On September 25, Huffington Post published an article by crime writer David Lohr, titled Amanda Knox retrial: What could happen? Lohr’s article spews contempt of the proceedings in the Italian courts, and contains many inaccuracies. His article is also extremely lopsided, only using as a reference an “expert” connected to the Knox family and the Friends of Amanda group. In addition, Huffington Post’s push of this article contained the same contempt for the court proceedings in italy. By publishing wrong information and biased information of the Italian courts, the Huffington Post feeds the jingoistic response that has been typical of the US audience.
Huffington Post frequently changes their lead headlines, oftentimes publishing something sensationalistic leading to an article that is more balanced. However, in this case, Huffington Post lead in their ticker with language found in the author’s article, which described the “circus-like” proceedings of the case.
Lohr’s primary source is Anne Bremner, which as he states is “well known as counsel and spokesperson for the “Friends of Amanda Knox” organization”. His only other reference is an expert witness for the defense. Lohr provides no balance to his article, which may be what led to his statement regarding the “circus-like” proceedings in Italy.
The most significant error in Lohr’s article is he attributes Knox’s acquittal to the Italian Supreme Court. He puts words in their mouths that they never said:
…their verdicts were overturned by the Italian Supreme Court at a second-level trial. In an official statement about overturning the convictions, the judges wrote there was a “material non-existence” of evidence to support the guilty verdicts.
The court of appeals acquitted Knox and Sollectio, not the supreme court. To discuss the annulment of that acquittal (a decision the italian supreme court actually made), Lohr uses a much weaker quote from FOA spokesperson Bremner:
“The case was overturned purportedly because the decision of the appellate court had ‘inconsistencies,'” Bremner said.
Actually, the acquittal by the appellate court was overturned because of lack of logic and breaches of law, along with other inconsistencies made by the appellate court. And this is not a “purported” action- this is an actual documented action that happened, and the Supreme Court’s reasoning can be found in the translated documents at perugiamurderfile.org.
Lohr falsely attributes a statement to the Italian supreme court regarding the strength of the case, then uses a biased source for a quote for the annulment of the acquittal. He therefore feeds the American perception that the Italian courts are illogically pursuing a conviction against Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollectio. Lohr continues pushing Bremner’s false information:
“The last verdict standing in this case is the acquittal,” Bremner said. “There can be no extradition attempt absent a change to her status.”
In fact, the acquittal was overturned, and the last verdict standing is the original court’s conviction. Lohr can confirm this through a simple google news search if he wanted.
Lohr reports that in an extradition hearing “factual innocence is a defense and the double jeopardy argument exists.” He provides no grounds for this statement. The double jeopardy argument is actually limited to what exists in the treaty; Amanda Knox’s own lawyer is also reported by the Toronto Sun as stating that double jeopardy does not apply, as this is a continuation of the same case on appeal.
There are many other biases and inconsistencies in Lohr’s article. He says that Knox only signed a single statement in her questioning on the night of the 5th and morning of the 6th. He continues with the “50 hours of questioning” line that Knox and the Friends of Amanda pushed early on in the case; Knox’s most recent statements only talk about the 8 hours of questioning between Nov 5th and Nov 6th. (Knox ignores that her first statement came after less than three hours of questioning, at 1:45 am.) Lohr also says the “prosecution plans to move forward with or without her,” without further stating that Knox’s attendance is not required, and it is Knox’s own decision to not be at the trial.
The wide publication and ticker heading that Huffington Post gave to such a biased article feeds the jingoism that exists in the US. One only need to read the comments to Lohr’s article to see the jingoism at work.