The Media Circus in the Amanda Knox Case

Circus by Thomas Totz on FlickrOn Monday I talked about the alleged anti-Americanism in the Amanda Knox case from my perspective as an American living in Italy. The comments got a bit (a lot) out of control with a debate about whodunit, what the police did right/wrong, and all kinds of stuff that weren’t mentioned in my post.

That’s cool — I don’t want to stifle discussion, even though I’m sure many of the posters have been all over the Internet saying the same things. I’d rather comments stick more to what the post is about though, and I will be moderating more tightly on this post and on Friday’s (and the comments are also going to moderation first, so please be patient); I may also close the comments on Monday’s post, so if you have your last words, get them in now!

On the other hand, I very much appreciated reading thoughtful comments from those of you who addressed whether you felt anti-Americanism had anything to do with the Amanda Knox case — especially from those of you who have lived or currently live in Italy. I’d especially like to direct your attention to a comment posted by my friend Tina who is from Seattle but was living in Perugia at the time of the Kercher murder; I think this is a perspective hardly ever mentioned in any press.

Today I’m talking about another of my pet peeves in this case: the so-called media circus surrounding the trial. In the grand scheme of this awful case about the brutal murder of a young woman, this is absolutely a minor point in the discussion; I don’t deny that. Nonetheless, it’s something that bothers me every single time I see it mentioned in the American press, so I want to talk about it here in my personal space.

The So-Called Media Circus

The American media loves to put out the idea that Italy has made the image of Amanda Knox equivalent to that of a cold, heartless, sex-crazed killer and that Italians are salivating over every detail of this case as it happens, talking about it over their morning espresso, wondering how Knox will wear her hair tomorrow. Please.

Just. Not. True.

Regarding the alleged attacks on Knox’s character: sorry, but Italy is being confused with English/British tabloids on this one. And, by the way, regarding the tabloids, I’m in complete agreement with those who are disgusted with some of their coverage on this case. For me, the Foxy Knoxy crap — along with the “Rudy Guede, drug-dealing drifter” stuff — was vile, and continues to be.

Now to be fair, Italian and American news organizations also published sensationalistic headlines, albeit more about Guede than about Knox in the case of American ones. But I’m not talking about *what* was published. I’m talking about how much people cared in Italy, or the so-called media circus regarding the case.

Or put another way, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Perugia: Università degli Stranieri by Francesco Gasparetti on FlickrThe simple truth is that this case wasn’t and isn’t a big media deal in Italy outside of Perugia; several of my friends throughout Italy have confirmed that this has been their experience in their far-off corners of the Bel Paese as well. There are, were, and will be national news stories when important trial events come up, but by no means is this a story that has gripped a nation.

I’m not saying the lack of interest is a good or bad thing. I’m only discussing it here to give those outside of Italy an accurate sense of what the climate has been like here regarding this case: there hasn’t been much of one.

To put it in perspective, as someone who comes from the country of O.J. Simpson’s Trial of the Century, I can honestly say this case never came close to that level of interest outside of Perugia. There simply has been no media circus unless you go looking for it on the Internet, in which case, well, you can find anything on the Internet, can’t you?

Part of the reason this misconception bothers me so much is the discussion of the sex angle, which my fellow American expat bloggers in Italy Michelle and NYC/Caribbean ragazza mentioned in their comments to Monday’s post; American “journalists” want to make it seem like Italians were so aghast by any mentions of sex in this case that they were ready to convict Sollecito, Guede, and especially Knox because of it.

The real Italy we live in, though, just isn’t as puritanical as the United States on such things. On Monday Michelle wrote, and I wholeheartedly agree:

Another angle that is much discussed in the U.S. media which isn’t such a big deal here is the whole “wild sex” aspect. The U.S. media makes it seem like the Italians (who are all ostensibly devout Catholics and reserved about their sexuality) have persecuted Amanda because she was a “free-spirited American woman involved in some kind of kinky sex game.” I don’t think Italians really care about the sex aspect. Anyone over in the U.S. who thinks that is the case need only come over here and turn on the TV. What they will see is that Italians flaunt sexuality in yogurt ads and that topless women in g-strings dance on evening programs meant for the whole family. Italy may be home to the Vatican, but Italians have fewer sexual hang-ups (IMO) than Americans do.

So, please, American “journalists,” stop calling this Italy’s trial of the century and painting a picture of this country that just isn’t true. Exaggerations may help to build a better story, but this is yet another reason why you lose credibility with those of us who live here — and why those who don’t live here should be careful about believing everything you “report.”

Come back Friday when I’ll talk about the evidence outlined in the motivazioni della sentenza, the court’s opinion in the case; Americans who have been led to believe Knox was convicted based on her strange behavior may be surprised by what the judges and jury actually heard regarding physical evidence and eyewitness testimony.

Fellow Americans and foreigners in Italy as well as Italian natives, I’m especially interested in hearing your opinions and experiences, so please add your two beans! The same goes for everyone else too, of course. Please let’s try to remain civil and respectful. Personal attacks will not be tolerated.

[PHOTO CREDITS: All on Flickr via Creative Commons license: Circus by Thomas Totz; English tabloids by saschapohfleep on Flickr; Perugia: Università degli Stranieri by Francesco Gasparetti]

75 Beans of Wisdom to “The Media Circus in the Amanda Knox Case”
  1. Gil

    Funny how I never read much about this case in the papers here. I admit that I no longer read the NY Daily News or the NY Times, but I do subscribe to two papers in Connecticut and read about three others online. I guess I really didn’t want to get to involved with this case as I have a daughter about your age and at the time this was happening she was still thinking about how should could earn a decent living in Naples or Florence.

    This case was so disturbing on so many levels; just a tragedy all around 🙁

  2. 06.30.2010

    Hi Michelle,

    Good thing I got my first comment in under the wire!

    Another great blog post. This was really interesting to read because here in the US we are led to believe that the media in Italy have been leaking all sort of evidence during the trial and that the newspapers in Italy have been obsessing on the Foxy Knoxy crap and the “Rudy Guede, drug-dealing drifter” stuff. Of course I should have put 2 and 2 together since I don’t recall reading one thing about the case in the newspapers when I was in Italy last summer. It seems to me that during my visits to Italy, there have been Italian crimes that have been pretty big in the news, much more so than what I have read in the Italian news about the Amanda Knox case.

    As far as the sex goes, I read NYC/Caribbean girl’s comment on how Italy is much less uptight about sex than America and couldn’t agree more.

    Thanks for your perspective as someone who visits Italy and pays attention to Italian stuff when you’re not here 🙂

  3. joanne at frutto della passione

    Michelle, I have been following these posts because I have always been curious about your opinion on this issue because of your legal expertise, and to repeat what many other expats have said, I don’t have an opinion and I know very, very little about the whole situation. So far I pretty much agree with what you and the other expats have said about anti-American bias (Americans are quite admired in Italy) and I whole heartedly agree with your take on the media circus – or lack thereof in Italy, generally speaking – of course I can’t comment on what the papers in Perugia have been doing, but I can say that here in Milan reporting on this story has not been anything at all like what the Brits have been up to. (Commenting on the British tabloids would require far more time than I am willing to dedicate to this right now). I will say this. I can understand (though not excuse) the instinct to condemn a foreign justice system or press pool. Think, how many times have we as expats told anyone who would listen just how much better things are done in our country of origin? Is this instinct correct in this case? I can’t say because I don’t know enough to make that kind of judgement call. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of your posts on this subject.

    Thanks for the beans from Milan, Joanne; to be honest, I think a lot of the American was kneejerk, although that’s not to say there’s absolutely nothing behind the criticism. As happens often, the truth is probably somewhere in between….

  4. Grazie for the shout out.

    Yes Italy is a majority Catholic country as is France. Many American journalists are confusing being culturally Catholic with being conservative. All they need to do is look at the type of films and other media released from Italy, France and America? Who’s uptight about sex again?

    I live in Rome and the Amanda case while covered was not the lead story on the news except on the day of the verdict and when she was arrested.

    It was NOTHING like the OJ trail. Not even close.

    The biggest Italian media story was all the drama with Prime Minister Berlusconi. Not Amanda’s case.

    Painting this trial as some kind of Italian trial of the century shows a level of American ethnocentrism right up there with calling the MLB championship “The World Series”.

    Thanks for offering the perspective from Rome, NYC/Caribbean ragazza…damn did I call you girl in the post? I’ll have to edit that. I think I did!

  5. Saint_Michael

    Hello Michelle- I think you are going to get it again but not from me. I am sticking to the topic and even you won’t pull me off of it. I am not personally in the know on how big the Amanda knox case was in Italy other than what I have read and since I do not read Italian it has been from American or British sources. However, I will give a quote from and there are UK sources also that say the same thing. I quote:
    “There have been 11 facebook pages dedicated to Amanda Knox and all are in Italian”
    “She (Amanda Knox) was voted top “woman of the year” in a poll by an Italian TV channel in Decemeber, beating out Carla Bruni, the Italian born French first lady”

    Um, if Amanda Knox is no big deal in Italy, how can she beat out Carla Bruni in a TV poll in Italy? Is this true or did CNN lie about this? And if it is true- Amanda Knox came in first place in an Italian TV poll- that doesn’t stike me as small potatos. Anyone else know if this is true or not?

    As I said, if you go looking for pockets of info on the Internet, you’ll find them — there are FB pages dedicated to just about everything these days (including my Goat Berries site :D); as far as the poll, I have no idea what that poll is — I’ve only been able to find it generally referred to after the fact, nothing about when it was taken, who was asked, or even by whom. And not that I really believe in polls anyway, but I did just find these two online poll results from 2008 and 2009, and you’re welcome to see where Amanda Knox came in on those.

  6. Katy

    In terms of the effect any reporting might have had on the trial, though, isn’t the important thing the way the story was discussed and reported in Perugia? The way it was received in the rest of Italy doesn’t seem all that relevant. Of course, I can see your point that it may have been presented in the overseas press as if it were a major national story in Italy generally, when in reality that isn’t the case.

    Having said that, I’ve been reading some of the early news stories reported in the Italian press recently, and have been quite shocked at the assumptions that were made very early on about Knox and Sollecito’s guilt, and the fact that so many of the facts reported (some of them completely fabricated) appear to have been leaked direct from the prosecution’s office. I don’t see how that early reporting can fail to have had a significant impact on the trial. As I said though, perhaps that’s not the point you’re making here.

    I enjoyed reading your post on anti-Americanism (or the perception of it) as well. I agree that it’s probably wrong to state that there was any direct anti-Americanism in the prosecution of Knox, in the sense that no one was out to ‘get her’ simply because she was American. I would argue, though, that there may have been a certain amount of unconscious stereotyping going on (wild American college girl, etc) which made it easier for the prosecution to create a plausible narrative in which the evil vixen Amanda Knox was able to entrap those easily manipulated mens in her erotic coils. It’s no coincidence that references to Hollywood movies have been scattered throughout the case! Although the jury didn’t accept the prosecution’s narrative in its entirety, I do think that their portrayal of Knox’s wild promiscuity (at least partly made possible, as I suggested, by existing stereotypes of wild American college students) may have made it easier for them to reach the guilty verdict and to find her guilt in general more plausible, even if assigning her a lesser role in the crime than did the prosecution.

    I’ve also read the sentencing report and am currently making my way through Knox and Sollecito’s appeal documents, which I’d also recommend reading as a sort of counter-balance (admittedly, the two combined come to about the same length as Massei’s report…!) You can find them here and here.

