Friday, June 28, 2013

Amanda Knox journalist Andrea Vogt threatens legal action to silence her critics

Andrea Vogt
Journalist Andrea Vogt is not a fan of my work. In fact she has repeatedly tried to have my articles removed from the internet. Vogt’s determination to silence a citizen journalist leaves me to wonder what she’s afraid of. Vogt makes little attempt to disprove the claims in my articles; instead it appears she would just like me to go away.

Vogt is an American journalist living in Italy that reports on the Meredith Kercher murder case on her blog and other news outlets. I believe Vogt’s articles work to provide the public with the prosecution’s view of the case, while vilifying the defendants. Vogt’s articles are not only biased, they are often filled with misinformation. I have written several articles highlighting Vogt’s work that have been published on various citizen journalist websites. I have also discussed her reporting in my book “Finding Justice in Perugia.”

Vogt knows that citizen journalist sites do not generally have a horse in the race so the quickest solution for these sites is to simply remove articles that receive complaints. So Vogt sends emails to these sites threatening legal action if the content is not removed. Vogt has also claimed in these emails to have a legal team building a defamation case against me. It’s reasonable to conclude that Vogt’s attorneys would be in contact with the websites involved If Vogt actually had a legal team working on a defamation case. Vogt’s direct contact suggests that she is making baseless threats. 

Vogt’s complaints have been based mostly on my personal opinions of her. Surprisingly she has said nothing to deny her association with anti-Amanda Knox websites. Her strongest objections have centered in on my claim that she is working closely with Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini. I find it odd that Vogt seems to want to distance herself from Mignini, while at the same time, writing complimentary articles about him. If she admires Mignini and the work he does, why not just come out and say so? It’s obvious to me that she’s working closely with Mignini because her recent blog posts include details that could only have come directly from Mignini himself. Vogt was the only journalist to have a copy of the Oggi lawsuit (discussed in the article below) before it was available anywhere else, leaving Mignini as the only realistic source. 

Vogt has absolutely no case against me because my articles are based on facts. After receiving the complaint from Vogt, Ground Report (one of the sites Vogt contacted) removed my article briefly so that it could be reviewed. After legal review, it was found to be non-libelous and factually sound. I was advised to edit the article to remove personal opinions such as calling Vogt a “yellow journalist” if I did not prefer to add “in my opinon” or “I believe” to clarify that the descriptions were my personal opinion. The edited version is now published on Ground Report and also posted below.  

The truth is that Vogt is the one spreading defamatory information. In her emails, Vogt describes me as “a hired gun paid to place these kinds of libelous smears in the media.” This is absolutely false. I am not paid for my advocacy efforts.

My articles prove that Vogt has repeatedly used anti-Amanda Knox websites as sources for her articles. Peggy Ganong, Vogt’s friend that runs the anti-Knox hate website Perugia Murder File, often claims that I am paid for my efforts.  Did Vogt rely once again on Ganong’s website as a source for information when making that false claim against me? Ganong has written publicly about her friendship with Vogt, despite the fact that Vogt has denied that they are friends.

Peggy Ganong discusses her friendship with Andrea Vogt

Much like Vogt, Ganong and her friends have often attempted to silence those that disagree with them. When my recent articles on Vogt’s reporting were first posted, Ganong’s friends openly discussed their efforts to have my articles removed from the internet.

I have made no attempt to silence Andrea Vogt or anyone else. I believe we all have the right to free speech. I have the right to inform the public that I believe Andrea Vogt is being dishonest to her readers by presenting herself as an objective journalist while reporting on the Amanda Knox case. I have shown proof that Vogt views anti-Knox websites as credible sources. I have also detailed Vogt’s vilification of Amanda Knox and I have highlighted her praise of Guiliano Mignini. Readers can review the article below and decide for themselves if Andrea Vogt should be viewed as an objective journalist.

Amanda Knox reporter Andrea Vogt‭ ‬continues to go to bat for prosecutor‭ ‬Giuliano Mignini 

Originally posted on Ground Report

In 2011, I wrote an article entitled: Amanda Knox and the Architects of the Foxy Knoxy Myth,” that discussed a trio of journalists: Nick Pisa, Barbie Nadeau and Andrea Vogt. All three have often reported in favor of Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor that secured the wrongful convictions of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in 2009, for the murder of Meredith Kercher in November 2007.

Knox and Sollecito were acquitted on appeal in October of 2011. In March of this year, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the acquittals, sending the case back to the appellate level to review currently unknown aspects of the case. Knox and Sollecito remain free as the process continues.

