Saturday, May 21, 2011

Knox Appeal: Tears & Twists

As expected, The two court-appointed experts—Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti—from La Sapienza University officially stated that they could not retest the contested DNA evidence and are now assessing the reliability of the tests that were originally conducted (as has been previously predicted—nothing new). Today, during the seventh hearing (which laster about two hours), the two experts asked the court for a six week extension to examine DNA evidence on the knife and bra clasp and their request was granted. Vecchiotti and Conti will finish their report 30 June 2011 and describe their findings to the court at a 25 July 2011 hearing.

Dressed in a beige satin top and black trousers, a teary-eyed and emotional Amanda Knox briefly addressed the appeals court in Perugia today. “I don’t want to spend my whole life in prison as an innocent,” she asserted during her 90-second statement.

Another important decision made today was the decision to allow five new defense witnesses, all of whom are inmates in Italian prisons who claim to have information clearing Knox and Sollecito. Which, if any, are we to believe? The new witnesses, as have been well documented for months now, include convicted child murderer, Mario Alessi—along with newly documented, three witnesses called to back up Alessi's claim—as well as jailed mobster, Luciano Aviello .

And, as if there wasn't enough drama in this case already; a new surprising and bizarre twist has now emerged! Today, the court discussed a three-page handwritten document dated 6 May 2011, that was sent to the court and to Knox's defense team by (oh yes, it’s true!) another inmate, Tommaso Pace.

In this latest version, Pace sent a written statement to the court claiming that a drug dealer had paid €100,000 to have Meredith Kercher murdered over an unpaid debt. In his letter Pace named the man he said had ordered the murder, paying two brothers to carry it out, and said that the Marietti knife (alleged murder weapon) was not the weapon used to kill Miss Kercher. Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman ruled that he would delay any decision on whether or not to admit Pace as a witness but said that the first prisoners would be heard on 18 June 2011 (the next hearing) with special arrangements being made for them to testify.

After the witnesses and experts testify, the court will adjourn for a summer break and pick up again in September, at which time the prosecution and defense lawyers will give their closing arguments. A verdict by the appeals court is expected after the summer, but don’t hold your breath.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Knox’s Slander Trial Begins

Amanda Knox was back in court today, a saying that has become very familiar over the last few years. This hearing, however, was not part of her appeals trial, but rather on charges of slandering seven Perugia police officials and an interpreter. Dressed in a white long-sleeve t-shirt, black slacks, and a green band in her hair, Knox entered the courtroom and smiled as soon as she saw her father, Curt Knox.

During the seventeen-minute session, Knox answered, “Si” (yes in Italian), to the question from Judge Daniele Cenci if she understood Italian.

Knox's lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, said that the slander trial was adjourned until 15 November 2011, after a brief hearing devoted to procedural issues raised by the defense.

Knox’s appeals trial resumes this Saturday. Independent experts had been scheduled to discuss their review two pieces of DNA evidence that the defense is contesting; however, the independent forensic experts have requested 40 more days to file their report. They are expected to formally make this request on Saturday in front of the judges, at which time a decision on the matter will be rendered.

Monday, May 9, 2011

CNN Special on Knox Case: Embarrassing!

This special was all I though it would be, and worse! This CNN report goes down as top 5 most grossly reported stories on this case, and I may be being kind—it could be numbers 1 or 2 (click here to see documentary). As I predicted, Knox’s family members were heavily relied on in the documentary. Moreover, I predicted that Mignini’s interview was going to be a set-up to make him look like the “Monster” he has been portrayed throughout—this is just what happened people. In fact, it was Mignini that appeared to be on trial in this documentary, not Amanda Knox.

At 7:20 of the video, Drew Griffin explains the evidence against Amanda as the Marietti knife, the bra clasp, and the homeless man, Antonio Curatolo. Coincidentally, he does not mention all of the other evidence against Knox and Sollecito. Moreover, these three evidentiary items are the only things being contested in the appeals of both Knox and Sollecito (Hence, you are witnessing the Knox PR spin in full force). So, as we begin to see, Griffin has excluded all other evidence—as he knows much of his audience will take his word as truth—in a sinister attempt to later dispute and ultimately reveal these evidentiary items as faulty; thus, “proving” Knox’s innocence. It is as if Griffin is unaware of all of the other evidence against Knox and Sollecito’ as if he had begun his research from the appeals and had skipped researching the original trial.

Griffin provides a telling statement at 8:04, “For the next hour forget everything you know,” he says. This makes sense, because if we forget everything that we know about the case then Griffin’s reporting seems plausible. However, if we remember the mixed blood evidence, the footprints, the numerous lies of Knox and Sollecito, the phone records, the computer records, and more...then we have a hard, if not impossible, time believing this putrid reporting!

Let’s go over some clear inaccuracies reported by Griffin:

At 13:36, he says that Knox testified that she was denied a translator when referring to her interrogation/arrest.

Fact: Knox testified that she did have a translator at that time, by the name of Anna Donnino, who testified at the original trial.

Griffin intentionally omits all other evidence against Knox and Sollecito, physical or otherwise (other than his brief reference to Knox’s strange behavior, which he seems to have brought up only to scoff).

At 21:13, Dr. Greg Hampikian, a forensic biologist at Boise State University and Director of Idaho’s Innocence Project (also working with Knox’s defense team), says, “I don’t think this [the knife] would have made it onto a U.S. lab report.” He says this because LCN DNA is not really held as a legit form of DNA testing in America.

