Saturday, December 29, 2012

Frank Sforza Serial Defamer of Italian Justice Must Face Hard Truths Of American Justice

Posted by Kermit





This has not been a good year at all for the increasingly beleaguered Knox and Sollecito campaigns.

As interest in Amanda Knox and her case dwindles precipitately in the United States, her image handlers seem to realize that a major final push effort must be made for their final challenge to be successful: a profitable sales kickoff for Knox’s “tell-it-all” book now promised for April 2013.

At this point, the tough prosecution appeal in the case against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher seemingly hardly interests the PR campaign, apart from any market “churn” that it can help to develop for the book..

Raffaele’s own US book promotion tour three months ago was little short of a complete disaster. On the one hand, his heated text has provided massive new defamatory material against innocent persons, and on the other he has introduced new affirmations that totally contradict his defence team’s posture throughout the murder trials.

Now, the Perugian Blogger known variously as “Frank Sfarzo”, “Francesco Sforza” and “Francesco Sforca” (real name Sforza) has been arrested and has spent time confined in Hawaii and Seattle jails, in addition to being questioned by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada. In Seattle he may face more time.

These arrests and questionings are in addition to his arrest and charging in Perugia for attacking police officers coming to investigate a complaint for alleged domestic violence phoned-in by a female member of his own family. That trial is now pending.



[“Frank Sfarzo” with his fellow serial belittlers of Italian justice, Bruce Fischer and Steve Moore]


Frank’s Canadian Caper and his Hawaiian Punch adventure were of thematic note. In one case, it was an elderly Canadian gentlemen who was acting as Frank’s host who made the phone call in the wee hours to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, because he feared that the often scantily clad and more-and-more argumentative “Frank” was a real physical threat to him. In the other case, a woman had Hawaiian police alerted and had claimed that she was pushed around by “Frank” in the hotel where she had put him.

What is really surprising is that in both cases the victims of alleged aggressions were fervent supporters of Amanda Knox! And in both cases, the victims had given “Frank” substantial monetary gifts: $5,000 by the Canadian man, and air tickets to Hawaii by the American woman.

In both cases, the victims were followers of the absurdly named “Injustice in Perugia” blog run by the beleaguered pro-Knox Chicago-suburbs blogger Bruce Fisher/Fischer. Fischer is actually a mall store assistant and wannabe sleuth who like “Frank” makes use of more than one name in grandly presenting a faux front to the world.

Back when he claimed online to be the upscale “Bruce Fisher of New York”, Bruce carried out many nasty and in-effect anonymous attacks on individuals, mostly women, who did not share his point of view. The “Fischer of Chicago”, now exposed, continues more cautiously in public, but in his little private forum he continues to rant against anyone who doesn’t share his untethered take on Amanda Knox’s total innocence and a vast Italy-wide conspiracy. This authentic Fischer has a fairly unexotic lobbying base and Internet connection for promoting his pro-Knox cause: the suburban-mall fur-shop where he works.

Fisher/Fischer is now maintaining that the plea on his blog for the “Frank Sfarzo Fund Drive” is to help the Perugia Shock blog and not “Frank” the blogger who runs it – however, that’s not what the Fund Drive description says:



[Above: Amanda Knox advocate Bruce Fisher/Fischer has been a key enforcer of donations to the Perugian Blogger]


As is often the case of persons who suffer domestic physical and psychological abuse at the hands and mouth of someone they implicitly respected, it must have taken a major act of self-questioning and doubt before the Hawaiian and Canadian victims were able to make themselves step forward and decry the abuse they allegedly suffered and were humiliated by.

Both of those cases were talked about a lot on several web discussion boards. Not surprisingly, Fisher/Fischer, who has invested heavily in the particular versions of the crimes against Meredith that he promotes to “save” Knox (and, as a necessary side-effect, Raffaele Sollecito) could only try and explain/justify the Perugian Blogger’s behavior, while at the same time directly accusing the two real victims of provoking the Blogger’s “quirky” personality. Fisher/Fischer’s take on Knox and his related income stream would otherwise be at stake.

Perhaps Fischer should be more worried about the potential liability for wrong claims he makes about third parties in this case, especially those in Rome and Perugia, and about the potential for the Perugian Blogger to cause further cases and more victims of domestic violence, given the blogger’s alleged record.





In spite of the statement of “Probable Cause” by the arresting police officer in Hawaii (see image above), in the end, under a great deal of heat, charges were not pressed by the victims against “Frank” in Canada or in Hawaii.

However, what Fisher/Fischer and other pro-Knox PR assets did not reveal in what I consider to be their hypocritical justification of “Frank’s” known violence in his North American travels is that he actually had one further legal case, still going forward in Seattle at this date.

It started to receive public scrutiny only when it was unearthed by Internet commenters on the pro-victim side.

Following his problems in Canada and Hawaii, on November 27 “Frank” was arrested yet again, in Seattle, after allegedly having a physically violent encounter with the persons with whom he had arranged a room when he returned to Washington State after his disastrous emergency exit from Hawaii. He spent over 24 hours in a Seattle jail before being bailed out thanks to donated funds.

