Sunday, June 14, 2009

Italy Shrugs: Why Amanda Knox’s Testimony Seems To Have Been A Real Flop

Posted by Nicki

Posting from Milan (image below) where we also have been watching Knox testify in Italian.

Here are just three of the disbelieving headlines on the testimony that have been appearing in the Italian press.

  • All of Amanda’s wrong moves (La Stampa)

  • Amanda growls but Patrick bites (Il Giornale)

  • Amanda: I am innocent. But many “I don’t remembers” start popping up (ANSA)

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.

It is true that the Italian media and public opinion in general have not been very benign with Knox. But not for the reasons that the American media seem to want to push.

Let’s make it clear, Amanda Knox is not on trial because Italians are unaccustomed to or even “jealous” of her freedom and lifestyle”¦ The first time we read these “explanations” we found them quite laughable.

But for many or most Italians the initial amusement has now given way to a profound irritation. Amanda Knox’s lifestyle is shared by hundreds of thousands of Italian girls, who like partying and sex as much as she does - or even more - and they live a happy carefree life with no fear of being perceived as “bad girls.” They behave no differently from any other girl of the same age in America or in any other Western country.

Dear American media, welcome to the 21st century and to globalization!  Please put aside pseudo-romantic and passè vision of a country where all men chase American girls because Italian women are not as approachable for “cultural” reasons: Italian men are into foreign girls no more but no less than Italian girls are into foreign boys.

They generally greatly like Americans because of their great interest and curiosity for a country and its people that many Italian youngsters have only known through books or movies. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”. She could even be from the North Pole as far as Italians are concerned.

What really matters to them is to find the truth about Meredith’s murder and to do real justice for her terrible death. 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 - and they perceive this even more-so after this last week’s court hearings.
In addition, the US media’s seemingly endless bashing of the Italian justice system, and of the whole country, most recently by CBS and ABC, has definitely made things worse.

The Italian police are NOT known to be particularly violent - although, agreed, it may happen when they’re dealing with violent males suspects from Eastern Europe or Africa, or in the streets when they have to deal with a riot. Violence is NEVER used with white, female college students from Italy, America or elsewhere.

And Italy is a sovereign state with a great juridical tradition. Receiving condescending lectures by the media of a country where the death penalty is still applied in many states comes across as more than insulting - it is utterly ridiculous. Before you judge the “backwardness”  of the Italian justice system, you should at least first read Cesare Beccaria’s amazingly humane Of Crimes And Punishments (written in 1764) and perhaps you’ll reconsider.

If the American media just cannot understand that there are alternatives to the “American way “, that may not be so bad after all. But they should at least show some respect for a foreign, sovereign state and its people.

If the media can’t even manage to do so - and they really want to help Amanda - the best thing to do now is to go quiet and let the Italian justice work at its pace and according to its own principles. If Amanda is only guilty of arrogance, callousness and narcissism, she will be free soon.

Dear American followers of Meredith and, for that matter, also friends of Amanda Knox. May I speak right to you, and right past the media?

There has been no character assassination, no demonization, no great wave of hate and revenge, no mad prosecutor, no Satan theory of the crime, no invented evidence, and no massive bumbling.

What there has been is a whole stack of evidence and a VERY careful process. Kernit in effect described all the evidence in his extraordinary 150 questions.

And on Friday and Saturday, Amanda Knox for better or worse chose to answer NONE of them.


Here is the reported response of Meredith’s roommate Filomena to Knox on the stand. The translation is by Kermit.

It is from the major Italian paper Corriere in a report by the tough journalist Fiorenza Sarzanini who wrote a book on the case.


She (Amanda) doesn’t know that amongst the public is sitting Filomena Romanelli, her flatmate, the young woman who had agreed to lease to her one of the rooms of the cottage in Via della Pergola. They were friends, Amanda in fact called Filomena on the morning of 2 November 2007 when “I returned home and found the door open and everything seemed very strange because there was blood on the sink, on the bathmat, and Meredith’s room was locked” .

Now, however, they appear distant, completely separate from each other. Filomena appears annoyed to hear the American reconstruct her movements of that day and above all her alibi for the previous night, that of the crime. “She’s incoherent, she continues to change versions,” bursts out Filomena, convinced that nobody has recognized her.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/14/09 at 07:47 PM | #

Great report Nicki!.  Your last statement intrigues me.  Was Amanda asked any of the questions?  I have not seen a transcript.  Most of the reports were about the night of her interrogation and her “abuse and mistreatment” and the fact she named Patrick as the murderer.  Interesting that she had quite a few opportunities to apologize to Patrick, but I guess it wasn’t in her script!

