Rescuing Amanda Knox

Ultimately, Amanda Knox is a project of restoring lost “innocence,” and the filmmakers seem eager to play their role.white-knight-2

The newest true crime documentary from Netflix, “Amanda Knox,” centers on Amanda and the eight years of court proceedings regarding the murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher.The movie presents interviews with Knox, her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, and British tabloid reporter Nick Pisa. The film resonates with American audiences, who have been primarily exposed to news media reporting favorably on the “home-town girl.” Amanda is America’s “woman in distress;” and the filmmakers are her white knights who have arrived to rescue her from the evil beasts of Nick Pisa and Guiliano Mignini.

cultural-constructions-of-the-femme-fatale-from-pandoras-box-to-amanda-knox_3989794

Cultural Constructions of the Femme Fatale by Steve Simkin

In the film, the brutal murder of Meredith Kercher is sidelined by focusing on Nick Pisa and the British tabloids as a stand-in for all media reporting, then portraying Knox (instead of Meredith) as the victim of Pisa’s reporting.

American audiences in particular have been outraged at the she-devil, femme fatale portrait of Amanda that is created by the British tabloids. Very few critics, if any, have looked at the role the Netflix filmmakers have in overturning this narrative.

While some feminists have spoken up, they have staunchly insisted on pushing the HIV claims made by Pisa (without fact-checking) as a key example of how Knox was persecuted for her sexuality. (The truth, according to Amanda, is the prison officials TOLD HER NOT TO WORRY; that the test could be a false positive and they would retest; and they DID NOT REQUEST her list of partners; it was her decision to write it in her diary) Almost all reviewers (save one) have missed that the it is the filmmakers who arrive to rescue Amanda and restore her lost “innocence.”

225px-peach_28super_mario_3d_world29

To understand how the film reinforces that women need saving-and the positive American reception to the film-you first have to understand the narrow view of the case in the US media. After she was arrested, Amanda’s innocence campaign in the US pushed back on the image that was coming from the British tabloid media. Amanda’s family hired PR professional David Marriott, claiming this was done to manage the media requests coming into the family. However, later news reports tell it differently: “By enlisting her friends and family, and targeting specific news organizations to tell the family’s story, Marriott eventually helped reshape how the world saw the young American.” The Friends of Amanda pushed a counter-story of Knox being persecuted by the lead prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini.  The US media organizations were seemingly as content to report on what Knox’s representatives said without fact checking, as Nick Pisa was content to report on what trial informants told him without fact checking. Largely absent from US reporting was any real information on the case or evidence (a problem repeated in the Netflix documentary).

As supporters joined the campaign for Amanda’s innocence, they too focused their sights on Mignini and tabloid media reporters. Bruce Fischer targeted Guiliano Mignini and Nick Pisa as the “Architects of Foxy Knoxy.” Former FBI agent Steve Moore claimed that Amanda was being framed to cover for Guede. Jim Clemente, a behaviorist whose expertise was in child predators, claimed to know what happened to Meredith simply by ‘looking at a couple of photos.’ Amanda even had support from Seattle’s Judge Heavey, who wrote to Mignini in a plea for Amanda’s release.

innocence-advocacy

Knox’s innocence advocates: Bruce Fischer, Steve Moore, Greg Hampikian, David Marriott, Jim Clemente, Judge Michael Heavey (ret)

Over time, Knox’s innocence campaigners established the narrative in the US that Knox was being unjustly accused by a prosecutor with a vendatta. For its part, the US media was content to allow claims such as ‘Amanda was interrogated for 14 (or 43, or 46, or 53) hours,’ without ever fact checking whether this was true or not (See a recent Time magazine article with this claim). Knox’s innocence campaign was particularly focused on combating the tabloid narrative of “Foxy Knoxy.”

Another key component of her US based innocence campaign was that she was unfairly (according to the system in the US) retried and re-convicted, a belief which persists to this day. News organizations were content to think their audiences wouldn’t understand the Italian Courts, so instead they reported that Knox was unfairly being subjected to “double jeopardy,” that is, being convicted again after a trial court found her innocent.

king 5 double jeopardy

Enter the filmmakers.

Sometime in 2011, Rod Blackhurst, Brian McGinn and Stephen Robert Morse decided to embark on the “filmmaking journeytogether to produce a movie on the case. The directors and producers were all in Perugia for Knox and Sollecito’s first appeals hearing in October 2011. Producer Stephen Robert Morse was clearly in the pro-Knox camp, and to a lesser extent, so was director Rod Blackhurst. Morse appeared to have adopted fully the innocence campaign’s narrative, including attacking Nick Pisa as a “shit journalist”. (Recently, posters to Fisher’s online forums have stated that Morse was with people from “Injustice in Perugia” when he confronted Nick Pisa on the street in Perugia).

