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Entries in Amanda Knox (56)

Friday
May042012

Amanda Knox’s Italian Prosecutors Face Own Legal Battle

Kevin Casey/AFP/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- While Amanda Knox enjoys her freedom after four years in an Italian prison, the prosecutors who accused her of murder may be in their own legal trouble.

Two prosecutors in the Knox murder case are now under investigation for abuse of public funds used to produce an animated video used during Knox’s 2009 trial.

Giuliano Mignini and Manuela Comodi are accused of spending $240,000 for a 20-minute animated video, using avatars, to explain their theory of how victim Meredith Kercher was murdered.  The graphic 3D video shows Kercher being held down by Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.  Knox is shown wielding a knife.

The video was shown to Italian judges and jurors during the 2009 trial where Knox and Sollecito were ultimately convicted.  Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison.

Umbria audit court prosecutor Agostino Chiappiniello is investigating whether the video was a necessary part of the prosecutors’ case. If found guilty of misusing public funds, the pair could be forced to pay the money back to the prosecutors’ office.

This is the second time Mignini, the lead prosecutor,  has been investigated since first indicting Knox nearly five years ago.

In a separate case, Mignini was convicted of obstruction of justice and abuse of power during an unrelated Florence murder case.

In October, Knox and Sollecitio were acquitted on appeal and released from prison.  Knox returned to her home in Seattle, where she is currently writing a book to be published by HarperCollins.

A third person, Rudy Guede, is serving a 16-year sentence for Kercher’s murder.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb142012

Amanda Knox's Family Slams 'Harassment' By Italian Prosecutor

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- The family of Amanda Knox said Tuesday that efforts by Italian prosecutors to put her back in prison is "an example of the harassment" by prosecutors who are intent on prolonging "this terrible, painful incident."

Knox's family put out the statement after prosecutor Giovanni Galati filed a 112-page appeal seeking to throw out a court ruling that found Knox innocent of her roommate's murder and set her free after four years in an Italian prison.

Galati said he is "very convinced" that Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito killed Meredith Kercher Nov. 1, 2007. Kercher, Knox's British roommate, was found dead in her room with her throat slashed.

Knox's family said they knew the prosecution would challenge the court's ruling.

"We are not concerned about this appeal as Amanda's innocence was clearly and convincingly proven in her appeal trial," the statement said. "This is simply another example of harassment by the prosecution against Amanda and makes this terrible, painful incident continue to go on for Amanda, Raffaele and their families."

Galati said the appeals court conclusion had "omissions and many errors," according to ANSA, the Italian news agency.

Knox and Sollecito were freed after the independent review found that DNA evidence was badly mishandled, could have been contaminated and was so minute it was not legally credible.

In setting aside Knox and Sollecito's convictions, the court said the prosecutor's allegation "was not corroborated by any objective element of evidence and in itself was not, in fact probable: the sudden choice of two young people, good and open to other people, to do evil for evil's sake, just like that, without another reason."

Tuesday's appeal came more than four months after Knox, 24, and Sollecito, 27, were freed in a dramatic ruling in Perugia, Italy.

Knox has several legal issues still pending in Italy. She is appealing her conviction of slandering her former boss Patrick Lumumba, which she claims she was pressured by Italian police to implicate during a marathon interrogation.

She faces charges of slandering her police interrogators for claiming they hit her in the head during her grilling.

Her parents also face slander charges for repeating their daughter's claim about the police interrogation.

It's not clear whether the Knoxes will return to Italy for more legal proceedings, but her Italian lawyer Carlo Dall Vedova said earlier this year that Knox "loves Italy," and would return as a witness at her parents' trial.

A third person, Ivory Coast-born drifter Rudy Guede, was convicted of taking part in Kercher's murder in a separate trial. He is serving a 16-year prison sentence.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb142012

Amanda Knox Release Challenged by Italian Prosecutors

Kevin Casey/AFP/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- An Italian prosecutor wants to put Amanda Knox back in prison, saying Tuesday that he is "very convinced" that she killed her roommate Meredith Kercher.

Prosecutor Giovanni Galati filed a 112-page appeal seeking to throw out a court ruling that found Knox innocent of her roommate's murder and set her free after four years in an Italian prison.

