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Entries in Evidence (5)

Monday
Jul252011

Amanda Knox Appeal: No DNA Evidence Found on Murder Weapon

TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- American student Amanda Knox received a major boost in the appeal of her Italian murder conviction Monday when independent analysts rejected the prosecution's claims of finding DNA on two crucial pieces of evidence used to convict Knox of killing her roommate.

Knox, looking pale and fragile, smiled slightly at her mother at the start of the hearing that could determine whether she is released from prison or must finish her 26 year sentence.

Knox, 23, was convicted along with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito of stabbing her British roommate Meredith Kercher to death in November 2007 in Perugia, Italy, where both girls were spending the year studying.

The two analysts testified Monday that they found no DNA or blood on the blade of a knife found in Sollecito's kitchen that prosecutors claimed was the murder weapon. Prosecutors had claimed during the trial that the knife had DNA from both Knox and Kercher on it.

The experts also told the court that there was no DNA on Kercher's bra clasp that was recovered from the crime scene six weeks after the murder. Prosecutors had argued that the clasp contained Sollecito's DNA, a piece of evidence that placed him at the scene of the grisly killing.

The independent DNA experts told the court that the investigating team violated numerous protocols for the proper collection of DNA evidence. A ripple of laughter went through the courtroom at one point as the court was shown video of the detectives collecting DNA evidence, and doing the exact opposite of what the experts had just described was the proper method.

DNA evidence is supposed to be placed in paper bags, not plastic, and it should not be wiped, the experts said. The evidence in the Knox case was placed in plastic bags and video showed the investigators swiping Q-tips for evidence, and not changing their gloves at the proper moments.

In addition, the experts presented a catalogue of errors allegedly committed by the prosecution's forensic team, including how the evidence could have been contaminated, the original reports were missing certain data, the DNA was not quantified at times, and how control tests were not used.

The experts' written conclusions released earlier this month and their testimony has buoyed Knox's family members, who have insisted she is innocent of murder. Knox has been in prison since her arrest shortly after Kercher's death.

Knox’s defense team has argued that a third person who was also convicted of the murder is the real killer. Ivory Coast drifiter Rudy Guede was convicted of the murder in a separate trial and is serving a 16 year prison term.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May132011

Porn Found in Osama Bin Laden Evidence Trove

AFP/Getty Images(ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan) -- A "huge stash" of pornography was found among the trove of evidence seized from Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound by U.S. Navy SEALs, according to a report confirmed by ABC News.

An official tells ABC News the material was found in bin Laden's bedroom, apparently stored in a wooden box.

The discovery of the pornographic videos is just the latest in a steady stream of information gleaned from evidence obtained by the SEALs during the mission that killed bin Laden nearly two weeks ago, from invaluable intelligence on al Qaeda operations to embarrassing personal revelations about the terror leader.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May062011

Pakistan Arrests Possible Osama Bin Laden Associates In Abbottabad

George Doyle/Thinkstock(ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan) -- Since the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistani authorities have arrested dozens of people in Abbottabad on suspicion of having ties to al Qaeda, said Pakistani officials.

Local police participated in the sweep, with federal forces, including agents of the Inter-Services Intelligence service, or ISI. Those arrested were thought to have connections to the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. raid, or to bin Laden's al Qaeda courier Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti, who was killed with him.

A report by the U.S. government's Open Source Center put the number of arrests at 40 and said the sweep began Thursday. Pakistani officials, however, told ABC News the arrests began soon after the Sunday night raid and netted as many as 200 people. They added that many of those detained have already been released.

Among those taken into custody was the man believed to have designed the secure complex and acted as the project's contractor when it was built in 2005. One Pakistani official named the man as Tahir Javed, though his identity could not be verified. Pakistani officials and local residents say the contractor has since been released.

Another person of interest to authorities was a major local landowner named Shamroz who owned several plots next to the bin Laden compound. Neighbors described Shamroz and his sons as the people who knew the al Qaeda courier and his family best. Shamroz and his two sons have reportedly been arrested.

Pakistani authorities have called the sweep the "second phase" of the operation that killed bin Laden, though Pakistani officials have been accused of knowing about bin Laden's presence in the Abbottabad compound, where's he thought to have lived for five years.