Blackhurst, to his credit, was more reserved in his views; he tweeted out “Free Amanda Knox”  in three posts in 2010 and 2011 prior to starting the film;  one of the posts linking to the sensational Rolling Stone article, “The Never Ending Nightmare of Amanda Knox” which describes how Knox was “coerced” into a confession. On the day the Supreme Court threw out the case, Blackhurst’s tweet was a simple heart.

filmmakers

The filmmakers of “Amanda Knox”: director Brian McGinn, producer Stephen Robert Morse, director Rod Blackhurst

51lzeme4xnl-_sy344_bo1204203200_The filmmakers may have had a ready-made outline in the way of Douglas Preston’s novel the Monster of Florence. Douglas Preston had joined Knox’s innocence campaign in part due to his own confrontation with Prosecutor Mignini. Preston’s novel  describes Mignini’s role in the search for the serial murderer called the Monster of Florence. Mignini’s search is portrayed as an Ahab-like endless pursuit with an uncertain resolution. While the Mignini of Preston’s novel is not destroyed by his pursuit of the “monster;” it does consume him.

Preston learned of the serial killer case while living in Italy from journalist Mario Spezi, who co-wrote the novel. While Preston was researching the case, Prosecutor Mignini accused Preston of obstruction of justice, and Preston was given the option to leave Italy. After this, Preston had an axe to grind with Mignini- and he ground it to a fine point in his novel. Preston believed Mignini was a “rogue prosecutor,” and Preston was particularly fond of pushing a story that Mignini saw satanic conspiracies, that Mignini “believes that Satan walks the land.” This satanism claim was pushed in the US and elsewhere by sympathizers in media organizations like CBS. Preston’s co-writer, Mario Spezi, was also charged by Mignini with obstruction of justice for interfering with the Monster of Florence investigation.

monsterBack to Perugia; in 2011, after the filmmakers decided to start their project, Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn hung out with Mario Spezi in Florence. Producer Stephen Morse was with Spezi at the courthouse when the appeals court issued their ruling. (Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi are thanked in the credits of the Netflix film).

The film suggests Knox has become Mignini’s new monster to pursue; as she narrates in the film: “people love the idea of a monster.” Netflix’s imagery for the film puts Preston’s story in Times Square in banner ads. But to American audiences used to the reporting over the last nine years, its Amanda who is being persecuted, and she is the damsel in distress.

Of course, damsels need their saviors, and Stephen Morse in particular seemed ready to be one of Knox’s white knights. In a now deleted blog post, he telegraphed the role he perhaps eagerly pursued: “it is my hope that one day her world will be free of the misplaced hatred that has already been lofted upon her for years.” It was Morse who got Plus Pictures on the project and it was Morse who connected the directors with Knox. Netflix has reportedly distanced Morse from the project, saying his producer title is only honorary. Indeed, it was the directors, who, after hanging out in Florence with Mario Spezi, managed to get the participation of Mignini, Knox, Sollecito, and Pisa.

white-knight-chronicles-reviewAmanda finally had her white knights. The”white knight syndrome” is a “compulsive need to be the rescuer.” White knights “see women as powerless and unable to defend or take care of themselves; their problems are a result of misfortune or the cruelty of this world, never as their own fault.”

In the film, everything happens to Amanda; she is not responsible for anything. Knox is presented entirely as a victim of a prosecutor colluding with the media to create the myth of Foxy Knoxy, and any of Knox and Sollecito’s actions that counter the film’s narrative are left out. Her incredulous story of coming home, seeing blood, taking a shower, using the bathmat (with blood on it) to “surf” to her bedroom and back is hardly explored. The cell phone and computer records that contradict both Knox and Sollecito’s stories are ignored. Knox says her slander of Patrick is because she “broke” under the pressure of interrogation, and there is no mention of her following statements and writings where she acknowledges Patrick is in jail because of her (oddly, though, in the film she doesn’t repeat the 53 hour interrogation claim). The film ignores that Knox’s conviction for slander was upheld in all five courts that heard the case. There is almost no mention of Raffaele’s inability to maintain a consistent story and his refusal to support her alibi throughout the trial and first appellate hearing. Sollecito makes a lone passing comment about getting stoned, though at Knox’s apartment pot was as common as pasta.

white-knight-2To fully save Knox, the dual media images of guilt and sexual promiscuity needed to be confronted.  To deal with the image of guilt, Knox’s questionable reactions after the murder are swapped out with Pisa’s clear lack of empathy. The film cuts between Pisa’s statements on orgasmic headlines with scenes from Meredith’s funeral, putting Nick Pisa’s amorality at center stage. He becomes the wolf in pursuit, preying on innocent victims for his own gratification.  Knox’s own insensitive actions after the murder are replaced by the actions of someone who responded even worse.