Galati said he is "very convinced" that Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito killed Kercher Nov. 1, 2007. Kercher, Knox's British roommate, was found dead in her room with her throat slashed.

Galati said the appeals court conclusion had "omissions and many errors," according to ANSA, the Italian news agency.

The appeal challenges the court's decision to allow an independent review of the forensic evidence on two key pieces of evidence, Kercher's bra clasp that supposedly contained Sollecito's DNA and the alleged murder weapon, which supposedly had both Knox and Kercher's DNA on it. The court declined to allow a review of other evidence, Galati's papers said.

Knox and Sollecito were freed after the independent review found that DNA evidence was badly mishandled, could have been contaminated and was so minute it was not legally credible.

In setting aside Knox and Sollecito's convictions, the court said the prosecutor's allegation, "was not corroborated by any objective element of evidence and in itself was not, in fact probable: the sudden choice of two young people, good and open to other people, to do evil for evil's sake, just like that, without another reason."

Tuesday's appeal came more than four months after Knox, 24, and Sollecito, 27, were freed in a dramatic ruling in Perugia, Italy.

Knox has several legal issues still pending in Italy. She is appealing her conviction of slandering her former boss Patrick Lumumba, which she now claims she was pressured by Italian police to implicate during a marathon interrogation.

She faces charges of slandering her police interrogators for claiming that hit her in the head during the grilling.

Her parents also face slander charges for repeating their daughter's claim about the police interrogation.

It's not clear whether the Knoxes will return to Italy for more legal proceedings, but her Italian lawyer Carlo Dall Vedova said earlier this year that Amanda Knox "loves Italy," and would return as a witness at her parents' trial.

A third person, Ivory Coast-born drifter Rudy Guede, was convicted of taking part in Kercher's murder in a separate trial. He is serving a 16 year prison sentence.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan242012

Amanda Knox 'Loves Italy' and May Go Back

Kevin Casey/AFP/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Amanda Knox "loves Italy" and would like to go back to Perugia despite having spent four years in a prison there before a murder conviction was overturned last year, her lawyer said Tuesday.

The lawyer also said Knox, 24, may go back to Italy as soon as September as a defense witness for her parents, who are charged with slandering the Perugia police.

Carlo Dalla Vedova, one of Knox's lawyers, said she "loves Italy and likes Perugia" and that she would like to return to the country "as a tourist, but if necessary she will return to testify in the trials against her parents," Italian wire service Ansa reported.

Dalla Vedova told ABC News, "I hope they will be acquitted. They certainly didn't make any defamatory remarks when they repeated Amanda's statement to the press."

The former couple faces slander charges that could put them in prison for up to three years for an interview they gave to The Sunday Times of London in 2009.

Curt Knox told the paper, "Amanda was abused physically and verbally. She told us she was hit in the back of the head by a police officer with an open hand, at least twice. The police told her, 'If you ask for a lawyer, things will get worse for you' and 'If you don't give us some explanation for what happened, you're going to go to jail for a very long time.' "

Knox's mother, Edda Mellas, told the newspaper that her daughter was informed she would never see her family again.

A preliminary hearing was held Tuesday. Knox is expected to be the only witness for the defense.

Judge Giuseppe Noviello rejected the request of defense lawyers to have the trial, which will begin on March 30, moved from Perugia.

Knox was also indicted for slandering police officers when she testified in her defense that the police yelled at her, denied her a lawyer and cuffed her on the back of the head several times during a marathon interrogation. A hearing that was scheduled for Nov. 15 was postponed.

Knox spent four years of a 26-year sentence in a Perugia prison on charges she killed her British roommate Meredith Kercher. Her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was also convicted. A third person, Rudy Guede, was convicted of taking part in the murder in a separate trial.

Knox and Sollecito were exonerated last year when an appeals court overturned the conviction. Knox nearly collapsed from tension when the verdict was read.

While dismissing the murder case, the Italian court upheld a conviction for slandering her former boss Patrick Lumumba of being involved in the murder. Knox was sentenced to three years' imprisonment and was ordered to pay restitution to Lumumba, along with a hefty fine.

