Thursday, September 07, 2017

Being Reported: Significant Developments In The Sollecito Crime Family

Posted by Our Main Posters

1. The Sollecitos And The Rizutto Crime Family

Posted by Peter Quennell

This is all widely reported in the Italian and Canadian media and known to the average Italian.

That photo above was taken in a Montreal court in January of 2016. Rocco Sollecito’s son Stefano was being charged with a number of crimes, and Rocco the head of the Rizutto family was there to manage and observe.

Five months later, Rocco was dead, gunned down by a hitman still not identified, and Stefano was temporarily free on bail, but still facing numerous charges and soon to go back inside.

The Rizutto clan was possibly the largest mafia family in the world during the whole time of the Perugia judicial process, with operations in Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

Rocco was believed to have muscled his way to the leadership of the clan not too long after this happened back in 2010.

On November 10, 2010, [crime boss Nicolo] Rizzuto was killed at his residence in the Cartierville borough of Montreal when a single bullet from a sniper’s rifle punched through two layers of glass in the rear patio doors of his Montreal mansion. His death is believed to be the final blow against the Rizzuto crime family.

Nice shooting. But it was actually not the final blow to the family clan.  Today Stefano Sollecito and Leonardo Rizzuto, grandson of Nicolo, are considered to be the joint heads of the Rizutto clan.

The relevance to the judicial process in Perugia becomes apparent if you know that:

    (1) Prior to 2000 the Sicilian Costa Nostra was Italy’s dominant mafia force. After a big loss at trial in 1987 it even more ruthlessly kept law enforcement at bay, but considerable reaction was building.

    (2) In the 2000’s the Ndrangheta of Calabria with the Rizutto/Sollecito clan in tow became the more dominant force. Bombings of the judiciary and tourist spots (and even churches) and reprisal against informants were largely phased out, in favor of political and business bribery and the corruption or the demonization of the Italian judiciary. 

    (3) The Ndrangheta had been moving into the region of Umbria starting shortly before the judical process in Perugia began, and was coming to dominate the drug trade there. There was major exposure of progress and pushback in 2014.

    (4) Taking justice down a peg through threats and bribery is a constant top priority which police, prosecutors and judges must endeavor to guard against. The brave lead prosecutor in the Sollecito/Knox trial has a special status: he handles mafia cases, and so is a natural target for demonization.

    (5) Several of those on the fringe of the Perugia judicial process have known mafia connections. They included the colleague of Doug Preston, Mario Spezi, who died in 2016. Two lawyers on the defense teams have mounted important mafia defenses. One of the witnesses at the 2011 appeal was a mafioso. 

    (6) The Dominican Republic is considered by the FBI etc to be the playground and drugs-throughpoint for various mafias and very useful waypoint for drugs headed to the United States, Canada, and even Italy.

    (7) The Rizutto/Sollecito clan have dominated the eastern town for years there, and they have sizeable gambling interests there. The country has few extradition treaties, so it’s tempting as a mafia retirement abode.

2. Raffaele Sollecito visits the DR twice in 2013

Posted by Peter Quennell

This important post is vital reading here - it connects up the dots of the Perugia process to the wider Italian context.

Raffaele Sollecito first headed to the Dominican Republic quite ostentatiously - sending a threatening signal maybe? - in the summer of 2013, some months before the Nencini repeat appeal that the Supreme Court had mandated commenced in Florence.

Raffaele Sollecito then headed there a second time “secretly” (see below) right in the middle of that appeal when it seems to have appeared to him (correctly) that the outcome would go against Knox and himself.

Very tellingly, both Sollecito and his family tried hard to keep the destination of that trip a secret.  But (again see below) the very curious Italian media finally figured it out (through not immediately why).

Here is how we reported that drama on 4 December 2013.

[Prosecutor Crini had finished summarizing the case against RS and AK unrelentingly over two days.]

Dr Francesco Sollecito was reported as being shocked by the unrelenting tone of the indictment. However, Sollecito’s plight is not nearly as bad as the ever-stubborn Amanda Knox’s.

Knox has already served three years and was fined heavily for obstruction of justice. She could face another year for that if it is found to have been aggravating. And as the post below mentions, she could face as many as three more charges for aggravating obstruction of justice. 

Sollecito in contrast has respected the court by actually showing up, and, unlike Knox, has lately shown restraint in accusing his accusers.

However, the day after Dr Crini ‘s startlingly powerful summary of the case against him, it looked like Sollecito was hastily taking off out of Italy for somewhere. 

La Nazione reported that police at Florence Airport had held back a fully loaded Air France flight to Paris while they checked with the prosecution that he was indeed allowed to leave the country.  La Nazione said the prosecutors have some concern that he might skip and not come back, but he did voluntarily come back previously from the Dominican Republic, and his family has always ensured some presence in court.

