Category: Knox followup

Friday, January 13, 2012

Umbria’s Chief Prosecutor Will Proceed Against Knox And Sollecito And Also Aviello

Posted by Peter Quennell



Above: Cassation. Image replaced till we are sure we have one of Dr Galati. See comment in thread below.]


Dr Giovanni Galati is the region of Umbria’s chief prosecutor. He was appointed by the Minister of Justice last year. Previously he was a high-profile and very successful Deputy Prosecutor General at the Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome.

The chief-prosecutor post in Umbria is a sign of great official confidence in Dr Galati. His office in Perugia is one of the best staffed and most formidable of that of any of Italy’s 20 regions. The principle reason for this is that the Perugia office serves as a national surrogate for Rome prosecutors where national political cases are concerned.

His office has been investigating corruption in construction related to the Winter Olympics in 2006 and the severe earthquake in 2010. Parliamentarians in the party of former Prime Minister Berlusconi (which is also the party of Sollecito defense counsel Gulia Bongiorno and Amanda Knox acolyte Rocco Girlanda) are among those now being investigated. Several or some MPs could end up in prison and the parliamentary party severely damaged..

Mr Berluconi’s party is no longer the lead party in the governing coalition in parliament, but it was the lead during the whole of the first-level Knox and Sollecito appeal in Perugia up to the surprise verdict from Judge Hellman. Berlusconi, Bongiorno and Girlanda seem to have all had good reasons to humiliate Giovanni Gelati and his team.

Now Dr Galati gets to fight back.

Reporting items of breaking news on Meredith’s case on her excellent Twitter feed ( @andreavogt )  the Italy-based reporter Andrea Vogt has already reported that Dr Galati is preparing to proceed with a forceful Cassation appeal of the appeal verdict.

Andrea Vogt also reports that the defense super-witness and Mafia super-snitch Luciano Aviello will face a slander hearing in Perugia on 24 May. This may be a smart tit-for-tat move by Dr Galati as Judge Hellman did seem to have bent over backward in his report to ridicule all the prosecution witnesses - most of whom he never even set eyes on.

It may also be a smart taunt directed at Giulia Bongiorno. On the witness stand during the appeal, Mr Aviello claimed that Ms Bongiorno had channeled suggestions to his prison of bribes from the Sollecito family for false testimony. She angrily said she would sue him - but so far she hasn’t launched a suit. 

Dr Galati is said to respect Mr Mignini, and to consider that his sliming and the sliming of the police investigators by the Knox forces has been way, way, way over the top.

During the appeal Dr Galati appeared twice in the courtroom to show solidarity with his prosecution colleagues. He addressed the court at the start of October on what he considered severe shortcomings in the DNA report written by Stefano Conti, Carla Vecchiotti and the peripatetic grandstander Greg Hampikian.

Our main poster Tiziano translated this from La Nazione.

The new Prosecutor General of Perugia, Giovanni Galati, spoke briefly in Court in support of his colleagues. He wished to “show his complete support of all the matters raised by his colleagues, in particular as far as the expert report is concerned.”

Seated next to the deputy Prosecutor General, Giancarlo Costagliola, Galati spoke before the Court affirming that it had seemed “his duty” to inform himself on the proceedings in court.  “I hope that the Court’s decision will be the fruit of a dignified confrontation of the parties.”

Referring to the expert report of the consultants named by the Court ... he spoke of “evident gaps” and “evaluations [which had been] not requested.”

Last month there was an official function involving Dr Galati and the mayor of Perugia and the chief judge of the Umbria appeal court to initiate Italy’s first online system to allow every interested party to track the progress of court cases and appeals and to obtain all the public documents.

It was not said at the time that one reason for such an open information system is to counter the massive misinformation put out by the Knox and Sollecito forces - but smart people in Italy are not slow to connect up the dots.

Dr Galati’s grounds for the appeal to the Supreme Court (where until recently as mentioned above he was a trusted main player) will be published by February 18th. He does know that court.


Friday, March 25, 2011

The Civil Case Of Knox v Lifetime - Umbria 24 TV Video Of Arrivals Today At The Courthouse

Posted by Peter Quennell


Amanda Knox is the supplicant here but you’d be hard-pressed to know it.

Unfortunately there’s no video or images of the team for Lifetime the alleged wrongdoers in this case, who seem to be keeping well out of sight.