Nick Pisa and Barbie Nadeau have since toned down their reports about the case, leaving Andrea Vogt to pick up the slack. It appears to me that Vogt has now become Giuliano Mignini’s designated blogger. When not writing about Knox, Vogt has been hard at work, doing her best to polish Mignini’s tarnished reputation. In a recent blog post, Vogt suggested that Mignini was winning a number of important victories in the Monster of Florence case. The case is unrelated to the Knox case but is often highlighted by Knox’s supporters to show Mignini’s history of misconduct. Vogt attempted to give the impression that Mignini would soon be vindicated when she blogged: “There was a major development in that case earlier this week, when a separate section of the Cassation court ruled that the decades-old Narducci case, which Mignini had been ridiculed for pursuing, be sensationally re-opened.”

The Monster of Florence case involves a series of murders that occurred in Italy during the 1970s and 80s. Couples, who were parked in remote areas presumably to have sex, were shot and the bodies of the female victims were mutilated. Crime experts believed that the perpetrator was a Jack the Ripper type killer. Mignini got involved in the Monster of Florence case while investigating the death of Dr. Francesco Narducci, whose body was found in a lake near Perugia.

Narducci’s death appeared to be a suicide. There was no evidence to suggest that Narducci’s death had any relation at all to the Monster of Florence murders. Oddly, in 2001, based on nothing other than his imagination, Mignini proclaimed that Narducci’s death was an integral part of the Monster of Florence mystery.
Giuliano Mignini
Mignini theorized that Narducci was part of an underground satanic cult that harvested female body parts for its rituals. Mignini suggested that Narducci somehow became a security risk to the cult, so the members decided to kill him and throw him in a lake to make it look like an accident or suicide.
Mignini then suggested that the cult secretly swapped Narducci’s body with the body of someone who had drowned, so the coroner would report death by drowning. Mignini ordered that the body be exhumed to prove his theory. When the coffin was opened to reveal the body of Narducci, Mignini made another wild claim suggesting the body must have been swapped again by the cult.

Mignini created an elaborate conspiracy involving 20 people who made up a secret society responsible for the Monster of Florence murders. Mignini’s double body swapping satanic cult ritualistic murder fantasy led to the indictment the 20 people, which included government officials and law enforcement officers, all charged with the concealment of Narducci’s murder.

The case against the 20 defendants was thrown out of court because there was absolutely no evidence to support Mignini’s preposterous claims. Mignini’s fantasy threatened to destroy the lives of 20 innocent people. Thankfully his behavior did not go unnoticed, leading to charges against him for conducting illegal investigations while working on the case.

The outcome of the Narducci case was a major blow to Mignini’s reputation so it would not be shocking for him to attempt to repair the damage by leaking information to willing reporters in an attempt to save face. According to credible sources in Italy (that prefer to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation by Mignini), Vogt’s claim that the Narducci case has been “sensationally re-opened” is just as ridiculous as Mignini’s body swap story.

The truth is the Italian Supreme Court closed the Narducci case forever. The court only ordered a retrial for calunnia (defamation) for one lawyer involved in the case.

This lawyer was at the core of the Narducci case providing counsel for the Narducci family. Mignini decided to dream up charges on him based on the fact that he was an amateur scuba diver. Mignini made yet another wild claim, suggesting the lawyer hid the body of Narducci on the bottom of the lake, and that was why he was representing the family as a lawyer, because he was involved in the case.

Mignini then charged the attorney with calunnia (defamation) for defending himself in court by claiming that Mignini made up the entire story. These charges would have been left to expire on their own but the lawyer wanted his name officially cleared. He did not want the charges to expire unanswered.

So the only lawsuit that is still pending in the Narducci case pertains to an attorney facing trial (by his own request) for calling Mignini a liar, that’s it. Yet Vogt, being a loyal cheerleader for Mignini, has repeatedly written that the Narducci case has been re-opened, suggesting that Mignini is somehow being vindicated.

In another blog post, Vogt supports Mignini again, reporting that he filed a lawsuit against the Italian magazine Oggi for simply reporting on Knox’s book “Waiting to Be Heard.” Vogt disputes Oggi’s allegations against Mignini in this blog excerpt: “contested are phrases reported by Oggi and attributed to Knox’s memoir claiming he (Mignini) had a bizarre past that included a conviction on abuse of office charges that was pending appeal, when in fact he was fully and definitively acquitted of those charges in 2011 by a Florence court.”