At this time, Meredith’s death, shown in images of the funeral, becomes simply a temporary stand-in for Knox, and Meredith is quickly replaced on the way to Knox’s eventual redemption. Knox’s sex life becomes the topic of Pisa’s reporting, and the film similarly replaces Meredith’s death with Knox’s victimization by tabloid media. By the time Pisa makes the claim that the HIV test result was a ploy, Knox has almost fully replaced Meredith as the victim, and Pisa has replaced Mignini as the primary evil pursuing Knox. Even though Pisa admits himself that much of what he wrote was false, audiences are quick to latch onto Pisa’s newest salacious statement that the HIV test result was a deliberate ploy to get and publish Knox’s sex partner list. The implication is clear- Amanda is being pursued by Pisa and the tabloid media because of her sexual promiscuity.nxj6s

Meredith is reduced to an afterthought in Amanda’s tale; Meredith is not the one needing saving now. She doesn’t even warrant a R.I.P.  mention in the film’s conclusion.

The filmmakers have disclaimed any role in constructing a narrative by stating they have simply let the subjects of the film a free and open space to say what they wanted to say. The production of a feature film, instead of an interview, obviously involves many decisions. This is where the narrative is constructed; whether through deliberate storytelling on the part of the filmmakers or, as may be the case, inadvertently through their own background and assumptions. They filmmakers stated they ‘started with the final supreme court ruling and worked backwards;’ which privileges Knox’s story and appearance in the film. The film takes the Supreme Court’s statement on “media pressure” and swaps in Pisa’s tabloid reporting on “Foxy Knoxy.” Musically, the film could have replaced the score with Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” to the same effect. Instead of contrasting Meredith’s funeral with  Knox’s diary writing that she “could kill for a pizza” (made days after the murder), the film instead edits the funeral together with Pisa’s pursuit of headlines over any sense of humanity for lost life. And-as the directors later state-they didn’t have a film without Mignini, the target of many of Knox’s US supporters.

abc.pngA successful narrative is as much a process of exclusion as it is of inclusion, and the film makes several significant omissions. One key omission is the ruling from the Nencini appeals court, which contradicts the film’s narrative of the damsel in distress. The Nencini court was the second court to uphold the conviction of Knox and Sollecito, and Mignini had nothing to do with it. Judge Nencini harshly criticizes the independent experts Conti and Vecchiotti who appear in the film. The film reduces this appellate hearing to a quick 10 second screen mention.  During the appeals, the focus in the US was still on Mignini. Commentators on news sites in the US blamed Mignini for ‘retrying Amanda until he got the ruling he wanted,’ thus American audiences were primed to accept this story of redemption.

patrick-lumumba_1361210cOne person excluded from the film is Patrick, the Congolese man Knox blamed for the murder after about about two hours of questioning on the evening of November 5th. The filmmakers chose not to go from Perugia to Poland, where Patrick resided after losing his business in Italy. Patrick would have offered a more nuanced telling of the story. But ultimately, the black man who lost his business due to Knox’s accusations destabilizes the narrative of the woman in distress.

Rudy Guede, who had an apartment near Raffaele, is also almost entirely left out of the film. Guede is the only person serving a sentence for Meredith’s murder. The film’s editing suggests that Guede changed his story and blamed Knox to get a reduced sentence; again reinforcing the pursuit of Amanda as the central theme.

The film presents Mignini as a moralistic Ahab; except Mignini’s monsters that he chases endlessly are everywhere. Mignini’s statement when looking at the brutality of Meredith’s murder- “was it a monster that did this”-  becomes an indictment of his own pursuit. Instead of the film presenting a richer view of the evidence that led a trial court and an appellate court to convict Knox and Sollecito, the film concludes with a religious commentary from Mignini: final judgement will not come in this lifetime, but in death.

Ultimately the blame for “Foxy Knoxy” is laid at the feet of Nick Pisa. He becomes the real wolf preying on Amanda, and it’s Nick Pisa that the filmmakers ultimately slay.  In doing so, the white knight filmmakers restore Knox’s lost “innocence” and rescue her from the beasts that have pursued her for the last nine years.

In the end, the brutality of Meredith’s murder is all but forgotten.

By and large, those who have not been subjected to the “woman in distress” reporting have rejected the film’s narrative. They remember that the real story of a girl enjoying la bella vita before she is interrupted by the evil that besets her…

…is Meredith Kercher’s story.

As it currently stands, the Italian courts have ruled that Guede did not kill Meredith alone. The case is unresolved.

For additional information and reactions to the documentary:

Full list of evidence in the trial of the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Stephanie Kercher, sister of Meredith: “Why will Amanda Knox not stop speaking about Meredith Kercher’s murder?” Sister of victim speaks out to warn we still don’t REALLY know what happened despite ‘unnecessary’ Netflix show. (UK Daily Mail)

Documentary leaves people of color out of the story (The Stranger)

Producer Stephen Morse attacks credibility of Nick Pisa.

How the documentary misrepresents the DNA evidence. (True Justice for Meredith Kercher/Krissy G)

 

Shocking! Producer Stephen Morse attacks credibility of journalist Nick Pisa years before Pisa appears in Morse’s documentary!

Stephen Morse, a producer for the Netflix documentary “Amanda Knox,” has on several occasions expressed his criticism of Nick Pisa and the Daily Mail. On at least two occasions Morse accused Pisa and the Daily Mail of deliberately lying. Morse writes in one of his twitter posts from 2011 that he confronted Pisa on the “lies” published by the Daily Mail.

