Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rome Appeal Court Rejects Vanessa Sollecito’s Appeal For Reinstatement In The Carabinieri

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above and below: Francesco, father of Vanessa and Raffaele, outside their Bisceglie family home late 2011]

In 2008 Vanessa Sollecito and her father Francesco were caught on tape discussing the manipulation of Rome politicians into forcing changes upon the investigation team in Perugia.

Vanessa was fired from the Carabinieri the prestigious Italian national civil-military police force in November 2009 for demonstrating behavior and psychology inappropriate to a law enforcement officer’s job.

Our Italian poster ncountriside has just alerted us to the posting of the official statement that her appeal has been turned down.

The European Court is quoted in that report as confirming that national members have the right to fire official staff for psychological and behavioral cause.

The Carabinieri carried out a very thorough investigation which included the secret bugging of her mobile phone and her father’s phone. Jools translated one key conversation here. Her father suspects they are being bugged by the police but she blithely talks on, digging them in deeper.

This ruling was probably posted when Vanessa Sollecito was already in the air bound for Seattle (see the post below) but she would have known it was coming. This does not bode well for the criminal trial she faces along with her close family, possibly starting in Bari at the end of this month. The charges could incur prison terms.

The Sollecito family arc has almost never been reported on in the English language press. In 21 June 2008 Tom Kington of the Guardian did file this brief report.

The investigation into the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Italy took a dramatic twist yesterday when the family of one of the suspects was accused of attempting to interfere with the inquiry.

Police tapping the phones of the father of Italian student Raffaele Sollecito overheard discussions that appeared to suggest plans being made to get senior politicians to use their influence and get detectives whom the Sollecitos considered hostile taken off the case. The phone tap information is in files handed over to lawyers as magistrate Giuliano Mignini officially completed the investigation into the strangling and stabbing of Kercher, from Surrey, who was found on 2 November semi-naked in a pool of blood in her bedroom in Perugia.

‘We’ve got to flay the Perugia flying squad,’ a family member was overheard saying, according to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. ‘If we can get rid of the head of homicide and that other one, we’ll be OK.’

Relatives of Sollecito, including his sister, a policewoman, were also overheard discussing politicians who could help their case. Giulia Buongiorno, a lawyer and MP in Silvio Berlusconi’s ruling coalition, has now been retained to represent Sollecito. ‘She can help out on this case at a political level,’ Sollecito’s father was overheard saying.

Sollecito’s father, Franco, a well-to-do doctor from Bari in southern Italy, has campaigned to prove his son’s innocence, even to the point of allegedly leaking to a TV station a video obtained from the crime scene showing Kercher’s corpse, as well as highlighting perceived errors by the investigators, including the delayed recovery of parts of Kercher’s bra strap which were found to carry Sollecito’s DNA.

Police are holding in custody Sollecito, 24; his former girlfriend and Kercher’s flatmate, American student Amanda Knox, 20; and a third suspect, Rudy Guede, 21. All three deny involvement in the vicious killing.

As you can see here, Italian reporting like that translated by Jools usually includes a lot more damning detail.


Innocent people dont talk like this. Its clear that know Raffie was up to his neck in the murder of Meredith.

Now they are on the their way to Seattle. How lovely for all of this trash to meet up.

Posted by mason2 on 03/14/12 at 11:02 PM | #

Innocent people may decide to contact all the helpful people if they are in trouble. In particular, if they do not have faith in the system. If I suspect that the system is not going to judge me fairly, I would have needed all the help I can gather in such a condition. RS has done remarkably well in the conditions he was in.

The visit is mainly, in my limited opinion, to iron out the wrinkles in their versions. Nothing much can be done about the information that is now in public domain but any new story must match to the dots and commas. Telephones are bugged and emails are rigged. Nothing can beat a frank face to face to chat (or heart to heart would be more appropriate?).

Amanda has hogged the limelight and RS is relatively unscathed. Perhaps more focus should have been on him, as he knows more than he is willing to admit. As a native Italian, he has exploited the system to the hilt. In my opinion, he bears equal responsibility, as he could have stopped the murder in its track just by pulling out from the game at the most critical point.

I was just wondering how many interviews he attended in recent past or is this the one and only?

Good news that he will be travelling under supervision.

A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.
Therefore, a man without a woman is like a bicycle without a fish.

Posted by chami on 03/15/12 at 07:53 PM | #

Posted by Miriam on 03/15/12 at 08:21 PM | #

Interesting bit from the article linked by Miriam.  If my translation is faulty, I welcome corrections.

It says that Raffaele traveled to the US for an interview with Microsoft, arranged by Amanda’s stepfather, Chris Mellas (i.e. here’s the connection we’ve been speculating about).