The Seattle police report concerning this most recent incident and the arrest of “Frank” states thus:

“(VI – Victim1) said that he was sitting on the couch talking to the District Attorney’s Office when S/Sforza became agitated and slapped the phone out of his hand. S/Sforza then jumped on top of him and punched him in the face approximately four times. V I was able to push S/Sforza off of him and stand up but S/Sforza pushed him back on the couch causing pain to his right shoulder. S/Sforza then jumped on top of V II (Victim 2) and began slapping in the face and scratched him on the temple. While V II struggled to get away he scraped his left knuckle but was able to get to his room. While in his room he grabbed his phone to call 9-1-1. As he was walking out of his room S/Sforza tried to push him back in the room and grabbed him by the throat using both of his hands. S/Sforza then left the house and 9-1-1 was called. V II had a visible red scrape to his right temple, a visible scrape to his left knuckle and redness around his neck. Both victims declined medical attention at the scene.

[ed note. Sforza called 911, informing police that he would meet them] ... at 36th Ave W and W Mcgraw where he said he would be waiting. S/Sforza said that both V I and V II had been giving him a hard time since he returned from his trip. He said they told him that he wasn’t able to leave his room. He stated that V II had tried to force him to leave the house and choked him. S/Sforza did not have any visible signs of assault and did not have any redness around his neck. S/Sforza said the police were called to the house yesterday for a disturbance. A report was written on that incident (12-403658).

S/Sforza was placed under arrest and transported to the West Precinct… Persons took pictures of the injuries to V II and sent them for processing to the SPD Photo Lab via the Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS). 2 Domestic violence Supplemental forms were completed by Officer… S/Sforza has a passport from Italy and requested Consular notification.”

“Frank” has hinted in online conversations that he may be coming to Seattle for the purpose of celebrating New Year’s Eve. He has even gently jibed Amanda’s co-murder suspect (pending final appeal) Raffaele Sollecito for not being sure if it’s worth it to go to Seattle for just a few days at year’s end:





However, if The Perugian Blogger, a man of at least three aliases and now a number of arrests relating to domestic violence, is going to be in Seattle on December 31, it will actually be because he has a court hearing on New Year’s Eve for two counts of Assault 4 – Domestic Violence. 

This time, it seems that the alleged victims won’t hold back or be humiliated into letting the crime go unchallenged and have the charges withdrawn.

“Frank” has been a central figure to the pro-Knox forces ever since a few months after the murder of Meredith he decided instead to advocate for Knox in conjunction with other elements of the Knox PR campaign. This was a shocking and sudden 180 degree U-turn for someone who had up until then been strongly pro-Meredith and favorable to the prosecutor. Mr Mignini, on the case.

What incentive did he have to make such a rapid, stunning, radical change? Leaving many former followers behind?

I don’t know, but do note that nobody can account for how he paid his bills these past 4 years since he claims that no Italian media buys his articles. With “Frank” seemingly living off of the kindness of others and/or the PR campaign, and seemingly not having a particular long-term address of his own… Does the term “drifter” come to mind?

In time, the integration of “Frank’s” Perugia Shock blog with the Knox PR campaign was openly evidenced – before its current aesthetic makeover after it briefly was forced down – by the incorporation of key Knox lobbyist Jim Lovering into the blog credits thus:



[Above: Will “Frank’s” campaigner colleague and local resident Jim Lovering appear in court next Monday to support him?]


The Perugian Blogger has been useful to the pro-Knox campaign. In spite of American thriller novelist Douglas Preston’s strange affirmations that Italy has been coming over to Amanda’s side in her legal battle, the truth is that few non-American and specifically no Italian faces have come out strongly in favour of Knox, except for her own lawyers of course.

“Frank” quickly became a local enabler for the Knox-Mellas clan in Perugia, helping out with the most mundane activities, from revealing secret insider “knowledge” or “facts” on his blog, to babysitting the younger Knox-Mellas girls, or involving the girls in paid-for photo shoots.

In return, he was often referred to in pro-Knox circles as a “journalist”. This faux title was certainly a step up from “Frank’s” prior life of maintaining a website dedicated to selling truffles or capitalizing on the Italian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.



[Image above: “Frank” before Meredith’s murder: a mundane life of waiting for his 10 minutes of fame]

.
Following Meredith’s murder, and with the Knox-Mellas clan desperately in need of a facilitator for their everyday logistics in Perugia, “Frank” became their handyman and, in time, almost part of the Knox-Mellas clan.



[Image: Perugian Blogger “Frank” and Chris Mellas, Amanda Knox’s stepfather.]


“Frank”, however, was not merely a passive enabler. He asserted himself, and he pushed his envelope of fame and ownership of knowledge, even though he was mostly a receiver of the tidbits of information the Knox-Mellas clan would throw him when convenient.

His particular claim to “ownership” of information given to him got to the ridiculous point of claiming copyright to court documents that he received and posted on his blog. Court officials might find that pretty cheeky!





The official image of the knife later resurfaced in a great video by ViaDellaPergola here.

It seems that befriending “Frank” became the “in” thing to do, for a brief moment anyway, with many FOA-types and Knox Entourage hangers-on. He must have seemed quite exotic, and also, surprisingly, on their side. After all, the rest of Italy was clearly not.

Bruce Fisher/Fischer the blogger and Knox lobbyist has increasingly isolated himself in supporting “Frank”, and has been working around the clock to justify “Frank’s” string of domestic violence arrests and police questionings, after having published and vouched for “Frank’s” need for financial assistance.