    Hi Katy, thanks for commenting; you’ve correctly read my post in that I’m not saying that there couldn’t have been media bias regarding the court process; I still, however, do think the wild American aspect of this has been overblown, especially as it regards sex.

    I don’t think some of Knox’s behavior during questioning would have helped her in any country; granted it is difficult to separate out her alleged cartwheelish behavior from more serious questionable behavior (implicating an innocent man) as judges and the jury (lay judges, whatever you’d like to call them) are entitled to get a full picture — and I do think that’s fair. Knox’s defense team’s job was to balance out that stuff with the normalcy with which she lived her life — saving up for her stay in Europe, studious girl, etc. If the factfinders chose to weigh the former more heavily than the latter, I personally can’t fault them for that (nor could I if they had weighed the latter more heavily than the former). I wasn’t there. I didn’t see and hear testimony, so I can’t say how I personally would’ve weighed the evidence — taken as a whole, as it should be.

  7. Saint_Michael

    Thank you Michelle for the 2009 poll you provided- the result of that poll is a much bigger Italian poll than the one I mentioned. It shows that this Italian poll of everyone on the planet has Amanda Knox in 5th place and that includes centerfolds, pop stars, the political elite, etc… American, Italian, and so on. To stick to the topic….you will have to forgive me I do not agree with your original statement that Amanda Knox is not that big in Italy- but that is me. Lets see what others have to say about this. Do you think it is possible that the issue of Amanda Knox is still big news in Italy? In my opinion the media blitz on the Knox case included Italy. It was Italy that was the first and foremost media show and that the British and American press- at least in the beginning- got their news from the Italian press. And lets not forget that it was an Italian news company who was responsible for the illegal publishing of Amanda’s diaries, or parts of it, and was sued by Knox for $55,000 And I do believe that book was a best seller in Italy- correct me if I am wrong. So, forgive me, but I am having trouble understanding where you are coming from on this blog. The garbage the Italian press was printing was a factor in the Amanda Knox conviction. The misinformation ‘leaked’ from Mignini’s office found it’s way first into the Italian press. It was not the American press that was printing this first. However in all fairness I do believe the American and British press were overdoing it a bit by stating that Italy was just entralled with the Amanda Knox case. However, to say that Italy did not have much interest in the case it simply unfounded. The Italian media was having a good time with this case and they were selling newspapers with the story. And a lot of what the Italian newspapers were printing was nothing more than ‘leaked’ misinformation provided by the prosecutor’s office. That is not speculation that is a fact. In my opinion the media circus in this case was started by Italy and the UK and then the American media came in to counter attack and show another side to the case. It’s a free press as they say but in this triangle everyone had their own motives- The crime was commited in Italy and Italy had possession of Amanda Knox. The victim- Meredith was British and Amanda was American. So I think it is clear that everyone had their own agenda, with Amanda sitting in the middle of it, catching all the flax.

    Read the other comments here from people who live in Italy to see where I’m coming from — when you have people who are already interested in the case they go and seek out information, thus voting in polls and whatnot (see all the lovely people who commented on my post but clearly had no interest in what I was saying — they found my post, how? By Google alerts, posts in forums, etc.), and results are likely to be skewed.

    My post (and the comments from others around Italy) give you the perspective of what average, everyday folks going about their business cared about over the past three years, and I’m sorry, it just wasn’t Amanda Knox. I don’t know what else you need besides the actual experiences of people who live here, but that’s all I can offer…there was certainly some coverage, but as I alluded to in the post, if there’s no one outside of a dedicated (one might say obsessed) small group, does it even matter?

    To say “[t]he garbage the Italian press was printing was a factor in the Amanda Knox conviction” isn’t fact — it’s opinion. You simply don’t know why the factfinders found the way the did, and neither do I, particularly based on MY experiences living in Italy, and, incidentally, actually paying attention to the case; I honestly couldn’t find an Italian around here who knew more about it than the bare basics of a young girl was murdered and the accused (at the time) included a black guy (yes, this is the characterization), an American girl, and an Italian kid from Puglia — yes, btw, totally normal for the Italian press to note where people are from in Italy as it’s still a very regional country.

    But sure, you’re welcome to disregard my and others’ personal experiences and believe the American press; that’s certainly your right.

  8. 06.30.2010

    What media circus? The level of interest about the case never made it here. As the only American living in a small town, I get asked about almost every thing that hits the news about the U.S. (some things that I never even heard of even) and not one single person – I repeat, not one single person – ever asked me about this case, told me their opinion or even mentioned it in passing. It just wasn’t that big of a deal.

    I don’t know how it was covered in Perugia, but I certainly don’t put a lot of credence into what the American papers have said about that coverage. Regardless of what they may say, journalists and newspapers are not objective. It seems obvious to me that they wanted it to seem like the poor American girl was treated badly by the foreign justice system since any system that isn’t American can’t be any good. (Patriotism is a good thing, but egotism isn’t.) That is not a comment about her guilt or innocence because I’m not going to get in the middle of that argument.

    I can’t wait for the next “chapter”.

    That’s a good point, Mary; no one has ever asked me about this case either, but yes anything remotely American-related is fair game whenever I’m at the store, post office, etc…although they only asked about the World Cup and soccer until Italy went out 😉 Thanks for sharing your perspective from a small town in Abruzzo.

  9. 06.30.2010

    My neighbors and I did discuss how those three could have met and in such a short time planned a weird sex party, once only, when the news first broke. We live 30 minutes from Perugia. They weren’t interested any more than that other than perhaps the occasional semi-drunk man who thought he could tweak me by saying maybe all American women were voracious sex criminals. Magari.

    Please don’t tell me he is Calabrian 😉

  10. 06.30.2010

    Just a few things to add:

    1. I think that maybe two people have asked me about the case and both conversations lasted about 1 minute or less. Honestly, anyone if you ask them I am sure will tell you it is an awful tragedy for the family of Meredith Kercher and beyond that not much. Trial of the century. Please.

    2. Italy is much more laid back to sex and it’s really a non issue. Teenagers making out in parks and sexy dress are not considered to be sensational.

    3. This is not the States. What you think you know doesn’t apply. If you haven’t lived here how on earth could you possible understand or make broad statements about the people or the culture? Sorry this one is off topic but nothing ticks me off more than the assumptions of people, who may have visited Italy once or twice, but never lived here make about Italy it’s people and culture.

    Nicole is in northern Italy, btw; thank you for adding your perspective. I’m definitely with you on the last one….

  11. Sept79

    Just a few points:

    1) “Most popular television personality in Italy” can’t be ignored!

    Actually yes it can; see my response elsewhere in the comments.

    The ‘guilty’ verdict was known before the start of the trial; Amanda Knox didn’t have a chance! Some American writers expressed this opinion when they were reporting the trial months before the conclusion. If this was only a reflection of the situation/environment in Perugia; then, for God’s sake, why was there no change of venue?

    Did the defense ask for one? I really don’t know the answer, but I would maintain the “situation/environment in Perugia” wasn’t as the American press painted it either, judging from my friends in Perugia and nearby.

    2) Cultural differences ran rampant: Foxy Knoxy, ‘kill for a pizza’, consoling misunderstood as ‘petting’, ‘see you later’,

    All of those things were blown out of proportion; most people who didn’t follow the case closely, I’d venture to say, have no idea what you’re talking about on any of those things. But, since you brought it up, do you remember where the “kill for a pizza” came from? It was from her writings in the police station while being questioned (not as a suspect) about a MURDER. OF HER ROOMMATE. I’m American, and I find that a really, truly odd (to put it nicely) choice of words.

    Giobbi knowing of her guilt merely by observation when he knows nothing about young American females.

    I’m sorry, do we all act the same? Is there something intrinsic to *know* about us? I didn’t get that memo.

    3) If there wasn’t any anti-Americanism involved, then why did the prosecution attach the group sex orgy motive with no evidence? Why did an Italian judge rubber stamp the group sex orgy motive without being show some evidence? Why did the Italian populace not question the motive as being ridiculous–young, intelligent students don’t go around hooking up with a stranger for group sex and murder?

    I wouldn’t be so quick to say anything about “the Italian populace.” You have no idea what individual Italians thought of this case; that much is clear from your comments.

  12. 06.30.2010

    I have to disagree with Saint Michael (just curious – are you here in Italy?) in that the U.S. media got its information from the Italian papers. Why do I say this? Because much of the really damning evidence I’ve seen reported in the Italian papers was NEVER reported in the U.S. papers. As a journalist myself (and thus I can recognize a big news story and this was not a huge one throughout Italy) I have to say that there are things about Italian journalism that disturb me in general. Things are often reported “telenovela” style as a “story” complete with images recreating what might have happened. Often there’s no “showing two sides to the story” but showing what the journalist supposes happened. I say this not so much about the Amanda case but about other cases here in Italy. I remember one time there was a man accused of killing his mother and dismembering her body. The day after he was arrested (not convicted – arrested) there was a newspaper article with a timeline of how she was killed, where, when, etc. complete with details about what the supposed killer had for breakfast, what he was “thinking” while supposedly dismembering his mother. That would never happen in a U.S. newspaper BUT that’s not to say that American journalism is perfect. There’s been a lot of lazy journalism when reporting on this case and a lot of sweeping generalizations and misinformation. I watched a Dateline (if you can call that “journalism”) that could have been produced by Amanda’s defense team. No tough questions were asked. There was no mention of a lot of the hard evidence that has been discussed here.

    Michelle you’re always one step ahead — evidence not reported in the US media coming up on Friday 😉 Totally agree, too, that Italian journalism leaves something to be desired; I think people who aren’t familiar with it think the “storytelling” is something unique to the Kercher case, but it really isn’t…and in some ways, I think many Italians are kind of immune to the stories. I know the people around here don’t believe much they read in the papers, but maybe that’s just the stereotypical Calabrese being suspicious of “outsiders” (meaning those who write the stories). I really don’t know.

  13. PhanuelB

    Just a note on the anti-American aspect to this from yesterday. I feel like saying “what part of we’re not claiming anti-Americanism is everyone having trouble understanding?” Many of those who have had a lot to say about this case stated outright yesterday that anti-Americanism is a small part of this. Amanda’s American attorney Ted Simon said the same. So for the most part it was a fabrication being put in our mouths.

    So where is the retraction like you said was necessary for other news outlets to publish? There are still people in the comments in the other post arguing anti-Americanism, so you might want to just speak for yourself.

    Most of us believe that it’s not a simple question what went wrong in Perugia. Travesties of justice occur throughout the world. Sometimes it can be hard to understand why they came about.

    Now for the “Rudy Guede drug-dealing drifter stuff.”

    Rudy Guede was trouble. In the weeks prior to the crime he had participated in three separate breaking and entering incidents in which he was armed with a knife and he had no accomplices.

    On a April-2009 segment of CBS 48Hours Nathan Abraham stated: “People knew who Rudy was. We found out he tried to rob one of our bartenders where he went into his house, had a little scuffle with a knife. He was one of those people who you knew him but stayed a little far away from him.”

    According to eye-witness accounts of journalists who were at the trial, Cristian Tramontano submitted a deposition that he had caught Guede robbing his house and that Guede brandished a knife in his escape. Because Italian law does not permit public access to the trial record we are limited to newspaper reports for information on the statement.

    Only four days before the murder Rudy Guede was caught having broken into a nursery school in Milan. In the TLC documentary the owner of the nursery school, Maria del Prato, says that he had stolen keys from the school and also a large knife which he later told police he needed for protection. At this time he was found to be in possession of a laptop computer which had been stolen from a law office in Perugia a couple of weeks earlier. The law office break-in is significant because the entry was similar to the break-in at the murder scene — second story window broken with a rock, etc.