According to Morse and one of the directors, the three of them started on the film in 2011. Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito had been convicted at the trial level, and their appeal to the Hellmann court was scheduled to be heard in late September of that year.

Morse traveled to Italy in late 2011 to cover the trial and provided twitter updates. His belief in Knox’s innocence shows in his tweets. It seems that one of the co-directors of the “Amanda Knox” documentary, Rod Blackhurst,  was also in Perugia at this time.

During the appeal hearings, Producer Stephen Morse provided the first evidence of his criticisms of Pisa and the Daily Mail. He claims that citations to ‘fraudsters’ would be better than citing Nick Pisa and the Daily Mail:

pisz

Several days later, Morse confronted Nick Pisa in Perugia. While the details of this confrontation are not known, it is clear what Morse though of Pisa. His tweet uses the hash tag “#nickpisashitjournalist”; which reads “Nick Pisa Shit Journalist.” Morse writes the he confronted Pisa on the “lies” in the Daily Mail, which Pisa denied:

morse-pisa

A year later Morse repeated his claim that the Daily Mail and its reporters printed lies:

morse-daily-mail

In 2014, three years into working on the “Amanda Knox” documentary, Morse continued his criticism of the Daily Mail on his blog. Morse wrote that Knox was innocent, which he found out upon arriving in Perugia in 2011. Morse wrote of his desire to see Knox “free from the hatred that has already been lofted upon her for years.”

“In the narrative of Amanda Knox, Amanda has been portrayed as the bad guy, especially for people in the United Kingdom, who saw the trashy, headline-driven press in The Daily Mail, The Sun, and The Daily Mirror that target “working class” citizens of that former empire.” -Stephen Morse, 24 Feb 2014

In a now-deleted blog post, while in the middle of working on the film, Morse describes his desire for a rehabilitation of Knox’s image in the media:

“Amanda has responded with strength and intelligence to the people who have created hateful Facebook groups against her, like Perugia Vi Odia (Perugia Hates You), and it is my hope that one day her world will be free of the misplaced hatred that has already been lofted upon her for years.” -Stephen Morse, 24 Feb 2014

In recent reviews of the documentary, its clear Nick Pisa does not come across as sympathetic in the documentary. The Guardian writes that Nick Pisa becomes “a one-man symbol of how shameful that coverage became.” (Guardian, 15-Sep 2016). The Daily Beast writes “The filmmakers put much of the onus on tabloid reporters like Nick Pisa” (Daily Beast, 18-Sep 2016).

It leaves the question: did Nick Pisa know that this documentary was being produced by the person who confronted Pisa in Perugia in 2011 and accused Pisa and the Daily Mail of lying?

Netflix has attempted to distance Morse from the documentary, claiming the title “producer” was only honorary. But the film that will be broadcast across America on September 30th by all reports reflects the published views of producer Morse during the time he claims he was producing the “Amanda Knox” documentary.

Coincidence?

I think not!

 

Errors in Lifetime’s “Murder on Trial in Italy” about Amanda Knox

The movie provides a confused look at the case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. The flashbacks are difficult to connect. For an overview of the evidence in the case, visit the evidence page on The Murder of Meredith Kercher Wiki.