The truth is Giuliano Mignini was convicted in a Florence court for conducting illegal investigations in connection with the Narducci case. The court convicted Mignini for the following:

1.) Illegally investigating journalists who had criticized him with the “intent to harass or deter them from pursuing their legitimate profession.” Specifically the court found that Mignini had targeted Italian Journalists Vincenzo Tessandori, Gennaro De Stefano, and Roberto Fiasconaro, because they had criticized his investigations into the death of Narducci.

2.) Ordering an illegal investigation of the Florentine ex-police chief Giuseppe De Donno.

3.) Ordering illegal investigations of two officials of the Viminale, the Ministry of the Interior in Rome, including an illegal investigation of the Roberto Sgalla, ex-director of the office of external affairs.

These investigations were illegal because they involved illegal wiretaps (wiretaps without judicial approval) and Mignini illegally created investigative files for the targets outside of normal judicial procedures and approvals. These were illegal freelance investigations, the court determined, designed to “harass and intimidate” people who had criticized him for his conduct in the Narducci investigation.

The Florence court later canceled Mignini’s conviction, due to the fact that one of the people Mignini was convicted of abusing was a prosecutor from Florence, so it was ruled that the case should not have been tried there. The Florence court then sent the case to the prosecution office in Turin for retrial. Unfortunately the decision to move the trial venue caused the next available hearing date to fall after the expiration date of the charges, so the case will most likely be dropped. At that point, the case can be started all over again, should the Turin prosecution decide to do so. Turin will likely pursue the case against Mignini, but like many cases in Italy, reaching a final decision will take years.  There is a possibility that Mignini might end up getting off on a technicality but the case was certainly not closed forever as Vogt reports.

It is not clear why Vogt has taken an interest in propping up Giuliano Mignini. I do know that she wasted no time choosing sides in this case. I have observed her biased reporting dating back to 2008, when she developed what I would call an intimate relationship with anti-Knox bloggers, interviewing them as objective sources without disclosing that they had been blogging under fake names about their belief in Knox’s guilt long before she ever even had a trial. These bloggers gather on an Amanda Knox hate forum called Perugia Murder File (PMF), a website owned and operated by Seattle resident Peggy Ganong.

I wrote about the anti-Knox group in my book “Finding Justice in Perugia.” You can read the chapter detailing their activities here. Author Nina Burleigh reported on the anti-Knox group in an article entitled: “The Amanda Knox Haters Society: How They Learned to Hate Me Too,” and author Douglas Preston has also written about the group in his recent Amazon Single “Trial By Fury: Internet Savagery and the Amanda Knox Case.”

Vogt’s propensity for quoting anti-Knox bloggers as legitimate sources had not been confined to isolated incidents. Rather, she has kept up this pattern consistently for years. Very early in the case, Vogt quoted a “molecular biologist” named “Laura Wray,” under the guise the she was an objective source, when in fact she had been blogging on Amanda Knox hate sites as early as 2008. It was also later discovered that Wray had lied about her credentials.

Wray was not the first anti-Knox blogger Vogt would quote as an objective source. In January of 2009, before Knox had even been tried for murder, Vogt wrote an article for the Italian publication Panorama entitled “Meredith’s Murder Divides Seattle.” In the article she quoted a man named Randy Jackson, who is now a moderator of PMF. Vogt quoted Jackson as if he was an objective source without revealing that he had been blogging about his belief in Knox’s guilt for some time. That same article quoted a woman named Kris Arneson who had also been blogging on Amanda Knox hate sites quite frequently. Again, this fact was not revealed. One would assume an objective journalist would give some sort of disclosure in all these instances, but Andrea Vogt never did any such thing. The fact that Vogt often links to Ganong’s anti-Knox hate site as a credible source has raised serious questions about her honesty and closeness to that group.

In recent months I believe that Vogt’s writing has gone to new heights in an attempt to vilify Amanda Knox. In the same blog post discussing Mignini’s lawsuit against Oggi, Vogt includes an add on post entitled: “fact-check - Waiting to Be Heard,” where she makes a very weak attempt to show discrepancies between Knox’s book and letters Knox wrote to her attorneys in 2007. Vogt should be embarrassed that she did not scrap the fact-check idea when her comparisons provided nothing of value. Here is an excerpt from Vogt’s blog:

I’m also posting two letters from my case files that Amanda Knox wrote to her lawyers from jail because they reveal some noteworthy discrepancies with her memoir.