But next TGCom24 reported that Sollecito’s father had claimed that Sollecito had already gone home to Bisceglie, although he is a free citizen still in possession of a passport and can travel anywhere if he wishes.

But then TGCom24 reported that he had indeed flown to Paris, but had turned around and come straight back again, to stay with family friends.  And that on 8 December he will sit his final exams in computer science at the University of Verona.

However, soon after that La Nazione reported that Sollecito’s father had been contradicted by his lawyers, and his erratic son had slipped through his fingers and flown “for his work” back to the Dominican Republic. Translation by Jools:

1 December 2013 ““ SCOOP. Denials, lies, game by the defenders. But in the end it’s up to the lawyer Luca Maori to admit: “Raffaele Sollecito returned to Santo Domingo, as anticipated on Friday by La Nazione”

He embarked from Florence’s Peretola Airport and made a stop-over in Paris, from where he then flew to the Caribbean island where he spent the last few months that preceded the start of the new appeals process. “But there is nothing strange - minimizes the lawyer - Raffaele went back to pick up the things he left there, will be back in ten days for the final exams and to await the judgment. With anxiety, but self-assured.”

No escape, just a normal “work” trip. Permissible, since there is no measure that prevents the accused to leave Italy. But the departure of Sollecito, accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher along with former girlfriend Amanda Knox (already sheltered in the U.S.) caused some sneering. And even the agents of the Border Police, when they saw him in front of the [departure] gate, made a phone call to the Procura to be sure whether the journey in the midst of the appeal process was really “normal.”

IN FACT. Sollecito ‘s father, in an understandable effort to defend his already too overexposed son, slipped on the so-called banana peel, placing the young man within a few hours in various locations, but never in the true destination across the ocean: in Verona, preparing for the final exam in computer science in regard to the thesis, or in Paris, but just for a flash-stay from which he was back the day after. At Christmas, maintained the father, Raffaele will return from abroad. Maybe for the last break before the final rush of the Mark II process, which, according to calculations by the Assize Court of Appeal, could be concluded on January 15.

Meanwhile, the hearing on 16 December is for the remaining civil parties, then double date for the defence, (December 17 and January 9) and hearing on the 10 dedicated to counter-argument. With Sollecito in the courtroom, assures the lawyer.

Nothing strange?! Doctor Sollecito never explaining to the media where Raffaele went, or why he went there, or why it was a huge secret, should have official minds very seriously wondering why.

No prizes for guessing what Raffaele had to do so secretly in the Dominican Republic - where his notorious mafia relatives from Montreal occupy a town there.

What if the judge had stopped Sollecito from going to the Dominican Republic when the airport police called to check if that was alright with the court?

It now seems certain that RS and AK would be sitting in prison, the Kerchers would have some peace, and none of us would be laboring away here. 

3. Taunting New Tone From Sollecito Defense

Posted by Peter Quennell

It was observed among other things by those who do observing professionally that Amanda Knox and Sollecito and his lawyer Bongiorno became exceptionally macho upon his return and for the next 12 months

Sollecito was downbeat only briefly twice in 2014, first when he and his Italian girfriend scampered northward before Nencini’s verdict, and second when he was trying and failing to get American girls to marry him. Remember this and also this about the macho press conference in mid 2014?

Mostly the pair were exceptionally macho right through to the Fifth Chambers “mysteriously” being assigned the final appeal, and two judges inexperienced in murder cases mangling the evidence and breaking Italian law in the written judgement which sort-of cleared RS and AK.

That’s some of what is out in broad daylight so far. There is much more under official wraps for now. That both the Hellmann appeal and the Marasca/Bruno appeal were bent seem dead-certs to officialdom.

4. And More On The Saga

Posted by James Raper

I’ll add some summary points here which are considerably expanded upon in my book.

The 5th Chambers’ judgment, which had Knox at the cottage at the time of the murder, but not necessarily Sollecito, pretty much reflects Francesco’s own thinking.

Remember how intensely critical he was of Knox in private. She was the one who had something to do with it and had got his precious boy into trouble. In fact he would not have been that bothered if she had been convicted provided his son was acquitted.

He was going to deliver for his boy come what may, and whatever his involvement, and Bongiorno was to be his instrument.

    1. Bongiorno : head of the parliamentary commission for legal reforms and whose most important client had been former Prime Minister Andreotti, charged with links to Cosa Nostra and the mafia murder of a journalist.

    2. And where did Della Vedova, with his business links to organized crime, pop up from? Ghirga and Maori were positively provincial, straight-forward guys, by comparison. Vedova was not a criminal lawyer, and it showed as he messed up a bit in court, but with offices in Rome and stateside Washington he was a useful player and conduit for extraneous participants, for both the accused.