Knox has said in court that regretted implicating Lumumba, but said she was confused and scared during her night-long interrogation. Her family has contended that the Italian investigators pressured her into implicating Lumumba.

Knox has until Feb. 16 to appeal her slander conviction.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec152011

Amanda Knox 'Satisfied' with Italian Court Ruling

Kevin Casey/AFP/Getty Images(ROME) -- Amanda Knox is "satisfied" with an Italian court's statement Thursday that demolished the prosecution's case that led to her conviction for murder and four years in an Italian prison.

The judges' comments came in a 143-page detailed explanation of their decision in October to dismiss murder charges against Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

The ruling freed Knox, now 24, and Sollecito, 27, after spending four years in prison convicted of murdering her English roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. A third person, Rudy Guede, was convicted in a separate trial and has exhausted his appeals.

The Italian judges appear to criticize the "obsessive duration" of her interrogation by Italian police and shrugged off Knox's affectionate antics with her co-defendant in the police station -- used as evidence of her guilt -- as nothing more than "tenderness between lovers."

In one of its most damning passages, the court statement, called a motivation in the Italian legal system, said that Knox and Sollecito were convicted despite the fact that the prosecutor's allegation "was not corroborated by any objective element of evidence and in itself was not, in fact probable: the sudden choice of two young people, good and open to other people, to do evil for evil's sake, just like that, without another reason."

Knox's parents Edda Mellas and Curt Knox issued a statement Thursday saying they were "pleased" that the judges' statement "reiterate and reaffirm what we have known all along, that Amanda had absolutely nothing to do with the tragic and terrible murder of Meredith Kercher."

"Amanda and we are satisfied with the motivations and take heart in the strength of the judge's words and proclamation of her innocence," the statement said.

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini told ABC News that he has read the court's reasoning, but does not think it is proper for him to comment. Mignini said that he "believes that the chief prosecutor will appeal the sentence." The prosecution has 45 days to file an appeal.

The lawyer for the Kercher family was quoted by the Italian news agency ANSA as saying that the motivations "increase the bitterness" of having the murder convictions thrown out.

The judge's ruling dismantled piece by piece the previous conviction and Knox's 26 year prison sentence.

"The evidence, even if taken in its totality, does not prove in any way that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are guilty of the murder of Meredith Kercher" and notes that the evidence was largely circumstantial," the court wrote.

It went on to say that the judges "do not confirm the hypothesis that there were many people necessarily involved in the murder."

The very "bricks" on which the judges in the first trial built their sentence of Knox and Sollecito "fell away," the report said.

Not only did these "bricks" get moved, but there was a "lack of materials necessary for their construction," the judges wrote.

Copyright 2011 ABC News

Monday
Nov072011

Amanda Knox’s Ex: ‘Cruel Injustice’ Crushed Our Love

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(LONDON) -- In his first interview since he and ex-girlfriend Amanda Knox were released from Italian prison after their murder convictions were overturned, Raffaele Sollecito said the pair’s romantic relationship is over because of the “cruel injustice” they suffered.

“Our love was like a seed that was not allowed to grow because it was brutally stamped on.  We were both victims of a cruel injustice and our relationship was overcome,” he said in an interview with Italian television, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

Knox, 24, and Sollecito, 27, have been the subject of many news stories since their murder convictions in the death of Knox’s roommate Meredith Kercher were vacated by an Italian appeals court on Oct. 3.

The prosecution had charged that Knox and Sollecito killed Kercher in a cottage that the two young women shared in Perugia, Italy, while they were studying there.  Knox and Sollecito were convicted in 2009 and Knox was sentenced to 26 years, while Sollecito got a 25-year sentence.  Both were freed after an independent report by court-appointed experts cast serious doubts on the evidence that police collected.

Since then, both families have kept low profiles, and Friday’s interview on the program Quarto Grado was Sollecito’s first time being interviewed since he got out of prison. He wished Knox the best for the future, and said he had “affection” for her.

The interview contradicts other supposed interviews in British and Italian media in which Sollecito reportedly claims to have been in daily contact with Knox and planned to visit her in America before Christmas.  Sollecito’s father has said those media reports were lies.

Raffaele Sollecito confirmed that Knox had invited him to visit her in Seattle, but said he would not be accepting the offer anytime soon.

