibi for the night (his last word was that she was out for four hours) and on the whole seems to show signs of pulling way from her rather than of associating himself with her any closer. They talked by phone a few days ago but the call was officially monitored and so we presume nothing significant was said.

The Knox defense might complain about no videotape or recording of Knox fingering Patrick, for which she was awarded an extra year in prison. But the unscheduled WITNESS interrogation of Knox did not require a recording - witnesses by the thousand are questioned by police daily all over the world (watch any crime show on TV) without a video recording being made.

Maybe it is just as well for Knox as she seemingly cracked because Sollecito made her crack - by calling her a liar in the next room, over their first alibi, and changing his own. Better not to have recorded that…

The mitigating factors that Judge Massei accepted that are being appealed against by the prosecution include whether Knox demonstrated some remorse by placing the duvet over Meredith after the attack - meanwhile apparently removing her cell phones and locking the door some minutes before Meredith finally succumbed.

They also include whether Knox instigated the attack on Meredith. Judge Massei concluded that Guede instigated it, but Mignini had argued that there was a payback element to the attack, which may have entered their minds the previous day (those AK messages to Meredith) or that same fateful night (Patrick’s message saying no need to come to work, one interpretation being that Amanda was on the point of being fired.) 

On the demand for some retesting of the DNA, it is worth recalling that the defense experts were expected to attend the one time only testing of the DNA on the knife - but on that day despite weeks of advance notice they found “good” reason to be elsewhere.

On the demand for retesting of Sollecito’s DNA on the bra clasp, it was pressed in hard and there is zero sign that any contamination had taken place - here again. the defense played a seeming trick. The Rome labs realised within hours of their first crime scene search that the bra clasp was still back in Meredith’s room, and weeks went by before the investigators and representatives of the defense could all be there to collect it.

The many contradictory albis, the various witnesses, the luminol evidence, the post-attack behaviors, the possibilities of both Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede at his second appeal, which is in December, turning into wild cards?? Not a pretty sight for Amanda Knox’s defense.

Can they get pregnant too? No doubt they wish that they could.


Hi Peter,

Will Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno walk away from this lame duck defense team?

The Kercher family and their lawyer Francesco Maresca never once expressed any worries whatsoever regarding the trial outcome for the murder of poor Meredith Kercher.

In fact, after 3 years, Francesco Maresca still remains totally confident that the convicted will lose their appeals.

Posted by True North on 11/18/10 at 08:03 PM | #

Hi True North. She’ll split but very subtly and of course, none of us will ever notice…

She has the additional headache of having the crackpot book writer Rocco Girlanda on the Justice Committee she chairs.

We have heard time and again that among top politicians when the “Knox Case’ is mentioned all eyes roll to the ceiling.

On the games the lawyers play Cesare’s wonderful Porta a Porta analysis is alway worth another read.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/18/10 at 11:02 PM | #

An interesting article Peter, thank you.  The image posted with it speaks a thousand words to me.

I believe Bongiorno will vote with her feet oh so quietly on this case and with the added embarrassment of being entangled with Rocco Girlanda, she will find it easy to do so.

I believe it is a blessing in more ways than one that she is expecting a child and I wish her all the luck in the world for the coming months/years.

I myself would not like to be involved with the malignant growth of this case during the happy time of a child being born.

Posted by Black Dog on 11/19/10 at 05:38 AM | #

I can’t help but be struck by Raffaele’s hands. Almost identical in position ( strangle mode) as Amanda’s drawing. As a poker player, I have to study tells. The body language is not so easily controlled, and can speak volumes.

Is Bongiorno looking skeptical, at what Raffaele is saying? I have NO doubt.

Posted by capealadin on 11/19/10 at 06:38 AM | #

Cape, I have seen that very expression on the faces of teachers being told that “the dog ate my homework” . And Son of a Doctor’s expression is simply idiotic.

As to Knox’s possible remorse in placing the duvet, I sincerely doubt it. More likely, she found the tortured, bloodied sight too yucky—BLEARGH!- and was merely protecting her own eyes from the unpleasantness. Once silenced, Meredith became to Knox an inconvenient and tasteless object.