Will Fisher/Fischer and Steve Moore continue to befriend and support “Frank” the blogger? Moore once stated that he would trust Amanda Knox as a roommate to his own daughter. Would he trust “Frank” to spend time alone overnight with his own daughter, now that Moore is aware of Frank’s arrest record for domestic violence? Does he approve of “Frank’s” way of living … is it simply “‘Frank’ being ‘Frank’”, or something that a father might be worried about?

Another of “Frank’s” close confidantes in the US has been Candace Dempsey, a person with a personal food blog on the Seattle Post Intelligencer website who hastily erased most of her culinary blogging past in order to get on with her new found life as a pro-Knox writer.



[Food blogger Candace Dempsey has attempted to recycle her professional focus in parallel with “Frank”]


Dempsey continues to dedicate herself – for the moment at least – to writing about Amanda Knox’s involvement in the Meredith Kercher murder case from a pro-Knox point of view.  Will Candace be at Frank’s hearing in the Municipal Court of Seattle on December 31? It would be a fine way of supporting someone she has shared so much fellowship with.

Followers of Meredith’s murder case all remember how Dempsey’s man-in-Perugia “Frank” stalwartly supported her affirmation that it would have been impossible for Amanda and Raffaele to stake out any movements of persons entering or leaving the cottage following Meredith’s murder, due to the entrance to the cottage grounds supposedly not being visible from the Piazza Grimana … in spite of every eye-witness observation and evidenciary photo to the contrary.

Another pro-Knox asset who has been supportive of “Frank” in many ways is Seattle’s King County Judge Michael Heavey. Heavey once received a stern official reprimand for sending, on State of Washington stationary, private accusations of judicial negligence to Italian authorities, where he accused Prosecutor Mignini of grave mismanagement of the Meredith Kercher murder investigation, without providing any evidence to support his wild and defamatory claims. Heavey continues his pro-Knox support in a vocal manner, with appearances at university forums that are prepackaged to support Knox, or speaking at local Rotary Club meetings (luckily we saved the video).



[“Frank” the Perugian Blogger and host Judge Michael Heavey pose together.]


Will Judge Heavey be present at “Frank’s” hearing for charges of domestic violence on December 31? Will he use his good offices to help Frank bear the state of Washington’s justice in the lightest manner possible?

Anti-Mignini novelist Douglas Preston, a patron funder of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), appeared (how coincidental) in a strange CPJ open letter to the world by Joel Simon to Italian authorities, complaining that a mysterious police squad that supposedly reports to Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini had beaten up “Frank” and had him arrested on trumped up charges.



]Novelist Douglas Preston – now a self-described “point-of-view journalist”]


Preston was a central source in a Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) open letter which transformed the domestic violence complaint of a female member of the Perugian Blogger’s family into a case of harassment by Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini. It’s hard to make up crazier tales, yet the CPJ stands by the unsubstantiated claims fed to it.  In most jurisdictions that’s called defamation.

Now is a good time for the CPJ’s Executive Director Joel Simon to show his face and admit his embarrassing error by recognizing that “Frank’s” arrest for violence against police officers in Perugia while resisting arrest was under the responsibility of Prosecutor Paolo Abbritti and his team.

Mr Mignini who “Frank” and Preston and Simoin smeared globally had no role at all and may well have not even have known about it. “Frank’s” domestic and anti-authority violence in Italy is consistent with his domestic violence related arrests in North America.

No one, not even CPJ’s Joel Simon could ever have seriously considered that the provincial civil servant Mr Mignini has a private goon squad of rogue policemen who report to him and beat up persons on his request.

By recognizing his error, Joel Simon would be making a positive gesture to classic journalistic standards (not gonzo point-of-view journalism standards) of correcting errors, and he would also be doing a great service to victims of domestic violence around the world. Joel, I ask you please to finally do what is right, and not what a financial benefactor of your organization wants you to do.





It is also important to hear what Preston’s response if any is to “Frank’s” current legal woes in the US. So far, no word from him. Will Preston continue to see the long arm of Mignini in all these arrests? Or will he distance himself from a person Preston considers a fellow “point-of-view journalist” in the Meredith Kercher case?

Preston recently contacted this writer, saying he was writing an Afterword to a book by Mario Spezi about what he calls the “Amanda Knox case”. He said this chapter would be dedicated to the key online players on both sides of the case. (Preston was first invited, see here and here and here, to correct some of his previous error-laden work.)

There is probably no other online personality more prominently associated with the Amanda Knox PR campaign than the blogger who goes by the nickname of “Frank Sfarzo”.

If Preston can’t make it to Seattle to support “Frank”, I guess we will have to wait for his new Afterword in Spezi’s book or his magazine article to catch his angle on “Frank’s” travails with the law, or at least what he thinks about “Frank” after they appeared together in the CPJ open letter - after which, Preston wrote some vigorous followup emails about the CPJ’s open letter concerning “Frank”.

If it had not been for Preston the fictionalist and “Frank” the recycled truffle blogger, there would have been no inaccurate and highly unfair demonizing of Prosecutor Mignini, and that would have taken the air out of Bruce Fisher/Fischer’s own very nasty campaign.

In addition, the pro-Knox books written by would-be opinion benders Nina Burleigh and Candace Dempsey would have been very different or impossible to develop as they are.