Will this be the only time she will testify?  Her mother will be testifying and I had read a report that the police had bugged all calls and AK told her mother she was at the cottage the night of the murder.  What will her mother say when asked this question?  What else do the police have from bugging her calls and meetings?

Posted by BARBM on 06/14/09 at 07:49 PM | #

Thanks Nicki for this great post.

She might be fooling her FOA with the theatrics but she is not fooling the court judges. She is still coming across as cunning and a bigger liar than before if that was ever possible!

Clearly intending to manipulate, while very rapidly acquiring another couple of extra charges to add to her current list once the verdict for this trial is given to her.

Everyone that matters in court knows that she’s had many months to rehearse the script. She has not offered anything new, and she still managed to come up with lots of ‘I don’t remembers’.

She even contradicted herself over Friday’s testimony on Saturday.

Posted by Jools on 06/14/09 at 10:16 PM | #

Sociopathy, psychopathy, or anything in between, Lumumba is so very lucky he had an air tight alibi and the police self-corrected from Knox’s cruel lie. Only she and God know how far she would have taken it but for the alibi and DNA evidence. Would she have left Perugia smiling that she had put Lumumba away for life? There’s a cold, dark emptiness in her eyes that belies true caring.

The simple fact is that whether police were firm or velvety, there is a mountain of evidence we are asked to ignore. What about “stupid liar” is inaccurate or coercive? If only the killers had been so forceful.

Posted by jennifer on 06/15/09 at 05:28 AM | #

Kermit wrote:

“Nicki does a good review of the Italian reaction to the trial in general and Amanda taking the stand in particular. I think it’s correct to say that the fascination that Europe may once have had with the USA has faded, and the American way of doing things is not necessarily the way which will get the desired results.”

I think the fascination ended abruptly when, in 2004, the Americans re-elected Bush to the consternation of traditional allies in Europe. I don’t mean to be polemical, but I noted a shift in attitudes then. Unfortunately, the Timothy Egans, Doug Prestons and Peter Van Sants of this world have not gotten the news and continue to act as if the American way is the only way. They have tried to turn this into a political issue and luckily have not succeeded—in fact, because the American is no longer the only way and everyone else realizes this.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 06/15/09 at 08:51 AM | #

Thanks for the interesting post Nicki and if emails and comments across the board are anything to go by, it seems a great many people outside Italy share the same view.

Hi Jennifer, I think a lot of people are quite willing to see Patrick as just another casualty of this whole affair without stopping to think about how much damage this false accusation has done to his life and his career. To me it seems fairly obvious that the Italian police weren’t interested in ‘railroading’ anyone, evident in the way they conducted their own investigation and exonerated Lumumba as quickly as they could.

Amanda caused absolute chaos when she implcated Lumumba. Not only to his wife and child, but to his friends, his family, his ongoing reputation in the community and inevitably, the subsequent investigation which obviously determined she was lying and cost Italian authorities a great deal of time and man hours.

Yet most media outlets forget to mention that Knox kept Lumumba on as her emergency credit card. Most also act as if a mere allegation of being ‘hit’ excuses almost completely ruining Patrick’s life. Most of the American media outlets seem to be suggesting that Amanda shouldn’t have to accept any responsibility at all for the way she has behaved and the things she has done, yet in the same breath proclaim she is an adult.

Some of the media reports are being extremely misleading by claiming that Amanda only implicated Patrick because she was pressured, hit, beat etc. The truth is, she implicated him early on and refused to withdraw her accusation the following day. She has never apologised.

I’m fairly sure, evident by her actions and lack of feeling at tossing this man’s life out with the rubbish, that if it had worked out the way she planned, Amanda would have left Lumumba to rot and patted herself on the back for it.

Posted by Miss Represented on 06/15/09 at 03:24 PM | #


Thanks for yet another one of your very informative articles at TJMK!

Like Miss Represented writes above, it is extremely sad for Patrick Lumumba’s name to be found in hundreds of thousands of internet searches associated with this murder due to Amanda Knox’s deliberate and false accusation.  A quick search of “Patrick Lumumba” confirms this at Google, Yahoo and Bing.

I wish him the very best.

Posted by Tara on 06/15/09 at 06:40 PM | #

With reference to the turmoil that Patrick Lumumba found himself in after the false accusation of murder, we posted these two pieces late last summer.

