Category: Seattle context

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fervent Knox Supporter Tom Wright Seemingly Strongarms Knox High School Into “Honoring” Her

Posted by brmull





One thing is for sure. Not many schools - maybe none, ever - have accepted the creation of a scholarship to honor a convicted felon who, until the Supreme Court signs off, still stands accused of a very cruel crime.

Seattle Preparatory School is a fee-paying Jesuit Catholic school about a mile north of Seattle downtown, on the south side of Portage Bay from the main campus of the University of Washington. See Google Earth image at bottom. The school’s student role is estimated at around 650.

This announcement of a new scholarship in the name of Amanda Knox was recently published: “The fund, established by past parent [and co-founder of the advocacy group Friends of Amanda Knox] Tom Wright, will provide tuition assistance to students in need.”

Early in 2011 Tom Wright [seen reading a statement in a black shirt below] presided over a seriously loopy panel presentation at Seattle University, attended by a sparse crowd of about 35, which garbled all the hard evidence in the case and accused Italian officialdom of a number of crimes. See for example our reports here and here.





Tom Wright apparently had to kick in at least $50,000 for initial fund of the endowment, and he hopes that others will feel impelled to contribute as well.

For him this is certainly a labor of passion, since Knox with her book advance has more than enough resources of her own to set up an endowment if she wished, though to date we have seen no indication that Knox has made any charitable donations. Tom Wright seeks to make it look noble.

Sara [his daughter] and Amanda were good friends at Prep… With this fund our family wants to honor the courage of Amanda and her family. They displayed great dignity and fortitude enduring a wrongful prosecution on foreign soil. During years of unjust incarceration, the school supported Amanda through prayers and letters of support. Prep acted in the Jesuit spirit by seeking social justice and helped to win a fight worth remembering.

According to the announcement applicants should demonstrate the same “moral courage, strength of character under duress and a sincere desire to help others in need” that was supposedly exhibited by Amanda Knox.





Let’s pause right there.

Claims of “wrongful prosecution” and “years of unjust incarceration” are way premature, and contradicted by all these posts here.

“Moral courage” means taking a risk in order to do what one believes is right. Put aside for a moment the overwhelming evidence that Knox did murder Meredith Kercher. To what instance of moral courage could the school possibly have been referring? We don’t have a clue.

“Strength of character under duress” is pretty much expected of any upstanding member of society. But if there’s one person to which it surely doesn’t apply, it’s someone who was convicted of falsely accusing her kind boss of murder and wrecking his business. Billions of people have a “sincere desire to help others in need.” What makes Knox notable here?

Why else might Knox have been deserving of a scholarship in her name? It’s often said that she was an “honor student” but we wonder why she wasn’t wearing any honor cords at her graduation while other students had them. Author and Knox innocence proponent Nina Burleigh wrote that she “almost flunked” a religion class and was made to take summer school.

Knox has also been described as a “star soccer player.” The team she played for, however, endured “four bleak, losing seasons” according to Nina Burleigh’s book.

A few teachers and students spoke up rather listlessly and doubtfully for Knox after she was arrested and put on trial. Several are believed to have said that they were really not too surprised to hear of the mess she was in.



;Above: school president Dr Kent Hickey]


Is there ANY solid reason in the public record why Knox is deserving of this singular honor?

Tom Wright seems to have been motivated above all by his desire to memorialize “a fight worth remembering.” As much as anything else, that fight consisted of himself and a small group of like-minded diehard parents appropriating the school’s good name and resources for the purpose of a nasty, bigoted, defamatory, strong-arming campaign which played fast and loose with the facts.

Dr Kent Hickey [image directly above] became president of Seattle Prep two years after Knox graduated. He didn’t know her at all, and he may not even have met her face to face before the school accepted a scholarship in her name. Nonetheless, he described her to the media as “a good and thoughtful girl”.

He defended the school’s decision to raise funds for her by saying “We can’t pick and choose the graduates we help.”  Yet Seattle Prep DOES indeed pick and choose, all the time. The school routinely punishes and expels students for everything from minor insolence to felonies. We can’t find any other instance in which it has held fundraisers for any alum—let alone a convicted felon—despite 8,000 alums living in the Seattle area.

And so Seattle Prep parents and onlookers might be forgiven for thinking that Dr Hickey is grasping at straws to justify his school’s very strange action.



[Above: scholarship creator Tom Wright]


One angered parent commented on the PR campaign as follows in an excellent investigative report by James Ross Gardner in the local magazine Seattle Met late in 2010:

It is true some of the Seattle Prep families have allowed their students to support Amanda Knox. I do not believe that it is a 100%. A number of families have felt their students were pressured into supporting Knox without having a choice. That is not the Seattle Prep I knew from my years there as a student, nor is it what my husband experienced.

In our years as Prep students we were allowed choice rather than pressure. Because of the pressure, a number of family are not making their annual donations to Seattle Prep. I, for one, will be glad when the verdict in the appeal is handed down so perhaps we can all move past this event. Yes, event.

Seattle Prep has made it into an event and it takes away from the students discussing other news and issues. I do not wish Knox ill but my children did not go to school with her and do not know her. They have no idea if she is guilty. They are more worried about their close friend that is fighting cancer. It is time to un-focus on Knox. That’s just my opinion.





An angered alum of Seattle Prep offered this opinion to the reporter from Seattle Met:

I went to Seattle Prep, and did a full year in Italy. I learned Italian and the culture and saw a lot of Americans and Italians from the South that studied in Central and Northern university towns go a little nuts with all the freedom away from home.

Since I started following this trial, I could totally see how immoral behavior could lead to Amanda doing what she was accused of doing. Drug use, jealous roommates, and illicit sex are not a good mix, especially when people need money to support such habits. Amanda seems to have a lobby of easily-swayed-by-propaganda lab rats who bought in to the PR agency story and don’t bother following the case in its entirety.

I do not know the background of the Seattle Prep Principal, but I think he is getting in way over his head by getting into this case, and as a prior poster mentioned, he is putting a lot of pressure on people to get on the pro-Amanda bandwagon. So sick to sway young students’ minds on what to think.

This sounds like our post-modern decaying American mentality of choosing sides and voicing misdirected-emotions in forming opinions. The Principal does not sound like a well educated, worldly individual to put the Academic Institution and its students, employees and graduates in the middle of this fiasco. It reeks of “We Support Our Troops,” military campaigns to coerce and intimidate people into believing in a “popular” movement.

It’s a cruel joke that needy students who are not in a position to turn down financial aid will be forced to associate themselves with Amanda Knox and an ignominious campaign of bigotry, defamation and intimidation.

It is to them and the real victims, Meredith and her family, that Seattle hearts should go out.







Monday, October 15, 2012

Professor Snape Saves 99.9999% Of Seattle From A Pestilent Raffaele Sollecito

Posted by Professor Snape





It has been awhile since I last reported on the perceptions of average Seattleites regarding the ongoing Meredith Kercher murder trial saga. 

The recent arrival of Raffaele Sollecito in Seattle on the final stop of his book promotion tour provided an excellent opportunity to revisit this interesting and telling topic.

By the time Raffaele had arrived in Seattle it was well known that his book sales would ultimately be dismal, and that his father was overly busy in the Italian media strenuously disavowing the major claim of the book; the claim of illegal backroom corruption that is central to the book’s “Honor Bound” title. 

And where Sollecito wasn’t lying outright, it had become painfully obvious that many of the new claims in his book directly contradicted statements he had previously made in his prison diary, or that can readily be found in other early sources of case information.





With this in mind, under protection of his invisibility cloak Professor Snape casually strolled into a cold and nearly empty auditorium on the University of Washington campus to find out firsthand exactly who would be attending such an event. 

He found himself among no more than 60 aging and grayish FOA groupie types, most with Raffaele’s book tucked carefully underarm in high anticipation of a dynamic evening, as if a prized show horse were about to enter an arena.

It seemed that in spite of extensive national and local promotion the good people of Seattle had stayed away entirely!  In fact, Snape observed one woman who showed up at the door in response to a local radio ad, but then walked away in disgust upon learning that she would have to pay a $5 entry fee if Raffaele’s book were not purchased onsite. 

So as it turned out, this was going to be an evening for friends and family only, with absolutely no groundswell of grass roots support from Seattleites, or even Amanda Knox herself for that matter, who sent her mother and sister instead to honor the imagined savior, Raffaele Sollecito.





As a welcoming gift, Snape threw down the Permanent Sticking Charm causing an uncomfortable delay to the program.  Event organizers began complaining of a Jinx in the audio or video equipment and one loudmouth attendee sarcastically suggested that the press photographer might be able to do a better repair job than the UW AV staff.  This was followed by chuckles and chest pounding causing Snape to consider invoking the Reparo Charm, but instead he provided only his trademark sly sneer.

The show finally started.  Everyone seemed to have their books out in hand, except for Snape who could be singled out because he was one of the few who possessed a half torn gold admission ticket.  The audience eagerly awaited juicy and triumphant tales from the currently ex-con Sollecito, as if his narrative would be somehow bold and charged with ownership.  However, things quickly stagnated into pathetic mumbling and unbelievably boring descriptions of irrelevant events. 

One could easily assume that Raffaele was under the influence of a Babbling Curse, but he didn’t require any of Snape’s help whatsoever.