  1. Knox was NOT “tried twice” for the same crime; her original conviction from 2009 was affirmed in 2014 by the Florence appeals court. 
  2. Most of the dialogue is fictional.
  3. The relationship scenes with Meredith are not based on available evidence. Meredith did not like confrontation, despite what the film shows on the stairs. The only accurate scene is that Meredith did attend the classical concert with Knox and left half way through.
  4. Postal police did not show up looking for meredith; they were looking for Filomena, as they had that information from the cell phone. Meredith’s british phone was foreign-registered, and they did not have that registration data.
  5. Postal police did not drive right up to the house and stop; they took some time finding the house, as it was off a long driveway to a main road intersection.
  6. The cottage was not connected to other structures, as shown. Thus you don’t get a view of the 2nd floor window that was broken.  The Cottage
  7. Knox wouldn’t have to “go upstairs” after entering the house; the driveway entrance leads directly to their apartment. Knox also did not notice the broken window when she first came home as Hayden says; Knox showered, left, then came back with Sollectio before the broken window was allegedly found.
  8. The movie implies Knox didn’t take a shower but “ran back” to sollecito’s. Knox actually did take a shower in her bathroom, according to her testimony and stories.
  9. The layout of the cottage is wrong; it shows porch doors off the kitchen next to the entryway; in reality this is the location of the bathroom that Guede’s excrement was found in.
  10. The drops of blood were on the sink, bidet, light switch, and door frame.
  11. Knox did not “run back to” Sollecito’s after seeing this evidence; she took a shower, returned with a mop to Sollecitos, mopped the floor in Sollecito’s kitchen, and may have had breakfast with him before telling him what she saw at her apartment.
  12. Filomena’s bedroom was actually off the kitchen; not across the hall from Knox’s as shown in the movie.
  13. Knox did not come down to meredith’s door after it was broken; she never saw into the room. Knox and Sollecito remained in the kitchen.
  14. Meredith wasn’t in town when Knox moved in; she had gone back to visit her parents.
  15. Knox did not go to the chocolate festival with Sollecito; the festival occurred prior to Knox meeting Sollecito.
  16. Knox and Sollecito did not go on a picnic (as also mentioned by Nikki Battiste) .
  17. The film does not mention the other guys Knox hooked up with and/or brought home prior to Sollecito; thus Meredith’s comment “you’ve already got a boyfriend” would never have been said about Sollecito.
  18. The luminol prints were found when the police returned in December; not the same day the murder was discovered.
  19. Knox and Sollecito did not wander around the city after the murder was discovered; they were taken to the station.
  20. Knox and sollecito were not at the memorial for Meredith; they had been getting pizza. The memorial happened on the evening of the 5th.
  21. Knox was introduced to Patrick (and the job) by someone else.
  22. The bloody footprint on the bathmat wasn’t from a shoe, as shown; it was a bare foot print.
  23. The luminol was not used before Knox and Sollecito’s arrest; it was used several weeks after.
  24. The movie claims the luminol prints were all of the same smaller size; in reality one of the prints was measured and found to match Sollecito’s footprint measurements. 
  25. Nikki Battiste claims Knox didn’t mention at the police station that Meredith’s throat was cut; according to her trial testimony, Knox admitted she referenced Meredith’s throat being cut.
  26. Qunitavalle did not provide his statement until some time after Knox and Sollecito’s arrest. He was discovered by a reporter, who encouraged him to come forward.
  27. Qunitavalle did not testify Knox bought bleach; only that she headed to that section of the store.
  28. Sollecito and Knox were not walking down the street when called in on the 5th; they were having pizza, missing the memorial. Sollecito delayed going in to the station so they could finish dinner.
  29. The investigators did not “manhandle” Sollecito during his questioning.
  30. The reason Sollecito gives for retracting his support for Knox’s alibi is that police didn’t “give him a calendar” to know what day they were talking about (per “Honor Bound”).
    sollecito
  31. Knox was not by herself in the hallway when doing yoga/gymnastics; she was with a policeman.
  32. Knox was taken into the questioning room because she was providing the policeman with a list of names; not because Sollecito had retracted his support for her alibi as the movie shows.
  33. The police did not know about the text FROM patrick, as Knox had already deleted the incoming message. Her phone only contained an outgoing text TO patrick, but her sent folder did not have the name associated with the number. Police were questioning her about the text she sent, not the one she received.
  34. Mignini was not present during Knox’s initial questioning and statement. According to an interview with him, it was Knox that wanted to continue talking after her 1:45am statement, leading to the 5:45am statement.
  35. Her questioning on the night of the 5th was not for “13 hours” as Hayden says; Knox started talking to police at about 11:30pm and blamed patrick within about 2 hours, then signed her first statement at 1:45am. After that there was a break; she again made the statement leading up to her 5:45 am statement.
  36. Knox wasn’t immediately told she was under arrest after blaming Patrick; she didn’t understand this until later that day.
  37. It was not a finger print that led to identifying Guede; it was a partial palm print.
  38. The police did not wait to tell Knox the first HIV test may have been a false positive; Knox was told immediately the HIV test result could have been a false positive.
  39. The police did not request a list of Knox’s sex partners after the HIV test; she decided to make a list and write it in her diary after a prison official said she may want to think about who she caught it from.
    knoxhiv
  40. Guede did not say “Knox wasn’t involved;” he gave an alibi that he met Meredith for a date, and when he showed up for the date Knox wasn’t home. His alibi claimed he was in the bathroom when Meredith was murdered.
  41. Guede didn’t change this story substantially.
  42. Guede’s DNA was not “all over the bedroom;” the instances of Guede’s DNA were only the specific ones discussed- bra, sleeve of sweatshirt, on her body, and on the purse. 
  43. The blood on the bathroom tap was not mixed; the tap blood contained only Knox’s DNA. This blood was not on the tap on the previous day, per Knox’s own testimony. 
  44. Meredith’s DNA was on a scratch in the blade on the knife taken from Sollecitos, not the tip.
  45. The prison doctor did not ask Knox to make a list of her sex partners. 
  46. Knox did not wave and smile to the press; she waved and smiled to her family when she entered court and laughed with her lawyers.
  47. It wasn’t Deanna who said “she only lived there for two months; she barely knew you.” This is a statement Knox made:

    But in the end, I only knew her for one month, and more than anything, I am trying to think how to go forward with my own life. (Knox, Translated Trial Testimony, The Murder of Meredith Kercher Wiki)

  48. The dialog about the first phone call Knox makes to her mother on the 2nd is not what is recorded in the court testimony, though Knox does testify she didn’t remember this first phone call.
  49. Knox was not asked about Quintavalle’s testimony. She did not say anything about being in his story previously.
  50. The closing statement by Mignini is fictional and contains several errors that he wouldn’t have made.