    Even though Italian police at this time had definitive knowledge of his participation in two separate break-ins they simply put him back on a train to Perugia where he could be somebody else’s problem. Because they did not take him out of circulation in Milan, Rudy Guede was able to go on to murder Meredith Kercher four days later.

    Rudy Guede had an abdominal scar from a knife fight over drugs a few years earlier.

    Barbie Nadeau states on page 103 of Angel Face: “”He[Rudy] lived on the periphery of the university scene in Perugia and could easily pass for a student. He was known to be a small-time drug dealer.”

    Wait, so all this being leaked the press is OK, right? And we’re allowed to base our opinions of Guede on this? Anything unflattering that was leaked about Amanda Knox, however, is not only wrong, it should not even be considered. So, in sum, “drug dealing drifter” is OK but “Foxy Knoxy” (which was her nickname) is not? Alrighty.

    Barbie has also referred to the trial as “Italy’s trial of the century.” The Italians are trying now to quell the international uproar and diminish the importance of the trial. Americans of good conscience will have none of it. This problem will not go away until Amanda and Raffale are freed and exonerated.

    I thought you wouldn’t lend credence to anything Nadeau wrote…but now she’s right on about the trial of the century stuff? No way she might have exaggerated that to, say, sell a book? As opposed to my motivations for giving my personal experience and collecting the experiences of others in Italy during this time…which is to?

    These diatribes are getting tiresome, and you’re also repeating yourself word for word from other comments. Please refrain from doing these things in any future comments.

  14. Uncle655321

    What I’m wondering is where has Senator Cantwell been lately? She sure made a splash with her unsolicited, ambiguous and quite frankly – preposterous – open letter & statement regarding Italy.

    QUESTION: And then can you say if she has spoken with the senator about this?

    MR. CROWLEY: The State Department has been in contact with the senator. I don’t know whether it was the Secretary directly, but Counselor Mills I know in the immediate days after the verdict was in touch with Senator Cantwell.

    Wouldn’t the Senator have some sort of obligation to at least publish a follow up / open letter saying that her opinions have been validated, confirmed and justified?

    Or that after speaking with the Councellor Cheryl Mills from the Department of State she no longer has any concerns?

    Or does Senator Cantwell prefer to ignore this matter entirely?

    My hunch is that the Senator has washed her hands of Amanda Knox and that her silence is deafening.

    This is a huge reason why the anti-Americanism claim bothers me so much — it has never been recanted or expanded upon, but it is left to linger in the back of Americans’ minds (as it does judging from comments on my other post). I have no personal stake in this case one way or the other, but unsubstantiated claims by anyone, on either side do rub me the wrong way — and yes, as I’ve stated, that includes things that were spread about Knox in the press as well, especially in British tabloids.

  15. 06.30.2010

    Hi Michelle, I am enjoying the comment circus you are hosting here on your blog! But as for media circus regarding this case, I haven’t been aware of one at all. There was coverage when the story first broke, and there continues to be coverage when something of note happens in the case…like the verdict…but not much more.

    Please note that I live in a town just 6 kilometers from Sollecito’s hometown and my husband’s family all live there. My niece went to school with him and knows him well. In the family we have talked about the case and if anyone thought he was capable of being involved in a murder (they think not), but there has not been extra or special media attention to the case around here.

    I’d also like to add that the Italian media is quite capable of circus-like behaviour when they feel like it. Just think of the various missing child/murder cases (il piccolo Tommaso and others) in recent years. During those times there was practically nothing else on TV, more along the lines of the OJ Simpson trial obsession in the US.

    Can’t wait for Friday’s post! 🙂

    The story of little Denise Pipitone comes to mind too 🙁 Thanks for commenting, Saretta.

  16. Jill

    Hi Michelle,

    I am really glad you took this on, as it’s interesting to read your perspective – as well as the perspective from so many other expats in the comments – and find that we’ve all experienced essentially the same thing. In the Veneto, this was never big news at all and was in the papers when a verdict was handed down and when it actually happened, but it was never, ever breaking news for days and days on end…per piacere! I was only ever asked about the case in the vaguest of terms, no one even knew the details other than that there was a black man, a dead British girl, an American and Italian. I would hardly call that a media-circus! I think you are spot on when you say that one can search and find *anything* they want to on the internet…if you are looking for it, it’s there!

    I had various friends in the US ask me about the case and they were all surprised when I told them it just wasn’t covered in Italy like they saw in the US. And not following too closely, I had no opinion other than thinking a person so close to the case (i.e. her housemate was brutally murdered) and then a suspect, seemed to act strangely. However, never having been in a situation such as this one, it’s easy for me to think about how I *might* act but not really know because I was not there. I have no idea if she did it or not, thank goodness it’s not for me to decide or debate, but what I DO know with certainty from experience, is that there is no anti-American bias in Italy and I never saw a media circus and I read the Italian papers everyday.

    Looking forward to your next installment!

    Thanks Jill, and thanks for sharing your experience from the Veneto 🙂

  17. PhanuelB

    Hi Michelle:

    Amanda Knox has seen her share of diatribes against her so defending her with the same is legitimate.

    I have looked closely at this case and I have determined that this is a modern day witch-hunt supported fully by two European nations. I’m here because I see a broken judicial system and a bunch of hate mongers and I think it’s the right time and place to stand up and confront it.

    I’m also curious as to where the women’s movement is in this? If ever there was a case based on misogyny this is it.

    I don’t understand why any of us would have an obligation to retract claims of anti-Americanism by others. People are entitled to their opinions. In the case of Barbie Nadeau, her words were quoted directly and the allegation is that her assertions were false. When the effect and/or intent is to destroy an innocent person, that’s a big deal. Statements of fact are not the same as opinions.

    Because Italian law does not permit public access to the trial record we do the best we can with sourcing of material. The bottom line is that when a particularly biased source such as Barbie Nadeau says something beneficial to Amanda that it takes on extra credibility. She would have reported the opposite if she could have gotten away with it. That makes sense to me.

    The statements about Guede’s history of armed burglary were presented in court. Maria del Prato speaks for herself in the TLC documentary about her encounter with Guede. She testified to this effect in Amanda’s trial and a deposition by Tramontano was part of the trial record. It wasn’t leaked to the press.

    To my knowledge statements about Guede’s history of small time drug sales did not come from police. It appears in both newspaper reports and in some or all of the books about the case. CBS points out that even though Guede had no visible means of support, he was able to pay rent and go to clubs every night.

    Corrupt Police officials did release portions of Guede’s police monitored telephone calls prior to his trial. These same officials were careful however to make sure the public would not have access to any of his statements about whether AK and RS were there or not. The claim is out there that during these calls he specifically stated that Amanda was not there but the details remain elusive. The efforts of Italian police to withhold this information from the public speak volumes about their motives.

    Your statements that the importance of the case is overrated in the minds of the Italian people are reasonable but I disagree. Media outlets in the US have reported otherwise.

    As I wrote to Saint_Michael, you’re more than welcome to believe the American press over people who actually live in Italy.

  18. 06.30.2010

    Salve Michelle,

    Thank you for posting such a well thought out and rational discussion of the case. As a Brit living in Vancouver (the city feels an affinity with Seattle, it’s nearest US city of size) and with an interest in Italy and as one who is moving to Perugia in September, I have been following the case and media coverage and was disappointed at the sensationalism in the British press and hyperbole in the reaction of some Americans. I like that you have chosen to break down this subject into individual components and that you discussed the claims of anti-Americanism. In my experience, Italians are very welcoming to Americans, Brits, and Canadians, (their generalised response to other foreigners may not always be as positive, but that is a separate issue), in particular in Perugia–a city that depends on stranieri for its tourism and university income. I agree also with the comments regarding the Italian view of the sexual aspect of the crime and of Amanda Knox. As Tina so succinctly commented, Italy is a culture steeped in sexuality, and I hardly think that a city with such a young international population is as conservative as the British and US press would have us believe.

    I could continue, but I’m sure you will be swamped in comments (some more logical and rational than others). I look forward to hearing your interpretation of the motivazioni della sentenza, as my Italian is not good enough to make much progress with such a dense document in legalese. I can only assume that it not yet being available in English is the only reason it hasn’t been picked apart by the English-language media.

    Thank you for sharing your perspective; my discussion of the motivazioni will make for even more interesting comments I’m sure 🙂

  19. Amelia Bedelia

    Hi Michelle,

    The issues you are covering in all three posts are bothering you precisely because they are non-issues. They have been fabricated by the David Marriott PR firm in Seattle. The Knox family hired the PR firm to control the “damage created by the media circus”. The PR firm has been getting interviews for the family and hiring experts and basically paying people off in order to get their message out there.

    As a former expat I know that this is offensive to Italy and has not helped her case. Unfortunately, the average American watching 48 hours believes she has been “railroaded”. You can tell who these people are because they repeat all the same catch phrases like “no evidence”, “Jesuit honor student”, “drug-dealing drifter”.

    These myths that you write about are a creation of a public relations firm. The pr firm is out of its league with a murder that happened in a foreign country.

    I wasn’t in the courtroom and don’t speak Italian so I cannot know the weight of the evidence, however I trust the decision as it was a unanimous one.

    Seriously, what innocent person hires a pr firm to spread misinformation?

    I think if these things bother you, it would be interesting for you to discover their source.

    Off-topic but interesting, is the fact that the producer of the 48 hours “Innocent Abroad” TV show was convicted of blackmailing David Letterman.

  20. Trina

    I haven’t read any of the other comments. I just want to let your readers know that I live in Amanda’s home town and our local news barely reported on this case. They reported after she was arrested, they reported after it was made clear they weren’t going to release her, they reported a few times from the trial and they reported after the conviction. There is one very small community newspaper that did some reporting about the prosecutor and his problems and gave their opinion on him. His (the prosecutors) office sent the newspaper some sort of lawsuit for speaking not favorably about the man. Which caused a little bit of a stir in that community. It wasn’t really made that big of a deal until her conviction. Now, that being said, her parents tried desperately to get as much news coverage as they could. They were on a lot of National News programs and shows mostly trying to repair the reputation that the international tabloids gave their daughter. Which I think any parent in the world would do.

    Definitely agreed on that last part; thanks for your perspective coming from Amanda’s hometown. Very interesting.

  21. Amelia Bedelia

    One more bean please,

    All of this PR smoke and mirrors ultimately doesn’t matter as it has not seemed to interfere with Italian justice so far. But the damage is the damage done to the family of Meredith Kercher. To be aware of the continuous drone of Amanda Knox’s supporters must be very painful indeed for them. My heart goes out to them.

  22. 06.30.2010

    “Italy’s Trial of the Century”….Gotta love that , not to undermine the horrific murder but trial of the century? Please!

  23. Maya


    Another interesting piece. Careful now, though. If history is any judge, Candace isn’t going to be so friendly with you from now on.

    Nice to hear the Italian view of the circus. It seems Amanda Knox is only a legend in her own mind and that of her handful of supporters.

    Looking forward to Friday and what you have to say. Oh, and as soon as I get a chance, I’m checking out your goats and recipes.


    Thanks for your support, Maya; I hope you enjoy the goaties and recipes 🙂

  24. courtney aka glamah

    I am loving these posts. Its amazing the power of the media versus true reality and perceptions. I guess its all in how we tell the story.