News anchor Dennis Bounds from Seattle’s KING 5 TV succeeded spectacularly in bringing the interview to an even lower than anticipated standard.  Bounds declared at the outset that the two had spent a great deal of time the day before preparing for this supposedly spontaneous interview.  At the beginning of the interview it seemed as though the audience was ready to reach out and pet Raffaele’s adorable made-over hair as if he were a poodle on a podium. 

But all too soon his ho-hum responses caused even this adoring crowd’s anticipation to plummet like facebook stock values.

Bounds tried very hard to extract meaningful replies from Raffaele, but Raffaele remained unfocused and glazed over as if on some kind of stardom high; stupidly cheerful and starstruck.  Bounds provided Raffaele with obviously rehearsed and leading questions from his cue-sheet, along with tips and reminders for answers when Raffaele stumbled or hesitated.  At times Bounds even had to resort to guessing what Sollecito might have felt, when there was no ready response.





At times during the program a larger than life photograph of Meredith Kercher mysteriously appeared on the large screen above Bounds and Sollecito.  This happened on three separate occasions, which became odder still because Bounds and Sollecito just kept right on talking, never once pausing to address or acknowledge Meredith’s presence. 

Furthermore, you could hear a pin drop when this happened and the entire audience seemed to be frozen in a shock state.

A few heads looked pensively towards the event organizer; a woman in a red dress who ran swiftly up to the projection booth to erase the image. Heads turned again when Meredith’s picture came up a second time, while the UW AV crew in the back chuckled and snickered.  After Meredith’s 3rd appearance before the crowd an ominous “power off” signal appeared on the screen and Meredith was gone; all the more strange because none of this seemed to have anything to do with the ongoing and terribly bland program.

Sollecito continued regurgitating shallow prefabricated answers, apparently borrowed from previous book signing engagements. His voice was in no way authoritative, but instead came across as low and unsure.  At times he did not seem to recall the responses that he had been coached to provide. And then Bounds finally got around to asking Raffaele what he thought about Prosecutor Mignini and the home team audience roared with laughter, for the first and only time, as if they knew they were going to finally get what they came to hear.





Mignini could have been a topic that would get fur flying and put Sollecito into a much more animated mood.  But no sparks flew.  There were no gasps into the microphone, no fingers pointed or arms flinging in the air, and in the end nothing but a “Riddikulus” and mundane reply from Raffaele, “I do not know what Mignini thinks of me because Mignini never talked to me.”  Bounds seemed taken aback and asked again about Mignini, but Sollecito was completely unable to offer any unkind words, which must have been a devastating letdown for this particular audience.

Bounds pressed Sollecito about the possibility his of coming to Seattle to live, work, and possibly attend the UW, but Raffaele seemed ambivalent while agreeing that it could be a possibility. Before wrapping up the interview Sollecito answered selected questions taken from index cards passed around the audience. 

While this only served to extend the bore-fest, Professor Snape successfully inquired if Sollecito felt his book might have an impact on the upcoming prosecutor’s appeal to the Court of Cassation in Italy and if so, how.  Sollecito seemed unable to provide his own coherent response and instead relied upon Bounds and the audience to first suggest, “yes, hopefully in a positive manner.”





With that, Snape prepared to wrap up his investigative mission (with no book under cape) as three women approached, one after the other, insisting that Snape identity himself and the nature of his business at the event.  When asked for his name by a crazy lady Number One, Snape defiantly asked back, “What is your name”, to which Number One replied, “I am a nobody”; truthfully spoken, as Snape’s Veritaserum cologne worked its magic.

Crazy lady Number Two demanded to know why Snape was taking pictures and Snape replied that it was because he found the event interesting.  Number two pressed on, asking “Why do you think it is interesting?”  Perhaps Number Two missed noticing that this was, in fact, a highly promoted book-selling tour and not a FOA backyard BBQ, or that the Barbara Walters top 10 most interesting people of 2011 included a subject mentioned conspicuously in the title of Raffaele’s book.

Unfortunately Number Two felt the need to make a hasty retreat, apparently under the influence of the Banishing Charm, before attempting to answer any questions from Snape.





Crazy lady Number Three was only slightly more civil and carried on in a polite but entirely too nosey manner, boldly asking who Snape was. “Oh, I have never heard that name before!” Number Three exclaimed under the influence of the Confundus Charm.  Number Three herself had been taking countless pictures of everyone present all evening, explaining that she was a journalist for a small Seattle-area town.  Honestly, though, she seemed much more like a bored hairdresser/plastic jewelry artist who might blog for an imaginary audience while waiting for imaginary customers.

As Snape departed he was nearly overrun by a couple of Seattle beat cops who were busy dragging out one of the attendees; a poor chap who lost his glasses and all hope of redemption during a defiant struggle.  Following this one bit of excitement in an otherwise pointless evening, a flick of the levitation wand swiftly carried Snape away into the dark Seattle sky.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kane Hall Book Promotion: Interviewer And Sollecito Panderer Dennis Bounds Drops The Ball Terribly

Posted by Media Watcher



[Above: Amanda Knox’s mother and sister are to the right in the back row in white and red sweaters]


Sales statistics show that Sollecito’s book is selling terribly and light-years from recouping costs.

Tonight’s public interview showed one good reason why. A small mostly elderly entirely white crowd in Kane Hall heard Sollecito being allowed to blame it solely on the black guy. Not even his own lawyers did that. But there was no argument from the interviewer, no tension, no excitement, no sense of discovery or truth.

And the feeble questions moved on.

Dennis Bounds, anchor for KING-5 television news in Seattle, certainly demonstrated why he’s no journalist. After tossing softball after softball at Sollecito during an “interview” at UW’s Kane Hall and then teasing Sollecito that he should come to the UW as an exchange student, Bounds declared “You’re out of jail and you’re not guilty - which is the important thing.”

Untrue. Sollecito still stands accused of Meredith’s murder until the Supreme Court signs off on the case. The pandering Dennis Bounds was eagerly first in line to get a book signed by the accused. See the image at bottom.

The problem with most of the US media is that they’ve never taken the time to review the case, including the original Massei sentencing report (which gives very thoughtful, not sensational, overview of the evidence and how it ties together), what was reviewed during the appeal and what specific elements should have been under review, and what that means for the prosecutor’s appeal that’s now been submitted to Italy’s Supreme Court.


Hard questions a real journalist could have asked

These are examples of what Dennis Bounds could have asked Sollecito in direct follow-up to answers that Sollecito gave tonight, instead of moving on to the next softball.

Sollecito:  After ten hours of questioning in a very rude, aggressive way”¦(one of the detectives said) “If you stand up now, I will leave you in a pool of blood.”

Journalist:  Are you asserting that one of the detectives threatened you?  Did you relay this to your family and ultimately to your attorneys?

Sollecito:  No one ever asked me to be on the witness stand.  No one ever asked me anything.  I was a shadow.

Journalist:  Who prevented you from testifying?  Did you want to testify?  Did you ask your attorneys to let you testify?  Given that you were willing to testify, what can you say here tonight about why you gave so many versions of what you were doing the night the murder took place.

Sollecito:  For any kind of detail, I’m here; you can ask me.

Journalist:  Why did you tell detectives that there was a burglary, but nothing was taken before the room in question was even checked out?  And given that it wasn’t your room, how did you know that nothing was taken?

Journalist:  You and Amanda claimed that you needed to get a mop from Amanda’s flat to wipe up under a leaky sink.  Why would you wait hours to go get a mop unstead of just sopping up the water with towels from your own flat?

Sollecito:  Most of the people who are “guilters” follow the media and don’t know anything about the case.

Journalist:  If that’s the case, why are they asking questions about how Meredith’s fresh blood got mixed with Amanda’s DNA in multiple places in the bathroom, and why are they so focused on phone records that showed that what you told detectives originally was untrue.

Sollecito:  (About Rudy Guede) - He is a burglar who did similar burglaries”¦..he’s most probably implicated; he’s most probably the only one.

Journalist:  If Guede was the only person there that night, where did the other footprints come from, how did Amanda’s DNA get mixed with Meredith’s blood, and who do you think staged the break-in, after making sure Meredith’s room was locked?

Journalist:  And by the way, can you explain why Amanda Knox called her mother in the middle of the night, Seattle time, given that to that point, she should not have known anything about the dark events that had taken place in the flat?  Were you with her when she made that call?






Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Will Sollecito Drop Amanda Knox In It Further In A Public Seattle Interview At 7:00 PM Tonight?

Posted by Peter Quennell





This is Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus where at 7:00 tonight Sollecito is set to be interviewed.

What was described in this excellent series by an Italian lawyer on four of the Porta a Porta shows continues to be the case. One perp slyly pushing another toward the fire, in an attempt to protect his own sorry ass.

On two levels the woolly-brained component of the Seattle media and the woolly-brained Knox-Mellas camp seem to have only the dimmest comprehension of the slow-motion train-wreck Sollecito has managed to create.

(1) Sollecito may continue to claim that he “saved” Amanda by standing by her when others urged not to, but as future posts here will show, he provably didnt, and in his book in a number of places he includes very incriminatory points about her.

(2) Provable lies in Sollecito’s book have already stirred up a hornet’s nest in Italy and his own father and his lawyers have backed off - right when RS and AK face one of the toughest appeals our Italian lawyers have ever seen.

Can Sollecito be expected to make things worse both for Amanda and for himself tonight? It may not be obvious to much of the audience, but our own bet is: for sure. Must-read posts in advance here and here and here.

And a must-read book. That narcissistic killer flaunted the system - and is now doing 33 years.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In Desperation A Council Of War? All Of The Sollecito Family Suddenly Hop On Flights To Seattle

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




What’s going on here?