The errors in Crime Time with Allison Hope Weiner

Crime Time with Allison Hope Wiener recently published a new video with guest Jim Clemente providing commentary on the Knox case. After their last show I pointed out many errors made by Clemente and offered to provide Crime Time and Wiener with research detailing the errors with citations to relevant documents. Wiener declined to take me up on my offer. Wiener and Clemente have produced yet another show full of errors. Below I detail some of the most blatant errors in their latest show.

Wiener started out the show by commenting on the Twitter conversations and feedback she received about her last show.

Allison: Most of [twitter] is completely not constructive, not intelligent, not based in facts. I just have to say most these tweets are just ad hominem attacks.

clemente personal attacksLike Jim Clemente’s, perhaps? Clemente provides multiple examples of ad hominem attacks, as seen in the graphic to the right. Wiener has thus far not condemned any of Clemente’s documented ad hominem attacks.

Clemente and Wiener get down to business spinning the Knox case to argue for her defense.

Allison: After holding [Knox] without any kind of preservation of her rights.

Knox was not being “held” during her questioning; she showed up unexpectedly at the station and started talking to police in the hallway (Knox, Waiting to be Heard, p107) , then moved into a room as Knox had been talking about possible people involved in the crime (Knox, p108).

Knox placed herself at the scene of the crime in her signed statements of 145am and 545 am (Knox, p118 & p122). The Italian supreme court ruled the first signed statement could not be used against her for the murder charge, thus actually upholding Knox’s rights as a witness: “Because there is one transcript which was declared inadmissible and the other admissible against others but not against Amanda. ” (Knox’s lawyer Dalla Vedova, Knox trial testimony)

Jim Clemente: The knife that Rudy Guede owned was a pocket knife with no hilt, and so when you stab somebody with it, his hand slipped down to the knife, and that’s how he cut it. We see that thousands and thousands of knife assault cases.

There is no evidence Guede was found with a pocket knife- it was Sollecito who had two pocket knifes confiscated from him and tested (Massei; Stefanoni court testimony).

Clemente must be referring to an incident where Guede was found in a kindergarten in Milan. Guede was found with a 40cm (16 in) kitchen knife he took from the kindergarten (The Borsini-Belardi Sentencing Report, P11; Massei, p45). The prosecution argues only one wound is compatible with a large kitchen knife; the wound on the neck that ultimately killed Meredith. The defense contends that a smaller penknife made all of the wounds. If you accept the defense’s argument, then Guede was NOT found with a knife that was compatible with the wounds. Clemente’s claim that the knife Guede was found with in the kindergarten is compatible with the wounds on Meredith is in conflict with Knox and Sollecito’s defense.

Jim: Nobody will answer the question how did Raffaele get two high-priced lawyers to travel to Germany to represent him before the Perugian cops got there. How did that happen? Who knew that he was there? Who would actually want him to be represented so that he wouldn’t talk to anybody, make any statements that didn’t coincide with the prosecutor’s case?

Clemente obviously doesn’t mean to be so blatantly wrong about the evidence to say that Sollecito ran to Germany, so we’ll set that one aside.  Guede (not Sollecito) was arrested in Germany on Nov 20th, but not extradited back to Italy until December 6th.  His arrest on the 20th was announced worldwide in the media.  The documentary “Is Amanda Knox Guilty?” had an interview with Guede’s lawyer where the lawyer describes why he went up to Germany to represent Guede. Clemente should do his research before engaging in such hyperbole about the case.

Jim (talking about the bra clasp): The DNA expert couldn’t find his DNA on it. She blew it up and blew it up and blew it up.

Clemente is confusing the defense arguments against the bra clasp with the defense arguments against Meredith’s DNA on the knife.  The bra clasp evidence is not LCN DNA (Massei).

Allison: Spare us all. We don’t really want to hear about how other people agree with that evidence.

As evidenced by this recent thread, Crime Time also doesn’t want to hear about the errors they publish on their own show.

Jim Clemente: People don’t understand the job of the defense attorney. The defense attorney is to help his own client, period. The fact that Raffaele is now separating defense from Amanda seems to be a strategy here.

Clemente seems to be arguing that defense attorneys will say anything to get their clients free. Justification for lying from a former FBI man? Really?

Jim Clemente (on what Knox was told during the questioning): Raffaele is testifying that you did it.

Clemente is wrong again. Knox was not told Sollecito “is testifying that you did it,” she was told  “‘he’s taken away your alibi'”(Knox, WTBH, p114).

Jim Clemente: People say that she was only questioned for two hours and they wrote, the interpreter came. Two hours is when she got, she signed this thing. But they waited 10 hours, or eight hours at least, before they called in the interpreter. They think “no its not in the file.” Amanda tells us she got there 1030 and left at 630. So there was a long time that went by. Anybody can write a different time on that damn statement. It doesn’t make it when it’s actually happen.

