Prosecutor Mignini Offers Some Helpful Advice To A Factually Challenged Reporter
Posted by Peter Quennell
Linda Byron is an investigative reporter for a TV station in Seattle.
Her investigative exclusives seem almost exclusively to consist of long and unchecked quotes from the FOA camp together with two or three spaniel-eyed questions.
Which then become yet another shrill report on Seattle TV about what those dastardly Italians are doing to poor Knox. A typical report of hers can be seen here (try later if they are still hiding it).
These are a few of the facts of the case that Linda Byron seems NOT to have mastered.
- That the Italian process of justice is actually very fair and very cautious, is tilted much more to the defense than in the UK and US, and requires prosecutors to jump through a number of hoops before they ever get their case to trial.
- That a judge in Perugia last January issued an impressive 106-page report which explains in great detail why he decided Guede was guilty and why a great deal of evidence suggests that Knox and Sollecito might be too.
- That there are TWO senior and respected prosecutors on this case, not just one, that the victim’s family has expressed full confidence in them, and that neither prosecutor has ever made any claims about a satanic motive here.
- That the prosecution has just presented a formidable case with the help of Italy’s equivalent of the FBI and Scotland Yard, and the defenses seem to be gaining little traction in bringing it down or offering alternatives
- That almost every prosecutor in Italy runs into administrative charges at some time in their career, they are so easy to file, and the charges against Mr Mignini always did look politically motivated and frivolous and likely soon to evaporate.
- That the sliming of Mr Mignini has not been a success, that the FOA campaign in Italy has not been a success, and that Amanda Knox on the stand doesn’t seem to have been much of a success either.
And that above all there is a REAL victim here at the heart of this sad crime, known by the name of Meredith Kercher. And that her poor family is suffering for real here - though of course many miles away from Linda Byron.
So. Instead of good journalism at long last in her latest report, what does Linda Byron have to offer?
“There are many parallels between the Monster of Florence case and the Knox case, I mean there are shocking parallels,” said American crime writer Doug Preston.
Preston says Mignini believes the monster was no lone psychopath, but part of a satanic sect. He suggested an eerily similar motive for Kercher’s murder, which took place on November 1, 2007.
“Which is right before the Italian day of the dead, and that this was some kind of satanic ritualistic ceremony that they were engaged in. That they killed Meredith Kercher as part of this satanic ceremony,” said Preston….
“He decides right up front with almost no evidence based on his gut feeling or intuition that you’re guilty and then sets out to prove it,” said Preston.
Actually, there seem to be no parallels whatsoever between the Florence and Perugia cases. For example Amanda Knox was interrogated only for two rather short periods - and Mr Mignini was not even present at the first of them.
And Mr Mignini was quite tangential to the Monster of Florence case. He was actually investigating a drowning to the west of Perugia. And when Preston and his partner interfered in Mr Mignini’s case in a particularly harebrained manner, a sharp response was inevitable.
Linda Byron invited Mr Mignini to provide a response to the heated claims in her piece. Either the response was completely over her head, or she did understand it and tried to bury it - it is ONLY only available in Italian, via a link, with a second link to Yahoo’s awful cut-and-paste translator.
Here now is Mr Mignini’s entire response put into good English, not by Yahoo, but by two of our own excellent native-Italian speakers.
Dear Ms Byron,
I hope we will be able to meet and discuss sometime in person, since some of the issues you have examined, specifically the Florentine proceedings against myself and Dr Giuttari, are way too complex to be described in just a few words. I will try to give a short answer here.
To begin with, there is no relationship between the events that are the subject of Spezi’s and Preston’s book and the murder of young Ms Kercher beside the fact that I am the one person dealing with both the Narducci proceedings (connected to the Monster of Florence case) and the Meredith Kercher murder.
These two are totally different events, as well as wholly unrelated to each other, and I am not able to see any type of analogy.