It goes on and on. The list of pro-Knox PR assets who have used “Frank” in their own particular contributions to Amanda’s cause is extensive.  Will any of them be in Seattle Municpal Court [image below] with the Perugian Blogger this Monday at 10:00 am?





A pro-Knox commenter who goes by the penname of “KayPea” is trying to rally the pro-Knox troops who are now starting to back off in a very natural manner from “Frank” and the string of domestic violence incidents that “Frank” seems to have been involved in. On the “IIP” blog, she exhorts them to remain in the fold. If we believe her, she is speaking for herself - and remarkably, also the Knox and Mellas families:

“several of you good people [she’s referring to pro-Knox readers] seem to be trying to make up your mind about Frank’s credibility as the author of Perugia Shock as it is juxtaposed on his personal life and this crazy mess with Bettina, Peter and the nutters at the boarding house [ed note: these are respectively the pro-Knox Hawaiian, Canadian, and Seattlietes who are now non-grata … it seems that if you want to make sure that you are allowed to be a groupie, don’t let yourself to get into a situation where “Frank” the Perugian Blogger can abuse you].

Please know that the people who know him the best, Amanda’s family and friends, have been at his side throughout the past few months. COME. WHAT. MAY. They, and I, accept all of Frank’s personality quirks ...” (IIP, 27/12/2012)

However, the owner of the blog, Bruce Fisher/Fischer, seems to be trying frantically to isolate the impact of “Frank’s” “personality quirks” on the IIP emporium. Fischer has stated thus:

“lets lay this out in simple terms. Amanda and Raffaele are free. Nothing that happens in Frank’s life at this point has anything at all to do with anything that took place in the past with regard to the case. Nothing happening in Frank’s life has anything at all to do with Meredith Kercher.”

(Bruce Fisher/Fischer – IIP blog – 27/12/2012)

It’s as if Fischer in his surreal bubble is claiming that “Frank” never really ever existed. Never fought tooth-and-nail for years to deny Meredith and her family their justice.

If I were “Frank”, I would be thinking that maybe not very many of my once long list of FOA friends will be showing support during the New Year’s Eve court appearance.

Will they be joining him for drinks later after the court hearing is done? Or maybe further contact would put them at risk of being pushed into being the next “Bettina” or “Peter” in Canada, more victims of domestic violence.

Does anyone reading believe any longer the wild, uninvestigated claim of Douglas Preston’s friends at the CPJ? That the Italian Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini was behind the complaint placed by female members of “Frank’s” family in Italy? Which eventually led to his arrest there after attacking police officers?

Or is that simply another falsehood from the pro-Knox PR myth factory?

Domestic violence is a terrible, terrible issue in our society. We should never try to explain it away, or blame the victim or any third parties who had nothing to do with the violence.  To do so only degrades the victim, and distances yet further the perpetrator from correcting his criminal behavior.

Let’s hope that if someone shows up at the Perugian Blogger’s court hearing this Monday December 31, even if all of his erstwhile FOA friends have disappeared, that victims of domestic violence are there with true supporters, demonstrating that they have no fear of decrying this degrading, despicable criminal behavior.





Final question. Will the Knox-Mellas families really continue to support Frank? Will they let him stay at their homes? Would Amanda let him sleep at her apartment or even visit without her boyfriend or anyone else present?

In fact will any of the Knox-Mellas clan members be at “Frank’s” court hearing at the Seattle Municipal Court at 10:00 am this Monday December 31?  In particular, will Amanda be there? Or does Frank, as is rumored, have her freaked?










Comments

Thank you for compiling this information, Kermit.  Hopefully, people will see this con man for what he is. 

For the many former supporters of Frank Sfarzo (or whatever his name is - apparently it’s okay to lie to the police), here is a helpful site where you can obtain the phone number to call with your story of being conned by this fraud. 

http://www.seattle.gov/police/records/PoliceReportsFAQ.htm

Or you can remain anonymous, and report directly to Crimestoppers.

Posted by Tara on 12/29/12 at 05:30 PM | #

Either that Frank is a rogue criminal who is often at loggerheads with law enforcement or he just loves surrounding himself with police.

Posted by aethelred23 on 12/29/12 at 06:08 PM | #

Wow, that is some history. Great investigative work here - those who aspire to be “journalists” should take note.

Will Frank manage to make it to court on New Year’s Eve in Seattle?

It would be a real shame for him to miss out on an opportunity to explain to his devoted fan-base, hopefully including the likes of Linda Byron (KING5 reporter), Elizabeth Vargas (Knox Babysitting Scheduler & ABC reporter), and Drew Griffith (CNN reporter), how all of these troubles have obviously been orchestrated by none other than the evil Dr. Mignini himself.

Posted by Fly By Night on 12/29/12 at 06:13 PM | #

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3uKsnl9yA0

@FlybyNight, and perhaps Dennis Bounds, Jean Enersen, and Meg Coyle (Seattle’s KING5 News) who reported about Knox hero, “Frank” in the above youtube, could also attend the court session. 

We can’t forget Steve Shay of the West Seattle Herald either.  Will these journalists take a new interest in the blogger from Perugia and report the latest?

Posted by Tara on 12/29/12 at 06:28 PM | #

Hi Kermit,

Thank you writing this excellent piece about Frank Sforza. One of the leading lights of the FOA has been exposed as a bare-faced liar and fraud. If the allegations of domestic violence from multiple witnesses in different countries is true, it seems that Frank Sforza is dangerous and violent man.