There are reports in English here and here and here. Ann Wise of ABC notes that YouTube has removed the video of the movie’s trailer.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Civil Case Of Knox v Lifetime Will Be Considered By The Perugia Courts On July 4

Posted by Peter Quennell


On July 4? Big day in America. Seems today’s judge has a sense of humor.

The closed hearing in civil court in Perugia was brief, and there are just a couple of media images of Knox looking rather dispirited.  The Italian media have not yet identified who are Lifetime’s legal representation or whether they were in court.

Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said his client wants the Lifetime TV movie withdrawn. He claimed that the movie had already been viewed 687,000 times on Lifetime’s website from all over the world, and that there is a version with Italian subtitles.

He said the movie could do irreparable harm to the prospects of his client. Amanda Knox in her statement said: “I am shocked at this invasion of my life and the speculations made about myself… I was very disturbed at the images in the trailer I saw on TV.”

The Knox and Sollecito suits were all actually filed before the movie itself had ever aired. No specific scenes were complained about today in court, and as the movie for the most part adheres to Massei, with some artistic license, it will be interesting to find out precisely which scenes are the bad ones.

The movie appeared to give Knox at least one big break in public eyes by making the provisional finding of an HIV test seem highly malicious though the facts don’t support this.

Sollecito appears in the movie much more briefly than Knox, and his most dramatic scene is where he throws one of Knox’s various alibis under the bus. Otherwise he comes across like a pussy.

His legal team has also said they were filing suit against Lifetime both in Perugia and in New York. No sign yet of those filings.





Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Amanda Knox To Be In Court In Perugia Tomorrow In Hearing About Stopping The Lifetime TV Film

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Lifetime TV has an office suite in this giant hitech building which Google is presently purchasing]

Past posts on this mixed bag of a TV movie can be found here.

Late February Amanda Knox’s lawyers filed suit in Perugia to stop the airing of the movie (so far aired maybe half a dozen times in the US) and Raffaele’s Sollecito’s lawyers filed suit in Perugia and (or so they say - we can find no court record) also in New York.

The Perugia judge at the first hearing took a pretty relaxed view of the urgency of the matter and so it is only now that legal teams for Lifetime and Amanda Knox will face one another in court. The suit claims that the movie “violates the reputation” of Amanda Knox.

Very substantial payment for damages has been requested. If the New York suit also proceeds (unlikely as US law is not exactly favorable) the total asked appears to amount, converted from Euros, to over two hundred million dollars to compensate for sullied reputations.

Today’s Italian media reports in ANSA and AGI dont say very much more than that, except that Amanda Knox would like to be present in court.

As this is not Sollecito’s team’s suit, this is about the first time that one appellant will appear in court without the other. No word at all yet on the constitution of Lifetime’s legal team.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Curt Knox And Edda Mellas Defamation Trial To Go Ahead On July 4

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: An image of Curt Knox and Edda Mellas in court shortly before the verdict late in November 2009]

Italy’s news service AGI is reporting that motions for acquittal have failed and that the defamation trial of Curt Knox and Edda Mellas will indeed proceed.

Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, the parents of Amanda Knox, were indicted today by the GUP of Perugia for the defamation of five policemen from the Perugia police who investigated the murder of Meredith Kercher….

The charge says the alleged defamation statements were posted in 2009 on the website of The Sunday Times. The story said they falsely attributed to the police some actions and conduct which is out of line with their official code of conduct.

In particular, the charge continues, it was related that, contrary to the truth, Amanda had not been assisted by an interpreter, she had not been given food or water, she was abused both physically and verbally, and she had been slapped on the back of her head with a threat “if you ask a lawyer that will make things worse for you.”

Knox’s parents are being defended by lawyers Luciano Ghirga and Maria Del Grosso, who asked today for the acquittal. The five police officers are represented by the lawyer Francesco Maresca.

The charges were filed by the police themselves and the prosecution is not involved. The illegal actions were alleged to have occurred after Amanda Knox arrived voluntarily and unrequested at the Central Police Station along with Raffaele Sollecito. She herself agreed to be further questioned as a witness, and so no lawyer was present.

After she fingered Patrick Lumumba, her questioning was stopped, and she was soon after questioned further as a suspect. Amanda Knox only made the slapping claim months later, while trying to explain why she fingered Lumumba, and she herself referred to the presence of an interpreter in her two-day stint on the stand in July 2009.

With the exception of a claim of a slap over the head by someone she has not ever identified, she confirmed she was not mistreated. Amanda Knox’s own trial for defamation resumes on 17 May. Her own lawyers have never ever claimed that any mistreatment took place, and they have never ever filed any complaint.