    Thanks for coming over, Courtney 🙂

  25. Another great thoughtful piece on this matter. Thanks again for doing this series Michelle!

    Thanks for reading Valerie 🙂

  26. Rebekah

    Hi Michelle,
    Just to piggyback off of one of your comments. It really is curious how many times Barbie Nadeau’s detracters seem to quote her findings and observations, isn’t it? Again, to me, it demonstrates how clear-headed and well researched her book is. It hits a nerve with those blinded by their xenophobia or “ditto-head” mentality, or (incredibly) those paid to weigh in on nice blogs like this, but they can’t ignore it nor completely discount it.

  27. John

    “I’m talking about how much people cared in Italy, or the so-called media circus regarding the case.”

    It was everyones imagination ?

    You are confusing what average people spoke about compared to what was in the papers and press. It would be hard to compare anything to the OJ trial.

    Woman of the year, best selling tabloid book about AK’s prison diary, AK buying underware, drunk men yelling assassin at her family all happened.

    Not a big stroy – No Way Michelle. If people spoke about it on a daily basis, probably not. Did they read about and follow the story. Yes.

    Did you read any of the other comments here John? It’s not just me — this is the perspective from all over Italy; but again, you’re more than welcome to believe what the American press told you as opposed to what we (who have no reason to lie) have experienced.

  28. Kevin

    “Americans who have been led to believe Knox was convicted based on her strange behavior may be surprised by what the judges and jury actually heard regarding physical evidence and eyewitness testimony.”

    This is already not true. The average American who has followed the case knows that bra clasp was left on the floor for 47 days, the knife doesn’t match the wounds or outline of a knife on the bedsheet, that Amanda Knox was interrogated overnight with out a lawyer and it was never video taped as required.

    I think you will be find shortly how much more beyond these basics that you have no clue about. Now you are suggesting Italians are more informed, even though you just wrote about it not being a ‘big’ story in Italy. Not likely at all.

    No, I’m suggesting that *I* am more informed because I read the 427 pages of motivazioni — which I doubt many Americans *or* Italians have done. Exactly what you mentioned above as what Americans “know” are the reasons I feel I have to write the post tomorrow…which will be about DNA, eyewitness testimony, and cell phone and computer records. Perhaps you’ll be in the surprised group.

  29. Chris C

    Rather speak about specific facts. I’m gonna post this response without stating EXACT facts and talk about the media in a more general term.

    First off, I don’t blame the media, European or American for what they wrote or said. Alot of the misinformation(not all) they got, came from the prosecutor or those those individuals that worked with the prosecution/justice system. So the Prosecution leaks false/bad information, and the European media prints it. Now you have the starting of a snowball effect.

    American media is pretty much anti-government to begin with. So the American media’s eyes will pop open at any potential big story, especially if it deals with people that are being wronged or they perceive as being wronged by a government. The individual doesn’t even have to be American, so long as its a government.

    So Mignini/associates leaks bad information to the press. The European Media take it for the truth and print and talk about it. American media keeps quiet till they find out that Mignini/associates lied about some of their information they leaked to the press. Now there is nothing that Mignini can say that has more weight than what Knox or Sollecito can say. American media starts their bashing campaign to try and discredit Mignini. Mignini sends out more false information. At that Point the Italian government should have stepped in. However they didn’t. So now the American media goes after the entire Italian Judicial system. Plus to top all this off Mignini is prosecuting someone from America while he himself is being presecuted for Abuse of Office. How can you blame the American Media or any of the Media. The worse thing a person can do in a high profile case is lie to the media. Once the American media has been lied to by a public figure, they will spend every second of the day tearing through their life if they think the American public wants to hear about it. They will print any story, whether its the truth or not, that contradicts Mignini. After all, in the eyes of the media, once you have lied to them every convicted felon thats serving time in prison has just as much integrity as Mignini.

    Now I do believe Knox and Sollecito to be innocent. I will admit not everything knox/sollecito has said adds up. But knowing that Mignini has lied to the media, I can’t believe him if he says they didn’t force a confession. Also, you do have to admit that if you try to take an unbiased look at this, Mignini does stand out like a 6th finger.

    So who do you blame? You have to blame whoever was capable of removing Mignini from this case. Mignini should have been removed after lieing to the Media.

    As I’ve stated before, the selection of Mignini to prosecute this case is absolutely questionable, at best. I don’t argue with that. That’s not what this post is about, though.

  30. Sept79

    I sense a need to trivialize something that isn’t trivial at all. The longer justice is denied the two young students, the more the ridicule heaped upon the Italian justice system–slander charges for defending one’s self when testifying; slander charges against one of the convicted young person’s parents (pure vindictiveness). I know, I know, I just don’t understand this justice system and the US justice system is no panacea of innocence. But I do understand when the rights of an individual have been denied and so does everyone reading this blog.

    There are those who accuse Senator Cantwell of over reacting and then sort of sliding out of the limelight; there are those who say that the US State Department is not interested in this case and have washed their hands of it. I think not. I don’t know anything that anybody else knows, but I would be terribly disappointed if the State Department hasn’t made a strong appeal for fairness in the upcoming appeal. If the State Department hasn’t done anything, every US citizen should be concerned that their government has not acted to defend the rights of a US citizen to a fair and just trial and to defend the rights of her parents from a vindictive prosecution. That’s a big deal! I know, I know, I don’t fully understand the Italian justice system. But I have perceptions which tell me that all is not right in Perugia.

    Still having a hard time comprehending why I have translated so very many newspaper articles from Italian to English via Google on this trial when, apparently, they haven’t been written because no one in Italy is paying any attention. When will the media realize that the public doesn’t care about this case? I didn’t realize that Amanda won ‘the most popular personality in Italy’ contest (or whatever it was) with a vote total of 10 since nobody voted because they had never heard of Amanda Knox and who she was?

    Trivialize all you want, this case is not disappearing until Amanda Knox is acquitted! I know, I know, ‘acquitted’ is not the correct Italian legal term, but you get the gist of what I am saying.

    Just curious, why would I (and the other foreigners who live in Italy) on this board wish to trivialize this? What are our motivations? Notice *none* of us have talked about it in the past two and a half years at any length on our blogs…shouldn’t *that* tell you something? We. Weren’t. Interested. And neither was anyone around us. I don’t care what you believe — but that was and is reality in mainstream Italy.

  31. Dennis Rinker

    As your photo of the “FOXY KNOXY CAUGHT” headlines, which proved to be false, and your parenthesized (Most) Italian’s believe she was there that night”, (indicates) the why of what’s being argued as false press and detrimental facts to Amanda’s case. Proof that Amanda was there has been inconclusive if not completely unproven, Which makes it an allegation. Who wants to go to jail for 30 years on allegations, ( raise your hands) or because someone thinks they know? Should we then say that Italy takes away peoples lives, throwing them into the cells of the living dead, for being near a crime shadowed in fear? Should we say that Italy is a loving understanding country who charges and files slander suits against parents who stand for the rights and voice of their children? That’s what we in America are hearing. Is this not so? Should we say that a picture of a young woman surrounded by police, hung upon a wall in a public building, entitled wall of shame, absent of the two other said criminals, long before a court verdict is given, is a just statement? Is it honorable and met with respect of human life? Or the photo of 15 some odd cops and prosecutors gathered together to capture the moment eternally as a photograph liking it to capturing Hitler alive! She’s a 20 year old? Oh but she’s American! Do the cabbies of Rome, blare their horns after every prosecuted trial? Do the cops show up donned in their infamous leather jackets to lead the chants of MURDER, MURDER, MURDER, and call it kindness? Respect? Love? Would they have applauded and yelled INNOCENT, INNOCENT, INNOCENT! If it had gone the other way? Are Italians not aware that midnight is the hour of Satan? And reading a verdict at that hour is reminiscent of the Sanhedrin and the MASTERS trial? Are you aware of THAT? Do they not care? Obviously not! And who do you NOT care about? Your enemy? When the circus is in town not everybody goes. But the act of killing a beautiful, innocent, British girl who was killed (because???) deserves a complete and total answer to every question, not a crowd of onlookers seeking entertainment. It deserves MONTHS of investigation or confession? It deserves respect, honor and complete concern for the Kercher family, their hearts and their souls. (I) see nothing to that regard. (I) see a circus pulling down the tents and leaving the grounds of friendship devastated and trashed. The memories won’t be for those who reminisce, thats what the old judges are doing. It will be the memories of those who will have no real adventure because Italy’s actions or should we say in-action has told them to stay away.

    I’ll let your comment speak for itself.

  32. O. Fallaci

    Salve Michelle!

    I am in absolute agreement with you regarding the myth that has been spread in the United States regarding the Italian mainstream media coverage of the case.

    As a journalist, I was asked many times by my American friends if the story and subsequent trial had taken over Italy’s headlines. They were absolutely incredulous when I told them that actually, it was barely covered in Italy’s major media outlets. Because this story was immediately usurped by the sensationalists, serious journalists ran in the opposite direction as quickly as possible, as if the marked stink that it became, would somehow stain their reputation if they wrote or reported about it. The mere mention of it in casual conversation would cause a glance of suspicion, in danger of catching the tabloid flu. I am the only standout, it seems, and even I was a bit out of my element on this one, as my specialty for the last 10 years has been Islamic Fundamentalism.

    Sadly, we have some extraordinary journalists here who could probably have done some great work, shedding some serious light and valid questions at the time. There have been some stringers and independents that uncovered and reported on interesting information they independently found, such as Silvio Del Vigo’s well done article on Mignini’s “Black List” for Panorama. Unfortunately, Del Vigo disappeared after that. Others, I discovered ended up with the threat of a defamation charge, were interrogated or intimidated (by Mignini or the Perugia Posse, as I call them). That is not an opinion. That is a fact and if asked, I would be happy to list them, but I do not want to digress any further from the point.

    As far as the tabloids go, it is difficult to say who was guiltier, but from my perspective, it was the British tabloids and blogs (who have historically won first prize on shameless shocking, outrageous reporting), that led the charge against mostly, Knox. But the Americans, smelling commerce, picked up quickly, and even surpassed their British counterparts, in some cases.

    I would like to add my last two beans responding directly to the June 30 blog above:

    “For me, the Foxy Knoxy crap — along with the “Rudy Guede, drug-dealing drifter” stuff — was vile, and continues to be”.

    The reports about Rudy Guede being a drug dealer are accurate. That was documented by many, many locals as well as students. I believe it was mainly pot, but that is my personal conclusion. A drifter, no. Inoltre, it is also a fact that he committed 6 crimes (of which he was caught for) of burglary in the 33 days prior to the murder. This is documented as well. Why he was released every time, remains a public mystery.

    Technically “Foxy Knoxy” was “true” too — it was the name she used; but for me, it’s not about the information, it’s in the way the information was exploited — the over and over again labeling of the people involved. But, yes, the “drifter” thing is even repeated on the back of Candace’s book even though she herself says that’s not a true characterization inside the book. Not really a major point, just something I noticed.

    “Another angle that is much discussed in the U.S. media which isn’t such a big deal here is the whole ‘wild sex’ aspect. The U.S. media makes it seem like the Italians (who are all ostensibly devout Catholics and reserved about their sexuality) have persecuted Amanda because she was a ‘free-spirited American woman involved in some kind of kinky sex game’. I don’t think Italians really care about the sex aspect. Anyone over in the U.S. who thinks that is the case need only come over here and turn on the TV. What they will see is that Italians flaunt sexuality in yogurt ads and that topless woman in g-strings dance on evening programs meant for the whole family. Italy may be home to the Vatican, but Italians have fewer sexual hang-ups (IMO) than Americans do”.