Collateral damage

Rained down on Lumumba.

The first piece is by Tara who commented above. Patrick’s business soon failed, among other things. It is this court’s decision on what damages might be awarded to him from a defendant if found guilty.

Based on the award by Judge Micheli against Rudy Guede, this court seems to think in big numbers. Whether the money will ever be there if he does get an award is, sadly, another matter.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/15/09 at 06:55 PM | #

Patrick Lumumba deserves to be compensated and compensated well. Not by the state, who were merely doing the job their law enforcement officers are sworn to do. But by Knox; the person that caused his bar and livelihood ‘Le Chic’ to close down and almost ruined his life.

Whenever I see pictures of Patrick’s bar or hear about what it was like, I am always saddened by the realisation that I won’t be able to have a drink or dance there and soak up the atmosphere on my trip to Perugia in August and neither will anyone else. Ever again.

Just another victim of the fall out from this case.

Patrick seems like a friendly, likeable and all round nice guy with an amazing smile, I’m sure he was a fantastic host and Meredith must have been excited to have been given the opportunity to make her Mojitos.

Meredith and Patrick’s infectious smiles would have made ‘ladies night’ in Le Chic a favourite of many I’m sure.

I like Tara and probably many others also wish Patrick the very best and hope in time (and with the compensation he deserves) he can begin to rebuild his life.

Posted by Miss Represented on 06/15/09 at 07:32 PM | #

I just came across this story.  Knox says now that the 2 slaps she received at the police station did not hurt her, but frightened her!

If it did not hurt… it was not what we could call being “beaten up” by police. Then, if it did not hurt… no way she could be frightened to the point she would be confused and make up names and facts… Come on, Amanda, you were not even frightened to throw stones at cars in your own neighborhood!

Posted by Patou on 06/16/09 at 07:42 PM | #

From, June 29,2009

‘Still, Knox’s words may yet work against her. Her rosy depiction of the roommates’ relationship contradicted testimony from Kercher’s friends that the two didn’t get along. Speculating on Kercher’s slow death—pathologists say she choked on her own blood—Knox called it “yucky, disgusting” and mimicked sounds of choking in a manner that seemed to startle jurors. When asked if she ever thought about the victim, Knox was less than sympathetic. “In the end, I knew her for a month,” she said. “And first of all, I’m trying to get on with my life.”

Sounds like Knox knew exactly what sounds Meredith made as she suffocated on her own blood???

Posted by jennifer on 06/19/09 at 08:43 PM | #

Exactly Nicki!  There are a lot of people out there commenting on the Italy, Italian society and Italian law whose knowledge of today’s Italy could be written on the head of a pin.

Some of them have never been to Italy, others have done a 10 day tour on a bus, and still others are perpetuating post WW11 images of a conservative, hidebound society emerging from the wreckage of war.

Welcome back to the real world!!! A modern democratic European country with a culture dating back millennia underpinning a modern justice, system based on a belief that the state must not only justly punish the guilty, but offer them the chance of reform and rehabilitation.

Yes, Knox is arrogant, callous and narcissistic, and she is probably also a heavy user of drugs and alcohol. All elements which doubtless led to her offences. But she has been found guilty on the evidence, not on her unpleasant character and dubious ethical standards.

Posted by Tiziano on 12/05/09 at 10:48 PM | #

Thanks for bringing this one to our attention, I haven’t been following this too much but looking forward to watching some of the highlights. It’s a shame we couldn’t follow the Knox case as easily as you said.

Regarding the borderline personality diagnosis question, that’s something I’ve pondered before- it does appear anecdotally that it gets applied to women much more often than men from my own observations (although I believe the actual stats might be more even). I suspect really the reason is like most different psychiatric diagnoses they refer to external behaviours only, and given men and women have slightly different biological and also social environments there is a different presentations of what might well be the same underlying, nervous, conditions. Whereas borderline focuses on unstable relationships there are other disorders which might fit more inherently male characteristics like narcissism or schizoid personalities in contrast.

I know famously Joni Mitchell who had her fair share of unstable relationships wrote a song called Borderline, presumably referring to a diagnosis she was given in the past. Ultimately whatever the label given, which is always a bit subjective, it’s the same thing- bad childhood leading to dysfunctional adult personality/relationships. Gives lawyers some work though at least 😊

Posted by HotAir on 04/30/22 at 07:59 PM | #
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