What was the first televised comment Edda made regarding Meredith, her daughter’s savagely and shockingly murdered flatmate? something along the lines of, ” Pity her mother had to find out in this way that her daughter had a sexlife.”

And what sort of people televise footage of a seminude young murder victim—or of ANY actual murder victim—except people for whom that victim is merely an inconvenient, incidental object. That was not in the same class as cellphone camera footage catching the planes hitting the Twin Towers (a truly horrifying sight, which the networks rolled over and over.

I really can’t forgive these slobs. They disgust me.

Posted by mimi on 11/19/10 at 08:36 AM | #

Bongiorno is not stupid, she is a highly intelligent woman.

She knows… she knows!

But, she is being paid to represent this (to me)disturbed inividual.

SA and TomM: I am certain you understand what I am trying to say here as my younger brother is a lawyer and sometimes we discuss things like this.

I think it was Greggy on PMF who described Sollecito as “knife boy”, the best and most succinct description of Sollecito I have seen so far - which leaves ‘Biff’ standing.

“knife boy”


Posted by Black Dog on 11/19/10 at 11:42 AM | #

No doubt that Bongiorno will be slipping out the back door to distance herself from the embarrassment of defending this lying molly-coddled rich boy drug addict. 

What I find hard to believe is that none of Knox’s lawyers has bailed out yet.  I’m sure every one of the defense lawyers would like to and is thinking of it, if they could only find a believable way to exit.

Posted by Mo-in-Mass.,USA on 11/19/10 at 01:50 PM | #

RS hasn’t really offered a credible defense or any hint of remorse. He’s shackled to Knox though he’s not providing her with an alibi. And then there’s the embarrassing Knox PR runaway train. Can’t be good for the career of a woman who is as Peter pointed out, highly intelligent.

Why would Knox’s defense emphasize the covering of Meredith with a duvet = remorse by Knox? If their position was that Knox is innocent and wasn’t present etc at the crime, is this now an admission of involvement? (Sorry if I’ve misunderstood something.)

Posted by lilly on 11/19/10 at 06:01 PM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)


The covering of Meredith with the duvet was seen by the Court as an indication of pity, a refusal, and a sort of repentance. (See the translation of the Massei Report pages 391/392).

This was one of the mitigating factors that offset the aggravating factor (which I understand was the sexual assault) when the Court determined the sentence for Knox and Sollecito.

With regards to Ms. Bongiorno, I feel all the lawyers in the case must find it hard to deal with the media circus that has been whipped up from the US, and having to deal with a case where there seem to be few, if any, toe holds for the defence to hang on to… can’t be easy.

If it were me, I would be winding down my work commitments, and with regards to this case, taking a back seat role, leaving the other lawyers to deal with the Court dates may be the best idea for Sollecito as well. 

I took my maternity leave from 6 months, if this appeal takes 3,4,5 months, having the other lawyers dealing with it is probably the best option all round.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 11/19/10 at 06:12 PM | #

Agree with Mimi with regards to Knox placing the duvet as being seen as indicative of ‘remorse’.  Never expressed genuine remorse in any other way and would be very uncharacteristic. 

More likely she found the bloodied, tortured body, possibly with eyes open, a bit too yucky and bleargh to look at, making her feel uncomfortable during the cleaning operation; ‘merely protecting her own eyes from the unpleasantness’. 

Anyone seen the image of RS on PMF, 6th one in taken from his internet social site?  Found it just as creepy as many of Knox.

Posted by Lola on 11/19/10 at 06:37 PM | #

The Daily Beast and the Daily Mail are channeling some very loud blustery claims now emanating from Knox’s defense. Here are the links, and we will take all the claims apart soon. 

<li>The Daily Beast</li>
<li>The Daily Mail</li>

These really are their best shots? Wow. No wonder there is so much noise.

If one knows the fine details of the case the nastier and wilder claims sound a lot more more like Marriott and Ted Simon than they do like Ghirga and Della Vedova.

Such claims really do not go over very well in Italy.

Perhaps they are sensing simply too much disbelief and ridicule? An email in from West Seattle this morning said that even there, belief in the innocence of Knox now really is an endangered species.