Furthermore, while the precautionary custody order for Spezi has been voided by the Tribunale del Riesame of Perugia, exclusively on the grounds of insufficient elements of proof, the precautionary custody order for Knox was firmly confirmed not only by the Tribunal of Riesame in Perugia,, but above all by the Sixth Section of the Court of Cassazione, which has declared the matter decided and closed.
About the “sacrificial rite” issue, I have never stated that Meredith Kercher was the victim of a “sacrificial rite”.
It should be sufficient to read the charges to understand that the three defendants have been accused of having killed Ms Kercher in the course of activities of a sexual nature, which are notoriously very different from a “sacrificial rite”.
The Monster of Florence investigations have been led by the Florentine magistrates Adolfo Izzo, Silvia della Monica, Pierluigi Vigna, Paolo Canessa and some others.
I have never served in Florence. I have led investigations related to the case since October 2001, but only with regard to the death of Dr Francesco Narducci, and just a superficial knowledge of those proceedings [Dr Narducci drowned or was drowned] would suffice to realize that I never spoke of a “sacrificial rite” which in this case doesn’t make any good sense.
About the defense lawyer issue. Mr. Preston was heard as a person claiming information about the facts (in effect a witness), but after indications of some circumstances against him surfaced, the interview was suspended, since at that point he should have been assisted by an attorney, and since according to the law the specific crime hypothesis required the proceedings to be suspended until a ruling on them was handed down.
All I did was to apply the Italian law to the proceedings. I really cannot understand any problem.
In the usual way, Knox was first heard by the police as a witness, but when some essential elements of her involvement with the murder surfaced, the police suspended the interview, according to Article 63 of the penal proceedings code.
But Knox then decided to render spontaneous declarations, that I took up without any further questioning, which is entirely lawful. According to Article 374 of the penal proceedings code, suspects must be assisted by a lawyer only during a formal interrogation, and when being notified of alleged crimes and questioned by a prosecutor or judge, not when they intend to render unsolicited declarations.
Since I didn’t do anything other than to apply the Italian law applicable to both matters, I am unable to understand the objections and reservations which you are talking about.
Secondly, I have told you that explaining the nature of the accusations against me is a complex job.
In short, it has been alleged that I have favored Dr Giuttari’s position, who was investigated together with two of his collaborators for a (non-existent) political forgery of a tape recording transcription of a conversation between Dr Giuttari and Dr Canessa.
The latter was giving vent to his feelings, telling Dr Giuttari that the head prosecutor in Florence (at the time) was not a free man in relation to his handling of the Monster investigations.
A technical advisor from the prosecutor’s office in Genoa had tried to attribute that sentence to Dr Giuttari, without having previously obtained a sound test from him, only from Dr Canessa.
I decided, rightly and properly, to perform another technical test on that tape for my trial (I have a copy of it, and the original transcripts of the recording).
I had the technical test performed by the Head of the Sound Task Force of the RIS Carabinieri in Rome, Captain Claudio Ciampini.
If Giuttari had lied, Captain Ciampini would have certainly said so. But his conclusions from the analysis were that that sentence had been pronounced by Dr Canessa. And by the way, this is clearly audible.
I then deemed it appropriate to interrogate the technical adviser from Genoa, in the sphere of the investigations led by me, since the people under investigation were thoroughly but inexplicably aware of the development of the investigation of Dr Giuttari.
The technical advisor from Genoa had made some absolutely non-credible declarations, and I had to investigate him.
The GUP from Genoa, Dr Roberto Fenizia, by means of a non-contested verdict on 9 November 2006, acquitted Dr Giuttari and his collaborators, because the alleged crimes had never occurred.
Therefore, I am accused for doing a proper and due investigation, without even the consideration that I have spared some innocent people from a sentence. I leave any further evaluation up to you.
As for the phone tappings, they had been fully authorized or validated by the GIP. [Those charges are now thrown out.] Explain to me how they can be considered wrongful. I haven’t been able to understand this yet.
This is the story of that case in short, and I am certain the truth will prevail.
