Monday, June 27, 2011

Knox Appeal: Guede & Two Other Inmates Provide Shocking Testimony

Today’s courtroom proceedings lived up to the hype, and once again provided a shocking new twist. Three more inmates took the stand today—one of them was Ivory Coast drifter, Rudy Guede, who has been convicted along with Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Guede was called as a witness to deny the story of convict, Mario Alessi, who told the last hearing that Guede had told him that Knox and Sollecito were not involved. Guede entered the courtroom in handcuffs and sat 15ft. away from Knox and Sollecito.

Guede denied that he had said Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were not involved in the killing, and he read aloud the letter that he had written back in 2010. In the letter, Guede also denied the claims of Alessi, writing that (convicted child killer) Alessi’s claims were “the ravings of a sick and twisted mind, his ravings are the dreamed-up, untrue declarations of a monster.” Guede ended the letter by writing that the murder was “…a horrible homicide of a splendid young girl, Meredith Kercher, by Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.”

Defense lawyers said they did not know of the existence of the letter from the spring of 2010 before it was read in court today. This is quite shocking because it was something that I and TJMK had reported last week (TJMK has also posted this letter about a year ago as well). How could such high-profile defense teams not have known of this evidence?

Under cross-examination, Guede said he had written what he always believed. “The truth is what I wrote in that letter,” Guede said, but it “is not up to me to say who the killer was.”

Throughout Guede’s testimony today he was eyeballed by Knox and Sollecito. At one point Knox tried to interrupt his testimony and make a statement; but Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman said she would have to wait until Guede was done and had left the courtroom. Judge Hellman denied Knox the right to confront Guede directly. He said that she would have to wait until Guede was done and had left the courtroom.

After Guede had been escorted out of the courtroom, Knox stood up and made a spontaneous statement in Italian. “I am shocked and anguished by these declarations....he knows we weren’t there,” she told the court. “He knows we had nothing to do with it,” Knox said. “The only time that Rudy Guede, Raffaele Sollecito and I were in one room together was in a court room...He knows what the truth is. I don’t know what happened that night,” she added.

Sollecito stood next and addressed the court. “I've never seen him, don't know him...don’t know how he indicates me with Amanda Knox,” asserted Sollecito. He said that he and Knox have been fighting “these shadows” for four years. “[Guede] has destroyed our lives," Sollecito said and asked, “What position am I meant to defend if this boy doesn't answer (questions)?”

Each hearing thus far has had moments of the bizarre and surreal. Today, this would be provided by the testimony of two other Inmates—Alexander Illicet and Cosimo Zaccari—called as witnesses for the prosecution. Both inmates claimed that, while in prison, they overheard other inmates speaking of a plot among to testify in exchange for money and benefits; those other inmates, they claim, were the ones who came forward to testify at the last hearing. The person they heard was arranging things, they said, was Sollecito’s attorney, Giulia Bongiorno, who heads up Italy's parliamentary justice committee.

Inmate Alexander Illicet from Serbia Montenegro said Luciano Aviello had agreed to pin the murder on his brother “in exchange for 158,000 Euros—money Aviello desperately needed to pay for a sex change he had been wanting.”

Inmate Cosimo Zaccari—who is in jail for fraud, libel, criminal conspiracy and receiving stolen goods—said Aviello had confided that he was “contacted to create confusion in the trial.” Zaccari testified that Aviello told him he had been offered €70,000 ($62,400) by Giulia Bongiorno.

When asked about these accusations by reporters after the session, Bongiorno adamantly denied them, vowing to take legal action against her accusers. Kercher family lawyer, Francesco Maresca, called the statements of the two inmates, “extremely credible.” Bongiorno responded by saying, “We are beyond the realms of the reasonable,” adding, “Not even the prosecutors appear to believe this story and I will be reporting this libel.”

On June 30, the forensic experts will submit a report to the court detailing their examination, and they will testify to these findings at the next hearing, which is scheduled for July 25. Closing arguments should begin in early September, with a verdict expected in October.

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