    3. And where did Hellmann pop up from? Appointed to preside over the first appeal just one month beforehand? With little experience of criminal trials and replacing a judge, who had that experience, and just happened to be the prosecutor, disliked by Bongiiorno, in the Andreotti trials.

    4. And where did Conti and Vecchiotti pop up from? Selected by Hellmann of course. And why did C+V hobnob with Francesco and produce such a biased, amateurish and unprofessional report?

    5. How did Alessi and Aviello pop up all of a sudden and why did Aviello make, and then retract, allegations of improper inducements offered by Bongiorno for his testimony?

    6. Bongiorno became supercharged, almost maniacal, the longer the case went on. Waving a knife around in court, pacing frenetically during recesses, the bizarre press conference with Raffaele (the first real wedge between the defendants positions - had she had the nod that this could work, even for both?), his, her and Francesco’s television appearances, the humungous final appeal recourse with Peter Gills’ misleading contamination hypothesi craftily, and quite unacceptably, included.

    7. Rocco was murdered in May 2016. Francesco attended a private memorial service for him just outside Bari. Why would a pillar of the community, a respectable doctor, do that? Either he didn’t think he would be noticed or he didn’t care. If the latter, that’s some chutzpah! Are he and Rocco distant cousins? Rocco was originally from Bari. That’s where Francesco lives and Raffaele was born. I suspect that they share more than a surname and Raffaele’s sojourns in the Dominican Republic was more than a coincidence.

    8. And the final, ludicrous, 5th Chambers Motivation, long overdue when it finally came out.

An aspect of the Italian judicial system that needs to be looked at, in my opinion, is the final stage of proceedings.The fact that each case has to be signed off by the Supreme Court places a considerable administrative burden on the system, which is why there are, at the last count, some 396 SC judges.

This allows IMO for a measure of under the radar judge shopping, inconsistencies in judgements, rivalries and factions, and judges who are susceptible to improper influence in a country where mafia influence and corruptability stretches even into respectable institutions.

You just have to know how to go about it, and Bongiorno and Vedova tick the boxes.

5. Footnote: The Latest News From Montreal

Posted by Peter Quennell

Meanwhile, back in Montreal, Leonardo Ri”Žzzuto and Stefano Sollecito remain locked up awaiting trial. Bail was denied them - no surprise there, the state does need its witnesses to remain alive.

Here as of a week ago is their trial status.

The last of the leaders accused of the mafia in Montreal, Stefano Sollecito and Leonardo Rizzuto, will be entitled to a mega-trial, which will be specially reserved [for them alone].

The judge Eric Downs has just confirmed that the two men, charged with gangsterism and conspiracy to traffic cocaine, will be judged separately from the 15 other accused in the operation Nest Egg… The dates of this trial will be held before a judge and jury, in Montreal, will be fixed within two weeks.

Stefano Sollecito, whose father Rocco has already led the clan Rizzuto, before his murder by a professional killer… had long sought a trial as early as possible since he is fighting a serious illness.

Note “fighting a serious illness”.  Hmmm. The presumed end of that branch of the family as a fighting force. There is also another development of the maybe-not-good-news variety for Raffaele.

Events described above might have evolved quite differently if Sammy Nicolucci had not been put away a few year ago by the Canadians.

Both Sammy Nicolucci and Rocco Sollecito had once been on a career path to head the Rizzuto crime family. But Sammy was put away in prison, opening a clear way forward for Rocco.

As Rocco was gunned down, while Sammy walks free, maybe Sammy thinks he has the last laugh? Could he have Raffaele Sollecito looking over his shoulder these days, or at least not vacationing in Canada any time soon?

6. Implications For Sollecito Going Forward

Posted by Peter Quennell

Rocco’s silencing by death was clearly to Raff’s and Amanda’s advantage, even assuming they had no hand in it. It is likely if Rocco had managed to stay alive that the Italians would have figured out a way to nab him and squeeze him dry.

It’s their experience-based and effective way with the mafias: dont ever talk about it, just do it: keep up a relentless pursuit without ceasing until there are clear grounds to isolate and take down some bad guys. See this latest example and also this one here.

If you think about it, it’s a great pity for our case that Rocco did get gunned down. He got off easy and our case remains messy. Damn you Rocco!

The silencing of Rocco does close off the easiest way forward, of extraditing him to Italy and putting the screws on him. But it does not close off ALL roads forward. Work goes on. Someone will talk.

Stay tuned. It may take a while, but it ain’t yet over.

Posted by Our Main Posters on 09/07/17 at 07:19 PM in


Perugia prosecutors have all been targets for the dangerous Ndrangheta mafia which has been moving into Perugia and Umbria generally throughout this whole period.