A few obvious examples: In the letter 1, Knox says she looked through the keyhole of Meredith’s locked door and could see her bed, with Meredith’s purse on it.  In Chapter 6 of her memoir she said she tried to look through the keyhole, but saw nothing.

In the letter she describes the “bathmat shuffle” in which she scooted on the bathmat with the bloody footprint into her room, then brought it back. This is not referenced in the memoir.

In the letter, she says she and Raffaele were in the kitchen when Meredith’s door was broken down, but her description in chapter six of memoir makes no reference to being in the kitchen.

She tells her lawyers the police “gave me time” to write a statement, while in chapter 11 of her memoir she says the police officer said “you’d better write fast.”

When looking at Vogt’s “discrepancies” above, it is clear that most pertain to details not included in Amanda’s book rather than contradictory statements. None of Vogt’s examples show any conflicts in Knox’s writing. This is glaringly obvious in Vogt’s first example. When Knox discusses looking through the keyhole in her book, she was making the point that she did not see Meredith. The other items were of no importance so it is no surprise to see these details omitted from the book.

Vogt should be well aware of the fact that Knox’s book was edited by her publisher. I have been told that her rough draft was far too long (which is not out of the ordinary) and needed to be condensed. Including every possible detail of every hour of everyday is simply not possible, but I suppose Vogt would like to blame Knox for the edits of her publisher anyway.

Vogt’s only attempt to show a discrepancy fails miserably when she tries to make an issue of Knox stating the police “gave me time” in comparison to her book where she stated the police officer said “you’d better write fast.” Knox gives more detailed descriptions in her book than she did in her letters to her attorneys. Vogt’s attempts to nit-pick every word looking for minor detail changes looks desperate on her part.

In her latest article entitled “Dismal sales of Perugia memoir leave Amanda Knox in a fix,” Vogt appears to be giddy that Knox’s book “Waiting to Be Heard” has not sold 750,000 copies. While it is true that HarperCollins bid very high for the rights to Knox’s memoir (leading them to set the bar too high for a book of this nature), that is no fault of the author. The first run of “Waiting to Be Heard” will most likely top off around 100,000 copies including hard copy and e-book. Vogt knows full well that these figures are far from dismal. Vogt would be hard pressed to find a first time author that was disappointed to hit number one on the NY Times best seller list with the sales volume Knox has achieved. The paperback edition will bring additional sales as well.

Sadly Vogt’s desperate attempt to label Knox a failure has caused her to miss the mark completely. The truth is Knox does not view her book as a reason to celebrate and did not write the book to win awards or to get her name on the top of a best sellers list. Knox has suffered greatly and has every right to tell her side of the story. The book has been her chance to set the record straight in her own words.

I believe that Vogt is being dishonest to her readers by presenting herself as an objective journalist while reporting on the Amanda Knox case. Journalists must be held at a higher standard. We need integrity from those who claim to be journalists.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Amanda Knox: Prosecutor sues over her book

 By Candace Dempsey, author of Murder in Italy, Amanda Knox, Meredith Kercher and the Murder Trial that Shocked the World. 

Amanda Knox’s litigious prosecutor Giuliano Mignini plans to sue over her hot-selling prison memoir, Waiting to be Heard,  even though he hasn’t read it yet.

For Mignini, it was enough to encounter “My 24,248 hours of nightmare,” a review of the book in Oggi, Italy’s most popular news magazine (see English translation by clicking link below).

Bizarrely, the prosecutor infamous for threatening journalists in the Monster of Florence and Knox cases, claims he’s “always reluctant to take these measures.” He calls the few phrases quoted in Oggi ”beyond the pale, “libelous and just plain false.”

Click here to continue reading

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Greed Continues to Fuel Patrick Lumumba's Hatred Toward Amanda Knox

On Tuesday, April 30, the long awaited book “Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir,” written by Amanda Knox, will hit bookshelves across America. Knox’s first interview, conducted by Diane Sawyer of ABC News, will air on the evening of the book’s release.

In a recent interview with John Follain of the Sunday Times,  Patrick Lumumba stated that Amanda Knox’s book deal was dirty money. Like Knox, Lumumba was falsely accused of murdering Meredith Kercher by Perugian authorities in late 2007. The difference being that Knox spent nearly 4 years in prison before being exonerated. Lumumba’s ordeal with police was cleared up within 2 weeks.