“According to Amanda’s stepfather, a job abroad would give the 27-year old Pugliese the opportunity to ‘escape the pressure’ he is subjected to in Italy and leave behind the ‘four years in prison.’”

Right.  It must be awfully hard to live in your affluent father’s house, playing video games and downloading kitty porn, while your father is sweating money and trying to figure out how to arrange a safe future for you.

Posted by Vivianna on 03/16/12 at 05:10 AM | #

Posted by Miriam on 03/16/12 at 01:06 PM | #

One thing that occurred to me was the obvious disparate differences, comparatively speaking, in education between the Sollecito’s and the Knox’s/Marriot bunch. The Sollecito’s have for the most part an education under their belt (Sollecito senior is a successful doctor after all.) The Knox crowd, on the other hand are as dumb as someone straight out of the movie Deliverance.

Even if that is an exaggeration it only underscores the frustration the Sollecitos must feel when trying to negotiate the same story/alibi. Left to their own devices each family would prefer the other to take all the blame. ie “It’s all Raphael’s fault. He led me astray because I’m just an innocent bystander.” I can hear her say the words.

Raphael on the other hand would blame Knox for getting him so besotted he would do anything for her. Remember how he was always taking care of her. I can also hear Sollecito senior saying “If you hadn’t got mixed up with that slut in the first place we wouldn’t be in this fix now.” Anyway that being the case I predict that any book deal will be shelved. If AK ever gets before any cross examination she’s done and so is Raphael. We can only hope.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 03/16/12 at 06:27 PM | #

@Grahame Rhodes

You are damn right about “If you hadn’t got mixed up with that slut in the first place we wouldn’t be in this fix now”. He must have said that a dozen times by now. I also assume that he is basically in favour of lying low, book deal or no book deal. He is a quiet man and he is quite knowledgeable in most of the thing he is doing. All that matters to him is the final result and he loves it being done quietly.

Italians take pride in education but also loves a family life. Both adult boys and girls remain strongly attached to their family (remember the daily phone calls from the papa?) and the parents would ask daily almost everything their wards did in the day.

Couple of times Italian girls (university students) have asked me whether this “tethered independence” is good for intellectual development. I have always replied that “the kite flies high as long as it is anchored to the ground; as soon as the thread it cut, it returns back to the ground”. Lunchtime chats don’t get hot but the people appear to be divided on the role of the parents once the child becomes 18.

Of course the PR played a role, but I feel that Amanda got away only because of RS; papa has done all it take to do the job well. He does not like the limelight and his efforts were never admired on the blogs. He liked it that way.

Both education and family values have played a very big role.

Blessed is he who expects no gratitude, for he shall not be disappointed.

Posted by chami on 03/16/12 at 09:06 PM | #

Hi Grahame and Chami

Here’s a report on “intercepts” or logs of tapped phone calls that has Doc Sollecito raging angrily about Amanda. He in effect says she initiated it and Raffaele had little or no role. 

He uses almost the same terms Grahame just used. AK is quoted saying the exact opposite to her mom. As I’m tied up for a while, perhaps some kind reader with Italian could translate at least the final few paras.

It’s hard to believe two families with such volcanic hate between them are now busy colluding in Seattle. The devil sure makes strange bedfellows.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/16/12 at 10:41 PM | #

.... il “cacchio di negretto” ....

non male.

Posted by ncountryside on 03/16/12 at 11:00 PM | #

@ Peter.
Here a quick translation … chiedo venia, about mistakes. Please note that those weren’t phone calls but talks during visits in prison.

November 17th. Raffaele in prison. Francesco Sollecito and Marisa Papagni (Francesco’s second wife) ask Raffaele to “resist”. Marisa and his father tell him about the solidarity of friends and relatives, all convinced of his innocence. Raffaele is worried.

FS: “If the investigators are finally realizing what the real dynamics of the matter is ... automatically understand that you have nothing to do with [rude in italian] ... Do you understand? ... Amanda can be more or less involved in this matter ... more or less I do not know and do not give a damn ... “

RS: “... she [eventually] knows something ...”

FS: “She will know something ... precisely ... especially considering all the versions that she has given, maybe she has not told the right one because she was worried about this character [= the little negro, i.e. Lumumba] has managed to do, something like that ... do you understand what I mean? ... But you have nothing to do with [rude in italian] ... and they understood ... now this morning or Monday there will be also the checking of your computer ... they have already cloned the hard disk .. ”

RS: “... my concern of the computer is basically that if I came ...”

MP: “Hey ... there is a monster on your computer ... there is a monster ... ”

RS: “Forget it ... the fact about the computer is if I have spent much time with Amanda ... there is not all this time I have spent with the computer ...”