    This made me laugh – it is soo true. But, on the other hand, one cannot paint all Italians with that same broad brush either of being free of Puritanism, or are a bit behind on the sexual revolution. One visit to parts of Sicily will remind you of that.

    Remember I live in Calabria; the people who might have been up-in-arms about a sex game (i.e., the nonnas) honestly weren’t paying *any* attention to this case (didn’t even hear of a murder — I asked) — from MY experience.

    And yes, devout Catholics do exist (meet my mother-in-law). I do believe Giuliano Mignini is one of them. He is antediluvian, superstitious, and even says himself that he is “dutifully religious”. What comes to mind when seeing Mignini, is a character from Dickens’ Nicholas Nickelby (I would cast him as Wackford Squeers) or Miller’s Crucible (Samuel Parrish).

    This actually brings me to another point, which is digressing a bit from the subject, but it is short, so indulge me.

    It has been reported over and over that Amanda and Raffaele went to a “sexy lingerie shop” to buy “sexy underwear”. I have a hell of a time finding sexy lingerie shops in Rome, much less Perugia, so my suspicions were immediately raised about that one. Comments welcome.

    I think Initimissimi has some sexy lingerie, but surely people’s perceptions differ on that as well 😉 I definitely don’t know which shop they might have been talking about in Perugia, but I also welcome comments!

    In closing, I would like to end with this:

    I remember a quote from the JonBenet Ramsey murder (again) from the editor of a local newspaper, that struck me as deeply then as it does now. He had viewed coverage of the media circus surrounding the murder with increasing alarm and expressed this opinion:

    “One of the failings that we in the news print media have is when stories that the tabloids (or news blogs) have reported, their stats shoot up and now we are obliged to report on them as well, which has caused us some problems. We are in danger of losing our integrity. This was a good example of that, where the details are repeated before they are verified as facts”. He goes on to say, “What happened to our ethics as journalists? A media cancer is now in society, in the form of our system of information. We’ve got to take a shot at trying to fix it before it is irreversible”.

    That was in 1996. I can only imagine what he thinks now.

  33. Saint_Michael

    Hi Michelle-
    Right on topic here……As to the Italian, American and British media circus which seemed to capitalize on the sexual aspects of the case- no, I don’t think Italians were shocked by those stories at all, regardless of what anyone claims. However I do not think that was the motive of the Italian and British press, but rather to make Knox look like a totally out of control tr**p who didn’t know how to behave herself- and they suceeded on a grand scale in my opinion. I think the cartwheel will now go down in history as an indication of guilt at least in some countries. The point is the media blitz about Knox and I am talking about the negative reporting on her, played a part in her conviction- my opinion. Consider now Michelle as a lawyer- if you were defending someone in a court of law would you want the jury exposed to all kinds of poison- some true and some false and have those people sit in the box and hear the case??? I don’t think you would like that at all- I’m guessing of course. The media played into the Knox trial like no other case I can think of in recent history. To think that those on the jury who were exposed to this negative media blitz and could then sit in the jury box and forget everything they had heard and read for well over a year and not have preconcieved ideas- ah, I don’t think so. I do not think the Italians on the jury were shocked by the sexual aspects to the case and particularly Knox’s sexual history but I don’t think they liked it. As a lawyer I know you know where I am coming from but no comment is necessary. And do not forget that it was the Italian prosecutor Mignini who was the one playing up the sexual aspects in this case and was the source of a lot of misinformation of a sexual nature- which of course he knew the jury and judge would be exposed to before the trail began. Amanda’s sexual history as reported in the Italian press (and others) may not have shocked the Italians in that courtroom but it certainly painted a picture of Knox that was not totally accurate and made a guilty verdict that much easier to hand down. In my opinion- not too cool.
    And by the way, why are people saying over and over ” a handful of Knox supporters”? Was there a count taken that I missed? Anyone who believes Knox supporters are only a handful or a small group, is out of touch.

    As I’ve stated before, as a defense lawyer, there are certainly aspects of this case I would have challenged, but just because you can feasibly mount a challenge doesn’t mean you’re right — and that is where the judicial process comes in. And you know what? The judicial process makes mistakes in *all* countries, and in this case, there will be appeals, and as I stated somewhere along the way or will tomorrow (all that I’ve written is blending in my head at this point), I truly hope that if there were a miscarriage(s) of justice, it gets fixed.

  34. Saint_Michael

    Michelle- yes I know there are mistakes made in all countries- one of the biggest in the U S and still pending redemption is the West Memphis Three case- of which Johnny Depp has taken a personal interest in- that may help. That aside- I think one Mario Spezi (misspelled?) from I believe Florence Italy would lead some great insight into what you are blogging about as he is a noted reporter in Italy but since I think he is keeping a low profile I don’t think he posts- one of Mignini’s earlier victims. He co-wrote “The Monster Of Florence” with American author Douglas Preston- another Mignini victim. I look forward to what you have to say about the Judge’s Motivation report. We may not agree on that either but hey- a little discussion is always good. And may I say for the record that I have nothing against Italy- a lovely place, and the people are wonderful. I just hate injustice- wherever it may be. Anyway excellent blog- keep up the good work.

    I think in the case of Preston and Spezi, you’re also dealing with bias, which is why I don’t tend to read true crime — books with hooks (i.e., a viewpoint one way or the other) sell whereas objective presentations of facts generally don’t. If I’m going to form an opinion on anything I prefer to gather the facts on my own — regarding The Monster of Florence, I just don’t have the time or interest.

    I think many (not all) of those who are adamantly sure Knox is innocent or guilty have lost the ability to separate out pieces of this case and understand that it is quite nuanced, and that someone like me, without vehement opinions on either “side” can see “points,” for lack of a better term, on each side. Those who claim that Knox is either obviously guilty *or* innocent make me suspicious of their claims because from where I sit, there’s nothing at all obvious about this case.

  35. Saint_Michael

    Well if you are going to stir the pot- To put it plainly- like I said a few times before- one has to take the time to do the research into the case. But why would you want to do this- it’s not an interest of yours- if it was you would know what I know- and to put it straight out- living in Italy you are better off not knowing. It’s best to keep things light. Knox supporters are of various colors in as much as ‘why’ they believe she got a bad deal. Some are just flakes looking for a cause. Others are friends of hers with no objective perspective on it. Others are interested in trying to right what they perceive as a wrong.
    But you are totally right when you say there is nothing is nothing “obvious” about this case. That is why it is so fascinating. It is something that that once you ‘see’ what really happened- and what really went down-and you know it was injustice but a lot of people say what, what did I miss- she was convicted therefore she’s guilty. I find it completely diabolical that what has gone on in this case is accepted by a large group of people as justice done. I am not a joiner- one who needs to find a cause. I believe Amanda Knox is innocent because I know the facts- so do other people. I will say that I have communicated with Amanda on a regular basis for quite some time- but it is nothing she has said to me that makes me think she is innocent- she doesn’t talk about the case and I don’t bring it up. I did not write to her until after I KNEW she was innocent and then just wanted to help if I could. Did you ever stop and wonder- what if this girl is really innocent? To most people – they really just don’t care- one way or another- it’s nothing to them. I feel bad that I once thought she was guilty and believed all the bull in the papers and watched her behave badly in public/ court- that’s all most people see and all they know about it. But once you dig in and find out what really happened and dig up the facts and through all the smoke and mirrors and then the light goes on in your head- all you can think is- I don’t believe this happened.
    You just believe what you believe about this case or stay on the fence- because if you ever found out what I know and tried to do something about it, then Mignini would drive you out of Italy. It’s like that old expression “To those who understand, no explanation is needed. To those who do not understand, no explanation will suffice”.

    Not stirring any pots; I’m presenting my view from here, attempting to clarify things that I have not seen clarified anywhere else. Punto e basta. It’s nice for you and for Knox that you’ve taken up her case as a cause, but I have plenty of causes I support because I believe in them, and I’m sorry, this one just isn’t one I feel strongly enough to get involved with — on either side. Mignini has nothing to do with it — it’s me.

  36. Chris C

    Michelle, How does the Italian system work to try and prevent false confessions. In the US you see it all the time. After a day or so of interrogation someone will confess and then recant. The US tapes interviews and records them. If the police gives information to the accused during the interrogation thats not admissable in the confession. Now lets say that she was coerced by the police, how much does that affect the case? From what I’ve read on her confession it doesn’t even work with prosecutions theories. It also closely resembles tactics that get cops thrown in Jail in the US. I’m not saying the interrogators did anything wrong but the whole confession theory does look suspicious.
    I dont know much on how the system works in Italy and I really can’t get straight answers. You can’t go to Knox supportor pages and you can’t go to knox hater pages to get information. So since you are unbiased maybe you can spend time answering those people from America that would like answers.

    Chris, you ask great questions, but I’m sorry I really don’t have the time for that; I wish I did as it would be interesting to me as well to compare and contrast the criminal justice systems of two countries — but you’re talking about a book, not just a blog post that would be required to fully explore such issues. Unless someone wants to offer me a publishing contract to write such a book, I simply can’t afford to do it for fun.

  37. Saint_Michael

    Michelle…Yes I’m aware of that…fair enough. Careful though on the Motivation report. Just because a judge writes a report on how they came up with the conviction doesn’t mean it’s true or the gospel. I know you can’t wait for my post on that 🙂

    Please don’t insult my intelligence. Writing a comment like that makes it clear that you still don’t *get* why I’m writing what I’m writing about this case now.

  38. O. Fallaci

    Salve Michelle,

    Only two quick responses to your response to my post. Notice I did not mention or address Guede as a “drifter” or Amanda’s “Foxy Knoxy” thing. I should have clarified that they were fallacies.

    Secondly, I am not referring to some of the nonnas hearing about the murder case – only their devotion and strict morals from being brought up Roman Catholic and their attitudes.


    Noted, on both accounts 🙂

  39. Chris C

    Write the Book, I’ll buy it.

    Well I can pass along the idea to my favorite criminal law professor (happens to be Italian-American) and maybe he can get together with an Italian law professor/lawyer on it and they can pitch one to a publisher; they’d be immensely more qualified than I would!

  40. Saint_Michael

    Sorry…no offence intended.

    None taken, particularly because in your defense, you haven’t read my post for tomorrow to know how I’ll be dealing with the report. I will add, though, that I used to help write judicial opinions as an appellate law clerk, so there really isn’t any reason to tell me what one means and doesn’t mean 😉

  41. 07.01.2010

    O. Fallaci,

    I see that you’re still pretending to be Oriana Fallaci.

    Two extraordinary journalists have been covering the case: Andrea Vogt and Barbie Nadeau. Their objective reporting has been excellent.

    Do you have any actual proof that Rudy Guede was a drug dealer or are you relying on hearsay?

    It’s not a fact that he committed six crimes (of which he was caught for) at all. Claiming that it has been “documented” is completely meaningless. He had no criminal convictions for any crimes at the time of Meredith’s murder. It’s unethical to make unsubstantiated accusations based on nothing more than hearsay and rumours from unnamed sources.

    You don’t have to be an investigative journalist to know that innocent people don’t give multiple conflicting alibis and lie repeatedly to the police. You just need a little common sense.

  42. Uncle655321

    Saint Michael – I think you’re being a bit naive here when you say this … “And may I say for the record that I have nothing against Italy-… I just hate injustice- wherever it may be.”

    I don’t there is anybody in the entire world that likes injustice. I think it would be more accurate to characterize people that agree with Knox’s guilty conviction is that they believe releasing a convicted murderer from jail is in and of itself an injustice.

    So to paraphrase Michelle – and I hope that I am stating this correctly – BOTH sides of the supporters dislike injustice, it just depends on which camp you place yourself in.