Meredith Kercher was murdered in Perugia Italy, November 1st, 2007. Kercher was found stabbed to death in her bedroom, in a cottage she shared with Amanda Knox and two other roommates.

In an extreme rush to judgment, the police used faulty information to arrest three innocent people: Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and Patrick Lumumba. Headlines around the world would deliver the shocking news that Kercher was murdered by this trio in a satanic ritualistic group sex game gone wrong.

Knox was first to enter the cottage the morning after the murder when returning home from spending the night at her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment. Knox became concerned because the front door was left opened and a small amount of blood could be seen in the bathroom. She left the cottage, returning with Sollecito to further investigate what she had seen. After discovering a broken window, the police were called, leading to the discovery of Kercher’s body behind her locked bedroom door. Knox and Sollecito instantly drew the attention of police. Both endured many hours of questioning in the days leading up to an aggressive late night interrogation that would produce unreliable results.

Things went seriously wrong in the investigation when a text message on Knox's phone was taken out of context. The text from Knox to Lumumba (a local bar owner Knox worked for), "see you later" was taken literally by investigators. In the US, this phrase, in the context that it was written, simply means goodbye. The police told Knox the text meant that she planned on meeting Lumumba on the night of the murder. The police also left out the second part of the message, "good night."  When you put the phrase together, it explains the meaning even more clearly. Knox had no intention of meeting Lumumba that night. Lumumba had told her she was not needed at work and Knox was simply saying goodbye in response.

The text gave the police a name. Once they had Lumumba in their sights, interrogators turned up the pressure on Knox to implicate him. Knox was told to imagine how the murder might have occurred. When Knox could not provide the information requested, she was physically and mentally abused.

Amanda stated in court testimony that she was repeatedly slapped on the back of her head and called a stupid liar. Interrogators lied to Knox, telling her they had proof that she was at the crime scene at the time of the murder, and if she did not do as she was told, she would end up in prison for 30 years, never to see her family again.

This abuse went on for hours until Knox was finally broken. Suffering from extreme exhaustion, after a long and grueling interrogation, the twenty-year-old college student gave in to her interrogators demands by describing an imaginary dream or vision. In this vision, she was in the kitchen of the cottage covering her ears to block out screams, while Lumumba was in Meredith's bedroom.

Shortly after the interrogation ended, Knox recanted her statements stating  that she was under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion. Knox’s retraction had no influence on the police; they rushed out to arrest Lumumba anyway.

Patrick Lumumba

The ordeal began for Lumumba and his family in the early morning hours of November 6, 2007, when he and his wife Aleksandra were shocked out of bed by the doorbell ringing, followed by up to twenty police officers barging through their door. Lumumba was forcefully taken from his home as his wife tried to console their screaming son Davide. Lumumba would later recall the event during interviews:

“They were wearing normal clothes and carrying guns, I thought it must be some sort of armed gang about to kill me. I was terrified.”

“They hit me over the head and yelled ‘dirty black’. Then they put handcuffs on me and shoved me out of the door, as Aleksandra pulled Davide away, screaming.”

The police were well prepared when they came for Lumumba, bringing a fleet of seven squad cars to his home in order to give him a safe escort back to the police station. When Lumumba arrived at the station, much like Knox, he was subjected to a long grueling interrogation.

Lumumba revealed this information in an interview with the Daily Mail and later confirmed the details with Katie Crouch from

“I was questioned by five men and women, some of whom punched and kicked me. They forced me on my knees against the wall and said I should be in America where I would be given the electric chair for my crime. All they kept saying was, ‘You did it, you did it.’”

“I didn't know what I’d ‘done’. I was scared and humiliated. Then, after a couple of hours one of them suggested they show me a picture of ‘the dead girl’ to get me to confess."

“It might sound naive, but it was only then that I made the connection between Meredith's death and my arrest. Stunned, I said, You think I killed Meredith?”

Lumumba spent two weeks in prison before being released because he had a rock solid alibi. Lumumba repeatedly told police that he was at his bar “Le Chic” at the time of the murder. Thankfully for him, a Swiss professor who had spent the evening in question at Le Chic talking to Lumumba came forward to confirm Lumumba’s whereabouts. Without this alibi, Lumumba could have easily found himself in a far more terrifying situation.

Shortly before Lumumba’s release, DNA evidence taken from the crime scene led investigators to another suspect named Rudy Guede. Unsurprisingly, by the time the police came looking for Guede, he had already fled to Germany. He was stopped in Germany trying to board a train without a ticket and was immediately extradited back to Italy.

