Friday, January 22, 2010

Andrea Vogt Reports On The Mignini Conviction In Florence

Posted by Peter Quennell

Andrea Vogt in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Giuliano Mignini was convicted on Friday on [one charge] stemming from his handling of a series of killings in Florence. The charges dis not involve the Knox case.

Knox was convicted in December of killing her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, and sentenced to 26 years in prison. She is appealing, and it’s unclear how her prosecutor’s troubles will affect her appeal.

On Friday, Mignini was given a suspended sentence of one year and four months, pending appeal.  He will be allowed to continue his regular duties.

The sentence was seen as a way of placating multiple powerful interest in Italy’s longest running unsolved mystery, the Monster of Florence.

The charges from 2006 allegations of unauthorized wiretapping of journalists and others as crimes were being investigated related to the Monster of Florence serial killings in the 1970s and ‘80s.

The abuse-of-office charges against Mignini have made him a lightning rod for criticism from Knox’s supporters, who argue that she was wrongly accused and convicted.

So Mr Mignini was found provisionally guilty on one narrow charge. Another charge was thrown out today, and several charges were thrown out previously.

Giuliano Mignini is a lot more popular in Perugia than he has been in recent times in Florence, where he investigated a narrow aspect of the Florence case perhaps too forcefully for some powerful interests.

He noted in an email to a Seattle reporter recently that what he caught secretly on tape was a Florence prosecutor lamenting the fact that his own hands were tied in the Monster of Florence investigation.

Given that, it is perhaps no surprise that Mr Mignini has hinted that he thought the dice might be loaded against him in the first round.

It was Mr Mignini’s own decision to appoint a very senior and respected co-prosecutor in the Knox-Sollecito trial, Ms Manuela Comodi, who handled at least half of the prosecutions’ case.

Now all eyes will be on the judges report on the Knox-Sollecito verdict, due out latest early in March. Judge Micheli arrived at his own conclusions a year ago based on the evidence and testimony in those 10,000-plus pages.

He was perhaps even a bit dismissive of Mr Mignini’s theory - though it was pretty mild compared to what is often portrayed.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/22/10 at 06:57 PM in The wider contexts


I’m sorry to hear Mignini’s guilty of unauthorized wiretapping. Maybe his zeal for getting evidence on bad guys went too far. If he crossed a legal line, he needed to be reined in. If it’s just trumped up persecution by those who don’t like their misdeeds made public, he will be vindicated in the bigger picture of life.

“Strain out a gnat and swallow a camel” syndrome. Despite his wrongdoing, it hardly rises to the level of the evils he was prosecuting. It doesn’t alter my opinion in the Knox case, nor would AK, RS and RG be less guilty of their own crimes if Mignini were a saint. How many in the Perugia courtroom are saints?

Justice is blind. She doesn’t see rich or poor, but who has stepped over a law. Despite his conviction, I must accept it out of respect for the Italian system that also found AK guilty. His moral fiber in the case of a valiant crimefighter like Mignini, deserves every benefit of the doubt.

Posted by Hopeful on 01/23/10 at 01:21 AM | #

Hi Hopeful. Yes all of our contacts in Italy respect Mignini as a real fighter for justice in a system not exactly weighted toward the prosecution. Several today relayed that they admire him for how he went up against the shadowy Florence machine to try to get at the truth in the Narducci case. They all think that he was getting it right.

The charges amounted to little more than that he didnt run the approval paperwork past a judge in advance, and one email in just said that such charges are so common that they rarely even make the news. He had already been tried and acquitted on the charge and then the prosecution appealed and now this fruitless outcome where he keeps his job and faces no prison.

His role in the Knox-Sollecito case was completed on 6 December.  As with the Guede appeal in December, the state will be represented at the appeal late in 2010 by his senior colleague, the Advocate General, who is a really tough cookie.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/23/10 at 03:51 AM | #

I am truly sorry that Giuliano Mignini’s zealous pursuit of the shady personages behind the scenes in Florence has resulted in this conviction.

Mignini is a man of honour who has obviously trodden on some delicate toes in his search for the evil-doers involved in the hideous serial killings which spattered the gentle Tuscan landscapes with innocent blood.

The Advocate General will need every tough fibre in his being to withstand the poisoned hysteria which will now doubtless flow from the poisoned Foaker pens, seeking to cast doubt on the conviction of the murderers, Knox and Sollecito.

Posted by Tiziano on 01/23/10 at 01:36 PM | #

the poisoned hysteria…exactly Tiziano. that’s my biggest sorrow in this case…yes, Mignini is not above the law, but the FOA will try to twist this into some ridiculous scenario that makes Amanda and her co-defendants less than guilty.

Posted by mojo on 01/23/10 at 08:26 PM | #

Well Mojo, they’ve started.  Inevitably.

Posted by Tim on 01/24/10 at 07:59 AM | #

It seems strange that Mignini was sentenced to 16 months in prison for the illegal wiretapping of journalists and high-ranking members of the Florence police - even though the prosecution had only requested a 10 month sentence.  We can certainly expect an appeal.

Nevertheless, it is my understanding that Italian law allows that if you are sentenced to less than two years of prison time for a first offence, as this was, it is highly unlikely that you will be required to spend time in prison. I believe that is why the sentence was quickly suspended.

Posted by Fly By Night on 01/25/10 at 08:55 AM | #
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