This is the most laughable claim of Clemente’s, that an interpreter wasn’t called for 8 hours. Knox doesn’t support Clemente’s claim: “The interpreter […] arrived at about 12:30 am” (Knox, WTBH, p113). None of the Knox advocates have stood by Clemente’s claim; Weiner also has declined to stand by Clemente’s statement.

Allison: And given the behavior in this case, they haven’t really proven themselves, the Italian police, or the Italian courts to be particularly trust worthy, so we can infer that most of this case is probably not trustworthy. If you see somebody lying in one segment of the case, and denying somebody’s rights in one segment of the case, what would stop them from changing the time.

Here, Weiner veers completely into conspiracy theory territory by alleging corruption of both the Italian police and courts… to justify an allegation of changing time on a document. This allegation of changing the time the interpreter was present Knox herself doesn’t even support.

Jim Clemente: People keep bringing up that Amanda Knox lied. Well if Amanda Knox lied about using marijuana, it’s because she didn’t want to admit doing something that’s a crime. That’s typical. And any time when a law enforcement officer, and experienced law enforcement officer does an interrogation like that they can expect those kinds of things.

Is a former FBI man actually JUSTIFYING lying to police during a murder investigation? Really? And did Clemente REALLY just say that if Knox lied to police “its because she didn’t want to admit doing something that’s a crime”?

Jim Clemente: It doesn’t mean she’s guilty of murder. If she lied, if she lied to get, if she wrote that, if she signed that “statement” against Lumumba to get out of that interrogation, then that was a self-preservation move.

Here, surprisingly, Clemente agrees with the courts; Knox’s statement against Lumumba was a self-preservation move to get out of her questioning with the Perugian police.

Amanda Knox’s “experts” disagree on nature of evidence

Knox’s three “experts” fundamentally disagree on the nature of the evidence against Knox. It seems that no stone will be left unturned as her supporters continue to blame everyone and everything for Knox’s woes.

Knox has had a number of “experts” come to her defense, including two former FBI agents and a DNA scientist. These three all argue for Knox’s innocence, despite having fundamentally different views on the nature of the evidence against Knox.

Greg Hampikian is the director of the Idaho Innocence Project. He penned a letter to the Italian courts questioning the DNA used to convict Knox. Though Hampikian had no formal role in Knox’s defense, he conducted multiple interviews in the US where it was advertised that he was in part responsible for Knox’s release. He also frequently informed people he ‘knew what happened.’ Hampikian believes the evidence was collected well, but the investigator used shakier evidence in the case against Knox. This is a quote from a CNN article that interviewed Hampikian:

GRIFFIN: Greg Hampikian is a forensic scientist and director of Idaho’s Innocence Project. He also was working with the Knox defense team. He says Italian investigators did a good job processing the crime scene, collected excellent evidence, but clung to shakier evidence that proved their theory, a classic error, says Hampikian

Steve Moore is a former FBI agent who has been one of Knox’s strongest advocates. His view on the evidence completely counters Dr. Hampikian’s assessment of the evidence. In written testimony to a subcommittee of the House of Representatives in congress, Moore charges that the evidence against Knox is fabricated:

In the Knox case, we had rooms full of tainted and fabricated evidence to argue.

Jim Clemente is a recent addition to the Knox camp. He has admitted to basing his judgment on looking at photos of the crime scene then talking to his buddy, Steve Moore. Oddly, though, for over a month now Jim Clemente has avoided saying whether he agrees with this buddy Moore regarding the evidence being fabricated. Clemente does believe that people (presumably officials in Italy) are lying about Knox’s involvement, but Clemente to this day hasn’t said he agrees with his buddy, Steve Moore.

 

The Amanda Knox trial information King 5 deliberately withheld from Seattle

Linda Byron co-produces “Amanda Knox: Her Life Now”

At the end of October, King 5 broadcast segments of an interview with Amanda Knox during their regular news reports. On November 5th, they ran a half hour special which was a mix of previously aired and un-aired footage. In each of these broadcasts, King 5 and their reporter Linda Byron frequently misreported on the case status and on the Italian court processes. In a follow-up email, a representative confirmed to me they made a deliberate decision to interpret the case in their own way! A copy of that email is in this post. Because King 5 deliberately decided to report on the Amanda Knox appeals in their own way, King 5 chose to withheld trial information from Seattle. The information that King 5 chose to withhold significantly alters the public’s perception on the case and on the fairness of the Italian court proceedings against Amanda Knox.

King 5 chose to report on the case as a “retrial”, which contradicts Knox’s own attorneys. Since the Supreme Court annulled the previous appellate court the case was sent back to the appellate level. The Florence appeals court is re-hearing the appeal of the original conviction.  This case status is confirmed in reporting from CNN.