Rudy Guede

The truth is Guede’s known history of burglaries in Perugia should have led the authorities to him much sooner, causing experts like Dr. Mark Waterbury and Forensics Engineer Ron Hendry to question why it took so long to bring him in. Was Guede a police informant as suggested by Waterbury? Did they have no choice other than to bring in Guede when the case against Lumumba fell apart?  

We may never find out the truth about the relationship between the police and Rudy Guede, but one thing is clear, Patrick Lumumba is fortunate to have had a solid alibi on the night of the murder. Chances are, if he had been alone that night, instead of working at his bar where someone could verify his presence, he would have likely spent many years in prison waiting for vindication.

After Lumumba’s release and Guede’s arrest, the prosecution should have admitted that all credible evidence pointed right at Guede, no one else, just him. Knox and Sollecito had absolutely nothing to do with Kercher’s murder. There was no evidence at all to suggest that Meredith was killed by a trio of attackers during a satanic ritualistic group sex game gone wrong as originally alleged.

Unfortunately, actual facts did not matter to the prosecution. Statements had already been made to the press that the crime had been solved. In order to save face, the prosecution simply removed Lumumba from their theory, plugged in Guede, and pressed forward with their "revised" trio of attackers.

Lumumba went on to sue the police for his wrongful imprisonment seeking 516,000 Euros (approx. $700,000) in damages, and also filed a lawsuit against Amanda Knox for naming him during her interrogation. You would think that Lumumba’s experience with the police would give him an understanding as to why Knox gave in to the demands of her interrogators but this was not the case.

There is little doubt that Lumumba was heavily influenced by hatred, along with the possibility of monetary gain, due to the suffering he endured. In order to go after Knox, Lumumba toned down his initial accusations made against the police, retracting his claims that he had been beaten and called a dirty black. He obviously could not stick with his story that he was horribly mistreated by the police if he expected to win a lawsuit against Knox because his past claims would further support Knox’s defense argument that her statements were coerced. Lumumba made his hatred for Knox well known when making these vindictive comments shortly after his release:

“She was angry I was firing her and wanted revenge," he said. "By the end, she hated me. But I don't even think she's evil. To be evil you have to have a soul. Amanda doesn't. She's empty; dead inside. She's the ultimate actress, able to switch her emotions on and off in an instant. I don't believe a word she says. Everything that comes out of her mouth is a lie. But those lies have stained me forever.”

Patrick Lumumba Photographed by Joseph Bishop

Lumumba would work diligently to demonize Knox every time he had the opportunity. Lumumba was first to make the claim that Knox was jealous of Kercher. His claims were obviously fabricated because he barely knew Knox. Lumumba had never visited Knox’s home and had rarely interacted with Knox and Kercher at anytime outside of his bar, yet we are expected to believe that he somehow knew that tensions were high at the cottage and that Knox had jealousy issues.

Lumumba also made the false claim that he fired Knox for flirting with customers. This claim helped the prosecution to put Knox in a bad light. The truth is that Lumumba never fired Knox. She was still waiting tables and handing out flyers for his bar on a part time basis on the days leading up to the murder. We know that Lumumba texted Knox on the night of the murder to let her know that she was not needed at work. Why would this text be necessary if Lumumba had already fired her? 

Lumumba’s lawsuit would prove to be extremely damaging to Knox as it most certainly influenced the murder trial. In Italy, civil trials against defendants run concurrently with their criminal trials, meaning both cases are heard by the same judge and jury. Even though the Italian Supreme Court ruled that the information acquired during Knox’s interrogation was inadmissible in the murder trial (because Knox did not have an attorney present),  the jury heard the damaging erroneous details anyway, due solely to Lumumba’s lawsuit against Knox.

Lumumba’s claims were a gift for the prosecution and they did not hesitate to take every negative detail about Knox and run with it. If the civil lawsuit had not been filed, the court would not have heard anything about the coerced statements obtained from Knox during her illegal interrogation. Lumumba’s fabricated claims about Knox (most importantly the false claim that Knox was jealous of Kercher), would have had no bearing on the case, and Lumumba's attorney, Carlo Pacelli, would have never had the opportunity to viciously attack Knox as he did at trial.