FS: “If Amanda was home ... if she was out, wtf were you doing? ... were you at the computer?” ...... “We cannot understand, this [=AK] within three days, when she went to questura ... she has four to five different versions ... she has pulled back into the little negro a@@hole ... Is a strange personality this girl, isn’t it? So I don’t… do not. ”

RS: “I would exclude this, since the first version that I gave ...”

FS: “... not a matter of rule out, and not ruled out ... we are skeptical ... but you know ... there might be this too ... how can we know ....”

RS: “... but they have a lot of knives at home ...”.

Here an excerpt from Sarzanini’s book “Amanda e gli altri”:

FS: “E poi ‘sto cazzo di coltello che ti portavi avanti e indietro …. ti avevo parlato io di lasciarlo a casa …. tu sei cretino da questo punto di vista …. o no? …. e poi il cazzo del fatto degli spinelli che potevi evitare …. tu mi avevi fatto una promessa qualche anno fa al riguardo, eh? Tu ci avevi promesso a me e a tua sorella che non gli avresti usati più  e invece te ne sei sbattuto i coglioni ….è chiaro?”
FS: “And then this f@cking knife that you carried back and forth .... I told you about leaving at home .... You’re an idiot from this point of view .... aren’t you? .... and then the f@cking point that you have could avoided the joints .... You promised a few years ago about it, didn’t you? You gave us your promise, to me and to your sister that you would not have used them again, and instead you have not given a f@ck .... is that clear?“

MP: “Devi togliertela dalla testa, non la devi neanche nominare per piacere quel nome cancellalo, con un colpo di spugna. Tu devi stare a casa tua , al posto tuo …. perchè tu non sai niente di quella persona …. tu ti devi dispiacere per quella ragazza che non c’è più …. di quella ti devi dispiacere. Ognuno pensa per sé e poi lei ha mostrato un’immagine falsa a te e agli altri, l’immagine di ciò che lei non era.”
MP: “You have to get her off your head, you need not even mention that name, please delete it, a sponge [= italian for let bygones be bygones]. You have to be at your home, at your place .... because you know nothing about that person .... You have to regret that girl is gone .... that you have to regret. Everyone thinks for her/himself, and after all she showed a false picture of herself to you and to the others, the picture of what she was not.”

RS wishes to write a letter to Kerchers, at this point:
FS: “La priorità non è andare da loro a chiedere scusa. Questa è una cosa che si farà quando sarà”
FS: “The priority is not going to apologize to them. This is a thing to be done when it will be “

Posted by ncountryside on 03/17/12 at 02:06 AM | #

In Papagni’s talk, Meredith is always “that girl”.

Posted by ncountryside on 03/17/12 at 02:14 AM | #

What’s this stuff I hear about Guede getting beaten up in jail? If this is true then I suspect that the defense arranged for that to happen in order to scare him into silence. However, it may well backfire. Guede (If he survives) will become even more embittered about taking the fall for these two.

Knox (if she was sane at all) would be terrified that Guede would tell the truth but I believe that she views everything as being part of a movie she once saw. Wasn’t she into cocaine also as has been suggested? and why not? Sollecito knew where to get it from, which was probably Curatolo or someone like him. Lots of drugs in Perugia just like any university town and anyway sex under the influence heightens the rush even more which is right up Knox’s street of course

Time will tell. Point is this will not go away for ever because no system of law likes to be made a fool of in the eyes of the world. That is why I believe the P/R campaign will turn against them. I sincerely would love for this to happen and the correct sentence to be handed down.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 03/17/12 at 05:15 AM | #

@Grahame Rhodes.

Beaten during March 2009 in Mammagialla prison in Viterbo by two strangers. Twenty days of prognosis because of kicks and punches. He sued the two prisoners. First hearing in Court of Viterbo (Giudice di Pace) held on October 27th, 2009. The complaint was then withdrawn after the two apologized.

Posted by ncountryside on 03/17/12 at 05:51 AM | #

Thanks again ncountryside for clarifying the goings-on in Viterbo.

Grahame, the beating does remain a puzzle. An oddity in Guede’s beating is that he was placed in the sex offenders’ wing at Viterbo, the point of which was to keep him safe.

But at exercise time he was made to mingle with other prisoners. They could simply have beaten him up because like most prisoners they think sex offenders are scum.

Guede backed down when his attackers apologized so the chance of a truth was lost. Guede remained scared. He was very scared when called to testify at the appeal in 2011. So scared that he could not read out his own statement.

I guess if prosecutors could replay the movie they would accept Guede testifying at trial in 2009 in exchange for some time off his sentence which is what he was demanding. They were reluctant because all time off is a discount in the value of the victim and often hard for victims’ families to take.