So. Can Curt Knox and Edda Mellas present evidence to refute the charges?  And can they explain away all of these?

And at the trial, for which side will Amanda Knox testify?

We don’t know if Lifetime include the claimed hitting and other abuse in the movie - but it would seriously seem better not to.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Perugian Media Report (Neutral As Usual) In Italian On Knox’s Calunnia Hearing

Posted by Peter Quennell

Shown here is the more modern of Perugia’s courts not far from the questura (central police station) and the railway station. It was here that Judge Micheli tried and sentenced Rudy Guede in October 2008 and sent Sollecito and Knox off for trial.

This court is said to be more suited to closed sessions and to sessions where there is a large press. Indictees and perps enter the court via a ramp down to the basement in vans with darkened windows.

These inside shots of the ground-floor corridor are all we have posted so far on the court’s interior. It was a surprise they allowed a photographed perp walk here, there was none at the previous hearing. Maybe to show AK is okay?

That might be Chris Mellas that she gives a faint grin to, to the left. Perhaps he made sure the camera was there.


Monday, November 08, 2010

Another In Seeming Never-Ending Disasters For Hapless Knox Campaign

Posted by Peter Quennell





Apparently xenophobia and sliming and serial misconstruing of the evidence isnt working. The Italian authorities continue to be relentless and unblinking.

In court today, Amanda Knox was indicted by the judge and she WILL stand full trial next May for calunnia.  This first report on the BBC News website as follows.

American student Amanda Knox is to face trial for slander after saying police beat her during questioning over the killing of Briton Meredith Kercher.

A judge made the decision at a closed indictment hearing in Perugia, Italy.

Knox, 23, told the judge she never intended slander and was just trying to defend herself, her lawyer said.

Ann Wise of ABC News adds this.

American student Amanda Knox was indicted for a second time by an Italian court today, this time for allegedly slandering Italian police for saying they were abusive when they interrogated her for the murder of her roommate.

Knox, who was convicted last year of murdering Meredith Kercher and sentenced to 26 years in prison, stood up in court and made what Italian legal officials call a “spontaneous statement” before the judge’s ruling.

“I have always tried to defend myself. I never wanted to offend or slander anyone,” Knox said in Italian.

Nevertheless, preliminary hearing Judge Claudia Matteini indicted Knox, 23, for slander.

The charge refers to Knox’s testimony during her murder trial that Italian police were rough with her when they interrogated her overnight just days after Kercher’s body was found in a pool of blood in the house they shared.

She claimed the officers yelled at her, discouraged her from calling a lawyer and cuffed the back of her head. The 12 officers named in the slander complaint have denied being abusive to Knox.

At the end of the long interrogation, Knox signed a statement in which she said she had a confused dream-like recollection of being in the house and hearing Kercher scream, effectively placing her on the scene of the crime.

Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said Knox was “saddened” by the decision.

Another lawyer for Knox, Maria Del Grosso, told reporters that “for Amanda this (interrogation) was the genesis for her homicide accusation. She is very frustrated and obviously disappointed, but she knows that today’s was only a preliminary hearing and the truth was not ascertained today. Let’s hope it is when the case is debated because there was something that went wrong that night.”

Knox was driven into the courthouse in a police van with darkened windows. The hearing was closed to the public, but photographers were able to get a glimpse of her in the courtroom hallways. Looking thinner and drawn, Knox wore a dark green sweater and black pants, her hair is a jaw-length bob.

Before the hearing, Knox’s stepfather Chris Mellas told ABC News that “Amanda is doing better. She is rightfully angry about the slander accusations, and told me she was going to speak out in court this morning. She told me she wanted to tell them that she sees police interrogations shown on TV all the time, and would like to know why her interrogation was not recorded or videotaped.”

But according to her lawyers, she limited her statement to saying she was just defending herself and did not want to offend.

Knox will go to trial for slander on May 17, 2011 before a single judge, Cecilia Bellucci. Matteini said the case needed to go to trial to resolve some formal technical matters, and to debate the accusations, possibly with witnesses.

The lawyer for eight of the police officers, Francesco Maresca, said that the “framework of the request for an indictment was confirmed, and now we await the debate.”

Conviction of the charge could add as much as six years to Knox’s prison sentence.

Again, this is the nexus of Amanda Knox’s accusation against poor Patrick Lumumba who spent two terrifying weeks in Capanne Prison and later lost his business when the customers fled.