Sollecito has been in Los Angeles working on a book with a shadow writer. His father has said very firmly several times that Sollecito and Amanda Knox are through. Finito.

But Italian media are suddenly reporting that Sollecito is hopping on a plane for Seattle. And that his family, seemingly in a panic, is high-tailing it after him.

Are both families really nervous that the two will get back together for better or (probably) worse? Or is this a council of war between the Sollecitos, Knoxes, and Mellases?

Actually, this meet-up is no surprise at all to the close case watchers in Italy. They were wondering how else the two families and their loose-cannon kids could make it through the minefields ahead.  They seem to be facing a five-problem agenda.

Problem One For Discussion

The most immediate problem for the two families is described in the box at the top of the page here. Curt Knox and Edda Mellas are headed for a civil trial brought by aggrieved police, seemingly without an ounce of proof on the family’s side other than any testimony from Amanda Knox herself under cross-examination (for the first time) on the witness stand. 

Almost simultaneously the Sollecitos (five of them) are headed for a CRIMINAL trial for illegal release of evidence and attempted political interference which could eventually land them in prison. The two charges against them seem pretty cut and dried with hard evidence on film and audio tape to which they have not so far offered even a sliver of a rebuttal.

Problem Two For Discussion

The second problem is that officialdom in Rome and Perugia seem to almost universally believe that the two families have all along known that both of their kids were somehow involved in Meredith’s murder. Some of the suggestive evidence is out there in broad daylight and we suspect that prosecutors may be holding back more.

Contrary to the claims of Amanda Knox’s supporters that prosecutors maliciously threw the book at the defendants and their tribes to somehow save face, the truth is that prosecutors stopped short of taking all of the possible actions open to them. 

For example they turned down an offer by Guede to testify fully at first trial (after which he was beaten up in prison and reduced to a jelly which must have pleased him no end) and they seem to know more than they are saying about hard drugs - Knox apparently had a cocaine dealer’s number in her mobile phone. Also they chose not to investigate any of the rumors and backstories in Seattle which US prosecutors might well have done.

In the Sollecito case they may have felt they had no choice but to proceed. The released evidence tape showing Meredith’s naked body was repeatedly broadcast nationally, and the Carabinieri and Rome police are both involved in the political meddling component. Bari prosecutors will of course be trying the case.

Problem Three For Discussion

The third problem is that Judge Hellman has done the families no favors. On the day after he issued his verdict he contradicted himself in an unhelpful way. Then he published an emotional report explaining the surprise outcome of the first appeal which is short on logic and correct law, and full of innuendo and bizarre intellectual leaps.

PMF and TJMK will be posting a careful translation of the Hellman report with a full analysis of its weaknesses soon.

Problem Four For Discussion

Chief Prosecutor Galati has already filed a formidable Supreme Court appeal against the first appeal outcome, which argues in part that (1) the scope of Hellman’s report was illegal overreach; and that (2) his appointing of the two independent DNA experts was more illegal overreach. 

As it has done in many other cases in the past, the Supreme Court might send the outcome of the first appeal back to Perugia to be corrected just as soon as it reads that.

And if it reads further, it cannot help but note that Judge Hellman has brushed right by hundreds of questions that still remain open. The Supreme Court has ALREADY rejected Judge Hellman’s hypothesis that Rudy Guede broke in and attacked Meredith all by himself. It has sided with Judges Massei and Micheli that there were actually three perpetrators. 

Problem Five For Discussion

The blockbuster book offers required to pay for all this new legal action seemed very short on due diligence in the context of the calunnia minefield that Italian law creates for writers and publishers. Did the writers and publishers even know about that? 

Past explanations and alibis from Knox and Sollecito have repeatedly contradicted one another’s.  At one point, each seemed to be accusing the other of the crime. At trial, Knox seemed to want to talk all the time, while Sollecito barely ever said a word. Now we are seeing the exact opposite. Sollecito seemingly cannot keep quiet to save himself, while Knox seems petrified and terminally tongue-tied.

Their books are going to need to be line-by-line supportive of one another, and they will be disasters if they rely on slamming Italian officials and moping (Knox’s apparent angle) or on denying all the hard evidence and moping (Sollecito’s apparent angle).

There will be cancellation clauses in the publishers’ fine print, and what they are we may all soon find out.  From the two families’ point of view, this entire landscape must look very nasty and foreboding. An ill-advised legal and PR strategy has led them into this minefield.

Not surprising that they now find a sudden need to chat.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So What Can Seattle Offer Visitors That Arrive From Perugia? Fish Throwing!

Posted by Peter Quennell





This is a serious art form. All Seattle’s own. Seattle readers are very welcome to explain.

Images here of the terrific Pike’s Place Market in downtown Seattle (with its back incongruously to the sea - well, to the smallish bay off Puget Sound that goes by the name of Seattle harbor) because the Commune of Perugia still runs a an English-language web page promoting the tourism of Seattle.

Where is the fun at in Seattle? The real answer is everywhere, but just to name a few”¦.  The Pike Place Market is a must see, and trust that you won’t want to experience it just once.

It is nicknamed the “Soul of Seattle” for good reason.  With a never ending selection of food, including giant artichokes, specialty wines, and fresh fish caught from the sea that morning, let your taste buds lead the way.

Restaurants surround the market specializing in any type of food that you are craving, including several Italian restaurants.  You won’t go home hungry.

In between sampling every food there is to offer, you can watch the street musicians as well as visit any of the quirky shops that have everything from a store selling only books for women to a store that sells solely magic tricks.

If it is your first time visiting the market, consider signing up for the “Chef’s Tour of the Market” where some of Seattle’s top chefs lead groups through the market for a tour and follow up by taking the group back to their very own restaurant to cook lunch with the items they purchased on the tour.

To learn more about the market and the fun it has to offer, check out the website at http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/


















Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/24/12 at 06:34 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The wider contextsSeattle contextComments here (5)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Knox PR Manager’s Premature Crowing, Years Before Judicial Process Ends

Posted by Skeptical Bystander




Fake News By Marriott™

At bottom here, please read the fine report by Heidi Dietrich on the lies-filled world of David Marriott.

Now that the supertanker has pulled into port, the story about the creation of the narrative can finally begin to be told. We live in a world that needs an endless supply of stories. Just ask Scheherazade - whatever gets you through the night is alright.

In the world of Marriott as this opinion writer notes the media operates on the assumption that the American Public can’t remember further than the day before yesterday.

And in the business journal treatment of the Marriott PR Triumph (aka The Snow White Job), someone has forgotten that the script a month ago stated that there was no PR campaign and anyone who believed there was one was nothing but a guilter and a hater.

But now all that is swept aside.

Now Mr. Marriott, who looks like a cross between Colonel Sanders and a dumpling, can lumber up to the stage and accept kudos from one and all. After all, he was hired three days after Knox was arrested, for financial terms neither side will disclose.

See below for how the business journal spins the yarn:

Like I said, if you have the right publicist, anything is possible! The right publicist can make water flow uphill and, once that has happened, can advise you on the best way to make the money you will need to pay more for his services.

That’s the phase we’re in now, folks. If you ever get in trouble, this is the guy you want working for you, feeding chicken shit to the masses and calling it chicken delight.

 

Puget Sound Business Journal
Seattle PR firm reveals efforts to free Amanda Knox
By Heidi Dietrich – Contributing Writer
Oct 21, 2011, 8:00am

David Marriott never visited Amanda Knox during her four years in an Italian prison. He met her this month, when she stepped off a plane in Seattle.

Yet for Knox and her family, Marriott was as important a player in her ordeal as anyone in the courtroom. As Knox’s publicist, beginning three days after her arrest, Marriott worked to convince the international public that she did not murder her British roommate while studying in Perugia.

“Hiring him was one of the smartest things we ever did,” said Curt Knox, Amanda’s father. The partnership between the Knox family and Marriott illustrates the potential of a public relations campaign to shift sentiment — and possibly even influence a verdict. With Amanda Knox safely back on American soil, Marriott and the family can now provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what went into the campaign.

Marriott, principal in the Seattle PR firm Gogerty Marriott, took on Knox in the face of a global onslaught of negative press. Once Italian authorities arrested the University of Washington exchange student on suspicion of killing Meredith Kercher, Knox was labeled a vicious “she-devil” and sex-crazed “Foxy Knoxy” in media around the world.

By enlisting her friends and family, and targeting specific news organizations to tell the family’s story, Marriott eventually helped reshape how the world saw the young American. And now, with Amanda safely back home in West Seattle, Marriott turns to a new set of challenges.

Tabloid photographers snap Amanda’s errands and walks. Marriott said he and the family don’t
try to hide her from the paparazzi, as that would just make her home another prison.

Then, there’s the need for money. Curt Knox and Amanda’s mother, Edda Mellas — they are not
married to each other — have each said they’ve drained their retirement funds, taken out second mortgages and accrued credit card debt to pay for Amanda’s defense. So, in this new phase, lucrative media deals will be a consideration.

At Marriott’s downtown Seattle office, he fields inquiries from book agents, screenwriters, news shows and movie studios. All want the Amanda Knox saga for their own. Some are offering big bucks. Marriott and the Knox family will be considering the offers, Marriott said — likely in a couple of weeks.

“There will be financial opportunities,” Marriott said. “I’ll be there to walk them through the opportunities.”

Both Marriott and Curt Knox say that Amanda wants to tell her story.

“Amanda will speak for herself,” Marriott said. “There are a bunch of options available to her, and the question is which will give her the chance to tell her story with dignity and class.”

Desperate for help

Though Marriott didn’t know it when he took on the project, the Amanda Knox trial was to
become the longest and most difficult project of his career.

After Amanda’s arrest on Nov. 6, 2007, family members were bombarded with media requests.
Nobody knew how to handle them.

Curt Knox reached out to an executive at the Macy’s Northwest regional office in Seattle, where he was employed. He asked for advice on a publicist who could handle a case of such magnitude, and the exec recommended Marriott. The PR veteran had made a name for himself in crisis management situations, such as the Alaska Airlines Flight 261 crash in 2000 that killed all 88 passengers and crew.

Marriott signed on with the Knox family three days after Amanda’s arrest, for financial terms
neither side will disclose. Marriott immediately put out a press release directing all media and interview requests to him. It was, Curt Knox says, instant relief.

Beyond giving the family breathing room, Marriott needed to develop a long-term media
strategy. The initial negative press reports on Amanda happened so quickly, Marriott was left
trying to redefine her persona. Many stories painted her as promiscuous and irresponsible.

“Our job was to try to correct the misconceptions out there about who Amanda Knox was,”
Marriott said. “The British and Italian tabloids created this horrible person, and I felt it was our responsibility to tell the truth.”

Anne Bremner, counsel for Friends of Amanda Knox, said Marriott faced an uphill challenge
when he took on the case. (Friends of Amanda Knox, a group of supporters, formed in 2008 to
run social media campaigns and raise money for her case. Marriott was not directly involved with the group.)

“The initial perceptions were that it was a slam-dunk case against her,” Bremner said. “The most important thing for Dave was to shine light on the fact that there was no evidence.”

Initially, the Knox lawyers asked her parents to not give interviews, as they didn’t want it to seem as though the family was trying to prejudice the judge and jury.

And so, Marriott turned to Amanda’s friends from the UW and Seattle Prep. He enlisted them to
talk to the media about the diligent student and loving friend they knew. In the process, Marriott began to truly believe in Amanda Knox himself.

“I really came to strongly believe her innocence,” Marriott said. “Kids don’t do a 180 on you
when they leave home. The stuff in the tabloids simply didn’t make logical sense.”

Then, in early 2008, Marriott took the publicity campaign one step further by persuading
Amanda’s lawyers to allow the Knox family to give interviews.

“I said, ‘We are getting killed here,’ ” Marriott said. “We need to have Mom and Dad.”
The lawyers consented, but cautioned Amanda’s parents against talking about case specifics.
They should instead focus on their daughter’s true personality. The Knox family, who’d felt
silenced for months, couldn’t wait to begin.

“There was absolute character assassination,” Curt Knox said. “The only thing we could do as
parents was get the truth out there.”

Amanda’s sister told a story about Amanda carrying a spider outside because she didn’t even
want to hurt an insect. Both parents gave interviews — starting with ABC — about their
daughter’s achievements in the classroom and soccer field.

“Amanda’s mom and dad were untiring in their willingness to do whatever I recommended,”
Marriott said.

Early on, Marriott decided that the national TV news magazine shows would be the best vehicle.

The format allowed for in-depth investigations and brought credibility to the family’s case.
“The news magazines were key to getting the story out on who Amanda really was,” Curt Knox
said. “That was a very smart maneuver on David’s part.”

Marriott believes the turning point in public perception came in February 2008, when “20/20”
aired a program on Amanda Knox. ABC had sent its own expert to Perugia to examine the
evidence, and the resulting show raised serious doubts about the case against her. Several months later, “48 Hours” did the same thing.

“‘48 Hours’ and ‘20/20’ were better partners for David Marriott and the Knox family than many
other media outlets,” said Barry Mitzman, professor of communication at Seattle University.

“You can’t put the family through hundreds of interviews, so you need to make good choices.”
Marriott continued to deal with all media surrounding the case, but he never thought it would last as long as it did. In December 2009, an Italian court found Amanda Knox guilty of Kercher’s murder. Marriott believed the closing arguments of her lawyers were strong, and felt as shocked as her family at the verdict.

“You can’t help but feel sunk,” Marriott said.

Marriott didn’t dwell on the disappointment. He continued to enlist supporters to rebut the
verdict.

Finally, early this year, the court allowed an independent review of the DNA evidence used to
convict Amanda Knox. As testimony began to emerge on mistakes made in collecting and
analyzing the evidence, news stories began to shift significantly in her favor.

On Oct. 3, the guilty verdict was overturned, allowing Amanda Knox to fly home to Seattle.

“The truth was my mission,” Marriott said. “The DNA review got us there.”

Whether Marriott’s efforts, and shifting public sentiment, influenced the Italian courts is up for debate. Marriott says it’s very hard to say if the mission to correct misconceptions about Amanda made a direct impact on the outcome. He noted, though, that the judge in the appeals trial opened with the remark, “The only thing we know for sure in this case is that Meredith Kercher is dead.”

“That signaled that he wasn’t buying into a lot of what had happened in the earlier trial,” Marriott said.

Coming home

When Amanda and her family arrived the next day at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, a
huge crowd greeted her. Bremner marvels at the fact that many broke into applause when
Amanda walked into the room.

“They were clapping for her, and they were all press,” Bremner said. “What a change from four
years ago.”

The Amanda Knox story may remain the most consuming case of Marriott’s career. It’s rare,
Marriott said, to have this kind of public interest over such an extended period of time. As a result of the attention, Marriott has received inquiries from several other potential clients.

Marriott counts more than 6,700 Google News alerts for “Amanda Knox” that arrived over the
four years. Most of those alerts contained links to three or more stories. And those are just the English language articles.

“There’s just so much hunger for information with this thing,” Marriott said. Marriott has formulated a media plan for the days going forward, but he won’t discuss details. He plans to be ready if the prosecution appeals the acquittal. He also wants to help Amanda find the best vehicle to tell her story, and advise her on when to do so.

David Domke, who chairs the UW communication department, said there’s every chance to
make a positive impression when Amanda chooses to speak out.

“My sense is that they have the opportunity for a lot of goodwill toward Amanda,” Domke said.
“The fact that that’s there after the incredibly negative coverage she initially received is just remarkable to me.”

And Kathleen Fearn-Banks, who teaches crisis communications at the UW, believes Knox could
impart what she learned during her ordeal. For example, Marriott spoke to Fearn-Banks’ class
about the risk of online postings that could be misconstrued. In Amanda Knox’s case, media
people culled photos and writings from her MySpace account, including the “Foxy Knoxy”
nickname.

“I’m hoping that the lessons our students learned may be taught by Amanda now in media
appearances and perhaps writings she may do,” Fearn-Banks said.

And then there’s the curiosity factor. “People around the world really want to know her story,” Bremner said.

If it’s up to Curt Knox, the 68-year-old Marriott will remain part of that effort until his daughter has followed this saga to the end.

“He’s not retiring,” Curt Knox said, “until he’s done with this.”

Amanda Knox timeline

Nov. 2, 2007: Meredith Kercher’s body found in Perugia apartment shared with Amanda Knox.
Nov. 6, 2007: Knox arrested.
Nov. 9, 2007: David Marriott hired.
Feb. 1, 2008: “20/20” story.
April 10, 2008: “48 Hours” story.
Jan. 16, 2009: Trial begins.
Dec. 4, 2009: Knox found guilty of murder and sexual assault; sentenced to 26 years.
Nov. 24, 2010: Appeal trial begins.
June 29, 2011: Expert discredits DNA evidence.
Oct. 3, 2011: Court clears Knox.


Monday, April 04, 2011

Today An Obsessional Group Rant About “No Evidence” By A Stacked Panel At Seattle University?!

Posted by Peter Quennell


Seattle University is a small Jesuit college just this side of Seattle’s downtown.

Today at 4:00 pm in the Pigott Auditorium, in what seems to us a seriously dopey and un-academic exercise, some of the most obsessed of the conspiracy theorists will assemble to peddle their illusions.

Two of the panelists, Paul Ciolino and Steve Moore, have been exhaustively debunked on TJMK in the past, and sooner or later we will probably turn our attention to debunking the other two: Mark Waterbury, and Candace Dempsey.

Our posts on the hotheaded faux detective Paul Ciolino are here, here, and here, and our posts on the hotheaded faux FBI murder investigator Steve Moore are here, here, here, and here.

The other two panelists, Mark Waterbury and Candace Dempsey, have authored slow-selling books which studiously ignore 95 percent of the evidence and mis-state the other 5 percent. Tom Wright of the Friends of Amanda Knox group will be presiding.

Would you like to attend, well-equipped with some questions? Ask these questions and these questions and these questions. Around 400 in all. Any reports would be appreciated.

Below: Seattle University President Father Steve Sundborg. Does he know what his film department is getting up to?



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Report Of The Decay Of The Hard Pro-Knox Party Line In West Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell



Former HQ of West Seattle Herald

West Seattle Groupthink Under Strong Fire

The Seattle Salmon reports with some amusement on how the residents are increasingly speaking out.

They whisper at the local library branch, nod to each other in line at the Morgan Junction Starbucks, and even occasionally email their true feelings to each other.  What is this secret society?  It’s not the Masons, Scientologists or even the wily Northwestern Republicans.

No, this fearful group is West Seattleites who think Amanda Knox did it.  By “it,” they are referring to the 2007 murder in Italy of which she was convicted. Knox was raised in West Seattle and the community has rallied around her claim of innocence with a fervor that straddles the militant/cult divide.

But some in the community are not so sure and not so talkative about their doubt.  One resident who demanded anonymity told the Seattle Salmon, “It’s like a police state out here.  You have to go to the legal defense fundraisers ““ like six last year ““ or else you are ostracized at the Westcrest Off-leash area.”

Another said, “The groupthink is terrifying.  You step outside of it and you’re like the stupid Regular Seattleite who jaywalks through the all-way crosswalk at The Junction ““ you’re all alone and danger could come at you from any direction.  Plus they’d light your ass up on the West Seattle Blog. You’d have to move.”

Perhaps no surprises there. It has been a long time since pro-Steve-Shay comments on the West Seattle Herald have been in the majority. Yesterday he made this ludicrous claim.

Meredith’s father, John, who believes Knox is guilty and has a lawyer in the courtroom fighting to insure she and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito remain in jail.

These were the first two responses.

John Kercher’s lawyer is not ‘fighting’ anyone or anything. He has a legal duty to provide representation at the automatic appeal which Italy’s very liberal criminal justice system provides to all convicted criminals.

Your inflammatory, arrogant coverage of this legal process stinks. The US State Department doesn’t think there was anything wrong with the year-long legal process which convicted Knox and Sollecito of torture and murder, and neither do their victim’s family. Again, this doesn’t mean they are ‘fighting’, so grow up.

Mr. Shay atypically made only one glaring distortion in this article; The Kercher family lawyer is involved in the appeals process not to insure that Ms. Knox stay in jail, but rather to make sure the prosecution’s case is presented fairly and objectively, as was certainly done in the court’s verdict.

Not to make the lawyer sound one sided and intent on a path; there are way too many like Shay in the pro innocent Knox camp; this population has been known to lie and distort facts so as to exculpate their darling “West Seattle bred” Knox.

Nice work West Seattle.



Friday, October 01, 2010

1 October 2010: Seattle PI’s Italy Based Reporter Andrea Vogt On Where Everything Stands

Posted by Peter Quennell



Former crack prosecutor Judge Chiari who once took an ex-Prime Minister down

Overview Of This Post

Another of those very useful roundup reports from Andrea Vogt, which contains some new points of real interest.

1) On Judge Sergio Matteini Chiari

When Bongiorno steps into the appellate courtroom to defend Sollecito, the judge will look familiar. Respected magistrate Sergio Matteini Chiari represented the prosecution during the controversial Andreotti appeals trial a decade ago in Perugia over the mafia murder of journalist Mino Pecorelli. Biscotti also defended a Cosa Nostra mafioso in that case.

Biscotti and Nicodemo Gentile, who represented Guede, have picked up a number of other high-profile Italian cases while awaiting Guede’s supreme court trial, scheduled for Dec. 16. The duo also represent the family of a murdered transvestite embroiled in a political scandal, as well as the family of a young girl gone missing from Taranto in August.

2) On the RS & AK appeal

The Knox and Sollecito appeal is scheduled to commence late in November.

Knox’s attorneys are soon expected to file “motivi aggiunti” or “additional motives” for appeal. That can include new evidence or witnesses defense attorneys think should be considered. The lead prosecutor—a substitute sitting in while a while a permanent replacement for the position is considered—will be joined by the two public ministers who originally prosecuted Knox and Sollecito; Giuliano Mignini and Manuela Comodi.

“We did not request to be involved,” said Mignini, reached by seattlepi.com this week. “In fact we thought we had wrapped up our duties with the conviction in the first trial. But when we were asked, we gave our availability.”

The appeals trial process will differ in many ways from the first trial. Only the makeup of the court—six lay jurors and two professional judges—remains the same. It will likely proceed much faster because the court is mostly debating Judge Massei’s judgment, not rehearing witnesses or re-examining evidence, though the court can specifically request to rehear key witnesses and the Knox and Sollecito defense teams have filed requests for an independent evaluation of certain pieces of contested evidence.

3) On possible outcomes from the appeal

On appeal, the case is once again wide open, as the court could do anything from giving Knox a harsher life-in-prison sentence to turning over her conviction.

“The court can review all the same evidence presented in the first trial, but simply decide that there is reasonable doubt, that they don’t believe it,” explained University of Parma criminal procedure professor Stefano Maffei.

The court also can agree with prosecutors, who are also appealing the 26-year-sentence and asking for life, and give her even more prison time. Or, the court can agree with the murder conviction, but find that mitigating factors outweigh the aggravated ones, which leads to a one-third reduction in sentence.

That is a most likely scenario, court observers such as Maffei say, especially since more than 18 Italian magistrates have reviewed the evidence in the Knox case and come to the same conclusion of culpability, which somehow ingrains the decision into the judiciary. For reasons that are sociological rather than legal—such as good behavior, political pressure, changed public opinion or prison crowding—sentences in Italy are often reduced on appeal.

“The tradition in this country remains that the court of appeal is usually more lenient than the court of first instance,” Maffei said.

4) On Amanda Knox’s slander trial

Knox will leave the prison for the first time in months [today] Friday. She’ll be shuttled in a police van into a protected side entrance to the courtroom, far from the media, which won’t be allowed into the closed-door hearing where “mostly technical” issues will be discussed.

She is charged with slander for accusing the Perugia police of hitting her as she was being interrogated the night before her arrest. During the course of the questioning, police became suspicious and turned up the heat over the course of several hours. Knox testified that they called her a liar and cuffed her on the back of the head twice while urging her to tell the truth. Multiple police officers and two interpreters who were in and out during the questioning deny such abuse took place and tell their own gentler version of how the night unfolded.

Unless one side produces audio or video of the questioning—which police and prosecutors have said does not exist because Knox was just a witness, not a suspect, when questioning began—it is likely to remain her word against theirs.

The presiding judge Friday (Claudia Matteini, the same judge who signed Knox’s original arrest warrant in 2007) could decide to hold an abbreviated trial, where everything is done behind closed doors and only documentary evidence is presented. She could decide there is enough evidence to move forward with a trial (or not). She could also simply choose to archive the case without passing judgment on its merit. Francesco Maresca, who represented the victim’s family during the Knox trial, represents the police in the case.

Here is our own take from trial reporting and the Massei Sentencing Report on what actually happened in the witness interview that night. Amanda Knox was thrown by Sollecito cutting her loose. (He has never since provided her cover.) But she did not confess - far from it. She fingered Patrick Lumumba. And as a suspect, she always had a lawyer present in subsequent interrogations. 

More in the report too, on the movies, the books, and what it is really like to be serving one’s time It sounds punishing.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is The Campaign That Ranted Against Italy For So Long Now Fearing An Italian-American Backlash?

Posted by Peter Quennell


This bizarre Seattle PI blog post suggests that the Knox PR campaign may now fear a major Italian-American backlash.

Really?!

Not exactly surprising, after first stirring up so much anti-Italy hate - remember “third world country” and “keystone cops” and “kangaroo court” and “saving face” and “anti Americanism” and “tabloid journalism” and on and on?

Not to mention “evil Mignini” hoodwinking everyone in Italy all the way up to the Supreme Court with “satanic conspiracies” that work easily in a “catholic country” implying everyone there is too prudish or simply not very bright?

When did they ever say anything about Italy that was actually nice? Or restrain their forces from being over-the-top nasty, as with the venom the white knights STILL direct toward Mr Mignini?

Really GOOD PR people seek to merely shade the truth.

They don’t ever build a campaign around a really big lie, because when the really big lie comes down, it really comes crashing down and ALL is lost. A result worse than if there had been no campaign at all.

Proof?  Read the many hard, angry and incisive comments right under that blog post. And we know that Italian Americans now are showing some sure signs of having had more than enough.

Not exactly a PR man’s dream. 

Added: Important Breaking News

We all already know that the US State Department up to and including Hillary Clinton not only finds the Knox campaign ludicrous and very unhelpful -  they also regard it as xenophobic.

Now the chief of staff of an Italian-American member of the US Congress in Washington DC (not, obviously, David Wu’s chief of staff) has sent us this request.

He would like to get every possible example of the sliming of Italy and the Italian officials on Meredith’s case, including the sliming of Giuliano Mignini.

Please could our readers email or post here below any examples you may know of? We may create a new TJMK page just for them.

This may factor into political races in November, and there may be a political motion in the US Congress to stop this vile anti-Italy campaign dead.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Seattle Parks Commissioner Who Angered Perugia Resigns - Amid Plenty Of Anger In Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell


So the controversial Seattle parks commissioner Tim Gallagher bites the dust.

He seems to have shot himself in, well, three feet.

  • He espoused a clearcut-and-rebuild policy (video above) when Seattelites are increasingly seeing the natural beauty of their city as a resource

  • He made an expensive trip to Australia to look at some parks just when Seattle’s park system is financially tanking - very likely because of his style of management.

  • He was very quick to blink and put a heavy-handed stop to the naming of a small city park “Perugia Park” when Seattle’s (very small) anti-Perugia faction howled.

Mr Gallagher’s last action was widely noted in Perugia (Seatle’s twin city), the Mayor of Perugia made an angry statement, and a Facebook-based movement was created, to lobby to end the twin-city arrangement.

Comments about his short reign as parks commissioner on the West Seattle Blog (scroll down) seem almost uniformly negative.

The Mayor and many others he irritated in Perugia might be pleased to take note…

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/29/10 at 03:30 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The wider contextsSeattle contextN America contextComments here (0)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Extreme Tastelessness Being Decried Of Knox Comedy Fundraiser In Seattle Tonight

Posted by Peter Quennell


Great to see Spokane lawyer Bill Edelblute speaking out for justice, taste and common sense once again.

Here Mr Edelblute comments in

today’s Examiner on tonight’s very widely-criticised laugh-in about Meredith’s death.

Murder a laughing matter for Seattle, comedy fundraiser for Amanda Knox January 27th

Apparently help is not on the way from Senator Maria Cantwell or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fast enough.

Or, Amanda Knox’s fans would not be holding a comedy fundraiser at the “Comedy Underground” in her hometown of Seattle tomorrow night, January 27th.  Believe it or not, but that is what is reported by KING 5 News of Seattle.  And see the ad posted by Comedy Underground for the event “starring SUSAN JONES, GEOFF LOTT,BILLY WAYNE DAVIS plus Xung Lam, John Gardner & Renee Perrault.”  Lott publicly calls women four letter obscenities.

Renee Perrault is a comedienne who used to work with Curt Knox, the convicted murder’s father.  She helped with a baby shower when Mr. Knox and his wife, now Edda Mellas,  were expecting Amanda.  (And, now, a “murder shower?”)

At $50 a head, Perrault hopes to raise $10,000 for Amanda’s appeal fund.  Though Perrault says there will be no jokes about the murder, it seems a strange mix.  It would seem difficult to not visualize the demise of Meredith Kercher while attending a fundraiser for legal fees arising from charges for that incident.  If that doesn’t suppress the laugh reflex, something is wrong no matter what you think about the trial result so far.  Perrault’s sense of humor seems a little off, in parallel with Knox’s seemingly inappropriate smiling during the trial.

Featured “comedian” Geoff Lott calls women four letter obscenities

But wait, it gets worse.  Geoff Lott, another performer slated for the event, has a blogspot in which he responds to critics of the appropriateness of the performance.  He says maybe they should get “physical” instead of just “textual” and ” maybe your arguments begin to hold the amount of water your fat dumb asses do.”  And this classy, professional, Knox supporter says ” if you get in my face about doing what I choose to that in no way effects, disrespects, or discredits you, then you better stay off my shoes, c*nt.” 

While this last word, even in abbreviated form is extremely offensive, in order to report on the nature of the performers for this event, it was deemed necessary, as you probably would have never dreamed of it.  To anyone planning to take any impressionable young people, then it should serve as a warning.  He in “no way ... disrespects” you, just calls you a filthy name, degrading to females?

Please, America, and the world, do not judge all of Seattle or Washington by this.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Our Letter To Senator Maria Cantwell: Please Don’t Take Precipitate Action Till Full Facts Are In

Posted by Highly-Concerned Washington-State Voters


We are all regular voters who live in the Seattle area. We have signed the original of this letter to our US senator, Maria Cantwell, and sent it off to her Capitol office. 

We think we increasingly mirror a very large minority or even a majority of cool-headed but concerned Seattle-area voters who would like to see her speaking up for truth and real justice in this case.

And for the rights of the true victim.

We are not running a campaign. We don’t think Senator Cantwell needs hard persuasion. We think once she immerses herself deeply in the real facts, those facts will tell her the right thing to do.

Dear Senator Cantwell

A number of your well-informed constituents are wondering about your motivations for suddenly injecting yourself into the Meredith Kercher murder trial debate, immediately following last week’s unanimous guilty ruling for American Amanda Knox in Perugia, Italy. 

We wonder because you said you were saddened by the verdict and had serious questions about the Italian judicial system and whether anti-Americanism had tainted the trial.  But then you went on to describe how you knew for a fact that the prosecution in the case did not present enough evidence for an impartial jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Amanda Knox was guilty. 

We’re confused because it seems to us that if you had been following the case closely enough to be certain that not enough evidence had been presented by the prosecution that you would consequently have a very clear idea of how the Italian judicial system functioned and know whether or not anti-American sentiment had impacted the ruling. 

So, as a group of concerned Seattle area constituents who have been following every detail of this case since poor Meredith Kercher was murdered, we humbly offer you our assistance towards bringing things into proper perspective.

Were you aware that Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian from Giovinazzo, Bari was convicted right alongside Ms. Knox?  Mr. Sollecito received some of the best legal representation available in Italy, including senior lawyer and parliamentary deputy Giulia Bongiorno who won fame as a criminal lawyer when she successfully defended former Italian Premier Giulio Andreotti a few years ago. 

Ms Bongiorno has said nothing about anti-American sentiment having influenced the ruling against her client, nor has she complained about fundamental problems with the way this trial was run.  Instead, she is now completely focused on looking ahead to the appeal process as her next opportunity to mitigate sentences or argue for her client’s innocence. 

This should assuage some of your concerns.

But perhaps you are referring to the extra year Ms. Knox received in comparison to Mr. Sollecito’s 25-year sentence as a clear example of anti-American sentiment?  That’s a fair concern; however, in Italy the jury panel for a trial is required to submit a report within 90 days of a ruling describing in great detail the logic used to convict and sentence, or absolve a defendant. 

For example, in Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher last year Judge Paolo Micheli issued an exhaustive 106 page report outlining the panel’s labored decision-making process, in sometimes excruciating detail.  We can expect no less for the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and when that report is issued we will have our best look yet at the evidence that was used to convict the pair.

We suggest that you seriously reconsider “bringing” Hillary Clinton and the State Department into the debate.

Consider that State Department spokesman Ian Kelly stated that the US embassy in Rome had been tasked with monitoring the trial and had visited Ms. Knox in jail, and several embassy representatives were known to have attended the reading of the ruling last week. In addition, an American reporter based in Italy who has followed the case from the outset said last night on CNN that the trial had been monitored from the outset.

Secretary Clinton has clearly been very busy with far more critical tasks than to have maintained a personal familiarity with the Kercher murder case; however, Kelly did state that in response to recent press reports Secretary Clinton had taken time to look things over and has yet to find any indication that Knox did not receive a fair trial.  You surely realize that Secretary Clinton will not be interested making public comments regarding an ongoing legal process in a sovereign, democratic nation that is a long-time ally of the United States.

Also note that on the Italian side of the equation, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told his countrymen that he has yet to receive any criticisms of the trial from the office of the US Secretary of State and that the fierce criticism of the case by the Seattle based Amanda Knox support group should not be confused as the position of the US government. 

And Luciano Ghirga, Knox’s own Italian lawyer, has stated that he does not question the validity of the trial and that he believes it was conducted correctly. Furthermore, regarding your desire to have Clinton become involved, Ghirga concluded, “That’s all we need, Hillary Clinton involved”¦this sort of thing does not help us in any way.” 

Perhaps he is referring to the heated discussions in the Italian press these days regarding the strong criticisms of Italy’s legal system coming from a country that supports Guantanamo Bay, the death penalty, and other perceived injustices of a far-from-perfect American legal system.

As these examples demonstrate, and from your own humble constituents’ well-informed perspective, there is nothing out of the ordinary or alarming about the Meredith Kercher murder trial process.  The prosecutors and defense teams will continue to debate the evidence throughout the appeal process, just as we should expect them to. 

If you do decide to go forward with your inquiry, despite significant opposition from your constituents, we recommend that you do so only after becoming more familiar with the evidence presented during the trial, as presented by a neutral source. The family and friends of the US citizen recently convicted are probably not neutral.

If you take a good look, you will see that there are checks and balances in the Italian way of achieving justice, just as there are in the American system. In the final analysis, it is completely as Beatrice Cristiani, deputy judge for the Kercher murder trial, put it: “As far as I am aware our system of justice does not make provision for interference from overseas.”

Fully signed by all of us in the original sent to Senator Maria Cantwell


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

LA7 TV’s Documentary On Meredith’s Case #2 The American Segments

Posted by Nicki

Below: One of many good images of Seattle which included some specially taken from the air

Below: The home of the Knox family where Curt Knox and daughter Deanna were interviewed

Below: Curt Knox being interviewed and showing four childhood photographs of Amanda Knox

These are childhood images of Amanda. The FOAK is quite independent of our family. They concentrate on analysing the case and raising money for us. They are nothing to do with the family! The Kerchers lost their daughter, but we can still hope to get ours back.

Below: One of the childhood photographs shown of Amanda Knox, seen here playing a guitar

Below: Amanda Knox’s sister Deanna Knox being interviewed in the garden of her father’s home

Below: Segment with part of a YouTube video showing Amanda Knox aopparently a bit drunk

Below: A Seattle street with crowd; many lively crowd scenes here and in the UK were included

Below: First of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

Everything is possible. It’s always a possibility - you have to study her personalty in depth and the eventual psychological motivations which could have led her to commit the murder. It’s the only thing I can say. I don’t know whether she took part in the crime.

Below: Second of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

The story changed so many times that I think she is guilty.  She changed versions several times.  I’ve stopped following the story because the media try to take away attention from it and then go back to make the interest in it rise again. But I think that she is guilty.

Below: Third of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

I knew her, yes, we were at high school together at Seattle Prep. [Q: And you were in the same class?] Yes, in the same class. [Q: And what do you remember?] She was very nice - a nice person, I didn’t know her very well ...  I could never have imagined that she could be involved in such a thing.  It’s a tragedy because I believe she didn’t commit the murder. I follow the trial and it’s sad because for me, she seems innocent.  I don’t really believe that she committed the murder.

Below: Fourth of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

I don’t know - I haven’t any idea. I think that this case has been manipulated too much by the media.  It’s very difficult to discern between media sensationalism and the truth.  So it’s difficult to express an opinion.

Below: Dr Taso Lagos of UW spoke weirdly of cultural differences - and Knox somehow being the real victim

Below: Offices of Seattle magazine The Stranger where campaigner for truth Charles Mudede works

Below: Charles Mudede, perhaps first US journalists with an in-depth piece sympathetic to Meredith

Here we don’t talk enough about Meredith, and that is always because of the distance.  We don’t talk about who this wonderful English girl really was.  I don’t know whether you’ve noticed it, but in the American press, yes, Meredith is named as the person killed, but they talk very little about her and about what her parents are undergoing. You have to consult the English papers to read this; you don’t find it in the American ones.  This is the result of an attitude which is favorable towards Amanda, because you don’t have a connection with the victim as you would have, say in England.

Amanda was a bar attendant and also worked in an art gallery in the university area.  She was a student of European languages.  She practised yoga and played soccer: all characteristics of a normal American education. Amanda grew up in a middle class family in West Seattle, differently from how the British press described her as a rich girl.  She isn’t.  Amanda belongs to the middle class, typical of this city.  Here there aren’t many poor people, or rather there are, but not a whole lot as in other cities. While the rich tend to not make themselves very visible.

There seems a dark side to Amanda’s personality.  I think this dark side is the same as in many young people of her age.  She wanted to experiment, at times with drugs, at times with sex.  When I did research on her I found a police statement where it was written that Amanda had taken part in a party that ended up badly. She had to defend herself in court on charges of disturbing the peace, but it was nothing sensational.  I don’t believe that her dark side is something exceptional even. The idea that she was beaten up and maltreated by the Perugia police makes me laugh - it’s an exaggeration. I mean the police have to do certain things which may seem a bit nasty but this is not unusual - it happens here too.

Below: One of various shots of grounds of Seattle Prep where Amanda Knox went to school

Below: Two of Amanda Knox’s teachers describe experiences with her as seemingly normal

Below: Andrea Vogt, American reporter based in Italy, provides some excellent in-depth commentary

“She was a girl like so many others here in the Pacific north-west. She was sporty, she liked playing sport, going out. She spent so many of these beautiful days running or playing football. That’s what the girls here in this area do.”


Saturday, November 07, 2009

What Seattleites Are Thinking: A Sample Of Views On Meredith’s Case

Posted by Professor Snape





I am a Seattleite, and I feel very passionate about supporting the quest for justice for Meredith Kercher and her family. 

I usually never wander up and intrude upon people. But I have been tending to pick Europeans out of crowds and talk with them about the case. I have also inquired about how people feel about the case while waiting in long lines at Disneyworld in Orlando and at Disneyland in California and most recently at Whistler in British Columbia on the gondola. 

Recently I have found myself apologizing for my even being from Seattle. I have a real sense of community, and I am embarrassed by how low the Knox PR campaign actions have brought Seattle.  And I am sickened over the mischaracterizations of the lovely and spirited Meredith and of how she was brutally and excruciatingly murdered. 

Seventy-five percent of the people I have talked with elsewhere expressed zero knowledge of the case. The other twenty-five percent indicated they knew of the people in the case, found it shocking and were sympathetic to the murdered girl’s family and wondered, as we all do, how anyone could do such a horrible thing. Some expressed opinions as to guilt and others didn’t.

Ever since Edda Mellas first hung up the phone with Amanda very early on the morning of 2 November 2007 Seattleites have been the main subject of the aggression of the Knox campaign and its plot to spin webs around the media in a grand attempt to discredit anyone who speaks out against their (to me seemingly immensely disturbed) hero and, in too many cases, meal-ticket.

When the likes of the fatuous Linda Byron of Seattle’s KING 5 have propagated their ill-informed stories on the case, too many Seattleites have concluded at a very superficial level that they know everything there is to know about the case. And so they look and think no further. “Those meanie Italians… ”

I don’t believe most of the people I talk with in Seattle actually outright support Knox. It is a shallow thing, and most people claim to be reserving their judgment.

That was of course also the case with OJ Simpson. Many thought OJ was probably guilty and yet they wouldn’t say it, and then it was devastating when he got off. Then everyone proclaimed they just knew he was guilty, and what a joke about the decision. They blamed the injustice on a shoddy judicial system, not on their poor monitoring of the system and the case..

While I cannot reveal who the Seattleites were, to avoid their becoming targets of payback (names are changed), I would like to share the following comments. These were made by colleagues, service providers and friends around Seattle who fell into the same percentage of interest as the other citizens and non-residents I also spoke with, so this is something of a valid sample.

****************

Seattle Editor Harry Perkins said, “My impression of the Amanda Knox trial is one of mystified amazement “” the willingness to give her the benefit of the doubt at an elevated level because of her youth, her background, and her physical attractiveness shouldn’t have taken me by surprise…but it has.”

Washington State Certified Public Accountant John Dutch had a strong opinion about the case and listened fairly to what I know about it.  He wanted me to keep him up on the case and he had this to say,

“A few weeks ago I read an article in a national newsmagazine that indicated that the Italian prosecutor in another case had issues around evidence and even accused a defense attorney of being guilty of withholding of evidence when, in fact, he wasn’t. My impression, based on the article, was that the Italian process around crime scene investigation was poor and that, based on their legal tradition of Napoleonic Law, that it would be hard for a defendant to get a trial that we, in the USA, would consider fair. So, how does that relate to the Amanda Knox case? Same prosecutor, same legal tradition, ergo Amanda Knox is probably not getting a fair trial.” 



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Washington State Juvenile and Criminal Psychologist Calvin Richardson wrote, “I’m not sure how average I can be with regards to being a Seattleite. While I’ve lived in this state my whole life, I’ve never really considered myself a Seattleite - although I’ve worked in downtown Seattle.  I can recall the first moment I heard about the Amanda Knox case.  My memory of hearing about this incident is when it was reported that the foreign media was calling her Foxy Knoxy.”

“It made me think of how Michael Jackson was referred to as “Wacko Jacko”.  And, quite honestly, that turned me off to the entire matter.  The rest of the information I have unfortunately absorbed is that there was some sex-crazed, multi-partner-swapping party that ended with a girl being stabbed to death and American Amanda Knox is a bi-sexual, homicidal nympho.”
   
“At the point of the story reaching a sensational level where a catchy headline or title is used, the story becomes about entertainment.  My proof? Didn’t the story have a little spot on the TV. show “Entertainment Tonight”?  Help me out here: when did horrific murder scenes become entertainment (excluding Steven Segal breaking someone’s arm at the elbow - which, come to think of it, isn’t entertaining either)?”

“There can be no bigger disservice to Meredith Kercher’s family, the Knox family, or the Italian system of justice, than to turn a horrific crime into a sassy, Dr. Seuss catch-phrase so that papers can be sold.” 

“I don’t know what the “evidence” is that damns Ms. Knox; I don’t know the circumstances which profess her innocence.  And I certainly know nothing about the judicial procedures of the Italian court system.  But I do know that if Ms. Knox is found guilty, she will have to suffer the consequences of her actions.  It will be a verdict that I will probably not lose sleep over. If Amanda Knox killed Meredith Kercher, then she absolutely deserves whatever comes her way as a consequence.”

“Moreover, if Amanda Knox killed Meredith Kercher in some sex-play game gone wrong, then I am thankful that she’s being tried in Italy.  My perception of foreign judicial systems is that they keep their punishments punishing.  In my opinion,  American justice is like spending the weekend at your grandma’s house: it’s not your favorite place to be, it’s not really fun and exciting, it seems to last forever… but in the long run, it ain’t so bad.”

“I feel American Justice has lost sight of the importance of punishment.  “Justice” must maintain its punitive element of retribution, else it ceases to be just. If Amanda Knox didn’t kill Meredith Kercher, then a small part of me wants to say “That’s what you get for going to a foreign country!”  And yes, I admit, that’s not a fair statement.  But I have to be honest: I’m sick and tired of hearing about citizens from one country going to another country and then complaining about the treatment they receive.”

“Would I like to travel to Italy?  HELL YES!  It looks fantastic, I have distant family that originated from Italy, and the whole romantic aspect of Verona is very fetching.  Will I go to Italy?  Probably not: I don’t know the language, or the customs, and I would probably screw something up, get in trouble, and then I’d be just another crass American complaining that a foreign country is not more accommodating to my personal desires.  And I’m pretty sure the entire World is sick to death with hearing about it.”

“Which makes me think there might be another crime happening because of all of this.  I think that Americans are being presented as loud mouth, over-weight, egocentric, self-righteous Imperialists who feel that it is their birth-right to be entitled to Diplomatic Immunity the moment they step off their front porch.  Deserved or not, you have to know that our biggest calling card as of late is a government that manufactured evidence to gain approval to invade a foreign country and “liberate” the people with Democracy - whether they wanted it or not.”

” I can’t think of anything more offensively pretentious… unless you want to consider Benito Mussolini’s quote: “Let us have a dagger between our teeth, a bomb in our hands and an infinite scorn in our hearts”.  In which case, I appeal to the people of Italy: I forgive your Mussolini, if you forgive my Bush.”

“And I’m sure the press will find a way to make that as salacious as possible.”



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Ian Kendrick, an aerospace compliance officer stated, “The difficult part in understanding the trial is the sensational and sound bite manner in which it is presented.  The limited information I have seen regarding the facts on TV is encapsulated into a 3 minute sound bite at best.  The focus is then on the lurid details, and as the trial progresses it is only the oddities (she smiled in court - gasp!) that are reported not as facts, not as information, but just sensationalism.”