He also said he had reached out the family of the victim, but “found the doors closed.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct272011

Raffaele Sollecito's Dad Denies Reports of Daily Contact Between Son and Knox

Kevin Casey/AFP/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are not planning to marry and start a family. Nor are they in daily contact by phone and letters. There is no pre-Christmas visit in the works. And Knox is also not being sued for $12 million.

"I can assure you that it's absolute nonsense," said Lyle Kercher, the brother of Knox's roommate Meredith Kercher, referring to British tabloid reports that he and his family intended to sue Knox.

Knox and Sollecito have been the subject of many news stories since their murder convictions were vacated by an Italian appeals court earlier this month.

Both families have adopted low profiles while Knox, 24, and Sollecito, 27, try to adapt to normal life after four years in an Italian prison.

Knox remains home with her family in Seattle, where paparazzi still follow her daily despite the family's pleas for privacy. Sollecito also had reporters camped outside his home for days after the acquittal.
That hasn't stopped a barrage of stories that the family has felt compelled to deny.

The latest came this week when the Italian magazine, OGGI, reported an interview they claimed was with Sollecito, even quoting him directly saying, "We talk on the phone or write to each other every day. We have so many things to say to each other having passed four years in a circle of hell that crushed us."

Those quotes were picked up widely by British and American tabloid newspapers as an indication that their brief fling before Kercher's murder had the potential to be rekindled.

But it was all a lie, according to Raffaele's father. Francesco Sollecito spoke to ABC News from his home in Bari, Italy, where his son is now living.

"Raffaele has not spoken to any reporters since being released, and he will not anytime soon," Sollecito's father said.

Francesco Sollecito said that he spoke to OGGI magazine, but only about details of the case and not about Amanda Knox and his son speaking to each other daily.

"I did not talk about any communications between Amanda and my son. I have no idea if they speak every day. I don't talk to Raffaele about those details, but he has a computer in his room so maybe they do communicate. But I do not know the extent of it," he said.

And the claims that his son is visiting Knox in Seattle before Christmas are not true either, Francesco Sollecito said.

"That is old information from when they were released and the Knox family extended the invite. We will go as a family to see the Knoxes at some point, but we have not set a date yet and are not planning to go before Christmas," the father said.

Earlier in the legal case while Knox was still in prison, OGGI reported an interview they claimed to have conducted with Knox. Her mother, Edda Mellas, says the reporter asked her about her daughter, but the magazine never spoke directly with Knox.

In response to the allegations of inaccurate reporting, OGGI told ABC News that their reporter did speak "directly and briefly" to Raffaele Sollecito "in a restaurant in Bisceglie, Italy." They also insist Mellas asked Amanda Knox questions on their behalf, which she relayed to them "word for word."

A verbatim account would have been difficult since Knox's family was not to have anything, including paper and pencil, in a prison visitation room.

For the families of Knox and Sollecito, contending with news reports is nothing new.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct062011

Amanda Knox Shared One Last Moment with Ex-Boyfriend Before Release

Kevin Casey/AFP/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Soon after Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend and co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, learned they were acquitted of murder charges in an Italian court, the two shared one final moment together before they went free.

In his first sit-down interview since the verdict, Amanda Knox’s father, Curt Knox, revealed to ABC News never-before-heard details about his daughter’s days in prison, including when she saw Sollecito.

“The only time they really got to talk was after the verdict, when they were getting ready to be whisked away in the cars,” Curt Knox said. “They actually went back to the prison in the same car. They hold something in common that very, very few people have ever had to deal with.”

He confirmed that the Sollecitos had been invited to visit the Knox family at their home in Seattle.

“An offer was extended to the Sollecito family to come to Seattle,” he said, “and whether they take us up on that or not is really too early to tell, because  I know that Rafealle is experiencing the same thing that Amanda’s experiencing, and wanting to reconnect with people and try to get back to normal life.”

Curt Knox discussed how his daughter has been readjusting to life back in the United States. He said Amanda Knox, out of habit, occasionally slips back into Italian, a language she became fluent in during her four years in Capanne prison outside of Perugia while she battled charges that she murdered her roommate.

