Monday, October 3, 2011

Knox Appeal: Judgment Day (Part 1)


The day has finally arrived: the day that will decide the fate of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. The last session has already begun and is currently underway. Luciano Ghirga started off the proceedings today with his closing argument rebuttal. Ghirga spoke firmly to the court, declaring Knox’s innocence. Sollecito took the floor after Ghirga. He started off by saying that he would “…never hurt anybody.” Raffaele pleaded to the court to release him, telling mostly of the horror he has endured over the last few years.

“I’ve never met Rudy Guede before the trial,” he adamantly protested. Although he spoke freely today, he refused to testify and face cross-examination in this appeal or the original trial. Sollecito did not speak of the circumstances surrounding the murder or his involvement or lack thereof. He didn't spend any time talking about the details of his "innocence;" he only seemed to play the sympathy card and how horrible the last few years have been for him while in prison. He went as far back as meeting Knox, but then he skipped the details of where he was during the murder and went right to the police interrogation in his speech, which I believe is very telling on his part.

Moreover, he actually said:

“No one ever asked me to testify and I don’t know why. But I was ready to talk in front of you, in front of the court to explain any doubt, but nobody—not in this process [the appeal] or the previous one [the original trial] has asked my examination. So I am here, in a way, to say freely the facts, what I’ve gone through and who I am.”

This is a very strange statement to say the least, as he surely knows and was advised that he could take the stand, but refused. Wearing a “free Amanda & Raffaele” bracelet, Sollecito used symbolic, ritualistic theatrics, saying that he has never taking off the bracelet since he received it sometime ago. He said, “Now is the time to take it off,” and he did so as he closed out his plea for freedom. He also appeared very unemotional, and he even smirked once when he began talking about the “free Amanda & Raffaele” bracelet, as if he was making a profound statement or a bad joke.

Amanda Knox addressed the court immediately after Sollecito, at 4:30am Eastern Time in the United States. She stepped to the mic with no written speech; perhaps deciding to speak off-the-cuff; perhaps committing an earlier speech to memory. Speaking in fluent Italian, Knox addressed the court in a shaky voice, starting off by explaining that she was nervous. As she got rolling, her hand gestures became very animated. “I am not what they say I am: perversion, violence. I have not done the things they say I’ve done; I wasn’t there that night!” Amanda reiterated many of the things that she has said over the years. She said she was friends with Meredith; she wasn’t at the cottage during the night of the murder; she is innocent, etc.

“I want to go back home, I want to go back to my life. I am innocent; Raffaele is innocent; and we deserve to be free.”

Judge Hellman then warned the audience. “This is not a football game. There is no room for gossiping. We have to remember that a beautiful girl has died a horrible death and that the lives of two young people are in play. So when I am reading the verdict I want respect and silence.” Judge Hellman announced that he does not expect to return back with a verdict before 8pm local Perugia time (2pm eastern time U.S.). And with that, the judge informed that deliberation would start at that time: 4:41am.

There are four possible scenarios in regard to today’s outcome. It will take a majority vote of the six jurors and two judges to throw out the conviction. If they are evenly split, Knox and Sollecito will be free. The second is that the court could decide to uphold the conviction and reduce their sentences. Thirdly, the court could uphold the conviction and honor the prosecution’s request to increase Knox’s sentence to life in prison. Lastly, and in my opinion: the most likely; the court could choose to uphold Knox's original conviction and order her to serve the remaining 22 years of her sentence in Italy. Regardless of the outcome, either side could appeal the verdict to Italy's Supreme Court.

A press conference was then set up outside the courtroom, where the streets were filled with journalists and spectators. Sollecito’s lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno addressed the audience, continuing her declarations of innocence. No one knows what time that the verdict will be read. Even Bongiorno told the media that it is impossible to predict how long that the deliberation will be.

Knox and Sollecito were whisked away in a police van. They were brought back to prison to await the verdict. They will be notified when a decision is reached and brought back to the court to hear the reading.


No comments:

Post a Comment