All the gullible journalists and media figures who have publicly supported Frank Sforza should hang their heads in shame and be held accountable for not doing their jobs properly. BBC presenter Jimmy Saville got away with his horrific crimes because people in the media industry buried their heads in the sand or looked the other way. Will the journalists who supported and promoted Frank Sforza do the same?

Posted by The Machine on 12/29/12 at 07:00 PM | #

Hi Tara,

The journalists you mentioned can be contacted via their Twitter accounts:

Dennis Bounds @DennisBoundsK5

Jean Enersen @jeanenersen

Meg Coyle @MegCoyleKING

Posted by The Machine on 12/29/12 at 07:06 PM | #

Kermit, this is excellent!

Another possible alias is “Barbara Santiago”. This is the name on the Italian bank account linked via PayPal to the [DONATE] button on his website Perugia Shock.

Tax evasion comes to mind (but maybe it’s just to feel pretty).

Cheers!

Posted by louiehaha on 12/29/12 at 07:56 PM | #

Thanks Kermit. An excellent piece of citizen journalism. People who don’t know a lot about this case don’t realize how influential Frank was in smearing Mignini as an abusive prosecutor. I notified Nina Burleigh, since she advertises herself as a women’s rights advocate. Katie Crouch is away for the holidays, but will be notified as well.

I don’t hold out much hope that CPJ will retract their accusation, since it never had much basis to begin with other than the unsubstantiated claims of rabid Mignini critics. Even the most credible allegation against Mignini, that of falsely arresting Mario Spezi, has been seriously undermined by Spezi’s recent conviction for calunnia in connection with this matter.

Posted by brmull on 12/29/12 at 07:59 PM | #

Thank you Kermit.

Brilliant post, It is about time this all started to unravel for this bunch of con artists ( Bruce/Frank/Lovering/Kaypea etc); they have all lied and cheated people out of cash, continued to smear and insult anyone that did not follow there agenda, lied about Frank’s arrest in Italy. and now they are attempting to cover up his bullying and assaults of woman and the elderly in the US & Canada. They are truly the lowest of the low.

Hopefully this excellent piece will reach as many people & organisations as possible, and may all these con artists and self serving leaches get their comeuppance.

Posted by Jeffski1 on 12/29/12 at 09:18 PM | #

Excellent work, Kermit. I wonder if the CPJ, spearheaded by Joel Simon, now wishes it had done basic due diligence on Frank before elevating him to the status of folk hero. The fact remains that the police were called in 2010 by members of his own family when a domestic dispute turned violent and people feared for their safety, not because of Frank’s involvement in the Meredith Kercher murder. Frank lied about it to gain sympathy, notoriety and money, and was aided and abetted by Bruce Fischer on Injustice in Perugia, who urged Knox supporters to contribute to Frank’s “cause”. It seems Fischer did not bother to do any due diligence either.

As a result, Frank financed his trip to North America and repeated his propensity for turning violent on his hosts. Proud of yourself, Bruce Fischer? Where are Frank’s high profile supporters now? Are they still willing to stick up for this con man and bully? His victims are being blamed now, by Bruce Fischer, in much the same way that the surviving family members of the victim Meredith Kercher have been blamed by Bruce Fischer for not swallowing the Marriott PR version of Knox and Sollecito. Fischer still refuses to dissuade his followers from contributing to Frank’s swindle and advises them not to contribute to the Meredith Kercher fund. What a strange set of values and facts he subscribes to.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 12/29/12 at 10:21 PM | #

Hi Kermit,

Very interesting post. The thing that bothers me about the whole Sfarzo saga is how things have got to this stage. How has this mystery and allure developed around Sfarzo? When he ain’t in Seattle, he must be just an ordinary dude knocking around the streets and bars of Perugia, so why the enigma?

He ain’t Preston, he doesn’t live in an ivory tower, he is, I take it, very available. Why do we have to guess so much about his life in Perugia? He and his family could be available for interview and there should be some concrete word on the street about him. There must be actual police and court documentation of why he was arrested in Perugia. Why don’t we have it?

If there is a PR campaign conspiracy, to my reckoning Frank then must be the perfect Achilles heal. Why has more not been done to expose him?

Posted by John Forbes on 12/29/12 at 10:33 PM | #

Hi Skep,

Joel Simon can be contacted via Twitter:

@Joelcpj

I’ve already contacted him regarding Frank Sforza’s legal troubles and the silence has been deafening. His position as Executive Director of the CPJ in the light of Sfarzogate is surely untenable.

He and Nina Ognianova should do the honourable thing and step down from their positions. They’ve both brought the profession of journalism into disrepute by acting like a pair of gullible simpletons who can’t even meet the most basic of journalistic standards.

Posted by The Machine on 12/29/12 at 10:43 PM | #

John, it’s only a matter of time before all of the details of Frank’s Italian domestic violence legal problems become well known.

He missed his last Italian court date because, well, it seems that he may have been arrested and in jail in Hawaii on yet another domestic violence charge at the time. The missed Italian court date has been rescheduled for early 2013.

In the meantime, it’s important to not confuse a simple order to take down Frank’s original Perugia Shock blog (due to defamation issues) with any of the ongoing domestic violence legal troubles.