Google Ndrangheta + umbria. You will get plenty of hits and can use the Google translation app right there by the headline.

Sollecito’s relatives in Montreal and the Dominican Republic are Ndrangheta. No wonder they were happy to help to take Dr Mignini and Italian justice down a peg.

Perugia and Florence prosecutors are also targets of those accused of corruption in government as trials that cannot be held in Rome for safety reasons are held there.

That Mignini bravely takes on these mafia cases (he is especially trained and protected for it) is THE major reason behind his demonization.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/07/17 at 09:05 PM | #

So that’s why Raffaele visited Dominican Republic twice. “The Rizutto/Sollecito clan pretty well dominate a town there”.

Maybe Raffaele was asking them to help him disappear if the verdict went against him? Or to exact revenge? Or to put pressure on someone in Italy to buy a verdict?

Raffaele once said he really liked risotto, the chicken flavored rice dish. Maybe it was a play on words, Rizutto.

So the Rizutto/Sollecito crime family is active in Dominican Republic, now in path of Hurricane Irma.

I’m praying Irma will turn back out to sea and leave Florida and Georgia and North Carolina unharmed. The US has just borne the brunt of Hurricane Harvey, and now a storm named Jose is forming.

Posted by Hopeful on 09/08/17 at 03:30 AM | #

Hi Hopeful

Yes, all those possibilities came to official minds when Sollecito made those trips. Actually there seemed a certain amusement.

It is strongly presumed that Marasca and Bruno were the outcome of more judge-shopping - but remember also that the US and Italian elected governments were wanting to head off an unpopular extradition, and that might have reached their ears also.

There’s an ambivalence to the Marasca/Bruno report which suggests the fire in their bellies was dissipating, though Bruno became pretty sick also.

The most damaging thing in their final report was not the somewhat damning wording of the final verdict - which even now few people here know about.

The most damaging thing was their very strident condemnation of the absence of evidence and the bungling of investigators. THAT is quoted everywhere.

Where did THAT come from? It was highly untrue, and such barking criticism had never surfaced previously.

It clearly came from Bongiorno. She was ranting on like a crackpot at the Nencini appeal after Sollecito returned from the Caribbean. She tried to frame Nencini soon after.

And then at the Cassation hearing in March 2014 she screeched on wildly way beyond the legally allotted time for her. 

Her enormous appeal submission - hundreds of pages long - is said to have strident language identical to what Marasca and Bruno used in their written report.

This whole arc was so incredibly blatant.  This is really really fraught for RS and AK. One peep from any of a pool of people who know more, and their castle of cards crashes down.

Whither Netflix, mafia tool? Whither Preston? Whither Heavey? Whither Moore? Whither John Douglas? Whither Burleigh? Whither Fischer?

Whither Bruno & Marasca? Especially, whither Frank Sforza, in it up to his ears?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/08/17 at 07:21 AM | #

Excellent article! Thank you Peter. On a side note, the “Amanda Knox” fake documentary has LOST at The Emmy Awards tonight in LA:

Morse and his accomplices will have to look for new lines of work from now on. Hopefully, they lost thousands of dollars and are deep in debt!

Posted by Johnny Yen on 09/11/17 at 04:59 AM | #

Motivations Report denying Sollecito compensation posted at

Posted by Ergon on 09/16/17 at 06:43 PM | #

What about Raffaele’s foot deformity showing that it was his foot that made a print stained with Meredith’s blood?

Posted by Cardiol MD on 09/29/17 at 07:17 AM | #

Cardiol is quite right.

To damn Sollecito further yes the two damages appeals courts could have gone back to the first Cassation appeal (the one that annulled Hellman) which the second Cassation appeal simply ignored.

Marasca & Bruno simply and wrongly said this: “Finally, the footprints found at the murder scene can in no way be traced to the appellant”.

But your own extended analysis in point 30 of this critique with key images shows how the first Cassation appeal used that print at length to help annul the Hellman appeal.

Here it is shown on a chart  which our main poster SomeAlibi and the trial court figured out. The deformity is highlighted by the striking difference in the big toe widths, right?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/29/17 at 04:38 PM | #

The Sollecitos have supporters among villagers, like the Catholic priest who celebrated a mass to remember mobster Rocco killed some months before in Montreal.

But the police - who previously prohibited funerals - ordered that the mass should take place at 6 o’clock in the morning and behind closed doors. This might give a picture of the controversy around the family:

Posted by Yummi on 01/28/18 at 04:57 AM | #
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Where next:

Click here to return to The Top Of The Front Page

Or to next entry Given The Semi-Public Tensions, Could Someone Close To Knox Blow Her Cover At Last?

Or to previous entry Kercher Lawyer Dr Maresca Slams Tin-Eared Knox Over “Inopportune Plans” To Visit Perugia