None of us is guaranteed not to be subjected to unjust trials, especially when sensitive and “inconvenient” investigations have been conducted.
When accusations are serious and heavy in Italy, a magistrate that has been investigated or charged suffers heavy consequences.
There are appropriate bodies in charge to intervene according to the current laws, but the Florentine penal proceeding so far hasn’t affected me at all, perhaps because everybody – and specifically those professionally working on the matter - have realized that such penal proceedings have been anomalous, to use a euphemism.
As to my possibility to appeal any conviction, the Italian law provides for it, and I don’t need to say more.
I will make some closing remarks on the different jurisdictions.
Indeed there are differences between the [UK and US] common law jurisdictions and those of continental Europe, including the Italian one, which like any other jurisdiction has its flaws but also its merits, of which I ‘m becoming more aware as I carry on.
Furthermore, both jurisdictions are expressions of the juridical culture of the Western world, and this is something that shouldn’t be disregarded.
I don’t think I need to add anything else, except that these issues would need to be discussed in a personal conversation in order to delve further into the matter.
No wonder Linda Byron seemed to want to bury this letter. Does anybody now not think that the charges against Mr Mignini are quite ludicrous? Preston’s and the Florence prosecutor’s both?
Mr Mignini seems to be suggesting to Linda Byron to hop on a plane to Italy and to try getting her facts straight once and for all. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that one.
would it do any good whatsoever to forward today’s post to linda byron? do you suppose she and others in the american media ever look at this site? i just don’t understand the blinders all have put on in this regard.
Hi Gramjam. Linda Byron’s reporting is particularly disliked by many watchers of the case in Seattle. They think her extreme bias with its rather xenophobic overtones reflects very badly on their city and should somehow be stopped.
We have previously gone up against Peter Popham of The Independent (he handed over to Andrea Vogt), the Seattle PI (the paper version of the PI collapsed!) CBS News (no further report since), CNN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell (no further report since), the Associated Press reporters in Rome (their reports became a lot less gushy about Knox), and some others who then cooled it or went silent.
So we do seem to be impacting some of them. It may not be the edifices that tremble, but the reporters themselves don’t find ridicule of their mediocre or biased work easy to take, particularly when accompanied by headshots.
We have quite frequently been interviewed by the mainstream media or quoted as sources. Our posters in Seattle haver all been interviewed and two in the UK. I’ve been quoted in reports of media groups here in New York and two arms of the BBC.
Each time we have been mentioned on a media website with a link back to TJMK the site has gained new traffic, and when the New York Times site linked to TJMK a month ago we saw over 20,000 total on one day.
So it really helps all of us if anyone email the links to posts to any opinion-maker we want to influence. Links can be very effect dropped off in the Comments areas of other sites. Even hostile comments seem to send us more readers..
By the way, many of the posts on TJMK were sent in to us out of the blue. Some quite shyly though that passes! It is really encouraging to read new voices on Meredith and the vital principles that are at stake here.
this may sound rather trivial or reek of “sensationalism” but i notice that the often annoying nancy grace on one of the cable news networks frequently brings light to criminal cases in a critical, investigative manner (as does greta van susteren of FOX News (i.e. natalie holloway). i don’t know if mainstream american viewers are impacted by these shows or what the numbers of viewers are but i’m curious why such a dramatic, interesting case involving an american hasn’t been seen on such shows.
It has been, gramjan! Not with Nancy Grace, but I-do-not-know-what “Velez”. Everybody was barking and barking and it was anyway filled with FOAK’s leitmotiv (poor little Amanda)
Personnally, I have to say that since I have seen the way they present this case here in the US, there are many “never more” in my list, like pay attention to this “writer” and his interpretation of journalism and investigation on the Monster of Florence (and his “book” will never find its way to my house or nobody’s house I know…), or this horrible Ms Velez’s show.
“People’s magazine” is probably more instructive and researched…
Hi Gramjan. Patou is right. CNN did take a fairly disastrous stab at it.