Two of Knox’s attorneys, her primary lawyer in Italy and US lawyer Ted Simon, confirm the case is now at the appeals level.  Knox’s US attorney Ted Simon reiterated on CNN’s Shepard Smith show that the Italian Supreme Court sent the case back to the appellate level:

“The supreme court issued a revision, and they sent it back to a new appellate jury”
(Ted Simon, CNN, 11/6/2013)

Knox’s Italian lawyer reported to the Toronto Sun in April 2013 that double jeopardy does not apply, since this is a continuation of the same case:

Dalla Vedova said [its] not be a new case but rather a continuation of the same case on appeal.
(Toronto Sun, 3/29/13)

Since April 2013 we have known the case is back at the appeals level to rehear Knox and Sollecito’s appeals for the original conviction of murder. This is not new information. The US news media refuses to tell their audiences the truth.

Continue reading

On anniversary of Kercher murder, press still misleads in reporting

download (1)Meredith Kercher, a student on the Erasumus study abroad program, was killed in Perugia on the night of November 1st, 2007. One of her roommates was charged with participating in the murder: US student Amanda Knox, was also in Perguia studying, but not as a part of a program.  On the six year anniversary of the murder you would expect that the media would accurately report on the developments in the trials of those who are accused. However, this year all of the major US news organizations failed to provide balanced reporting on the anniversary of Meredith’s murder.

Apparently, there is no shame in failing to provide accurate reporting in a murder case.

The worst offender is King 5 Seattle reporter Linda Byron, who simply pushes the entire Knox defense case in her reporting. Her reports are discussed in separate articles on this site.

First- the accurate details of the most recent DNA test results:

Results of the most recent DNA test were publicized October 31. This test was on previously untested DNA, and the results are reported to be Amanda Knox’s DNA.

Tests in the first trial on different DNA on the knife found Amanda Knox’s DNA along with DNA belonging to the victim, Meredith Kercher. The latest DNA results are in addition to the prior DNA results.

Locations of DNA results on knife

The US media (and some in the UK) all lead  their reporting with sensationalist headlines that misstated the findings. All of the headlines are some form of “No victim DNA on knife.” You can see their headlines in the image below.

By using this language the reports create the perception that the current test overrides ALL of the prior test results, and that there absolutely is NO victim DNA on the knife.

kniednaheadlines

Some of them do report on the past DNA findings, however those findings are not elevated to the same level of certainty/conclusiveness as the current test results. When mentioned, the past test results are dismissed by referring to them only as a prosecution’s argument. The prior test results are NOT discussed as scientific test result.

Fox News: Language used makes a reader believe that the new test confirms no victim DNA on the knife. Later in the article they included a comment that the “prosecution is expected to argue” that past DNA testing results are still valid.

ABC: To ABC, the past DNA tests don’t exist at all– they don’t include mention of those results in their latest report. They do report that the current test results are on a “spot”.

Huffington post: Reports that “new tests” have revealed Knox DNA, but not victim DNA.  Huffington post’s is one of the worst reports as they deliberately state that the current test results call into question the past test results on DIFFERENT DNA: “Initial tests appeared to show both Kercher and Knox’s DNA on the knife, and it became an important part of the first trial, in which Knox and Sollecito were convicted. However, the new reports raise the question of whether the knife was actually used in the crime.”

The guardian: does not discuss past tests until last paragraph of report, and ends the entire article with “Those findings were ruled unreliable in the first appeal, which overturned the convictions.” This leaves a reader the perception that the past findings are completely invalid. However, the past findings were only disputed, not invalidated.

Sky News: The Sky News report is also one of the worst; the current results are spoken of as overall results of testing on the knife. tTe past DNA results are only part of a “prosecution argument”, one which the defense has “long rejected” and which are incompatible with the current test results (as mis-reported by Sky News). By initially discussing the defense dismissal of past DNA test results before discussing the past DNA test results as a prosecution argument Sky news undermines the past test results:

“The finding is seen as a boost to Knox’s defence team, which has long rejected the prosecutors’ theory that the knife was used to kill Kercher. However, prosecutors are expected to argue that a separate trace on the knife that had been tested previously indicate the presence of Kercher’s DNA.”

dailymail knife

Daily Mail: (Honorable mention) Though the Daily Mail is usually known for its overblown, sensationalist headlines, this time they’re more accurate then the mainstream media (though they  do wrongly state the knife was taken from the apartment meredith was killed in instead of Sollecito’s):

Daily Mail also wrongly claims the past DNA results were dismissed.

Appealing a conviction for murder

In addition, the papers almost entirely fail on accurately discussing the current process in Italy;  Amanda Knox is currently appealing her conviction for murder. The acquittal of Knox & Sollecito does not exist; it was strongly annulled by the Supreme Court of italy. Amanda Knox was never “found innocent.” (King 5 Seattle has confirmed to me that they know Knox is appealing her conviction).

The Guardian is the only report that accurately calls the current process an appeals. (However, their accuracy is undermined by choosing to end the article with a finding from the annulled acquittal).

ABC news: does not use the word “appeal” at all. Only reports on “the trial.”

HuffingtonPost: Says the acquittal was overturned, but calls current process a “retrial.”

Sky News : Says the acquittal was overturned, but calls current process a “retrial.”

Fox News: Says the acquittal was overturned, but calls current process a “retrial.”

On the anniversary of the murder of Meredith Kercher, doesn’t she deserve better?