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


This will leave her in the dust, very well said! Shame on Cantwell for sticking her nose in places she has not become well informed. She should be ashamed of stirring up this type of reaction rather than being a calm in the already stormy seas for Washington State.  The least she should do is educate herself with the facts which could allow her to offer a true picture of the ruling (verdict) to Washington residents and then extend a written apology to the family of Meredith Kercher.  Looking forward to her response.

Posted by Professor Snape on 12/09/09 at 08:29 PM | #

Thank you for writing this letter!  I hope that Sen. Cantwell reads it and actually takes a thorough look at this case.  You made a great point - even Knox’s attorney does not see the value of bringing Hillary Clinton into the case!  Amanda herself said yesterday or today that she believes that the trial was conducted properly and fairly, even though she obviously disagrees with the verdict.  She said that she appreciates the American support, but says that getting people in high places involved will not help her any.

Posted by chira385 on 12/09/09 at 08:34 PM | #

Brilliant letter ... it will be interesting to see how this develops. I don’t believe the Italian press, as we have already seen, will react kindly to further American pressure.

Posted by james99 on 12/10/09 at 12:48 AM | #


Posted by mortytoad on 12/10/09 at 12:50 AM | #

She isn’t complaining that Amanda got an extra year - she is advocating for a fair trial by an impartial tribunal. The Micheli report is irrelevant. All the Micheli report tells us are some of the most damning point in his view against the defendants, not the media/jury influences that transpired during the trial.
(yes-I’ve read the Micheli report now beyond your summary)

Please accept my credit for the criticism of anti-americanism, cause I don’t think that is really it; it is a divisive non-productive point… whatever the motive, character assassination in the press with such a sensational trial all the while not accepting the idea to move the trial to another town. This is why Amanda needs big gun advocates for a chance at a fair appeal while she wastes more time there in prison.

Hillary or any other state department statements don’t concern me to this point. There are a lot of things they can do behind the scenes to effect a real result.

Posted by curtperon on 12/10/09 at 02:19 AM | #

wasn’t the jury comprised of several judges?  seems to me they have the wisdom to ignore “character assassination” that occurs in the media and make their decision based on the evidence presented in the trial.  inconsistencies in amanda’s statements, DNA evidence - there was much to bring a conviction that had nothing to do with her character or lack thereof.  it has been pointed out that the italian judicial system does many things exactly like the american judicial system - i.e. juries are often not sequestered.  sometimes i wonder if the supporters of amanda are completely ignorant of what actually occured in that courtroom; or if they are just in denial because of their blind loyalty.

Posted by gramjan on 12/10/09 at 03:16 AM | #

Hu curtperon.

There was no character assasination in this case. At least not by Italians of Knox. Most of it was from the US and directed at, well, just about everybody. Starting with Preston’s unhinged rants against Mignini.

Sorry but it’s all just a great hoax. One of many in this case, see our right column for more, Try to produce some Italian articles that really prove otherwise and you will be disappointed.

We have looked at literally thousands of Italian articles posted in the past 18 months and have seen not even one that really ridiculed the defendant. Some were mildly critical, a slightly larger number were mildly intrigued. and that was it.

This post by one of our posters in Italy still precisely captures the Italian mood. Compare that with the strident accusations of guilt for US crimes to be seen nightly on shows like Nancy Grace’s.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/10/09 at 03:49 AM | #

Hi gramjam. You are right. This sequestering is simply a huge red herring.

We are told by people that we had in the courtroom and by reporters that the evidence phase was incredibly high-impact. No way any reporting (which was simply that - reporting) would have mattered in the least.

And the defenses landed barely a blow. They never really disproved anything. They were really slow and days were often canceled and time and again their experts were reduced to muttering maybes.

Read this series of posts and this on the case the prosecution actually made. Nobody - NOBODY - seems to read those and comes away unconvinced.

And look at these 150 questions. How many did Knox and Sollecito put to bed? Approximately NONE. 

The two most impactful segments of the trial were (1) Knox shooting herself in the foot on her second day of testimony; and (2) the incredibly bleak tough days of closed testimony given over to the autopsy and the state of Meredith’s room.

And Knox herself and her family taking the proceedings lightly and dressing and acting as if this was a day at the beach? NOBODY would have thought that girl was normal.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/10/09 at 04:02 AM | #

Amanda Knox is now where she deserves to be.

All this American flagwaving and grandstanding cannot possibly help her case.

Remember an Italian young man was also judged guilty and incarcerated alongside her at the trial.

If you want proof of her guilt read all the irrefutable mounds of evidence and talking points chronicled in perugia murder file.

No one should be fooled by her “all American| innocent looks.

Posted by LReik on 12/10/09 at 06:50 AM | #

Good work and thank you

Posted by Ann-Marie on 12/10/09 at 08:59 AM | #

Maria Cantwell’s press release regarding this case has left no doubt that she is one of the most ignorant and politically corrupt persons on the face of earth.

She clearly lacked judgment and common sense as she responded to Amanda Knox verdict.

I was so appalled to read her comment that I had to write her an email pointing all her absurdity of ideas and lack of judgment.

Finally Meredith’s family has got the justice they deserve and Amanda is where she belongs to.

You will always be in our hearts, you beauty queen, Meredith. God Bless!

Posted by AmericaCalling on 12/10/09 at 11:10 AM | #

This letter is excellent. Clear, concise, and needed!

It is exasperating to see that people that are supposed to be “intelligent” and knowledgeable are only taking the short cut and listening to who is yelling the loudest to make up their mind…

Amanda’s behavior is definitely beyond simply weird (if “that’s Amanda being Amanda”, why did they send her abroad???) and I’ve found this:,news-comment,news-politics,a-psychoanalyst-on-the-signs-that-amanda-knox-is-a-psychopath

Thanks for all this hard work, all the TJMK’s editors, it is the only safe place about this horrible murder!