What Frank now faces has nothing to do with that, although he and his few remaining supporters desperately want you to believe otherwise. Once Frank is able to actually show up for one of his Italian court dates, the record will speak for itself.

Posted by Fly By Night on 12/29/12 at 11:09 PM | #

I have just read about FIsher/Fischer mocking the white feather incident that John Kercher so movingly talked about.

The mans a complete moron, he can’t help but show his true colours by continually mocking the Kerchers, and like Skep mentions in her post he does not discourage donations to mad Frank from his flock, then advises them to shun Merediths fund.

The man has no morals whatsoever.

Posted by Jeffski1 on 12/29/12 at 11:13 PM | #

Even if no one in North America follows through with the multiple charges against Frank, this spells* certain doom for his defense back in Perugia. 

*Petrificus Totalus

Posted by Professor Snape on 12/29/12 at 11:34 PM | #

Hi John Forbes.

You ask how all of this didnt get out. A very fair question and the only short answer I can give is is: it’s complicated.

Some of what Kermit posted has been posted in bits and pieces on PMF and TJMK before. Click on the link below and you will get a huge series mostly by Kermit all about Frank. That’s our research and no Italian or English language media told that tale though many of our themes do get picked up. 

http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/C493/

Fly By Night also provides part of the answer: in Italy charges such as Frank’s are not fully reported until the court sessions start, and Sforza missed the first one several weeks ago because he was cooped up in Hawaii. Sforza was already on police radar as a hothead and troublemaker around Perugia with no visible means of support. He does face the possibility of prison there.

Also (follow the link in Kermit’s first para) the Knox and Sollecito teams are in trouble all over and sliding slowly. They already face an incredibly tough appeal and then Sollecito “helpfully” shoots them all in the foot with a highly defamatory book (suits against him will be lodged next month).

Also the readership of Sforzas site and Fischers site combined dont come anywhere near the size of the readerships of either TJMK or PMF. See a rank comparison here. TJMK has twice been in the top 100,000. By comparison they really are very small fry. They got away with a lot by posting their nasty stuff only in English and thus flying below the Italian radar, but those days are done now.

Sforza is sure contributing to a perfect storm. Who could have stopped this? Well, a while back Chris Mellas openly said in Perugia that the bandwagon of troublemaking clowns like Sforza and Fisher should be dumped, in favor of across-the-board professional help.

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

In response Curt Knox got in one of his red-faced ranting tizzies and in effect told the media “the show must go on, pedal to the floor”. And so it kept on.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/30/12 at 04:06 AM | #

Simple enlightenment for the masses. Thanks Kermit!

Domestic violence as a crime has not received due attention anywhere in the world so far. This is the seed that grows in a period of 10-20 years into a big tree with many fruits. If domestic violence were treated respectfully by the law and the courts 20 years back, the world today would have been a somewhat better place to live.

The thing that has baffled me is why he can’t get a simple honest job and live with normal dignity?

Well, I forgot that I am talking about a moron.

Posted by chami on 12/30/12 at 04:13 AM | #

Thanks for this excellent piece, Kermit.

The bottom line and most damaging aspect of these revelations is that the likes of Fischer, Preston, the Moores, Pruett, Dempsey, Simon and Heavey have all encouraged, promoted, supported, and posed with, this man. They wound up the clockwork, let him loose, and to a man and woman they have vouched for his authenticity, character and credibility.

What does that say about them as judges of character? And if they got Frank so drastically wrong then what does this say about their judgement of the character of the lovebirds?

Make no mistake about it their assessment of that character, in addition to and in support of that of close family, has been at the heart of the massive PR campaign.

You reap what you sow and boy have they sowed! Sfarzogate turns the spotlight on their own characters.

Furthermore one wonders what some of them have they really known all along.

Frank has long been an obsessive and aggressive little toe-rag and again I wonder whether he already has a list of previous convictions back in Italy. It is unlikely that we will know until he is convicted and up for sentence there.

Frank seems desperate to prevent “the world” from knowing just why he was arrested in Perugia and it may also be that he is equally desperate for other aspects of his life to remain hidden.

There is much to come out in the wash and not just with regard to Frank.

Posted by James Raper on 12/30/12 at 07:43 AM | #

Excellent work, Kermit! Many of us have been following this story as it was emerging on both PMF forums, and it’s great to see it all put together in a cohesive manner.

A couple things which are not documented, as far as I know, include the fact that Heavey was sending Frank a monthly stipend and that Frank is not in very good standing with the Knox-Mellas family, regardless of what KayPea (Karen Pruett) is saying.

As far as I understand, Frank was supposed to stay with the K-M for only 2 weeks, but extended his visit to 2 months.  He was eventually asked to leave when he started making advances towards Amanda.  They described him as “icky” and a user. 

I highly doubt it that any of them will be in court this Monday or that Frank will see any more financial help from them.

Posted by Vivianna on 12/30/12 at 07:44 AM | #

Thanks friends for your feedback, as you all know, each and every reader of the PMF boards and TJMK, from the most active to the most passive, has contributed to this post.

There is much, much more to this whole story of manipulation of the truth. “Frank” is only one of many tips of the iceberg.

2012 has been a bad year for the pro-Knox camp. 2013 will be worse, from the results of the final appeal to the Knox memoir falling flat in sales.