His daughter has also been experiencing a kind of Rip van Winkle wonderment over the pop culture references she had missed while in prison, where there were no electronics. Teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, iPads and Twitter were just some of the now iconic things Knox had never heard of.

“Somebody put out a phony tweet trying to say it was her and I don’t think Twitter even existed when she was arrested,” Curt Knox said. “So it was just totally fake, but it’s those kinds of things that you know times have changed.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct052011

Amanda Knox's Inmate Ritual for Leaving Prison

Franco Origlia/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Amanda Knox, a prison inmate for the past four years, was careful to observe inmate rituals as she left her Italian cell earlier this week, breaking her toothbrush, leaving her bed unmade and starting her journey to freedom by sliding her right foot forward.

The fresh details of her departure emerged as Knox spent her first night in her hometown of Seattle after her exoneration on murder charges and her release from Capanne prison, outside Perugia, Italy.

ABC News has also learned that Knox began keeping a new prison diary in the months before her release.

Knox, 24, tearfully thanked those who supported her when she arrived in Seattle Tuesday night, saying that looking down at Seattle from her plane "wasn't real."

Seattle is a long way from where she was Monday leaving her prison cell, and life in prison did not even come up during a euphoric family reunion Tuesday night until late in the conversation, family lawyer Theodore Simon told Good Morning America Wednesday.

"There are particular rituals that happen when a person knows they are leaving for good," Simon said.

"You take your toothbrush, you break it in half, carry it out, and once you actually are beyond the walls of the prison, you throw your old toothbrush away," Simon said.

"Just as you leave the prison, with your right foot you slide it forward in a kind of a sliding motion which is a symbolic gesture that ... indicates or is hopeful that the next deserving person that should be rightfully released will be released soon," he said.

Knox also left her cell bed unmade before going to court the last time, another prison ritual.

"When you are going to court where there's an expectation that there will be a final decision, you must not make your bed. You must leave it unmade. And of course that's what she did," the lawyer told ABC News.

Knox was clearly under intense stress while waiting to hear her verdict, but she recalled for her family another prison dictum, Simon said.

"Upon arriving in court, when one is about to receive a final verdict, it's required that you keep both of your fists clenched during the reading of the verdict," he said.

Simon said Knox complied with all the routines. "Amanda did not want to buck the ritual," he said.

Knox's mother, Edda Mellas, told People magazine that her daughter spent 22 hours a day in a 18-foot-by-13-foot cell that she sometimes shared with as many as three other women. She did pushups and situps in her cell to keep fit and lost so much weight while in prison that she went from a six 6 to a size 0, she told the magazine.

The former inmate teared up Tuesday night upon her arrival back home in Seattle while her family thanked supporters for believing in her. A supporter shouted, "Welcome Home, Amanda."

"What's important for me to say is just thank you to everyone who has believed in me, who has defended me, who has supported my family," she said. "My family's the most important thing to me right now, and I just want to go and be with them."

Knox's father, Curt, said his daughter was so thrilled to be released from prison that she "pretty much squished the air out of us when she hugged us."

"The focus simply is Amanda's well-being and getting her reassociated with just being a regular person again," he said in front of his home in West Seattle.

He said Amanda would like to return to the University of Washington at some point to finish her degree, but for now, he's apprehensive about what four years in prison may have done to his daughter, though there are no immediate plans for her to get counseling.

"What's the trauma ... and when will it show up, if it even shows up?" he said. "She's a very strong girl, but it's been a tough time for her."

One person not happy with Knox's first day of freedom in the U.S. was Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, who expressed disbelief at the acquittals of Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct052011

Italian Prosecutor in Amanda Knox Case Will Appeal Acquittal

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- As Amanda Knox arrived in her hometown of Seattle Tuesday, after spending the past four years in an Italian prison, the prosecutor in her case announced he would appeal her acquittal of Meredith Kercher's murder.

Giuliano Mignini said Tuesday he would take the case to Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation in Rome.  If the appeal is accepted, Knox's 26-year prison sentence could be reinstated.

Knox was acquitted Monday of killing her British roommate in 2007.  Her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, was also cleared of murder charges and spared from serving 25 years in jail.

Mignini said intense media scrutiny of the Knox trial influenced Monday’s decision to toss out the murder convictions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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