Posted by Patou on 12/10/09 at 01:55 PM | #

“not the media/jury influences that transpired during the trial. “

I take it you are referring to the concerted media campaign conducted by Amanda’s parents, the hired PR agent and pro bono lawyer, aided by the Friends of Amanda and many sympathetic journalists in the press and on TV?

Fortunately their influence does not seem to have unduly affected justice so far.

I guess the assumption made when running a PR campaign is that PR works, and therefore if it fails it must be that the PR campaign of the “other side” was better. Except there was no media campaign on the other side. Amanda’s PR campaign had no positive effect, I believe that means the media had no influence on the result.

Ironically it was because of the FOA continual complaints about character assassination that allowed the tabloids to reprint salacious details about Amanda’s sex life and personal habits.

Posted by bobc on 12/10/09 at 02:04 PM | #

“I guess the assumption made when running a PR campaign is that PR works, and therefore if it fails it must be that the PR campaign of the “other side” was better.”

bobc, brilliant analysis! thanks for point this out.

Posted by wayra on 12/10/09 at 03:00 PM | #

This website, and the letter to Senator Cantwell, has been mentioned in the latest article about the case in the Daily Mail.  Scroll down to find the mention there.

Posted by Tim on 12/10/09 at 07:03 PM | #

I am an American physicist with an additional graduate degree in genetics (meaning, I have worked with DNA). I have also lived in several European countries, including Italy, and people everywhere were very kind and respectful. I can’t believe how the defense tried to hamper the prosecution by insisting the DNA evidence was contaminated. Had I been a member of the jury, I would have voted for a life-time sentence for these two individuals, based on the DNA evidence alone! I can’t believe they got only 25 and 26 years and due to the seemingly lax judicial system, they might even get away with less jail time. This is outrageous and unfair and something should be done to keep these people off the streets. I hope the judicial system does not allow for a sentence reduction.
—A concerned American

Posted by Physicist on 12/10/09 at 07:45 PM | #

Cantwell provides her “crystal clear” position to Eli Sanders of the Stranger who asked some heated questions:

Thanks for that info, Eli!
I encourage everyone to drop her a line.

Here is another message sent to Cantwell’s office and if it receives the same lame “we didn’t receive your letter but we’ll reply once we do” business she’ll be 2 for 2.  Your tax dollars hard at work in her technology department.  Maybe she should hire Mellas to run it.

“12/7/09 emailed to Maria Cantwell:

I am shocked by your interference regarding the justice of Meredith Kercher by taking action FOR Amanda Knox.  By what means have you taken this position FOR Amanda Knox?  What evidence regarding the case have you examined?  It looks like you have simply adopted the highly bias and ignorant FOA position which navigates this case serving their own agenda and with blinders on.

It is damaging enough to Washington’s image having the Knox/Mellas family spewing their desperate message to the world but to have you speaking out as if you know all of the facts, representing Washington citizens is an outrage.  I used to think you were alright, I remember when you started out in Redmond; I thought you were very level headed.  You just made a HUGE mistake you will not be able to recover from.

On behalf of me and the thousands of other Washington residents who believe Knox is guilty as charged I request you publically declare your relationship with the Knox family and that any support you provide you do on your own and NOT while representing your office which includes me and the majority of the population.”

Posted by Professor Snape on 12/10/09 at 08:03 PM | #

The letter to MC and TJMK are both mentioned in today’s Sunday Express.

Posted by Ann-Marie on 12/13/09 at 02:20 AM | #

Finally, Cantwell’s lame reply:

Dear Professor Snape,

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts regarding the Amanda Knox case. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

I have serious questions about whether Amanda Knox received a fair trial by an impartial jury. According to some news reports, Italian jurors were not sequestered and were allowed to view highly negative news coverage about Ms. Knox. Additionally, there may have been cross-contamination of evidence due to negligent handling by police investigators.

In this case, as in all cases where US citizens abroad face legal jeopardy, I believe that the U.S. Government should work to ensure that U.S. citizens are treated fairly, given adequate due process, and when appropriate, a fair trial by an impartial tribunal.

If Americans run into trouble while overseas, they should contact American Citizen Services at the nearest U.S. Embassy.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at

Posted by Professor Snape on 12/22/09 at 09:36 AM | #

Definitely not in search of truth! Of course, t seems that her only valuable source is the Knox/Mellas family which are known for their composure and objectivity…

I am not American, but I would not vote for such a influencable “senator”...

Thanks, Professor Snape!

Posted by Patou on 12/22/09 at 01:42 PM | #

What a brilliant letter MC writes- she admits to her sources being ‘some news reports’ then goes on to say the jury saw highly negative news coverage- so Ms Cantwell, why on earth would you presume the news reports YOU saw are correct compared to the news reports the jury saw????
I personally find it ridiculous that any person in a position such as hers would dare to publicly make comment without looking at the hard facts in any case or situation; it is just asking for humiliation if the information you recite is in fact incorrect.

What are the boards views on English people contacting Ms Cantwell? Are we leaving it to US/Seattle citizens as it is their Senator? After all it may be viewed as Anti-American coming from any Brits/ Europeans!

Posted by Ginny on 12/22/09 at 03:09 PM | #

Hi Ginny. Well, if it helps you some, Italian commentators have not felt constrained from criticizing Maria Cantwell for some pretty nasty anti-Italianism in her first two statements.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/22/09 at 04:00 PM | #
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