Carlo Pacelli

Pacelli described Knox to the court as a diabolical she-devil, telling the jury that Knox was an actress crying crocodile tears. “Knox is Quite the opposite of sweet, she has a split personality, fresh-faced, the daughter everyone would like, Saint Maria Goretti, and then with her histrionic side she is an impostor, satanic, diabolic,” Pacelli said to the jury. Pacelli’s vile attack on Knox was not only heard in the courtroom. His hate filled rants were scooped up by the media, furthering the damage caused by Lumumba’s civil lawsuit.

The prosecution’s case against Knox and Sollecito was extremely weak. Was it the civil trial that tipped the scales? Were the coerced statements showing Knox implicating an innocent man, along with the vicious attacks on Knox’s character made by Lumumba and Pacelli, enough to sway the jury to believe in guilt?

On December 4, 2009, Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito were wrongfully convicted for the murder of Meredith Kercher and sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively. Knox was also convicted for Calunnia (a crime similar to defamation that is not recognized in the USA), and given an extra year in prison for naming Lumumba during her interrogation.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

On October 3, 2011, Amanda and Raffaele were declared innocent of murder on appeal and were released from prison. The appeals court upheld Knox’s Calunnia conviction but disagreed with the first court’s reasoning that Knox named Lumumba in an attempt to divert attention away from her involvement in the murder. The appeals court suggested that Knox named Lumumba due to the pressure of the interrogation, concluding that she was merely looking for a way to end the stressful situation she was in.

Lumumba has continued to defame Knox after her release. In October of 2011, Lumumba repeated the lie that Amanda has never shown any concern for his plight and he repeated that he believes Amanda was responsible for Meredith's death. Lumumba’s claims are completely false. Knox gave this statement in court on December 10, 2010:

"Patrick? I don't see you. But I'm sorry. I'm sorry because I didn't mean to do wrong to do you. I was very naïve and not courageous at all; I should have been able to withstand the pressures that caused me to do harm to you. I didn't mean to contribute to what you have suffered. You know what it means to have unjust accusations imposed on your skin. You didn't deserve what you experienced and I hope you will be able to find peace."

The truth is Amanda did not owe Lumumba an apology. She offered those words out of the kindness of her heart. Knox, Sollecito, and Lumumba were all wronged by the authorities. It is those that were in charge of the investigation that owe all three an apology.

No one can say for sure if Lumumba’s lust for money led to the wrongful convictions of Knox and Sollecito, but it is clear that Lumumba’s behavior has been reprehensible. He knows firsthand how the system in Perugia works. He was taken out of his home in the middle of the night and beaten by the same police force that obtained coerced statements from Knox. Lumumba has chosen to distort the truth about his suffering at the hands of police, while demonizing an innocent woman, all in the pursuit of money.

Unfortunately this case continues to drag on. The Italian Supreme Court recently overturned the appellate level decision exonerating Knox and Sollecito of murder, sending the case back for further review. The court finalized Knox’s Calunnia conviction, reserving the right to review the decision again if the appeal effects the charge. In other words, nothing is final.

The new trial will be heard in Florence, and regardless of the outcome, believe it or not, that decision will be appealed as well. The case will most likely not be finalized for at least another 3 years, giving countless opportunities for Patrick Lumumba to continue his hate campaign against Amanda Knox.

Please visit to learn more about this case.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Judge That Declared Amanda Knox Innocent Speaks Out

Translation by Teddy from the Injustice Anywhere Forum

Claudio Pratillo Hellmann is a judge in retirement. Not just any judge: on 3rd October 2009 (sic) he had read out the verdict (annulled the day before yesterday by the Supreme Court) in which Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were acquitted for not having committed the murder of Meredith Kercher. At the time Pratillo was the president of the Appeal Court of Assizes of Perugia, called to decide upon the brutal crime against the English student found dead 2nd November 2007. To appeal were the defendants, convicted in the first trial to 25 and 26 years of imprisonment. Last Monday, in going over the case in the Supreme Court, to undo the acquittal decided by the Appeal Court, the General Prosecutor Luigi Riello used strong words: “The Judge that took this decision lost his way”, that acquittal verdict “is a mass of violations of law and of logic”.

Well, here is what the Judge who allegedly lost his way thinks: “The Prosecutors have their opinion, but it’s the Judge who casts the verdict. And so it’s in the motivations of the Supreme Court that we will have to read whether the Court that I presided over had lost reason. In any case, the Prosecutor General will have read and interpreted the facts differently from us, but the words he used against us seem somewhat excessive. And above all, which law would we have violated?”.

Exactly, President, can you tell us: were there violations of law? Is it true the story about pressure exerted by America because they wanted Amanda to return home as a free citizen?