R.I.P. Meredith.

Posted by Kermit on 12/30/12 at 10:10 AM | #

Mind you one’s got to laugh at these tweets.

Sfarzo - “Lets meet everyone for NYE in Seattle.”

Raffele - “When could we organise that?” [Er…. Dumbo….how about for New Year’s Eve?]

Michelle - “I dunno if Raffele Sollecito could attend that because he is still in school…” [Come again, is he still in short trousers?]

Sfarzo - “Your book is selling like hot potatoes.”  [Michelle - “Er… don’t you mean he is a hot potato….like you now”]

Sfarzo - “Meaning that his book is so good that people steal it.” [Er….is this a swipe at TJMK?]

Sfarzo - “Indeed mine was stolen, from a member of pmf..” [What’s this? Is Skep ghostwriting his book?]

Posted by James Raper on 12/30/12 at 11:53 AM | #

Could someone please explain how Francesco Sforza could be eligible to enter the US less than 180 from the start of his last visit, which resulted in a visa overstay of over 50 days?

Frank arrived on July 20 ‘12 according to his Canadian victim, and he is said to have left one day after he got out of the Seattle municipal jail, November 29 ‘12. (143 days)

Of course ICE would not be aware of the criminal charges he accrued in Hawaii and Washington because he used an identity card with the name “Francesco Sforca” for that.

He was paid to write two articles for OGGI while here, in violation of his tourist visa, but he wrote them under the pen name “Frank Sfarzo” and he may have been paid under the name “Barbara Santiago”.

His earnings are US taxable income, and he has until Jan 15 to file a quarterly return. A default could make future entry to the US unreliable.

Does he have more than one passport? Or is the US Homeland Security unable to enforce border laws?

Posted by louiehaha on 12/30/12 at 04:23 PM | #

Hi Louie

Well researched. Great questions. There is also the curious rumor that he was escorted to his flight out of Seattle by police. Any thoughts on that? And how did her get out of the Seattle lockup without bail on an assault 4DV charge which could incur up to one year in prison?

And where is he right now? Like Sollecito and Knox he has become very elusive and people used to seeing him around Perugia have not been doing that recently. Will he appear for his Perugia court case coming up again soon?

I did laugh at James Raper’s take on Frank’s chutzpah. Perhaps we are seeing the opposite of chutzpah now. Roll on tomorrow. We cant wait…

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/30/12 at 06:04 PM | #

Sfarzo can’t do any work in the US, period. He’s a visitor, nothing more or less. From that point on it’s a USCIS issue. Visa violation.

Where did the rumour come from that he’d been escorted to a plane leaving the USA? If that took place I find it hard to believe getting back in is easy unless to attend court. With Fischer and his mates supporting Sfarzo this reflects badly on the lot of them. The links become more tenuous by the second and bodes poorly for a certain court decision in March.

Posted by Smacker on 12/30/12 at 06:53 PM | #

Hi Smacker.

The escort was a tip, not confirmed yet, so I just classed it as a rumor. FOA attempts to hoax us are all pretty lame, but I cant see mileage for them in this.

Correction to the comment above. I am looking at a document now that says he is out on $1000 x 2 bail for the two charges.

Vivianna above mentioned that the Knox-Mellases seem to have separated and cut Frank loose. One or other may provide moral support in court. Very telling either way.

Right about March. Plus there are the new defamation charges soon to be filed against Sollecito, maybe entangling their own lawyers, which will make their situations way worse.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/30/12 at 07:30 PM | #

Great round-up Kermit! You do us all proud with your excellent and concise summary! I especially like the “Where’s Frank?” image. Goodness knows, him being a drifter and all, he could just pop up anywhere.

The Amanda Knox family and supporters (Doug Preston, Candace Dempsey, Nina Burleigh, Judy Bachrach, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer) have made a deal with the devil. That is Amanda! By desperately taking any measure to sway public opinion in the US on this case, they enlisted a con man. Now they are caught. His criminal behavior in Perugia; and now every port where he has landed (3), has forced the “supporters” into a very tough spot. If they throw him under the bus, will he betray them? Anyone should know, that a con man cannot be trusted. He has now become their worst nightmare. The blackmailer who makes a pass at their little darling, who intimidates an elderly man who has spent thousands of $$$$ on him, shoved a woman to the ground who paid his airfare to visit, and then attacked roommates for no conceivable reason.

Yet, Frank is not the murderer. Let us not forget that. But when you make your bed with a murderer, you must lie down with other criminals. (I don’t want to say dogs because dogs don’t deserve that comparison).

Posted by bedelia on 12/30/12 at 08:14 PM | #

I just have to agree about narcissism thing ,having seen it first hand.
If Frank skates in Seattle, his friends should not see it as a victory…because that in no way changes the fact the events took place.
He lied..and lied and lied, to make himself the grand martyr. He personally told me Mignini tried to kill him for telling the truth.

He will be in Perugia court soon. I am pretty sure the Courts there know about his troubles here…

As one of the numerous victims, I would like to say I am all over the map with emotions right now…and I am pretty sure the other victims are too. We were all his friends at one time…or so we thought.