  43. Saint_Michael

    I don’t think it is me who is being naive here….Those who believe Knox is guilty have had their justice- she’s in jail. Those of us who believe she is innocent preceive the fact that she is in jail as an injustice. Get your cards straight. And just because someone is in jail does not mean they are guilty. Wrongful convictions happen all the time. Guilty today…innocent tomrorrow…it’s a fickle world we live in. But if you really want to get upset…catch the appeal this Fall…Stay tuned.

  44. 07.01.2010

    Hi Michelle:

    you write:
    “Just curious, why would I (and the other foreigners who live in Italy) on this board wish to trivialize this?”

    There is an important new strategy for the anti-Knox crowd emerging. They’re saying it was never a big story and we need to put it all in the past. I disagree.

    It all started with an infamous conference sponsored by the Italy-USA Foundation back in March. It featured two law professors Catherine Arcabasico from Florida and Rebecca Spitzmiller who teaches in Rome. The entire affair was an embarrassment to the legal profession. Ms. Arcabasico and Spitzmiller had nothing of substance to say and were essentially used by organization that wanted the Amanda Knox problem to go away one way or another. No self respecting legal scholar should have participated in this shameful farce.

    Opinions may differ on how important this trial was in Italy. “Italy’s trial of the century” are not my words, they came from Barbie Nadeau. I too have used google translate to read (sort of ) Italian newspaper articles on the case. I have to say I’ve seen 50-100 of them.

    This trial was is one of the most heavily criticized legal proceedings in post war Europe. The problem will not go away until the two hostages are released and exonerated.

    What are you not understanding about the fact that I am not “anti-Knox?” If you read the comments from other Americans who live in Italy, most also stated they have no opinion on her guilt/innocence. As I’ve said several times, you’re welcome to believe what you want, but I am telling you what *I* personally experienced and I have no reason to lie about it, nor does anyone else who commented on the post.

    Nadeau, on the other hand, who apparently you selectively believe, *does* have a motivation to hype up the hype, so to speak (i.e., book sales) — and I wholeheartedly disagree with her “trial of the century” remark, and so did several other Americans who live in Italy. Again, none of us have said there wasn’t an injustice in Knox’s conviction, but it just wasn’t something that permeated Italian society over the past few years. It. Just. Didn’t.

  45. Saint_Michael

    Harry Rag….Oh brother…To end the debate about Guede- The reason he does not have many convictions is that he was a police informer. That’s the reason he got to walk away from so many of his crimes. It is common knowledge and a matter of record that he broke into several places just before Meredith’s murder- including a school where he was caught with a computer and a knife and he was not charged. Take a wild guess…who can do that and get to walk away from the police. He was a drug informer and the police always protect their rats unless it’s something like murder- He didn’t walk away from that one.

  46. 07.01.2010

    Crimes by Guede:

    Broke into Perugian law office about 14-Oct-07
    Stole laptop from Perugian law office
    Broke into Cristian Tramontano residence about 14-Sep-07
    Threatened Tramontano with knife during escape
    Broke into Milan nursery school 27-Oct-07
    Stole keys and knife from nursery school

    That’s six Harry. And that’s only what we know about. The guy didn’t have any visible means of support yet he can go to clubs and pay rent. Does anybody really think he didn’t steal the $300 from Meredith’s purse? His DNA was on it and he was able to buy a ticket to Germany the next day.

  47. 07.01.2010


    You wrote:

    “To end the debate about Guede- The reason he does not have many convictions is that he was a police informer.”

    Really? Do you have any actual evidence to support this claim?

  48. 07.01.2010


    Barbie Nadeau made her “trial of the century” remark in 2008 before she had even thought about writing a book about the case.

    Much of the media coverage of the case in America has been horribly biased and error-ridden. Many journalists have relied primarily on Amanda Knox’s family, friends and supporters for their information. It goes without saying that these people are hardly objective and reliable sources of information.

    Any half-competent journalist would understand this and would independently check all their facts to make sure they are accurate and reliable. It’s appalling that so many journalists from mainstream media organisations like ABC News, CBS News and CNN have got so many basic facts about this case wrong. This kind of journalism has caused much distress to Meredith’s devastated family and friends

    Barbie Nadeau is the only American journalist who attended very single public court session. Her articles are always accurate, balanced and objective. It was deeply disrespectful of you to insinuate that she is trying to profit from Meredith’s murder by hyping this case.

    If that’s what you think, so be it. Just curious, are you Barbie Nadeau, Harry? Otherwise you can’t possibly know when she was thinking of writing a book. If you are Barbie Nadeau, actually, well, I still wouldn’t buy that maybe just maybe you’re not hyping the case a little to make it more marketable as a book — totally based on my own experience as I’ve detailed here. I happen to disagree that Nadeau is objective on this (or at least from what I’ve read about her book that her book is, although I haven’t read it myself), and to be perfectly honest, the fact that you do says to me that you are seeing things through a particular tunnel just as the vehement pro-Knox supporters do — just a different tunnel.

  49. O. Fallaci

    Mr. Rag,

    Out of respect for Michelle’s blog, and her rules of posting, I will refrain as much as possible from a personal attack, either from you, or anyone you are referring to in your direct response to my comments as opposed to the author. However, since your comments toward me were posted by Michelle, then I have the right to respond. After that, I will no longer respond to you at all, and hopefully your personal attacks and off the subject comments will not be posted again. In addition, I will refrain from making any comments that do not directly relate to Michelle’s blog/article of the day.

    a.) I have never, in my 17 year career as a journalist, been accused of being unethical or irresponsible. Rudy Guede was caught, brought into the police station and booked for the 6 crimes. He was not convicted of them, due to “lack of evidence”. Not only did this information come from 3 reliable sources, which I do not have to name, but I also saw copies of the paperwork with my own eyes. Why else would I be so precise about the number of crimes (6) and the number of days (33) prior to the murder? So to answer your question, yes, I believe I have proof. It was brought up in direct response to Michelle’s article of Guede being called a drug dealer and petty criminal in the media. Again, I did not say anything about Guede being referred to as a “drifter”, because it is simply not a fact, but indeed, rumour and hearsay.

    b.) To say that Nadeau or Vogt (anti-Knox) are objective is absolutely ludicrous. Extraordinary is a matter of opinion. I will also add in Dempsey (pro-Knox) for that matter. I prefer to read the articles written on this case by long respected, tenured journalists, some of whom have won Pulitzer prizes, and have also made their careers writing on a myriad of subjects in publications such as the New York Times, The Washington Post, Il Monde, Der Spiegel and Panorama. Moreover, of the journalists I refer to, have dedicated, at most, 3 articles on the case. In fact, I myself am on a deadline for an article in The Economist, which obviously will not have anything to do with this story.

    c.) In my comment, I did not refer at all to Knox and Sollecito’s alibis, so I will not comment on it here. As per your M.O., you are attempting to divert from the subject to interject your opinion.

    d.) I never pretended to be the great journalist herself. Anyone who knows of Oriana Fallaci, is aware of the fact she passed years ago. I use it as an alias as a nod to my great mentor. Just as you use an alias.

    I have noticed, since the beginning of this case, you have made it your career to hijack the comment section of any on-line article or blog written about the case to argue it, using the same, tired cut and paste spamming.

    I would only be interested, as a reader, in any comments made in direct response to Michelle’s article. This is a refreshing and thought provoking take on the story that Michelle has decided to dedicate some time to, and I have enjoyed reading the responses as well.

    I only write this, as I feel, since your post was published, that I have the right to defend the direct attack you have made towards me. I prefer to discourage Michelle’s website from being hijacked by the usual suspects, and no longer respond nor refer to anything off topic. I encourage you to do the same.

    Thank you for responding; I published the other comment because I thought it was closely enough related to the media aspect to make the cut, but I actually did go back and forth about whether to publish it, publish it with a “simmer down getting personal” note, or just publish it as is. I decided that if you didn’t respond within a few hours, I’d delete it entirely. Again, I thank you for responding.

  50. Saint_Michael

    Harry- It’s a matter of common sense. But if you want confirmation I would suggest you ask the Perugia police…I don’t think they will tell you though. Surely you are aware of Guede’s break-in’s….why do you think he was not busted for all of that??? Actually the Perugia police are very closed mouthed about it…who could blame them. Kind of something you want swept under the rug. Amanda’s lawyers know about it also and that may be coming up in the appeal.
    Really though, what is your point Harry? Are you saying that Rudy Guede was a nice guy that got a bad break or what? You seem fairly intelligent to me so I wonder why go through the act of protecting Guede? And I have always wondered why you are so against Knox? You never say you just keep spouting misinformation as if someone is paying you to do it. Amanda is in jail Harry…What is your worry here…are you afraid she may get out some day? I think you should say what it is that so upsets you about Amanda Knox that keeps you posting constantly against her.
    Anyway you know how much Michelle hates to get off topic and you are going to get us both in trouble here. And she is just about to start the motivation report blog- and I know that is one of your favorite aspects to this case. So peace be to you.

    Haha, I feel so, I don’t know, “Mamma” right now…anyway, yes please enough with Guede’s criminal or non-criminal past. I think everyone has made their points on this.

    And I hate to put words into Harry’s mouth, but as far as his “worry”: I don’t think it’s too difficult to understand that if someone believes another is guilty of murder (and no matter what you say, it’s clear Harry has been through this case inside and out), it would be not only an injustice but also a horrible blow to the family of the murder victim if that person were acquitted. I would hope that even Knox supporters could realize that — just as I would hope that Knox detractors realize that no one should be in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

    But I take it what you’re really asking is who is Harry Rag, Saint_Michael, and not what’s his worry — and I doubt you’ll get an answer to that, so can we be done with this line of discussion too?

  51. 07.01.2010


    You wrote:

    “Rudy Guede was caught, brought into the police station and booked for the 6 crimes. He was not convicted of them, due to “lack of evidence”.

    In other words, there was no evidence that Rudy Guede had committed these six crimes. Thanks for clarifying this important point.

    Seriously we’re done with Guede unless O. has more to say on this; now I’m wishing I had just deleted the original comment from you, Harry. Uffa.

  52. 07.01.2010

    thanks for a little more light on the subject!

    Thanks for reading Mimi!

  53. 07.01.2010


    Ok, point taken.

    I’m looking forward to reading your take on the judges’ sentencing report. I don’t expect there are many Americans who can understand Italian and have read the report.

    I think both you and Saint_Michael are going to be disappointed with the post tomorrow; I don’t have a take, per se — I’m really just translating what I think are what the judges most likely based their decisions on. You two, I’m sure, will have fun in the comments regardless 😉

  54. Saint_Michael

    I don’t care who Harry Rag is Michelle- I just wanted to know what his problem was with Amanda Knox- but since you answered for him- well I guess I will take that to the bank. In any case, I am saving my ammo for the blog on the Motivation Report. 🙂

    See my most recent response to Harry 😉

  55. Maya


    The knife does not match *all* the wounds on the victim. There was more than one wound on Meredith Kercher.

    Amanda Knox was not interrogated overnight. She accused an innocent man in less than 2 hours time. This fragile “girl” sure came across as a strong, somewhat arrogant woman during her testimony. I doubt that escaped any court attendee’s attention.

  56. Sept79

    Maya posted:


    The knife does not match *all* the wounds on the victim. There was more than one wound on Meredith Kercher.

    Amanda Knox was not interrogated overnight. She accused an innocent man in less than 2 hours time.