Prosecutors put on a very good case in 2009 regardless and Massei set out an overwhelming case. They sure didnt see Hellman coming.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/17/12 at 02:34 PM | #

Reading those prison transcripts above that ncountryside kindly translated.

I wonder if all that will end up in Sollecito’s book? Any guesses?! It will sure freak out ghost-writer Andrew Gumbel, as it highlights once again how Doctor Sollecito struggled over the years with Raffaele.

We have a post coming soon on why the desperate dash to get the books out will abysmally fail to do an end-run around the Supreme Court.

One reason is that Raffaele was never an impressive or likeable or focused guy and he was into beastie porn and violent japanese manga and anime and cocaine. At 23 he still had a year of study for his degree to go when most students his age would be long gone. He carried knives and apparently fantasized knife violence.

Meeting Amanda who had different issues of her own and encountering Meredith who was vastly superior to either of them seems to have created on the night the perfect storm.

The perfect storm concept (the Lord of the Flies concept) may best answer those who cannot accept that any one of them would have done such a terrible thing on their own. We have never had a post simply on this on TJMK but it has been discussed repeatedly on PMF.

It once seemed Raffaele deserved a small discount because his mother committed suicide but this has been strenuously denied not least by the local police chief so it seems he deserves no discount at all.

His dad seems to have done his best and his frustration in those transcripts above sure hits one in the face.

His book needs to explain why Sollecito claimed that AK was out of his apartment from 9 to 1 and why he has essentially stuck with that throughout. Mobile phone tracking proved she was indeed out.

But is it really possible he was not with her at the house? He was the guy with the knives, Curatolo said he saw him in the park, and he left his DNA on the bra strap and his footprint in blood on the bathroom mat.

My guess is that Doc Soll has now thought this through and now realizes AK did not act alone, though in his mind he will probably always put more blame on her, as it happened in her place to Meredith who was her “friend”.

Whole books could be written on when each parent figured out what and when. It took a period of time and by then the PR operation was already in full rampant xenophobic defamatory mode.

What might have been. Say Curt and Edda had been allowed to interview Amanda in Capanne with a firm guarantee that they would not be recorded or overheard.

The truth and a short form trial for all three might have resulted, and Meredith’s family would have found early peace of a kind by 2009, and absolutely everyone else would have been better off.

Quite Shakespearean in a way.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/17/12 at 03:21 PM | #

I do not know the truth, but I feel RS knows the whole truth and is just protecting the lovely lady. After all, Italians are known to be chivalrous! I often wonder what an American would do in a similar case.

I think AK has entangled both Rudy and Raffaele in such a way that they cannot put the whole blame on her. In fact I think RG has good reason to grumble.

I have a feeling that either men are morally incapable (it just means they have no guts) to commit a murder alone. Both need to be pumped up (drugs or hormone, take your pick) before they agree for such a violent act.

Thanks ncountryside: papa fits perfectly in my picture. He has nothing but contempt for women.

Papa also need to discuss the financial matters: He has spent a lot only on the implicit understanding that the costs will be shared.

The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.

Posted by chami on 03/17/12 at 09:06 PM | #

Does anybody else see this book deal of Sollecito, as a bad sign of which way the Cassazione might rule on Galati’s appeal? I mean would Bongiorno allow this book to come out in the fall, if she thought this could hurt him?

Posted by Miriam on 03/17/12 at 11:18 PM | #

Hi Miriam.  Good question.

Giulia Bongiorno has never really erred on the side of caution. She introduced both Aviello and Alessi as witnesses who then diametrically opposed one another. She tried to have a guy very publicly climb through Filomena’s window who then very publicly failed.

Do we know she was consulted on the book? Was she consulted when Dr Sollecito made his various seemingly incriminating statements, some quoted above, and some the subject of the perversion of justice charge? Let us assume she was. Here is another scenario entirely.

Imagine that Dr Galati’s appeal grounds have come as quite a shock, especially those saying the scope of the Hellman court and the DNA retesting were illegal. Also that her normal law practice is not in front of the Supreme Court in which Dr Galati considerably outclasses her. Also that she cant figure out how to win the second appeal by conventional means, and may not even have fully confided her worries to her clients. Also that the suits being brought against the Knoxes and Sollecitos seem essentially unwinnable.

Lawyers dont usually like PR campaigns or internet posting they cant control, but in this very tough situation she might very well have said: go for it. The famous Hail Mary pass.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18/12 at 12:24 AM | #

Tuseday 28 and the Sollecito family are due in court today in Bari. Posting when we have a full report from Italy.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/29/12 at 01:25 PM | #
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Or to next entry Could A Growing Asymmetry Between Raffaele And Everybody Else Be Ensuring No Sleep In Seattle?

Or to previous entry In Desperation A Council Of War? All Of The Sollecito Family Suddenly Hop On Flights To Seattle