Absolutely not. Just consider that we inherited a case already finished, in which we only had to evaluate the evidence. We didn’t request any additional investigation, the only action we initiated was to ask for an evaluation of the genetic evidence, both the prosecution and the defense considered the DNA on the exhibits the decisive evidence to win the case.

In other words, in essence you based your findings on the same evidence of the Judges of the first court that inspired exemplary convictions, of 26 and 25 years in prison, but for you indicated full acquittal?

Exactly. We examined that evidence, that in our judgment was not convincing. It wasn’t convincing above all in light of a careful re-reading of the Penal Code of Law, which requires “an absolute certainty, beyond any reasonable doubt”, that -in this case – Knox and Sollecito were guilty. For this my conscience is clear. That is true for all of us. We were aware of going against the protests that indeed occurred the same evening outside the Tribunal, or against different interpretations like those of the Supreme Court. But we acted in accordance with our consciences.

Do you think Amanda and Raffaele are innocent?

This is not the point. We searched for the “legal truth”, which doesn’t mean it coincides with the objective truth, but which surely requires certain proof. In this case there were not certain proofs. There were only clues and they were also tenuous.

What were these tenuous clues that in the first trial considered overwhelming proof?

It was all centered around the knife found in Sollecito’s home and the bra clasp of the victim recovered, in a second visit, at the scene of the crime. All the other elements against them were nonsense [sciocchezze, silly, of no value].

The DNA of the defendants on the murder weapon and on Meredith’s underwear weren’t proof?

No. I’ll explain why. The Judge of the first trial had not considered necessary a technical evaluation [of the genetic evidence]. He based his findings on the work of the Scientific Police. For the prosecutors it was sufficient to close their case, but when the defense of the accused – in the second trial – focused on the challenges of the incongruities resulting in that evaluation, we decided to ask for an independent review. The professors, in our view the best available, completely dismantled the biological evidence.

It wasn’t the DNA of the defendants?

Yes, but on the blade of the knife the traces were so tenuous that the genetic map of DNA to whom they could have belonged was too wide. Those minor traces – other than Knox and Sollecito – could have been attributed even to me, in other words compatible with the DNA of the President of the Court.

And Meredith’s bra clasp?

It’s true that there was DNA that could be attributed to Sollecito, but there were also the DNA of three other men, demonstrating that it had been compromised by the contamination at the crime scene. That exhibit, photographed on the first day of the investigation, had been left there, in the bedroom. Only a month and a half later did they decide to recover and analyze it. But it was immediately noticeable that, compared to the photographs of the crime scene, the bra had been moved by more than a meter and had ended up under a mat.

However, even if the other three male DNA could have been of the police officers who entered later during the course of the month without the white protective clothing, the traces of Sollecito were in any case on the bra.

But Sollecito frequented that house. He was the boyfriend of Knox, who was the flatmate of Kercher. And indeed on the day of the crime he had lunched in the house on Via della Pergola.

But he wouldn’t have touched the underwear of a flatmate of his girlfriend.

No-one says he did. DNA traces can be deposited even from fragments of skin cells. Infinitely small organic substances, that can be transported onto that bra clasp in a second moment. From the shoe of a police officer entering the house in that month and a half or even by a gust of air.

And Amanda’s famous memorandum from where it seems the Supreme Court will request to restart? The confession written where she accused Patrick Lumumba?

It wasn’t in the court records and I don’t know its contents.

Indeed the memorandum was not included in the court records, the Judge of the first trial held that it was inadmissible. Another unclear point.

I didn’t even know it existed. But if this memorial was so important, the prosecutors would have requested to include it in the Appeal.

According to the General Prosecutor, and maybe also of the Supreme Court who agreed to the request to re-do the trial, the accusations against Lumumba would be proof of Amanda’s guilt. If innocent, one doesn’t accuse another person.

In convicting Knox of slander, we explained that the girl was put under a hard interrogation by the Police. Without a lawyer. Without sleeping and with an interpreter who encouraged her to put an end to that long confrontation. In that context, she said the name of Patrick. It didn’t come from nowhere, but only after she had been challenged about an exchange of SMS with him. Lumumba was her boss, and for that they had written to each other. Accusing him could have seemed to her a way out to escape from that tight spot. Remember that Amanda was a very young girl, recently arrived in Italy and she didn’t speak our language very well. For me it was logical that in that context she could say the wrong things. Let’s wait for the motivations of the Supreme Court to understand what didn’t convince those Judges.