The high security compound is 1,000 yards from Pakistan's chief military academy, close to other military installations and in a neighborhood popular with military officials. Abottabad itself is less than 100 miles by road from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

On Thursday, defense undersecretary for policy Michele Flournoy said the U.S. could not prove the Pakistani government knew about bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad.

"We are still talking with the Pakistanis and trying to understand what they did know, what they didn't know," she said. "We do not have any definitive evidence at this point that they did know that Osama bin Laden was at this compound."

But Sen. Carl Levin, D.-Michigan, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told ABC News Thursday he believed senior Pakistani officials knew bin Laden's location and said he had "no doubt" they also know where other top terrorists are, including Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

"At high levels, high levels being the intelligence service, at high levels they knew it," Levin said in an interview with ABC's Jonathan Karl.

Levin is the highest ranking U.S. elected official to accuse the Pakistan government of knowing Bin Laden's whereabouts.

"I can't prove it," Levin said. "I can't imagine how someone higher up didn't know it." The Armed Services Committee, Levin said, has already started a preliminary investigation into Pakistan's involvement and, based on that investigation, will make a decision on holding public hearings to investigate further.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May062011

Osama Bin Laden Raid: Al Qaeda 'Playbook' Revealed

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. intelligence is now in possession of a veritable "playbook" of al Qaeda operations -- from potential terror attack targets to information on international safe houses and top commanders -- thanks to the Navy SEAL raid that took down Osama bin Laden Sunday, officials told ABC News on Friday.

The cache of electronic and handwritten materials includes numerous hallmark al Qaeda plots including attacks on infrastructure targets such as water supply and transportation including rail and air. In the past, al Qaeda planned for attacks on water supplies have included an interest in mining dams and in poisoning water supply. In the days since the SEAL raid, intelligence experts have also have found what appears to be information about safe houses around the world and about al Qaeda leadership.

It is unclear just how active bin Laden was in coordinating any operations or in blessing overall strategies and plots. What is clear, officials said, is that intelligence analysts see weeks ahead of data mining and linking the cache of materials to past knowledge of plots that has come from detainees, cases and various forms of intercepts and surveillance.

While as yet no specific plots have been uncovered, there is a clear interest in attacks on the for most prominent U.S. cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

The materials make clear that while at times in the past it has been suggested that dates are not a factor in Al Qaeda attack planning, in fact, one of the terror group's aspirations was to launch attacks on symbolic dates like Sept. 11, in hopes of giving even greater resonance to any success.

A bulletin issued Thursday by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and obtained by ABC News describes the terror organization's chilling desire to derail a train on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

"As of February 2010, al-Qa'ida was allegedly contemplating conducting an operation against trains at an unspecified location in the United States on the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001," the document reads, using an alternate spelling for bin Laden's terror group. "As one option, al-Qa'ida was looking into trying to tip a train by tampering with the rails so that the train would fall off the track at either a valley or a bridge."

In a statement, DHS press secretary Matt Chandler stressed that the message it sent out to its rail partners about a potential al Qaeda plot was "based on initial reporting, which is often misleading and inaccurate and subject to change. We remain at a heightened state of vigilance, but do not intend to issue [a National Terrorism Advisory System] alert at this time." Chandler said the Transportation Security Administration would also send a bulletin to its rail sector stakeholders.

"We have no information of any imminent terrorist threat to the U.S. rail sector, but wanted to make our partners aware of the alleged plotting," said Chandler.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May042011

Osama Bin Laden Escape Plan: Money Found Stitched in His Clothes

CNN via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Osama bin Laden appeared to be ready to run at any time with money stitched into his clothes on the day he was shot dead by elite Navy SEALs.

Bin Laden's clothing had 500 euros sewn into it, sources told ABC News.  Intelligence officials are also analyzing 10 cell phones, 10 computers and a 100 thumb drives confiscated from the sprawling compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, during the 40-minute raid that resulted in bin Laden's death.

The cell phones and thumb drives were likely used by the two couriers living with bin Laden.  Officials are going through each computer running keyword searches using words like "explosives" or "weddings."  Weddings is a word often used by al Qaeda to signify a bombing.  They are also tracing the phone numbers found.

"There's a lot we have to go through, some encryption, some coding.  It's in another language.  It's in Arabic, so there's a lot to go through before we really find out what we have, but remember small pieces of information can be critically important," said Mike Rodgers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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