Friday, September 24, 2010

The Knox Movie: Sollecito Reported Angry - Real Risk That His Defense Could Break Away From Knox’s

Posted by Peter Quennell

The Austrian Independent is reporting that Raffaele Sollecito has come out against the Lifetime movie.

Now Raffaele Sollecito ““ jailed for 25 years for his part in the crime which occurred in Perugia three years ago ““ announced concerns the film could harm legal appeals he and Knox, his ex- girlfriend are making against their convictions.

The Italian’s lawyer Luca Maori said today (Fri): “We don’t have the final verdict in this case yet. If the film is ready before the appeal is over, we will seek a court injunction to prevent it being aired.”

Sollecito’s lawyers Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori have already said they will go so far as to take Lifetime to court to prevent the making and release of The Amanda Knox Story movie during the appeals - which could go on for years.

Why are Raffaele Sollecito and his lawyers being so angry and so adamant about canning the movie?

Here are two suggestions.

1) The hurtful PR campaign, of which this movie must seem an extension

It has been obvious for a long time in Italy that the Sollecito camp (especially including Raffaele’s father) do NOT like being joined at the hip to what must look to them like a runaway train of a defense campaign.

Barbie Nadeau in Newsweek last week described how very badly the strident and misleading PR campaign is now going over in Italy.

Since her arrest in November 2007 and conviction in December 2009, Knox supporters have repeatedly condemned everyone involved in the case who does not believe in wholeheartedly in her innocence. Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas, ridiculed the ruling judge’s conviction reasoning as a “fictional novel” and a support group called Friends of Amanda regularly called the chief prosecutor “mentally unstable” throughout the trial.

In the wake of the verdict last December, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington (Knox’s home state) promised to get Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to extradite the young American home from Italy (Clinton has said she will not intervene), and Donald Trump has even boycotted Italy and its products.

Amazingly, even the deeply respected Massei Report is coming in for ridicule. Raffaele Sollecito and all of his family and team being of course Italian, this very strident anti-Italianism (actually much disliked by the State Department) is severely hurting Sollecito and his family in the public eye in Italy.

All of this is made worse by the fact that Sollecito’s lead lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, is a prominent member of the Italian Parliament, and she has her own image and popularity to worry about.  Last year, halfway through the trial, it looked like she was getting ready to walk.

2) Possible separating legal strategies from the first appeal in November onward

The movie could paint Sollecito in a bad light or misrepresent him in some way that could really hurt his chances at appeal.
Remember Sollecito separated himself from Amanda Knox in all of his alibis after his first alibi. He STILL has it that she was out of the apartment on the night for four hours while he was on the computer and so on at home.

We believe Sollecito is pretty solidly tied to the crime in the Massei Sentencing Report.

But he had less motive than Knox - he barely knew Meredith - and he could now come to claim that he was only drawn in by Knox during the clean-up. The claim could be that only Guede and Knox killed Meredith, and he was not present in the house at that point.

This difference between Knox and Sollecito is a minefield for any film makers. Slander and libel suits might really fly if they seem to get it wrong - and not least of course from Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini if he is misrepresented.


In other developments and non-developments, there is still no word from Seattle - from the Knox family or her supporters or the Seattle media - on whether Amanda Knox’s family had a role in creating this movie. 

Even if the Seattle media sit on their hands on this one (so what’s new?!) Curt Knox and Edda Mellas will be heading for Perugia soon, for Amanda Knox’s slander trial and for their own, and will presumably be asked all about it.

Not least, of course, by Amanda’s own lawyers.


The film-makers now face two distinctly different kinds of legal threat.

One is that the production could be shut down by an order of the Italian courts for the year or years that the appeals continue.

The other is that they could get sued for libel and slander by, well, half the population of Italy, if they reflect the anti-Italianism and myriad wrong “facts” of the conspiracy theorists.

How would they portray Giuliano Mignin, who in Italy is regarded as a fine prosecutor and a popular crusading hero who really got this one right?

And how would they portray the 20-plus judges who all said there was a strong case for Knox to answer?


Added: Some advice from one of our lawyers. The Kercher family via their highly effective lawyer Maresca could also have a successful lawsuit here.

Lifetime and Panetierre and the director and the writer perhaps need to realize that UK and Italian law in these areas is VERY different from American law.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/24/10 at 06:44 PM | #

It is being pointed out to us that the director (image above) and writer (image below) both have excellent reputations.

If they are basing their script at present on the lunatic claims of conspiracy theorists like Fisher and Moore, and they now find out the truth, here’s a safe bet: They are going to walk.

Lifetime cannot pay them enough to cover their reputations becoming part of the wreckage.

We’d be happy to sit with them of course. Right here in New York where they both mostly live and work.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/24/10 at 08:56 PM | #

A curious and rather intriguing post from Deanna Knox (or someone claiming to be her, but it looks genuine, poor spelling and all) on the “Free Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito” page on Facebook, “causes”. (A whopping 461 members, most of them “recruited” by the Knox and Mellas clans, of course).