    1) The knife did not match the real murder weapon’s bloody silhouette on the sheet; the knife was tested improperly for LCN DNA with a plethora of ‘too low’ readouts; this evidence would be thrown out of any other court in the world without hesitation; the knife was supposedly carried around for protection in Amanda’s purse–never heard of a kitchen knife carried for protection before.

    There is not a person reading this post who wouldn’t be frothing at the mouth if this piece of manufactured evidence were being used to convict him/her or a loved one of murder. No one!

    2) Amanda was coerced and bullied into accusing an innocent man after 40+ hours of interrogation over a 4 day period; Amanda was interrogated by 12 people on the night of Nov. 5 into Nov. 6 (one more time, 12 people ganging up on a 20 year old American female); these 12 people plus the interrupter are the ones accusing Amanda Knox of slander for her telling the truth about the interrogation; Amanda was yelled at, lied to, and struck during the interrogation; Amanda was denied an attorney when she was obviously a ‘suspect’, not a ‘witness’ as declared by the police.

    Perugian police chief Arturo De Felice declared “she buckled and made an admission of facts we knew were correct and from that we were able to bring them all in”. Sure . . .

    Both Amanda and Raffaele were detained in solitary confinement after their arrests with no access to attorneys until their hearings—again, they had no access to legal counsel until their hearings. The implications of this are horrific. A 20 year old female in a foreign country is interrogated without access to legal counsel; a 20 year old female in a foreign country is actually interrogated by her interpreter/translator; the 20 year old female is arrested and put into solitary-confinement; the 20 year old female is taken directly from solitary-confinement to a hearing–still no legal counsel, no access to an attorney; the hearing condemns her to spend up to 1 year behind bars while the investigation continues–no charges have been filed. Prosecutor Mignini and Judge Matteini attach the satanic sex orgy motive without any substantiating evidence. Wonder why the media went bonkers with their trashing of Amanda Knox?

    Steve Moore, retired FBI agent, wrote “What the inquisitors did not achieve however, speaks volumes of Amanda’s character and innocence. No matter how hard they tried, and how manipulative and coercive they were, Amanda repeatedly denied ANY involvement in the murder, and the police could develop no feelings of guilt in her. This is not sociopathic, this is innocence.”

    OK and we’re done on this too…I think there’s been plenty of Knox is guilt/Knox is innocent, no? We get that those of you who have sides have sides. Basta.

  57. 07.01.2010

    This is a really tough case since it is the perfect storm. The police bumbled the investigation from the start and the prime suspect is from another country. I do not feel it is really anti-americanism, but in any country when someone not from there is suspected of a crime it seems to be instinctual to turn on them. It is easy to blame and get angry out the outsider and pretend that someone from your own country would hurt another.
    Hopefully justice will prevail and the real murderer will be the one to end up in jail.

    I think that’s a very fair assessment, Tracy; thanks for coming by 🙂

  58. PhanuelB

    O. Fallaci:

    I am very interested in your information about Rudy being booked for 6 crimes in 33 days. Could you provide us with more information on this either here or possibly by email to the administrator of the injusticeinperugia dot org site.

    Does your information differ from the six crimes I came up with?

    Thank you

    Letting this in just in case O. wants to respond to this, but otherwise Guede’s criminal or non-criminal history is still a topic that’s over as far as I’m concerned.

  59. Renesmee

    “Americans who have been led to believe Knox was convicted based on her strange behavior may be surprised by what the judges and jury actually heard regarding physical evidence and eyewitness testimony.”

    Michelle, this is VERY similar to the words Barbie Nadeau used in an interview where she said that Americans were not aware of all the evidence against Knox. Both of you are American expats living in Italy which I find a very interesting connection. Do you know her? Is there something about being an expat that makes one want to show that they are not biased in favor of America?

    Don’t know Nadeau, and I don’t personally have any reason to show I’m not biased for America or Italy…to me, there is truly evidence that points in different directions.

    Barbie went on to embarrass herself by saying “There were 5 spots of blood mixed… Amanda Knox’s blood and Meredith Kercher the victim’s blood found throughout the house in 5 different areas”. This is truly evidence that Americans or anyone else is unaware of since it isn’t true.

    Have you read the motivazioni? That’s not exactly what’s in there as what they found as evidence, but it sure is close.

    I think most people in either country will only be aware of bits and pieces of information from the news. Not everyone has looked into the case beyond that, which is understandable. After speaking with many Italians about the case those who think Amanda Knox is guilty usually bring up the knife information. They do not realize how week that evidence is in every way. They are hearing the news bit ‘Knox DNA on handle, Kercher DNA on blade’. I won’t go into how and why here but will say the knife evidence will probably be thrown out during the appeal.

    That very well may be true, but you can’t deny that the judges in the original trial found it credible and based their decision partly on it; if you want to argue the strength/weakness of the evidence, that’s a different issue — but you can’t say it didn’t exist. It does. And tomorrow I’ll be providing the page numbers of the motivazioni to let you know where you can find the evidence the judges found against Knox.

  60. Maya


    I remember you and the lovely comments you’ve made in the past about the victim’s family at the Italian Woman’s Table.

    I give you that the *defense* has tried to dispute that said knife matches the stain on the sheet. What you fail to disclose is that the knife does *indeed* match at least one of the wounds on the victim. I think we all know, regardless of fence-side, exactly which wound that is, don’t we? While it may not match *all* wounds, it does match (at least) *one* very important wound on the body of the victim, Meredith Kercher.

    Please recall that while the media circus would have you believe Ms. Knox suffered countless hours of interrogation (while never mentioning the hours spent by Filomena, Laura, Sophie, et al), the final one came about because Ms. Knox chose to show up at the station even though she had not been summoned. In less than 2 hours, (not 40 or 50 or overnight or whatever the PR circus is reporting now) she accused an innocent man.

    Sorry Michelle, this is your place and I don’t blame you if you don’t post this. My original post was to Kevin in an effort to balance his skewered facts.


    I’ll post this mostly because I just got a message from a previous commenter who has taken his toys and is going home b/c I wouldn’t publish yet another comment about Guede after I explicitly said that topic was done on this blog (and this comment referenced voodoo!); I appreciate, Maya, in this moment, that you at least recognize I am entitled to some steering of the comments if I feel they’re getting too off-course. And notice, btw, how strict I am with the 100+ comments on the anti-Americanism post…sheesh.

  61. Maya

    Hang in there, baby! You’re a breath of fresh air. Even if you have made me want goats now. Thanks a lot. : )

    My goats have seen a lot of me this week as I go to them to restore my sanity…goatie cuddles cure a lot. Who knew?!

  62. PhanuelB

    In an April 2010 appearance on MSNBC Barbie Latza Nadeau states:

    “There was a lot of information that was just never reported here in the United States.”

    Let’s see. Barbie wrote at least 20 articles about the case between Newsweek and the Daily Beast. Why didn’t she report all this information?

    As an example of this information that was never given to the American public she states:

    “There were 5 spots of blood mixed… Amanda Knox’s blood and Meredith Kercher the victim’s blood found throughout the house in 5 different areas that were recovered after the use of luminal which is used to recover blood that’s been cleaned up.”

    Her statement is completely and categorically false. In fact there were no samples of mixed blood. What authorities found was Meredith’s blood mixed with the DNA of Amanda Knox. Amanda lived there; here DNA was already there when Meredith’s blood came along.

    What you’re doing is arguing one side; if you have read the court opinion, you know that the court accepts an explanation as to why DNA and blood doesn’t get mixed as easily as you just described — and why they admitted into evidence certain samples (to be discussed tomorrow in my post).

    Let me emphasize again the lack of transparency in the Italian system. The trial record would include information on what tests were performed on which samples, what the results were and how the results could be interpreted by both sides. This information is not available to the public as it is in other western democracies. The reason that Italian law does not want this information in the public domain is to shield a corrupt and dysfunctional judicial system from public scrutiny.

    Now it’s clear you haven’t read the motivazioni.

    Compare this to the judicial action against Judge Michael Heavey, the judge in Seattle who is accused of misconduct for speaking up for Amanda Knox and criticizing the quality of justice in Perugia. Documents from Judge Heavey’s case are available as we speak from the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct web site in pdf format.

    Way, way off-topic.

  63. Tori

    “but you can’t say it didn’t exist.”

    When people say Amanda Knox was convicted with no evidence it doesn’t mean that they think there was no evidence presented by the prosecution. It means that the evidence presented against her and Sollecito have been too week to seriously considered as evidence.

    That may be true for you, Tori, but I have heard with my own two ears people saying Knox was convicted based on nothing, based on how she acted — on American television to be exact.

    I do not understand in any way how the forensic team could be allowed to pick up the bra clasp off of the floor in a pile of dust 47 days later and then use it as evidence. The chain of custody was broken. Why wasn’t it processed correctly during the original evidence collection? The knife evidence is another example. It doesn’t even meet standard of worthy of being presented at trial. The shoe prints being attributed to RS until a family member proved the truth would have been presented otherwise. The prosecutor attending his own trial for abuse of office at the same time, more and more. Why were independent forensic experts denied to the defense?

    Getting back to the media. The easy sound bites were easy to sell – DNA on knife and bra clasp. These stick in people’s minds. It is a lot less juicy to say the bra clasp had four other peoples DNA on it also and was found in a compromised crime scene.

    Again, you are making arguments, which you’re certainly entitled to do — but the judges didn’t *believe* that side. That’s how court decisions work.

    I have read the Motivation. Remember though that the motivation is an explanation of how they came to the guilty verdict.

    As I wrote to someone before you, please don’t insult my intelligence. I used to help write appellate court decisions, so I’m well aware of what court opinions are.

    In the motivation the murder wasn’t planned. To explain the use of the kitchen knife from RS’s apartment it comes up with the theory that Amanda carried this large kitchen knife in her purse for protection. It is ridiculous. I have also read the Appeals of both AK and RS. They are extremely strong. I have pretty much lost trust in the Perugia judicial system and have no idea if they will be seriously looked at. I can only hope so. Have you read the appeals yet?

    No and to be honest, I’m not planning on it; this week has really been all of this case I ever wanted and more.

  64. Uncle655321

    Hi Michelle,

    As someone with both a legal background and a speaker of Italian, one thing that has been gnawing away at me for a while … from what i understand of the Judges Report, if Knox and Sollecito successfully appeal their conviction and are declared Non Copevole, wouldn’t Rudy Guede also have to be released?

    I seem to recall that the three convictions are all tied together, and that the release of any one would result in the subsequent release of all three, and would transfer the crime back to unsolved cases file.

    My understanding is that this is because the judge believed that Rudy could only have gained access from someone inside the house (i.e. Knox) and that Knox couldn’t have committed the crime on her own.

    Mille grazie!

    I’m afraid I don’t have a background in Italian law, though, and that’s what matters in questions like that 😉 I had read somewhere along the line that the judge specifically left Guede out of most of the opinion so his case wouldn’t be “tied” to K & S’s, but I honestly can’t remember where I read that or who wrote it, so I have no idea whether it’s accurate. Perhaps someone else knows?

  65. Tori

    “As I wrote to someone before you, please don’t insult my intelligence. I used to help write appellate court decisions, so I’m well aware of what court opinions are.”

    Sorry, didn’t mean it like that. I just meant that of course it will point to guilt because it is explaining how they arrived at a guilty verdict.

    I know. I’m just a bit cranky and tired — and I got somewhat attacked on a message board for saying that a court opinion is anything BUT balanced. I suppose you can guess which “side” the message board is on 😉

    “No and to be honest, I’m not planning on it; this week has really been all of this case I ever wanted and more.”