Whatever else she may be, Knox does seem to be a serial blamer of others. Blaming the cops for her blaming Patrick, Knox seemed to us to think, was an easy way out.

Italian reports say that she seemed to be scowling or sour or very serious or depressed (no mention of nervousness) and that she had put on a few pounds.



Friday, October 01, 2010

Knox Calunnia Hearing: Amanda Knox Enters Court Via The Underground Entrance

Posted by Peter Quennell


Amanda Knox enters the court in the more modern part of town where Rudy Guede was tried last October.

As described by Andrea Vogt in the quotes in the post just below, this is a closed hearing. This is NOT a charge initiated by the prosecution in Knox’s murder trial or for that matter by the State of Italy.

It is initiated by the complaining police (represented by the Florentine lawyer Francesco Maresca, who was also the lawyer appinted to represent Meredith’s family in the Knox, Sollecito and Guede trials) who are denying Knox’s claims that she was maltreated as a witness.

So Mr Maresca and Amanda Knox’s lawyers Mr Ghirga and Mr Della Vedova will go to it toe-to-toe.  Judge Claudia Matteini could put the case on ice today, or she could decide that it goes forward to full trial in one form or another.

Although prison time (up to six years) is a possible outcome of the main trial, if there is one, this is in essence a civil case. Slander cases are not that common in Italy for the simple reason that penalties are very tough - and so there is very little real slander.

Slandering the cops, if Amanda Knox did do that, would seem a singularly ill-advised move. Her own lawyers certainly never advised it, or complained about rough treatment, or even suggested that they believed it was true.

Italian cops generally have an easy relationship with the population, and the crime rate in Italy compared to most other countries is low. The murder rate is only 1/6 that of the United States, for example, and one of the lowest in the world.

Italy also has an impressively cautious and careful justice system described here by our Italian posters Nicki and Commisario and Cesare, which is unquestionably the most respected Italian public institution. The Innocence Project has never helped to overturn a case in Italy, and we believe they do not even have any questionable cases listed.

Amnesty International and the European institutions do occasionally complain of the Italian justice system being slow, but that is essentially a factor of its extreme caution, and all the hurdles that prosecutors have to make their way through.

What the record suggests actually happened in Knox’s brief examination as a witness on the night was described in this post here. 

So not only does Amanda Knox not carry very much credibility here - her charges seem to have been a seriously wrong turn. They perhaps in themselves halved what public sympathy she had left.

As we have often said here, we think her bravado has been very foolishly egged-on


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Calunnia Claims At The Core Of The Problem For Amanda Knox - And Her Parents

Posted by Peter Quennell



Here is Amanda Knox claiming mistreatment as the reason why she falsely fingered Patrick Lumumba.

This was the court CCTV camera feed to the press-room on 12 June 2009. It was legitimate for the reporters there to capture it.

Our Italy-based Italian-speaking posters Fiori and Nicki both observed that to many or most Italians. Knox’s two days on the stand rang pretty hollow. She apparently needed to come across as a lot more fragile for the claims in the video to ring true.

Yesterday at the first hearing to set the date for Knox’s new trial, the number of police interrogators who are considered to have been targets of calunnia Amanda Knox was stated as twelve.

They will presumably all be testifying both at Knox’s new trial in October, and at the trial of Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, who allegedly repeated Knox’s claims on TV, and for whom the first hearing is coming up on 7 July.

They could face prison time and/or fines.

Judge Claudia Matteini observed that her presiding over the early hearings into Meredith’s case in 2008 (and denying Knox house arrest, a denial believed based in part on a psychological profile never made public) was not automatically a reason for her being replaced as a judge in this new case.

Knox had not made the claims you can see in the video at the time Judge Matteini was presiding. However, she agreed with what seems a reasonable defense request that a higher court should take the question of a possible conflict of interest under review.

She stated that the appeals court will issue a decision on who should be the judge for the new trial on 17 June.


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Knox Hearing On Calunnia Charges Technicality, Then Trial Set To Be Under Way June 16

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Nick Squires in Rome for the Daily Telegraph has the report which includes this.

Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, argued that it was inappropriate for the slander charge to be heard by judge Claudia Matteini, because she had been involved in one of the preliminary hearings into the Kercher murder.

The case on Tuesday was adjourned until June 17, when another judge is likely to be assigned to the case.  The trial is likely to start on October 1. Her appeal is also expected to start in the autumn, meaning that the two cases could run concurrently.

If Knox is found guilty of slander, she could face another six years in jail, on top of the 26 years she is currently serving.

And Knox could face MORE time than 26 plus six years if the prosecution wins it on appeal. Possibly a total of forty.

So much for the PR campaign and the ongoing misinterpretation of the evidence and sliming of the prosecution by the “pro-Knox” websites. Guede of course ran no campaign, his lawyers and friends were always respectful, he took the short-form trial (an admission of some kind of guilt), and he tried some sort of apology to Meredith’s family.

And after his first appeal he emerged with only 16 years.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Could The Italian Authorities Be Starting A Wave Of Libel + Slander Investigations?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Nick Pisa’s report on Sky News about the charges Amanda Knox’s parents are being investigated for.

The sliming of the prosecution, the police and investigators, and even the many judges in the process, never seemed to our legal contacts like a particularly good idea.

The CIA operatives trial we referred to in this post (over which the United States and the Italian prime minister could exert ZERO influence, please note) shows that Italy has a long arm and tough laws.

And the very independent judges and prosecutors are willing to take a very hard line to enforce them.

A Seattle lawyer who propagates what seems to us a pretty daffy and unfounded view of the case, made statements in the recent report by Italian network LA7 which don’t seem to have gone over very well in Italy. They may have attracted some official attention.

We dont know if the many statements made to an American audience on for example the ABC, CNN and CBS networks (most recently by New-York-based lawyer John Q Kelly) could attract investigations. But we do hear they might have all been taken note of, and it is possible the US networks might be monitoring their coverage of the case from now on.

ABC and KING-5 Seattle, both highly negative about Italy in recent months, may be particularly vulnerable.

And if and when the one administrative charge against Mr Mignini is dropped, an American crime-fiction writer and wannabe real-crime reporter might also perhaps find himself in the Italian legal cross-hairs for some very odd things he has said and written.

it will be interesting to see if any of the US-based media pick up on and report objectively on this development in Italy. Someone taking bets?

*******

Update #1: The Associated Press has just fed the defamation story to its client media outlets in the United States.

Update #2: The AP report has now gone viral. As of right now (2:00 pm New York time) Google is returning over 1500 hits. So the word is out: watch one’s tongue where Italian justice is concerned, or there may be consequences.

Update #3: Here is a safe bet based on some insider buzz. This development will make the US State Department and the American Embassy in Rome very happy. They have long wanted the sliming of Italy to stop.

Update #4: It sounds like it might make several million citizens of Seattle very happy too. They have long wanted the Mellases and Knoxes to simply stick to the truth - and address, you know, the hard evidence.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Knox Testimony Does Not Seem To Have Gained Much Traction Here In Italy

Posted by Fiori





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

I don’t believe her. It is interesting to see Amanda Knox being cool and self-confident, but testifying about how disturbed she became when the police became pushy during her interrogation. It doesn’t fit.

And it comes across as untrustworthy and contradictory that when asked about her drug use, she puts on a “schoolgirl”’ attitude: In effect “Sorry, daddy judge, I was bad, don’t punish me for being young”.  This seems definitely out of order with the rest of her performance.

“Performance” is the impression I get from viewing the segments shown from the court - a well-rehearsed performance. I suppose that the jury will wonder how this cool person can forget whether she has replied to a sms-message, how she can get so confused that she names Patrick, afterwards “is too afraid to speak to anyone but her mother”, and so on.

Most striking is that Amana Knox’s defence seems to stick firmly to the strategy of “mistreatment”; in effect that the only reason for AK being arrested is false statements produced under “illegal” pressure from the police.

By making “the ethics of police interrogation” the core question of her testimony, the defence - probably deliberately - creates a lot of associations to recent public debates of torture and interrogation techniques applied at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq.

By doing so they seem to want to try to turn the jury’s attention away from the point that AK knowingly participated in a murder investigation, and that any person with her intelligence will know that anyone who is called as a witness is required to show respect for the authorities - regardless of their nationality!

With reference to a variety of public materials from the US (“48 Hours” by CBS and many other reports), the way in which the Italian police have conducted Knox’s interview does not significantly differ from similar type interrogations made by US police. (This is not a stamp of approval, but removes the reason for any serious critique of the conduct of the Italian police.)

Her calmness and cool attitude, including her performing in two languages, does not, in my view - contrary to what the defence and her father expect - help to bring about an image of “another Amanda Knox” or a “more true Amanda Knox”.

Mostly her performance seems to contribute to shaping her image as complex, manipulative, intelligent, attention-seeking, and with only vaguely defined limits of identity.



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