Posted by Bettina on 12/30/12 at 08:57 PM | #

Hi Bettina

Interesting to read you. Sadly, his unsavory reputation in Perugia, presumably kept from you, is actually pretty pervasive.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/30/12 at 10:35 PM | #

Hi Former Bad Girl

Your great comment: “His criminal behavior in Perugia; and now every port where he has landed (3), has forced the “supporters” into a very tough spot. If they throw him under the bus, will he betray them? Anyone should know, that a con man cannot be trusted. He has now become their worst nightmare.”

This is why Bruce Fischer’s Pocket-Hitler act toward their own followers is so puzzling. He’s not exactly experienced at managing anything but Chris and Curt, who do have some experience, seem to have chosen silence and crossed fingers instead. We look forward to more of Sfarzo’s and Fischer’s emigres.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/30/12 at 10:37 PM | #

Louie asked if Frank overstayed his visa. I asked the same thing a while ago, but it all depends on how long he spent in Canada. If his stay was 50 days or more, he didn’t technically overstay.  The time he spent in Canada doesn’t count towards his 90 days in the US.  He may have also received an extension for the time he spent in jail.

Regarding him paying tax in the US, he was never employed there.  However, he would owe tax in Italy as a self-employed person for whatever contract he had with Oggi.  Also, he likely owes taxes in Italy for the donations he received via Paypal (like the 5,000 CDN from the Canadian gentleman) and for his US stipend.

He may be allowed to return to the US because he has a court appearance date today.  However, he’ll probably have trouble obtaining another pass through the Visa-Waiver Program in the future, or might be turned away at the border. 

Personally, I’d be very surprised if he showed up in court because tickets at this time of the year are very expensive and he’s managed to burn an awful lot of bridges overseas (and he didn’t have any in Italy anyway). Regardless of what they say on their boards, I don’t think many of them will be opening their wallets or offering to host him.  Most likely, the public counsel will be attending on his behalf.

I do wonder if he brought up the NYE party on Facebook because he was hoping someone would pony up for tickets.  My guess is that the “pony-er” he had in mind was Raffaele, but Raffaele seems properly reluctant, given the amount involved.  I imagine they all know at this point about Frank’s misadventures and that Papa Doc isn’t too keen on Raffaele spending time with Frank.

Posted by Vivianna on 12/31/12 at 05:25 AM | #

Hi Vivianna. A serial bridge burner, thats for sure, and as attempts to settle here seem to have been blown I guess our loss will be Italy’s gain.

The only “friend” of Frank in Italy we are pretty certain of is Spezi who also has a habit of getting arrested and sued for hairbrained theories. Kermit highlighted that connection in his great series on the global defamation of Mr Mignini on the CPJ website.

http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/C493/

To the extent I have paid attention to the Sollecito/Frank/Fischer nexus I’ve often been amazed out how narrow and inaccurate and out of date their info is. Many great reporters in Italy report in Italian and some in English and they all tell essentially one narrative.

Frank essentially makes up quite another and that is the ONLY one that they pay attention to and swallow unquestioningly. They seem absolutely uncomprehending of the real Italy, the real justice system, the real scandal of Hellman (now edged out) and Zanetti (now sidelined in Terni), the real police and investigators, the real prosecutors, the real Galati, the real Galati Appeal, the real defamations and wrong claims in Sollecitos book, the real calunnia charges coming, the real soup Knox and Sollecito are in at appeal, the real soup the defense lawyers are in, and the real public anger in Italy against the Sollecito/Frank/Fischer nexus.

Their information gathering ability seems to me truly abysmal and so what do we see? One vast silly nasty muddled uninformed echo chamber. No wonder the so-called careers of Frank and Fischer have crashed time and time again and Sollecito’s has not even taken off and probably never will. In the knowledge industries all three look to me essentially unemployable.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/31/12 at 08:44 AM | #

This is a remarkable summary of the issues plaguing both Frank™ and the entire Knox campaign.  The Committee to Protect Journalists must be held to account for failing to investigate thoroughly the groundless claims promoted by one of its own members, Douglas Preston.

This is where the accountant in me screams out:  Where is the segregation of duties?  How is a CPJ member (Doug Preston) able to promote someone like Frank™?  Doesn’t anyone there check the truthfulness of the stories they present?

It would have taken few steps to authenticate (or refute) Frank’s™ claims.  These simple steps include interviewing the other party (in this case Mignini) as well as checking the credentials of the alleged journalist.

If the CPJ had done this then Frank™ would have been just another loser under arrest for domestic violence in his homeland.

Posted by Stilicho on 12/31/12 at 03:32 PM | #

We are waiting now on a report from the Seattle municipal court which could come in at any time.

***

Thanks Stilicho. Yeah there was an obvious spiral of arrogance after Frank got a new site up and CPJ spoke out globally about his “persecution”.

Sollecito has also been on a spiral of arrogance with the book and the promotion and the claims that he in some way saved Amanda Knox by being selfless.

Now Frank is in a huge mess both here and in Italy and so is Sollecito. Good people have had enough and are bringing them down.

Unusually for journalists CPj didnt check all angles of the story and never contacted Mignini before smearing him globally. There are ways to lean hard on CPJ to react both legally and via the websites and mailings.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/31/12 at 03:55 PM | #

Kermit, I salute you.

A truly handsome job. 

May the unravelling continue apace.

R.I.P. Meredith.

(kathman)

Posted by thundering on 01/01/13 at 08:37 AM | #


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