Why The Smears Of Prosecutor Mignini By Knox “Friends” Are Really Simply A Sideshow

Posted by Peter Quennell


Other than, of course, for the corrosive effects on Amanda Knox’s own defense.

Having attracted a defamation suit for his paper from Mr Mignini for his reporting of the antic Friends fund-raiser, Mr Shay (left above) then jubilantly surfaced on the blog of another Seattle newspaper.

As I reported accurately, I was told by people attending the charity that Mignini is mentally unstable. His over-the-top response seems to indicate that this is so, but (disclaimer) I am not degreed in the field of psychology and therefore cannot for certain diagnose Mignini as having the mental problems others have said they have noticed he has. Ironically, I have heard numerous reports on American and European TV that claim Amanda Knox is a “sociopath” because we do not see her cry on camera. I wonder if Mr. Mignini has objected to all these reporters calling her this?

To which the first response of the excellent Seattle Crime Blog (which added the boldface above) was as follows:

If you can’t diagnose it, then don’t mention it…or at the very least, put the term “mentally unstable” in quotes. You write news stories for a fairly well-respected publication, Mr. Shay. Giving opinions on matters such as this is not your job, and the comments above have just provided further fuel for Mignini’s fire.

A good reporter lets his stories speak for themselves, without launching attacks against those who criticize them. Now - whether this is the case or not - you’ve come across as defensive, and just another body who drank the “Amanda is Innocent” Kool Aid. And the snide rhetorical questions do little to help your case.

Do Mignini’s claims hold any legal bearing? Probably not. Is he overreacting by filing a claim that does little more than make a statement? Probably - though let’s not forget that this is a man who has a job to do, one that has been an uphill battle from the start given the media circus surrounding the case since Kercher’s death more than a year ago.

The defamation suit in question seems rather appropriate.

And with regard to Mr Shays’ “sociopath” claim, if you spend real time online studying this case, one big surprise is there’s little professional reporting that demonizes Amanda Knox. And even less that seriously talks negatively about her psychology. She does draw reporters’ attention for sure, but she sometimes gives the impression she seems to like that and might even provoke it.

The demonization of Prosecutor Mignini, on the other hand, seems to have developed into quite a behind-the scenes industry. We have been sent some of the material that is circulating, and it ranges from improbable to frankly very nasty. We’ve checked extensively, and virtually none of it rings true to those in Italy who have encountered Prosecutor Mignini.

Perhaps the commonest response is that he wouldn’t be in his job if it did. And anyway it seems irrelevant to the case going forward.

For one thing, Prosecutor Mignini has alongside him at all times the excellent and very experienced co-prosecutor, Ms Comodi. It would be very tough to put anything over on her, and watchers in Italy all know that. 

And for another, there is the ongoing momentum of the case within the Italian system of justice, with all of its cautious checks and balances. Many or most of them are in favor of defendants, and they are all tough for prosecutors to contend with.

Prosecutors in Italy are possibly quite envious of the more all-encompassing, wide-ranging powers of prosecutors in the UK and the US. Many prosecutors in the US are elected, of course, and if you want to see prosecutors with REAL powers, check out some of those guys.

Here is how Prosecutor Mignini’s powers always have been more constrained than the Friends-driven meme is suggesting, and how his powers seem to become almost of only academic importance as the case proceeds.

  • In Italy, the indicative evidence is summarized in a large and complex case in a huge volume; the famous 10,000-pages-plus in this case. It is the raw work of dozens of evidence professionals.
  • In Italy, the judges (in this case already around a dozen) and the juries and defense lawyers all have to spend a lot of time reading and studying that body of work, and they really get to know the indicative evidence by the time of the hearing or trial.
  • In Italy, the work of the prosecutor at trial is comparatively lightened because of this. The prosecutor and his team get the evidence together, and then they have a relatively restrained role at the trial itself. And remember Judge Micheli openly disagreed with Mr Mignini on the theory of Rudy Guede’s crime. Not that it mattered very much though - Guede still got handed 30 years, and Mr Mignini had only asked for 25.
  • And in Italy, the work of the judge and jury before trial and at trial is relatively heavy because of this. Change prosecutors at this point and there would be barely a hiccup. And then the judge must come out with the sentencing statement. In the case of Judge Micheli’s report on Guede, it is an astonishingly dense 106 pages, which takes some hours of reading and figuring-out.

Given all this, even those who seem to see Mignini as evil-incarnate would find it incredibly hard to make the case (none of them have yet) for how the body of evidence could have been falsified and the prosecutor could have hoodwinked 12 judges, most of Italy, and the close-case-followers - now up in the thousands.

And comparisons being made between Prosecutor Mignini and the rogue American prosecutor Mike Nifong in the Duke lacross-team case are unfounded. Nifong was back then facing an election for prosecutor,  and he had to face none of these checks and balances with the Duke case, so he really could run rampant. And the minute Mr Nifong had to pass his case over the lowest of hurdles, it simply turned into dust. No comparison there.

A good trial for Amanda Knox and justice for Meredith could both use less of this irrelevant sideshow.




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