Fact: However, the fact is that once Sollecito is told by investigators that they had found Meredith’s DNA on the tip of the blade he confirmed this, telling them that he had accidentally pricked Meredith with the knife while he was cooking at his flat—even though Meredith had never been at his flat. Bringing this admission into consideration, which Griffin or Dr. Hampikian both fail to mention, this evidence would have most likely been admitted into a U.S. court room.

At 14:57, after explaining Knox’s confession and fingering Lumumba as the murderer, Griffin says, “Police didn’t bother to check the facts about Lumumba.”

So, Griffin is actually putting this responsibility on police and not on Knox. I don’t care what country you are in, if a woman was murdered and her female roommate says that she was there and “so and so” was the murderer, police are going to arrest that person and sort things out later.

At 15:52, griffin says, “But almost immediately after the arrests, Mignini had a problem, Lumumba had an air tight alibi…he was in his crowded bar.”

Fact: The bar was not even close to crowded; with only 2 patrons and the alibi was not air-tight at all. In fact, it took police nearly two weeks to track these patrons down to confirm Lumumba’s alibi. All the while, Knox never mentioned to police that she lied and incriminated an innocent man.

Then there was the 10min rant about the Monster of Florence case, which was a clear attempt to persuade the audience into believing that Mignini is just a terrible prosecutor who pressures innocents to admit that they are guilty.

Mignini explained it well when he said (27:45), “The two things are completely different, because I interrogated Preston; Amanda was interrogated by the police. Preston wasn’t arrested, Amanda was arrested. The two things are completely different. They have nothing in common apart from the fact that I was the public prosecutor.”

In fact, Mignini is spot on here. Mignini was not called into Knox’s interrogation until after she confessed that she was at the crime scene and Lumumba killed Meredith. Knox’s status was at that time officially changed from witness to suspect and Mignini was then called in.

At 34:16, Griffin says, “The case against Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito seems to be hanging on two very small pieces of DNA evidence.”

Fact: Actually, it is Knox and Sollecito’s defense teams and their appeals that seem to be hanging on these evidentiary items. As for the remainder of the evidence, those which I have listed numerous times throughout this blog; the defense teams have not made any attempts to challenge; and, apparently the media has made no effort to research or mention. The only thing that is clear to me by the end of this documentary is that Griffin is not even qualified to investigate who drank the last glass of the milk from his fridge.

And, as for the bra clasp: there is absolutely no question whether Sollecito’s DNA was or was not on it—it was! There is less than one chance in a trillion that this was not Sollecito’s DNA. This is a mathematical fact, as plenty of his cells were present to provide a reliable test (1.4 nanogram or 1400 picograms—which contains approximately 160 cells). The only thing that can be contested was contamination from the machine [not the machine on this message board], which is virtually impossible to prove—and would almost have to be performed by monkeys to occur, because of the large amount of cells present. Or, due to some type of physical transfer, prior to removal or testing, that would involve an incalculable improbability, considering that Sollecito’s DNA was not found in the cottage anywhere else (other than a cigarette but).

As "The Machine" from TJMK points out, "Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti weren’t able to carry out new tests on the knife and the bra clasp. They will have to look at the same data as Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano and Professor Giuseppe Novelli. The fact that these experts looked at the data and came to the same conclusions as Dr. Stefanoni..." is telling and foreshadowing to say the least.


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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

‘Murder Abroad: The Amanda Knox Story’ – CNN’s Drew Griffin Reports

Do we finally have a fair and accurate account from the American media regarding the Amanda Knox case? Don’t bet on it! This Sunday, CNN will debut a one-hour documentary on the case (May 8, 8:00p.m., ET & PT).

It has been reported that, in the special, the host, Drew Griffin, will conduct a rare television interview with the chief prosecutor in the case, Giuliano Mignini. However, don’t expect a very fair analysis from Griffin, as he reports that Mignini “reveals a pattern of prosecutorial behavior that raises questions about the original conviction” (CNN).

Griffin traveled to Perugia to report for this story. He also traveled to Seattle to speak to Knox’s family, which I am assuming will be the bulk of the special (YAWN)—like we have not heard that side many times. Moreover, Griffin reports much more of the same: rehashed inaccuracies of the case. For example, regarding the special Griffin writes that he [Griffin] will “debrief viewers on Knox’s now-disputed confession – obtained after days of unrelenting questioning, and according to Knox, even physical abuse by police interrogators” (CNN).

So, all in all, this documentary is shaping up to be more of the same: more inaccuracies, more biased reporting, more “proclaimed case experts” who show little real knowledge of the events, and more one-sided reporting. I will give credit to Griffin for actually traveling to Perugia to interview Mignini, if that is in fact what has occurred. However, I expect this interview to be somewhat of a set-up, insofar as Griffin only did the interview to put a spin on Mignini’s position and paint him as the “Monster” he has been portrayed throughout. Just my opinion, time will tell…

Todd Schwarzchild is the senior producer for Murder Abroad; Marcus Hooper is associate producer. Bud Bultman is managing editor and Scott Matthews is the executive producer for the CNN Special Investigations and Documentaries productions unit.

In case you miss it or your TiVo is broken, CNN will also replay the special on Saturday, May 14 at 8:00p.m., ET & PT.


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