The emailer mentioned only Steve Shay, a hairdresser, and one another as still gung-ho for Knox.

Out of curiosity, please post any readings of Knox’s guilt or innocence in any other cities? Among those who follow the case, New York seems to be roughly 100% pro-guilt.

Except for those weird guys in CBS.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/19/10 at 08:44 PM | #

If you click on the best rated comments under this terrible Daily Mail article, you’ll see that the comments are all pro-guilt:

Posted by The Machine on 11/20/10 at 11:25 AM | #

If anyone wants to contact Daybreak about the interview with Edda Mellas on Monday, here are the contact details:

It’s important that the reporting on this case is accurate, balanced and objective. This television interview should not be a free advertisement for the PR campaign.

Posted by The Machine on 11/20/10 at 12:56 PM | #

From what I have seen in UK press, about 90% of reader comments are pro-guilt.  Others seem to be under-informed, spinning the same old rhetoric and misinformation.  As such unsure whether these are from genuine UK readers. However, there are still some journalists who demonstrate what has repeatedly been highlighted on this forum, ie a lack of knowledge and research on what they are talking about.  It always amazes me that journalists, even in the so-called ‘quality’ papers feel able to express an opinion or judgement without having apparently consulted or evaluated appropriate and reliable sources.  See for example Deborah Orr’s article of 11/11 in the Guardian with such statements as “In the absence of convincing forensic evidence, Knox was found guilty only because her alibi is confused and unproven.”  “Rudy Guede, is the only one linked forensically to the scene, suggests merely that Knox and Sollecito are either unbelievably incompetent liars, or entirely lacking in any crumbs of actual knowledge.”  My complaint about this went unanswered.  The one journalist in the UK that has stood out for me for accurate, dispassionate and informed reporting throughout is Nick Pisa.

Posted by Lola on 11/20/10 at 01:27 PM | #

Hi Lola,

I recommend writing a letter of complaint to the Press Complaints Commission and sending a copy of the letter to the journalist and the editorial staff. Here are the contact details for the PCC:

Posted by The Machine on 11/20/10 at 01:39 PM | #

Machine, re Edda Mellas’ interview with Daybreak on Monday.  After having seen a video clip previewing it where Edda states (this is new) “there is no evidence of her at the crime scene”, I have emailed Daybreak expressing just such concerns that you raise and indicating that the interviewer should be fully familiar with the Massei report.  Wouldn’t expect too much though, never watch it myself, but seems to be one of those breakfast entertainment shows.

Posted by Lola on 11/20/10 at 07:33 PM | #

The Knox Groupies love to ride two horses at once as far as the forensic evidence is concerned. Basically put, their stance appears to be “there is no evidence of Amanda Knox at the crime scene, but if there IS, it’s only because she LIVED there”

Posted by Janus on 11/20/10 at 09:52 PM | #

Hi Lola,

I have sent the people at Daybreak a copy of the Massei report and the piece about Edda Mellas’s false claims.

Posted by The Machine on 11/20/10 at 11:06 PM | #

Here’s a recent article about Bongiorno from the

“Amanda Knox’s appeal hopes rest on Italy’s top female lawyer”:

‘...Bongiorno will seek to prove Rudy Guede, the third suspect convicted of taking part in Kercher’s murder, acted alone. She will offer testimony from Guede’s cellmate, child killer Mario Alessi, that Guede told him Knox and Sollecito were not present when Kercher was stabbed repeatedly.’

The ace-in-the-hole witness: heresay from child killer jail bird Mario Alessi. I thought Bongiorno could do better than that - some top attorney. I think she’ll have many spells of morning sickness to bow out of this fiasco.

Posted by giustizia on 11/21/10 at 11:40 PM | #

Hi Giustizia. Yeah the mention of Alessi by Bongiorno made us laugh - pinning it all on Guede is a really tough sell.

Mignini and Comodi also interviewed Alessi in prison, and presumably there has been a lot of investigation of his claims. He seems to us to be at risk of a perjury charge if they produce alternative facts.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/22/10 at 12:14 AM | #
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