She writes (spelling and punctuation errors left intact):

“to all those who follow my sisters case and have heard about the new lifetime movie. here are some facts that we know now.
1.) yes, as it looks right now lifetime is making a movie about my sisters trial.
2.) yes, it looks like Hayden Panettiere is playing my sister in this movie.
3.) no, Hayden Panettiere has not visited my sister in italy, nor has Hayden or any of the ptoducers have had any contact with the family.
‎4.) will this movie follow the facts….at this point it is hard to tell, from reading news on it, so far it looks like it wont, calling my sister guiltridden and an infamous killer which none are true, we shall see how the tabloid lifetime comes up with.

till later this is all we know”

Curiouser and Curiouser. Is Deanna a bare-faced liar, or is she being kept out of the loop, or is she being truthful? I guess time will tell.

Posted by Janus on 09/24/10 at 11:26 PM | #

Hmmm. Lifetime must be scared out of their wits, with that mighty shot fired across their bows! 

If Knox family and friends wish to claim no connection with the movie, and to stop it dead in its tracks, and to stop Sollecito going AWOL, they need to do a lot more than push this timid note under the door, three days late.

We hope they do. Our main interest here is to see the film stopped dead in its tracks, because of the pain it inflicts on the Kerchers. If all three families and all of the Perugia lawyers now decide they don’t want it, that does give Lifetime a problem.

It becomes a real legal minefield, and the Lifetime director, writer, and Hayden Panetierre should be under no illusions here: in Italy, the slander laws that protect officials are really tough, as Knox and her parents and sundry others are now in the process of finding out.

By the way, the movie is about Amanda’s life, most of which was in Seattle, rather than about only her trial. And the negative quotes in Point 4 do not come from the film-makers, they come from one or two of the reports.

For now, the slant of the movie is not known - though we do have a knack of finding out. We sure hope the hapless duo of Fisher & Moore were not at all involved. Perhaps they could slither a note under their own door….

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/25/10 at 04:14 AM | #

It would be interesting to know if Amanda Knox definitely met with Hayden Panettiere or not. If there was any kind of contact between Amanda Knox and/or her family and the filmmakers, then there is no doubt that the movie was thought to be an extension of their ongoing PR campaign.

It is also interesting to note how Sollecito’s lawyers have already reacted to the news of a movie about Amanda Knox being made, while Amanda’s lawyers and her family haven’t said a word yet.

As for Deanna’s comment, the Knox/Mellas family has been caught in so many lies over the time that I don’t take anything serious they say or publish.

Posted by Nell on 09/25/10 at 04:48 AM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)


Maria Del Grosso, who is on the defence team for Knox led by Carlo dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga, has said of the film:

“[it is] at least inappropriate…. you can not think about making a film when the case is judicially still open…. when you remove all this tension, we can work better on the appeals.”

(See post here: )

The deafening silence is from Knox’s American lawyer and PR firm - I, too, don’t put much store by a facebook post by someone posting as Knox’s sister.  I’m not sure how you can validate who posted a comment and it isn’t the kind of platform official comments are made on (or is it?)

If those words are from Knox’s sister they are not looking to stop the film in it’s tracks - the it seems to be more a “we’ll wait and see what they do” type of comment.  Given Knox’s lawyers are anti the film I would have expected the family to speak out against the film in strong terms using the same terminology (i.e. this isn’t helpful, possibly disrupting, inappropriate whilst appeals still continuing….etc.) and I would have expected at a minimum a formal press release or a statement from their American lawyer.

I’m waiting for something “official” before I credit Knox’s family for challenging this film.

I find it interesting that, in his first comment, Peter notes that Italian law is very different from American law - the failure to understand this very point has led to some very silly comments online over the last few years, gems such as those questioning how the evidence got past a Grand Jury for example.  Italy does have a different legal system and it seems to me to be fair and humane, but it is different and needs to be respected when in Italy.

As for Sollecito’s anger at this film, I have to hope that he channels this anger into something positive - telling what really happened that night, for example.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 09/25/10 at 10:31 AM | #

Hi Innai. Yeah I would put big (and quite informed) money on the notion that (a) that was not Deanna Knox or (b) she is being kept out of the loop.

If (b) then it would be quite deliberately so Deanna can go and naively post misleading things exactly like this.

In the comment I posted below Janus’s (well done Janus for the terrific catch) I pointed out two obvious ways it is already misleading. 

Any Knox family connection with this movie IS going to come out. You can bet your sweet patooties on that.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/25/10 at 02:08 PM | #

They can start filming the movie ¨I Have a Daughter Too¨ about Judge Heavey, who is admonished, so case closed.

Posted by Helder Licht on 09/25/10 at 02:43 PM | #

We have just been advised that for any politician in Italy to espouse Knox’s cause now is akin to touching a live third rail. Not only Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno is being undermined.

Ruling party member Rocco Girlanda, who seems unhealthily interested in Amanda Knox (so what’s new?) and who has written a book due out soon based on many interviews with her, may also be at risk. 

Thanks of course to the negative effects of the sneering and misleading Marriott-Fisher-Moore campaign and the many sneering and misleading websites - in all of which Chris Mellas seems to have a hand.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/25/10 at 03:42 PM | #
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