That was Jane Velez-Mitchell of course. She is probably ashamed of herself now. Nancy Grace has had a couple of segments; she was better informed and quite scathing of the Knox-Mellas claims.
Making big bucks explains a lot. There is clearly a commercial relationship between the media and the FOA, all of whom want to make money. That is what Linda Byron means by those exclusives: some money is changing hands.
Someone in the publishing world told us recently that the Knoxes and Mellases could soon be rolling in it - especially if Amanda goes to jail.
Personally, I cant stand Greta (or Jane, or Nancy for that matter). She’s not only a whacked out Scientologist, but she will beat a story to death. Remember Natalee Holloway? I can just see her siding with the FOAKers…....Plus, she’s also on FOX, the station best know for their biased b-s reporting.
As a lifelong Seattleite let me posit that few consider Ms Byron’s work product “investigative reporting”. Rather, like all of the other former Seattle colleagues of Knox’s PR principals, her behavior resembles that of the other Preston, Van Sant, Egan FOA marionettes in our market.
This case more than any other has cast a sleazy pall over many in our Seattle media. Our talking heads could take some lessons in refinement and class from Prosecutor Mignini. If a reporter is clueless, why not simply report that one side presents this and the other this and let viewers weigh it. To borrow from Knox herself, “bleggh”.
LOL - The Seattle KING 5 website is down right now. Serves ‘em right.
At the King 5 website you can post comments here:
It’s a pretty clean slate right now.
The U.S. media are not interested in facts and never have been. They are interested in a ‘story’.
“Girl gets involved in a murder while abroad” is not a story. Terrifying ordeal by naiive youngster abroad, falsely accused of murder by corrupt satanist obsessed prosecutor IS a story.
Mr Marriott will earn all those dollars that the family are paying him by ensuring that all the media outlets that he can get his foot in the door at will lap up the narrative that he carefully edits. Add to the mix the Prestons, Ciolinos et all with their own ‘narratives’ to sell and it’s KERRR-CHING all round.
Don’t worry about the family. The publishing of all those tearjerkers of all American family separated from their daughter imprisoned in a third world hell-hole on no evidence will rake in the cash. There will be Seattle media at the tearful anniversaries, the documentaries following them back and forth to Italy to visit the angelic one suffering Christ-like in prison. There will be coverage of the regular appeals to politicians.
There will be great TV emotional rollercoasters with tears of sympathy, outrage at spinless politicians at home and foreign corruption and relief that our families are safe in the USA; a country with proper laws and due process. Talking heads of learned judges (friends of the family, they appear at a discount) will explain why those SOB’s would never get away with it here.
There will be books narrating this terrible crime in the country of Europe and everybody will get a mention; the satanist inspired prosecutor, the clairvoyants that work for him, the freemasons, the mafia, the evil internet hate campaign, the corrupt police and incompetent DNA specialists who don’t know DNA from chocolate bars.
Dan Brown will get roped in for at least one of the film scripts; he’s good at dark, satanic Europe. Plays and films ‘based on a true story’ will rework it at infinitum.
Now you surely don’t want a few facts getting in the way of all that good business now do you?
Oh Faustus, truer words were never spake before. Ever. I felleth off chair laughing.
Being an Alien Brit Resident of the U.S.A., I could not have come close to such a fitting description of the mindset of my adopted country.
“Mr Mignini seems to be suggesting to Linda Byron to hop on a plane to Italy and to try getting her facts straight once and for all. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that one.”
So of course she went to Italy and interviewed Mr Mignini, who came across like he was talking with a 2-year-old - and she STILL couldn’t get even one of her “facts” straight!
She still couldn’t grasp the political nature of the one charge against Mignini- though he explained it in the email to her above AND in the interview.
She still seems to think it is a big deal, and that somehow (not explained) Mignini has fabricated the whole case against Knox. For its own good, Seattle should run her out on a rail.
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