“This gets to the deeper point of news is it truly news any longer?  I’d argue it is simply reality show entertainment now broken down to the most sensational bite sized stories possible.  You only focus for 2 minutes on any local horror, then off to the next.  The follow up is limited and becomes ever shorter as the story grows older.”

Twenty year law enforcement veteran, Jack Bishop, summarized, “Although my law enforcement experience is limited to here in the United States and I have little knowledge of the Italian processes for jurisprudence I do believe I can comment to some degree on the phenomenon of what I call narcissistic innocence.”

“Although I believe it to exist almost everywhere it seems to be quite prevalent here in the Seattle area. When the world rotates around your mere existence and others reinforce that belief how could you be guilty of a crime? Of course not everyone gets it that you are special so you only choose to be with those who worship or at least appear to worship you.”

“These days I have both the good fortune and misfortune of working with people much younger than me. Their energy level is something I willingly try and tap into when mine is low but their level of self absorption is unbelievable.”

“This just feeds into their justification for their inappropriate actions and although I am treated with respects our culture of overvaluing youth is quite apparent. Unlike many Asian cultures that value the older members of the family here we have turned our children loose with the keys to the castle and then spend much of our time justifying our failings by justifying theirs.”

“That the Knox family would try and raise the level of the conversation on a political premise should come as no shock. In fact I would almost be surprised that they wouldn’t, what else could they do? That a community of like-minded narcissists would fall in line behind them is also not a surprise, I have seen it before when someone of affluence or power is charged with a crime in this environment.”

“People of affluence are determined to get their way; they always have and believe they always will. Only in this case they won’t. I can all but guarantee that Amanda Knox will be found guilty of this crime. The sad part is that much of the world will once again be exposed to what we should be most ashamed of, our arrogance.”

“I say let the Italians handle their own affairs. If they can make a clothes processor that serves both functions of washing and drying in one then I’m confident they can sort through the Amanda Knox trial without our help.”

“So what do I think about the case? Nothing.  I do not have enough in depth information to make a reasoned statement about it.  Instead it only serves to illustrate how poorly what we call “news” informs us.”

Karen Reid, a veterinarian working for a rural animal hospital said, “What do I care about the trial? Nothing except for the way the girl died was so shocking. I would hope the Italians will lock up whoever had anything to do with it.  It’s as bad as all the kids being killed by their own families, sick.  I hope the Italian courts are better than ours.”

“I’ve only seen news reports about the girl from Seattle. Her father is like always looking like he’s going to cry, it seems pretty staged if you ask me.  And why is she always smiling?  Geez, who has a big grin on their face in court particularly when charged with murder?  That’s pretty spooky though I don’t think that alone makes her guilty.”

“And I heard there were no finger prints in the house.  Come on, that’s a no brainer how that most likely happened!  I think whatever the outcome Italy should not be bashed, it’s not like pro Italian and anti American.  It’s a horrific crime and someone did it.”

****************

My own conclusions from all of this?

Most share a common thread of perceiving the Seattle media as being nothing short of a farce. So it is not surprising that few can form a true opinion of to the trial. 

If it is also the Seattle media who are on trial here, then they are seventy-five percent guilty of dishing out slander and uninvestigated PR spin, and only twenty-five percent reporting accurately and fairly. 

That is not a good ratio for a city that is meant to make a good living from its smarts.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

And Now An Excellent Report By Andrea Vogt On America-Wide University Reforms

Posted by Peter Quennell


Andrea Vogt posts this important story on the Seattle PI website.

Ever since we posted this excellent analysis last February of Amanda Knox’s extremely unstructured and underfunded arrangements in Perugia (read also the comments), we have been waiting for the University of Washington and others to move to stop it ever happening again.

Finally, it seems, they have.

Mirroring a nationwide trend, the University of Washington is overhauling how its students and professors interface with foreign countries….

The UW study abroad experience today involves much more oversight than it did two years ago when Amanda Knox left on an unsupervised European adventure that quickly degenerated into a nightmare.

When Knox, who is on trial for murder in Italy, left her familiar U-district environs in late summer 2007, she embarked on her own independent study in Umbria with very few guidelines or institutional oversight.

She arrived in the tolerant student melange of Perugia, a vibrant college town with temptation at every turn and many paradoxes (drug deals and party plans are often made on the steps of the cathedral).

A month later, the honor student’s pub-crawling, pot-smoking college shenanigans had taken a very serious turn and she was being hauled off to the Capanne penitentiary, where she remains today, pleading her innocence as the trial and controversial accusations against her plod forward.

Once her troubles began, the university tried to offer support, but had very few official guidelines to follow for responding to the kind of complicated legal-judicial matter Knox faced.

It’s different now….

In the wake of several negative overseas episodes, officials are busy raising awareness about the positive impact the UW is having worldwide and taking steps to improve communications, regulation and emergency preparedness for its students abroad.

Compared with two years ago, international education officials are more closely tracking who, where and what study-abroad programs involve. The university has new rules:. The department chair has to sign off on the program. Insurance is required. So is a cell phone. No program money can be used to buy alcohol, just for starters.

“There’s a much more formal process now,” said Taso Lagos, a UW professor who teaches international communication and manages a study-abroad program in Greece. “With administrators that are very aware, with lines of communication open and policies in place if something happens.”...

The UW’s growing commitment to international education—- even in a budget crisis—is reflected in some developments. [UW Vice Provost for Global Affairs Stephen Hanson] was named a vice provost in January, and in the spring, the UW dedicated an entire wing of the Gerberding Hall administration building to growing an international mission and profile.

This year, a travel security and information officer is coming on board to oversee emergency response and preparedness, as is Peter Moran, a new director of international programs and exchanges who previously worked at the Fulbright Commission office in Katmandu, Nepal.

New guidelines are being put in place to streamline communications, ease financial transactions and institute mandatory training for faculty taking students abroad. The Global Support Project, a rapid-response team with one person from each branch of the central administration, takes on cross-disciplinary international challenges.

Such reforms aren’t unique to UW.

Universities across the country are examining how better to organize study abroad to meet blossoming demand from students (and prospective employers) for foreign experience. Many are turning to independent service providers whose business it is to contract housing, health care or niche risk management services dealing with legal, financial or public relations crises when things go haywire abroad…..

Though the university bore no responsibility for any of the events Knox became entangled in, media across the world continued to mention the University of Washington—whether it was because of character witnesses who were her college buddies, reports of wild off-campus parties Knox attended in Seattle or her studies while in prison.

They really should be given a name. The Meredith Kercher reforms.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Seattle: The University Of Washington Area - Where Amanda Knox Lived And Worked

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Three scenes here that would have been much of the rest of what Amanda Knox saw daily in her second student year before heading for Europe.

The first four shots are of the small house that Knox lived in just north of the university campus and then there are two shots of the neighbors. It is here that an infamous party took place which ended with threats to the neighbors and some rock-throwing, and a summons and fine for Knox. She seemed to take the whole thing very lightly.

The next five shots are of the coffee shop (the World Cup) where Knox waitressed for money for Perugia. It went out of business last year, and is now Tango, a dance studio. This shop is quite near to her house, but the street and the block and the store are all pretty unprepossesing. There is little foot traffic nearby, and low wages and low tips might have contributed to Knox being under-funded in Perugia. .

The final two shots are of the street where, had she waitressed here, Knox could have made some real money. She would know this street for sure. It is just one block west of the main campus.

It is known as the U-Distrct Ave or just The Ave,  and it is full of bookstores and restaurants and clothes stores that cater to U-W students with a little money. The shots were taken late in the day and few students were around, but it is for most fo the year extremely lively.

Shots above and just below: Amanda Knox’s rental house in her second year just north of the university



Two shots below: the street and the neighbors of Knox’s house shown in the shots above


Five shots below: The black windows of a former coffee shop where Amanda Knox waitressed to make money for Perugia





Two shots below: the lively “U-Distrct Ave” which Knox presumably walked, shopped, and ate meals along


Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/06/09 at 04:22 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda KnoxComments here (3)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Seattle: The University Of Washington’s Surprisingly Pretty Main Campus

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

As we have been showing, this very sad tale is playing out in a number of beautiful locations.

We’ve had many photo spreads on Perugia and various other places in Italy, including where Sollecito came from, and spreads on Meredith’s exiting hometown of London and her spectacular university town of Leeds.

Now we turn to Seattle.

Amanda Knox came from West Seattle, a very large and surprisingly high plateau south-west of the downtown of Seattle, and she studied for two years at this university several miles north-east of the Seattle downtown.

The top shots here are the most significant from Knox’s perspective, for they are the libraries and lecture halls she would have frequented almost daily. The other shots show other departments and some of the attractive landscaping where she might have sat out with friends.

Why surprisingly pretty? Well, this is a publicly funded American university run by the State of Washington and the public universities, while often very good, can be mind-numbingly utilitarian.

This is not a private Ivy League institution like Harvard or Stanford or Princeton or Yale. But it sure looks like one of them.

As always, click for the larger images.















Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/05/09 at 04:46 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda KnoxComments here (1)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Prosecutor Mignini Describes What Actually Happened At The Session With Knox Ending 5:45 AM

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?

No surprises here. Yet more of the sliming of Mr Mignini (this is an acrobat version).

“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.

Sincerely

Giuliano Mignini

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.


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