    We’ll see how I feel about the appeals when it’s closer to the time they’re coming up; maybe I’ll be ready by then 😉

  66. Uncle655321

    I’m afraid I don’t have a background in Italian law, though, and that’s what matters in questions like that

    Agreed, but many thanks anyways, Michelle … you seem to be the lone voice of reason in this storm, it is a bit tedious trudging through the cut & paste arguments from both sides of the guilty / not guilty fence!

    Here in the northeast US, I’ve been impaneled twice, and was foreman once, so I tend to look from the that angle. I often wonder what it would have been like to have served on this jury, and how I would parse the different arguments and conflicting testimonies.


    Me too, Uncle; in fact, as I’ll write tomorrow, it’s really hard to get a good grip on a case (including understanding a decision) without seeing it live. Thank you, btw, for your kind words.

  67. jezibelle

    “The simple truth is that this case wasn’t and isn’t a big media deal in Italy”

    I’m reflecting on what would make a big story, especially if it is based on things I have personally discussed with family and friends. The oil spill in the gulf is very big news to me, even emotional to see the effect on nature it has had. I haven’t had a great deal of conversations about it though. I’ve talked with a few people for a short time if it comes up but mostly comments like ‘this is so tragic’ and not much more.

    It is the same with the Amanda Knox case. I have very strong opinions about it but have only really discussed it with one friend. There is no regular talk about Amanda Knox in my city. I’ve heard the same from a British friend. That this is a dead story. News stories don’t last because there is always something new coming up. There was an earthquake in Haiti, world cup football, elections. Plus, I think most people talk about their personal lives, friends, family and work more often than news topics. If I want to discuss the case I end up going online. I think this is largely true of most new stories and isn’t enough to judge what is a big story. I think a better way to judge the interest in a story might be by the number of articles, blogs, video segments, FB and other sites that are discussing the subject.

    I appreciate your insight, but I disagree; first of all, I think it depends on your family and friends as to what you talk about. I have certain family and friends with whom I discuss a lot of current events, and others very little — so I don’t think you can really judge one way or the other based on what you, as an individual, talk about (although I do think I, as an American, can glean something from the fact that NO Italian here has ever asked me about the Knox case when they couldn’t shut up about Obama in 2008).

    There are stories, though, that truly capture the public’s attention and even people who aren’t interested in it can’t get away from it — those are what I would describe as media circuses. And believe me (as someone else mentioned here in the comments), Italy knows how to do circus and shove a story down your throat; you literally can’t turn on the major channels without finding a story on about it on a nightly basis, there are documentaries thrown together immediately and shown in prime time, the newspapers have several articles about it every single day, etc. They often involve children or young people in Italy, in fact.

    I don’t think keeping track of what’s on the Internet is a very good indication at all as any boob with a signal can post as much as they want…and again, if people aren’t paying attention, does it even matter?

    To put it in more concrete terms, in my lifetime, I consider the following to have been media circuses (off the top of my head): OJ Simpson trial, Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal, Scott/Lacey Peterson — these all in America. In Italy, even the 2008 US Presidential election was a media circus. You just could *not* get away from the coverage even here, especially about Obama (who I like, btw, but it was still ridiculous). I think the same could be said of the election in the US as well — I could not get on FB without being flooded with people sharing info about the election (I was guilty as well). THAT is interest, and that is a circus, IMHO. But again, thanks for your comment 🙂

  68. PhanuelB

    Hi Michelle:

    If you’ve helped write appellate court decisions it was presumably as a law clerk during or after law school. It takes pretty good credentials to clerk at the appellate level.

    As one of the most heavily criticized trials in modern European history, the case is both historically important and of great interest to legal scholars. Some talking points:

    1) What is your view on the lack of access to the trial record? There are exactly two documents available to the general public: The Motivation document and the so-called Judge Micheli report. The fact is that not a single other document is available on the internet in its full unaltered form. Parts of the trial record have been selectively provided to favored journalists by a corrupt prosecution team. The public wants to see if Massei and company knew what they were doing. It’s not enough to take his word for it. Surely you understand the importance of public access to the trial record.
    2) Isn’t it troubling that jurors were apparently never told that the standard for guilt was proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I would like to see the judge’s instructions to the jury. Wouldn’t you?
    3) What is your take on “Judge” Massei’s claims that there is no need to test the apparent semen stain underneath the victim? This would seem to be surreal.
    4) Aren’t you troubled by the fake HIV test? Just imagine if something like that had happened in the US.
    5) Don’t you think that’s Mignini’s allegations that Doug Preston and Mario Spezi were aiding a serial killer called into question his mental fitness to perform his duties?
    6) Why do you think the police carefully chose not to record any conversations in which they participated?
    7) Aren’t you troubled that jury members were not instructed to only consider what was presented in court? Barbie Nadeau criticizes Tim Egan for writing an editorial critical of the court. She talks about how insulted the jurors were by this. They’re sleeping in court and their angry about a newspaper article. These are very real questions for legal scholars.
    8) What do you think of the “judge” who reduced Rudy Guede’s sentence by 14 years because he thought that Rudy had apologized to the victim’s family? English language media outlets all reported that this WAS the Judge’s reasoning. How could anybody think that Rudy’s apology for not doing enough to save the victim should be taken seriously?

    These are the only points I can think of right now. There maybe more.

    Interesting questions, and I’m sorry I really don’t have the time or inclination to answer, but perhaps someone else does, in which case even though this is slightly off the main topic, I’ll allow it 😉

  69. 07.02.2010

    Prosecutor Mignini, who was convicted for abuse of power in January 2010 and whos’s charges against 20 innocent people were dropped in April 2010, due to lack of evidence (falsly accused), said, “It grieved me to have to ask for a life sentence for a woman of only 22 and a man of 25, but yes, I have suffered over this. It is not easy to ask for life sentences for two young people in their twenties. I too am a human being. I, too, have a heart, but my job is to defend justice. I believe they did it.”

    In my opinion most people are sexual and most people don’t care about much except their-self and sometimes immediate family.

    I’ll let this is as tangential…and at least you didn’t mention Guede! 😉

  70. 07.02.2010

    I haven’t lived in Calabria that long yet and I’m sure I still miss a lot because I’m still learning the language, but frankly, I have not heard one single word about
    this case from anyone here. There also doesn’t seem to be any Anti-Americanism of any importance here. What little I’ve encountered has mostly come from vacationing or expat Brits– I’m sure I’m oversensitive about it because I’m not particularly proud of much that my country has accomplished in these past few decades.

    I guess I’m getting old, but I’m SO tired of this type of polarized discussion where nobody convinces anyone of anything..the internet seems completely saturated with this stuff already.

    I think I’m getting old too, Di…… 😉

  71. PhanuelB


    Your write, “I guess I’m getting old, but I’m SO tired of this type of polarized discussion where nobody convinces anyone of anything..the internet seems completely saturated with this stuff already.”

    The public debate about this case is legitimate and important. This is how citizens make the world a better place and it will not go away until Italy comes to its senses and frees the two hostages.

    Not putting words in Di’s mouth, but what is happening here and has surely happened elsewhere isn’t a debate — it’s two sides shouting at each other. There’s a big difference. No one has said that fighting for Knox (and Sollecito and Guede’s?) freedom isn’t a valuable thing, or that fighting to keep them in prison isn’t either. But there’s no discussion here; only I’m right and you’re wrong, and that simply doesn’t get anything accomplished. Look at Washington D.C. 😉

    Now for Harry Rag’s comments about Mignini:

    This is a man who thought that the authors Doug Preston and Mario Spezi were aiding a serial killer. The idea that Preston and Spezi were aiding a serial killer is a joke. Mignini’s other bizarre theories in the Monster of Florence case received widespread and well deserved ridicule. He did the same thing in Amanda’s case where he became obsessed with theory that would have no parallel in the history of crime.

    It is not just Americans who are saying this; a Florentine prosecutor, Luca Turco, describes Mignini as “in thrall to a sort of delirium.”

    The man is not mentally fit to hold office and all of Italy should be ashamed of their failure to have already removed him from office.

    Personally I’m not ashamed. He doesn’t represent me in any way so I don’t have any reason to be — have you had a look at each an every US prosecutor to make sure they’re respectable? Please. Mignini discussion is now over too, especially after what I posted today about how the motivazioni discounted a lot of his theories anyway.

  72. Jennifer Hilton

    I see a great deal of patience and tolerance on Michelle’s part (I don’t know how she puts up with some of this….).
    Speaking as someone who has a fraction of Michelle’s legal training, but who nonetheless has worked in the legal field for years, I think many of the posters are ignoring the very aspect of Michelle’s posting that makes her thinking and reasoning process very different and unique: she has EXTENSIVE legal training and experience.
    I believe that what Michelle is pointing out is: from a trained legal professional’s perspective, there WAS evidence in this case upon which a court of law based its opinion. Michelle stipulated that she did not weigh the evidence, she hadn’t reviewed everything from the trial, she wasn’t there, but she was so generously providing us, the readers, with some parts of the motivazioni (statement of decision-ish) that she thought might provide some new information to those who think there was NO evidence.
    Not to get technical, but NO evidence is different than BAD evidence, GOOD evidence, CONVINCING evidence. Evidence is admitted or not admitted based on the evidence and procedural laws of the country, and the jury or trier of fact gets to weigh the evidence. The jury is free to completely not believe evidence, not find a witness credible, etc…I am generalizing here, but that is the gist.
    My point? This case has been highly emotional because of the media coverage, the “anti-American” accusations, the fact a lovely young woman lost her life in a horrible way. But, a big BUT, not every posting has to be about EVERY aspect of this case. There was a legal decision and a sentence rendered in this case and it is being appealed.
    For gosh sakes, don’t bully people into making such obvious statements just to protect their integrity (such as having to reassure everyone that innocent people should not be in prison?)- don’t we all “know” Michelle by now, that she is a lover and not a fighter? And isn’t it GREAT that so many Americans in Italy (not speaking for myself) haven’t felt an anti-American sentiment?

  73. 07.02.2010

    I have to admit that I’ve gone back and forth on this one – several times, and still don’t hold a strong opinion of guilt or innocence concerning Knox. However, having lived in Umbria when the murder was commited, during the period before the trial, during the trial and including sentencing, I think it’s safe to say that the Corriere del’Umbria mentioned something about the case/trial 3-4 times a weeks. If nothing was happening the coverage dropped off, but in general, the coverage was pretty non-stop. Most of what we read painted Knox in a negative way and the details were sensationalized as much as possible.

    As Americans we never felt any anti-American sentiment towards us personally, nor do I think there was an anti-American sentiment towards Knox.

    Thanks for your perspective, Barbara!

  74. 07.03.2010

    “What they will see is that Italians flaunt sexuality in yogurt ads and that topless women in g-strings dance on evening programs meant for the whole family. Italy may be home to the Vatican, but Italians have fewer sexual hang-ups (IMO) than Americans do.”

    As someone who has lived in Italy for more than 10 years, I can second this opinion. And I do not feel that there is any anti-American sentiment in this case here in Italy. I’ve heard no comments to this effect from Italians – who are in general very pro-American.

    You are doing a great job here Michelle!



  75. michelle

    I’m sorry to those of you who still have valuable insights to be made, but I’m no longer interested in refereeing the comments here, so I’m closing them. If you’d like to email me, feel free, but if you’d like to continue arguing your side of the case — whichever that may be — I suggest you go find one of the many forums dedicated to this case online.

    Thank you all for reading, but I’m starting this week fresh and clean of stress, and that includes not having to wade through countless comments that have nothing to do with what I posted.

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake