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Thread: Amanda Knox gets 26 Years

  1. #301

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    So does anyone actually have an answer? That's why I asked, the source not being completely credible.

    You know, a police report? Was this guy arrested or not?
    ^ I ran a search (my Google gives precedence to Italian web sites) and I cannot find anything. I've also searched his name with "LaRepubblica" and "CorrieredellaSera" publications, that I think would attentive to such things, but I find nothing.

    And considering the high-profile of the Knox case, I think foreign (non Italian) publications would also be interested if this fellow had been jailed here for being critical of the case on his blog .

    But if the claims are true in the article I posted above regarding his website, then I could imagine it causing him some trouble here.

    But as I said, I see nothing.
    Last edited by Fabrizio; April 25th, 2011 at 04:27 PM.

  2. #302

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    Andrea Vogt for the Seattle Post Intellegencer: First remember that Andrea Vogt who claims to be a reporter is actually someone who is often accused of presenting a wildly slanted side to the Kercher Murder. She beleives Knox is guilty and she often reports unconfirmed stories as if they were facts. She has reported as fact several issues later confirmed to be lies but she never prints retractions. The article by her that is recently attached by Fabio is a good example...

    Perugia Murder File is actually the site that reveals peoples identities and photoshops innocent supporters and family members of Knox's family and several other supporters. Perugia Shock which is run by Italian Frank Sfarzo (which as far as I know is his real name although it may be an Americanized spelling ) is a reporter who speaks Italian and English. He has attended every court session and has access to court records. Being familar with both sites.... I dont recall even one example where Perugia Shock revealed anyones ID and although I have seen disagreements about certain small points in the case I have seen nothing that resembles Andrea Vogt statements...

    I encourage you to visit both sites and make your own opinion... You are being subjected here to a internet and reporter sleight of hand. It is Perugia Murder File and TJFMK sites where you will find people attacked personally. These are the sites that track personal information and photoshop hateful photos of supporters and family of AK. Its laughable that Peggy Ganong would file any claims to police when all they need to do is read her site and see in fact that she is the attacker. Its a hate filled site that discusses more about what Amandas Knox's sister wears to court than any real facts of the case. But you dont have to beleive me...I encourage you to check out these sites yourself...Im sure the police did...

    Finally Zippy...The Commitee to Protect Journalists is a world renouned organization. They fight for Freedom of the Press in such places as China and Iran ....you actually think they would get involved and write to the President of Italy without some fact checking? And finally as some slight confirmation I have attached another article ...this one written by Barbie Nadeau for the Daily Beast...she is a reporter who like Andrea has reported extensivly on the Kercher Murder...and she also reports lies and a slanted and often distorted version...she has written a book so she has those to sell. But I include her story here where she writes about her treatment by police while reporting on another story.






    Italian police came for an American journalist when she wrote about the prime minister's "girl problem" and the country's sexist TV. Barbie Latza Nadeau recounts her ordeal.

    Last year, I wrote a Newsweek cover story titled "Berlusconi's Girl Problem" that opened with a scene from Striscia la Notizia, a satire news program on a Berlusconi-owned channel. In the scene I described, a woman in a bathing suit fondled a string of garlic as the hosts ogled her. It was one of many examples of the blatant vulgarity that dominates Italian television, where women are treated as voiceless, sequined, half-nude decoration.

    Not long after, Striscia—and the Italian authorities—turned their attention to me. At first I was flattered. Striscia can be smart and funny, think a soft porn version of The Daily Show but with two ever-present, scantily clad women sprawled on desks or jumping around in hot pants.


















    After the publication of the Newsweek story about how sexist Italian television can be, they set their sights on us. Episode after episode, Striscia's male hosts took digs at Newsweek and me personally; fair game—I took a dig at them first.

    Then one afternoon, just weeks before I was to speak about Italy at the Women in the World conference hosted by Newsweek and The Daily Beast in New York, a police officer came to my apartment while I was making dinner. My sons, age 11 and 9, were intrigued when the officer told me to come down to the station. But how could I explain the situation to them without explaining Striscia's R-rated content? Turned out, I was under investigation for criminal defamation of Striscia's producer and creator, and that I could face three years in jail.

    Three years in jail? For pointing out Italian television's blatant sexism and Berlusconi's "girl problem"?
    "It's a threat," one police officer told me. "It's a form of intimidation."

    Whatever it was, it worked. At the conference in New York, I was reluctant to mention Striscia or really talk about the issue; nervous that, because our panel was live-streamed, anything I said could be held against me. That certainly was the case for another panelist Emma Bonino, vice president of Italian parliament and Italy's best-known feminist. She was lambasted in Italy for comments she made at the conference.

    It seemed like intimidation. And in any other Western democracy, this would be an outrage. In Italy, it's just how things work.

    Most journalists assume the government taps their phones. And at least a dozen of my colleagues—especially Italian journalists—have received notices of criminal defamation after writing stories that hit a nerve. Even worse, an American colleague was recently visited by tax authorities after writing a corruption story, and an Iranian colleague was accused of being a spy. Journalists working in Italy all speak in a kind of code on the phone; when you need to discuss something serious, you do it in person.

    “It’s a threat,” one police officer told me. “It’s a form of intimidation.”
    Illustration by Tim Marrs

    In 2009, I wrote a piece for Newsweek about Berlusconi's move to "shut up" the press with a "kill the messenger" slant. Not long after, Freedom House ranked Italy 74th in the world for press freedom and knocked Italy down from the category of "free" press to "partially free," joining the rank of countries such as the Congo and Colombia. Umberto Eco wrote a sad commentary on what Italy's loss of press freedom meant: "When someone has to take a stand in defense of freedom of press, it means that society… is already ailing," he wrote. "In democracies that we would define as 'strong,' there's no need to defend freedom of press because no one would even dream of limiting it."

    Not so in Italy. Last year, Berlusconi promised to "shut up" some members of the Italian press and Reporters Without Borders ranks Italy the lowest for press freedom in Western Europe. Muckraker Roberto Saviano summed it up perfectly last week when he spoke at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia. "Will you be criticized, if you oppose the government?" he quipped. "Not at all. You'll be delegitimized."

    Barbie Latza Nadeau, author of the Beast Book Angel Face, about Amanda Knox, has reported from Italy for Newsweek Magazine since 1997 and for The Daily Beast since 2009. She is a frequent contributor to CNN Traveller, Departures, Discovery and Grazia. She appears regularly on CNN, BBC and NPR.



    In Italy, journalists threatened for reporting on murders

    Perugia Public Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini (Reuters)





    h5 {float:left; width:100px;height:auto;font:sans-serif;font-weight:normal;margin-top:5px; margin-right:10px;margin-bottom:5x;}
    April 19, 2011
    His Excellency Giorgio Napolitano
    President of the Italian Republic
    Palazzo del Quirinale
    00187 Roma
    Italia
    Via email: presidenza.repubblica@quirinale.it
    Dear President Napolitano,
    The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending the rights of journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned about local authorities' harassment of journalists and media outlets who criticize the official investigation into the November 2007 brutal murderof British exchange student Meredith Kercher in the central Italian city of Perugia. CPJ is particularly troubled by the manifest intolerance to criticism displayed by Perugia Public Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, who has filed or threatened to file criminal lawsuits against individual reporters, writers, and press outlets, both in Italy and the United States, in connection with the Kercher murder investigation as well as the investigation into the Monster of Florence serial killings.
    Italiano


    The Kercher murder investigation was headed by Mignini and conducted by a Perugia police unit known as the Squadra Mobile. Mignini was also in charge of the latest investigation into the unsolved murders of eight couples in Tuscany between 1968 and 1985, collectively known as the Monster of Florence killings because of the especially cruel manner in which the victims were slain.

    The anti-press actions of Squadra Mobile under Mignini's supervision, coupled with Mignini's longstanding record of harassment of journalists who criticize his conduct on the job, cause the press to stay away from sensitive subjects, including important developments in the Kercher case such as the appeal of two defendants in the case. CPJ is particularly concerned about the impact Perugia authorities' repressive actions have on local reporters and individual bloggers, who lack the support and backing of major publications. These individuals are most vulnerable to official retaliation for their work, including legal prosecution and physical attack.

    As the appeal of the defendants--U.S. student Amanda Knox and Italian student Raffaele Sollecito--continues at the appellate court of Perugia (Corte di Assise di Appello di Perugia), we call on you to ensure that journalists, writers, and bloggers are able to report and comment on the proceedings freely and without fear of reprisal.

    Of the cases that have come to CPJ's attention, one stands out because of the abusive actions employed by members of Squadra Mobile to punish a critic of the official Kercher murder inquiry. Local freelance reporter Frank Sfarzo created his English-language blog Perugia Shock in 2007, days after Kercher's gruesome murder. Based in Perugia, Sfarzo became interested in the case from the start, posting reporting and comments on it on his blog. Sfarzo regularly criticized what he considered flaws in the Kercher investigation, at times using harsh language to express his views.

    Sfarzo told CPJ his troubles started on October 28, 2008, the day Knox and Sollecito were indicted and a third defendant was convicted of murdering Kercher. Several members of Squadra Mobile, Sfarzo told CPJ, approached him just outside the city court (Corte di Assisedi Perugia) and started to push and hit him. "You are pissing us off!"--they told him, referring to his coverage.

    When the trial of Knox and Sollecito began that December, Squadra Mobile continued to harass him. They regularly tried to prevent him from entering the court; seized his cellphone and went through his contacts and text messages; mouthed insults at him from across the courtroom; and stared over his shoulder as he took notes. "This was done in the presence of the judge, the Carabinieri [the military police], and the court guards, but they would do nothing," Sfarzo told CPJ.

    The harassment reached its peak on September 28, 2010, when five officers of Squadra Mobile forcibly entered Sfarzo's apartment. They did not produce a warrant or show their badges, Sfarzo told CPJ. Four of the five shoved Sfarzo to the ground, struck him, handcuffed him, and climbed on top of him, crushing his air supply, he told CPJ. They stopped when a neighbor, disturbed by the commotion, showed up, Sfarzo said.

    Next, the officers took Sfarzo to the Perugia city hospital, where they claimed he had attacked them; they persuaded a doctor to issue a medical report for the injuries Sfarzo was alleged to have caused. In addition, the Squadra Mobile officers brought Sfarzo before a psychiatrist, demanding that she issue him a certificate of insanity. To prove that Sfarzo was mentally ill, the officers produced Sfarzo's reporter's notebook on the Kercher murder case, which they had seized from his apartment. "They told the doctor that I was pathologically obsessed with the case, that I was so fixated on it I must be insane," Sfarzo told CPJ. The psychiatrist refused to issue the certificate.

    From the hospital, the officers brought a handcuffed and injured Sfarzo to their headquarters, where, in the blogger's words, they "displayed me as a trophy," referring to him as "the bastard who defends Amanda [Knox]." The officers refused Sfarzo's requests to call his lawyer or his relatives, and put him in a cell for the night.

    The next day, the officers brought Sfarzo before a local judge, who validated his arrest and indicted him on several articles of Italy's penal code for "using violence and threats to resist public officials" and "injuring an officer." Sfarzo was released pending a trial in May. He faces up to six years in prison if convicted. "The police can count on the complicity of judges," Sfarzo told CPJ. Police officers, he added, are sure of their impunity.

    CPJ is also concerned that Prosecutor Mignini has filed or threatened to file criminal defamation lawsuits against a number of journalists and media outlets--both in Italy and in the United States--who have criticized his record.

    In September 2010, Giangavino Sulas, an investigative reporter with the national weekly newsmagazine Oggi, received an official notification that Mignini had started legal action against him in response to an Oggi article he had published earlier that year, Sulas told CPJ. The article in question criticized the Monster of Florence homicide investigation, which Mignini headed, and mentioned the prosecutor's conviction on abuse of office charges related to his conduct in that case, Sulas said.Oggi editor Umberto Brindani also received two "notices of investigation" that year--dated July 24 and September 2--in relation to the magazine's coverage of the Monster of Florence case, CPJ confirmed. Neither Sulas nor Brindani have received further prosecution notices. (In January 2010, a Florence court handed Mignini a 16-month prison term on, among other charges, illegal wiretapping of journalists who covered the Monster of Florence case. Mignini remains free and on the job while he appeals the sentence.)

    Back in 2006, Mignini had veteran crime reporter Mario Spezi imprisoned on a long list of trumped-up charges as retaliation for Spezi's journalistic investigation into the Monster of Florence series of killings. CPJ advocated on Spezi's behalf, Spezi was eventually released, and his work resulted in a best-selling true crime novel, named after the case and cowritten by U.S. writer Douglas Preston. Despite the positive dénouement, in the years after Spezi's release, Mignini has continued to pile up indictments against the journalist in the Monster case. The indictments have been as severe as "complicity to murder," CPJ research shows. In October 2009, when Spezi was attending a preliminary court hearing in one such indictment, he read a statement in his defense, the journalist told CPJ. The statement was sharply critical of Mignini, Spezi told CPJ. Soon after the hearing, the prosecutor indicted Spezi for "offending the honor and prestige of a judge"--a criminal charge that carries up to five yearsin prison if convicted.

    Spezi's trial on that charge took place in February in Florence. He was found guilty in early March and sentenced either to serve 15 days in prison or to pay 570 euros (US$826) in damages to Mignini; Spezi told CPJ he has opted to pay. He and his lawyer are considering an appeal, he said.

    CPJ research shows Spezi no longer covers the Monster of Florence case. And the chilling effect of Mignini's anti-press actions has reverberated across the ocean.

    Preston, Spezi's co-author who suffered harassment by Mignini himself in 2006--and eventually was forced to leave Italy for fear of imprisonment--told CPJ he was still afraid of going back. He has been unable to clarify his legal status in Italy. In the summer of 2008, Mignini told third parties that he would have Preston arrested if the writer returned, Preston writes in the Afterword to The Monster of Florence paperback edition, published in 2009. When the U.S. State Department contacted Mignini's office to verify whether an arrest warrant in Preston's name indeed existed, Mignini refused to reply, citing concerns for Preston's confidentiality, the author said.

    Mignini has used a similar tactic against the U.S. weekly newspaper West Seattle Herald. In late January 2009, the paper published an article that criticized the investigation into the Kercher murder case as lacking in evidence; it also contained a reference to unnamed legal experts who reportedly believed Mignini to be "mentally unstable." The article was published on the web on February 1 of that year and triggered a swift reaction by Mignini. Eleven days later, he told the BBC he had filed a defamation claimagainst the West Seattle Herald. "I am quite a healthy man," the BBC reported Mignini as saying. "I don't go to the doctor much, and I have never visited a psychologist."

    In an email interview with CPJ, West Seattle Herald Editor Ken Robinson said the paper had not received any official notifications of legal action. Robinson said that the paper does not fear repercussions from Mignini and that the paper does not send reporters to Italy simply for budgetary concerns.

    Robinson said he and his newspaper were not perturbed by the prosecutor's actions, but that is not the case with Joe Cottonwood, another U.S. writer Mignini has threatened with a criminal defamation lawsuit. Cottonwood told CPJ the action stems from a comment related to the Kercher murder case that he emailed to a reporter-friend in Italy. In the comment Cottonwood described Mignini as an "intellectually dishonest bully." The comment was published by the Italian daily newspaper Il Giornale in August 2009.

    In an email interview, Cottonwood told CPJ he learned of Mignini's intention to file defamation charges against him from the Italian press. (CPJ is trying to confirm whether Mignini has indeed filed the charge.) But whether Mignini has indeed filed the charge or only threatened to do so, Cottonwood is not taking any chances. "I will not return to Italy," the writer told CPJ. "I don't have the financial resources and can't afford to defend myself there."

    Your Excellency, we are urging you to ensure that reporters and writers are not afraid to cover, comment on, and criticize the activities of Perugia authorities. This is particularly pressing now that the appeal of two defendants in the Kercher murder case goes on at a local court.

    We ask you to ensure that the politically motivated lawsuit against Perugia blogger Frank Sfarzo is immediately scrapped and that outside investigators are assigned to conduct an investigation into the September 28-29, 2010, abusive actions of Squadra Mobile officers against him.

    We also call on you, in your capacity as president of Italy's Superior Judicial Council (Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura), to ensure that Perugia prosecutors, including Mignini, are not allowed to use criminal defamation as the proverbial bogeyman against their critics. It is unacceptable that journalists, bloggers, and writers on both sides of the Atlantic should censor themselves by staying away from subjects of public interest such as the Meredith Kercher murder case and the Monster of Florence killings because of Prosecutor Mignini's inability to tolerate the scrutiny that comes with public office. It is also unthinkable that U.S. journalists--who have reported in Italy before and love the country--should not dare go back for fear of being arrested.

    Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We await your response.

    Joel Simon
    Executive Director
    Last edited by ZippyTheChimp; April 26th, 2011 at 01:25 AM. Reason: reformatted post

  3. #303
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    psssssst: formatting, please

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    gracias

  6. #306

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    Frankz: i've also looked over the blogs about the case. I don't like any of them and that's why I don't post links to them or quotes from them. But if I had to choose, TrueJustice is by far the best of the bunch IMHO.

    PerugiaMurderFile is the site that organized the effort to translate the Massei Report. I find aspects of the site good, but I don't care for reading their forum.

    ---

    Nadeau: writes as she see sees it. I find her reporting unbiased. And so after following the case her conclusion is that Knox is guilty. Get over it. There are other reporters who think Knox is innocent. And so it goes.

    There are people who think OJ Simpson is guilty too.

    But the best repoting on the case is Vogt, IMHO. I like Vogt and Nadeau because they've followed the story closely from the beginning and I find they are the only ones who are reporting both sides to the story.

    ---

    Mignini/ Mario Spezi: The letter you posted says the following: "The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending the rights of journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned about the fate of Mario Spezi, a veteran crime journalist imprisoned in the central Italian city of Perugia."

    Mario Spezi is not in jail. He was imprisoned for 23 days ...in 2006. The conviction was overturned and ruled to have no merit. Why is the letter claiming Spezi is in jail? The letter smells of a hoax.

    Mignini/ Doug Preston: there is tons out there about this issue. Most of it from Preston, little info about the other side of the coin. I like to have both sides to a story so I can weigh things. Even with this Sfarzo episode, it seems difficult to get hard facts other than what he claims. When you do, post them here.

    ----

    Mignini: he's not the judge in the appeals trial. One can go on and on about him, but he's out of the picture.

    I remember reading that the new judge presiding over the appeals trial has a reputation for being lenient and has overturned trials on lack of evidence. (I don't have the link to where I read this but will try to find it).

    Another thing to consider in all of this is Knox's defense team. Nadeau criticzied them (first trial) feeling they did not do a good job defending her. I think that should also be considered.

    But apart from Mignini, 18 other judges here have looked through the Knox trial: all agree that she is guilty.

    But with the appeal she has the best chance she is going to get.
    Last edited by Fabrizio; April 26th, 2011 at 08:15 AM.

  7. #307

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    Below is an interview with Mignini concerning both Knox and Preston published in "Il Secolo" a good newspaper from Northern Italy.

    The article is in Italian, this translation sounds like it was churned out through Google but you can get an idea at least. I don't have time to make corrections. I pulled this from TrueJustice but the link to the original article from "Il Secolo" is posted below:

    Mr Mignini (about Doug Preston): "I have been patient but now I’ve had it. This guy doesn’t know what he is talking about. I saw him for only two hours in all of my life, but for years he has been spreading on the Internet his reconstruction of a story of which he hasn’t understood a thing.
    And now, perhaps to get even, he’s calling from overseas in the Kercher trial, saying things that are not true."

    Giuliano Mignini, public prosecutor in the trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher, has gone in a few hours from accuser to accused. The Amercans didn’t like Amanda Knox’s sentence, and the journalist and writer Douglas Preston is making precise accusations.

    Q: Let’s start from the “pending issue” between the two of you. Preston who together with the journalist Mario Spezi was investigating the Monster of Florence, says that you interrogated them for two and a 1/ 2 hours . The next day he left Italy in order not to be arrested.

    Mignini: He hasn’t understood a thing. He is a writer but he doesn’t know the judicial procedures. Reality is different: While I was hearing him out as a person informed of some facts in a proceeding I was involved in, some circumstances emerged that threw suspicion on Preston, ie lying to the public prosecutor.

    According to Article 63 of the penal code I told him that he had to get a lawyer, and that I could not continue the interview. I added that for that crime (lying to the prosecutor), based on article 371 bis, I should have waited for the end of the proceeding during which such declarations had been rendered.

    He told me he understood Italian well, but obviously it wasn’t so. He claims that I told him to run to America and don’t come back, otherwise I would have him arrested.This is absolutely not true..

    Q: Surely Preston was shocked by the interrogation. He says you were quite hard on him

    Mignini: Shocked? What can I say? This is how interrogations are conducted, their purpose is also to accuse.

    Q: However, now it’s Preston accusing the methods of the interrogation of Amanda. Is it true she was pressured? And why doesn’t a recording exist?

    Mignini: The first time Amanda was heard as person informed of facts [a witness]. In these cases, because of the urgency, we never record. Then we suspended the interrogation as suspicion of crime emerges. I explained to Amanda that based on article 374 of the penal code - the one on spontaneous declarations - she would have been able to render a declaration [as a witness].

    A lawyer should have been present only if I had asked her questions of complicity and/or accused her. But I didn’t asked a thing, practically I had only the function of a “notary public”.

    Q: You didn’t record it?

    Mignin: No. I usually do when for example I am in my office. I recorded the declarations of her roommates and of the witnesses. But that night, we were at the police station, there was agitation, and we had to go and arrest Lumumba, who had just been accused by Amanda. Lumumba was later cleared thanks to me

    Q: Preston in an article on the Guardian says you are the ones who suggested Lumumba’s name.

    Mignini: It is not true. During the trial, the presiding judge asked her about this, and Amanda clearly answered no.

    Q: During the first interrogation [as a witness] Amanda was without a lawyer and without an interpreter.

    Mignini: Another falsity. The interpreter was there, Dr Donnino. I am adding that during the first interrogation in front of the GIP she invoked her right to remain silent. The interrogation that took place in jail, with three attorneys present was recorded.

    Q: Let’s talk about HIV. Amanda in jail was told that she was HIV-positive and was asked to make a list of all her ex-lovers in order to tell them. Then the positivity turns out to be a false positive sample. The suspicion of a trick arises.

    I never asked Amanda anything like that . We have the utmost respect for the suspect, and on top of it, what would have been the purpose of asking her?

    Q: Because the list ended up on the newspapers and contributed to giving a negative image of the girl, of an “easy” woman.

    Mignini: Nobody has depicted Amanda as an “easy girl”. Why would I do it? She was totally unknown to the police and the procura. Her sexual life is totally irrelevant in order to describe her personality, though it helps to explain the tense relationships with the other roommates.

    Q: Let’s conclude with the other issues by Douglas Preston. The DNA evidence is not convincing.

    Mignini: What can I say? The scientific police of the Ministry of the Interior have worked with it, that’s the best we have in Italy. I trust them, I am not a biologist, and neither is Preston.

    Q: What about the investigation on your abuse of office and wiretapping in Florence?

    Mignini: I still have to understand what I am being accused of.

    However, the investigation has now ended. During this time the Tribunal of Riesame in Florence followed by the Cassazione have annulled all the proceedings initiated by Prosecutor Luca Turco against Dr Giuttari [who investigated the Monster case], my codefendant, as no evidence of the crime of abuse of office exists.

    Q: You will not appeal the sentence and the Court of Appeals will acquit the defendants, in America they seem sure of this i.e that the first degree sentence [sentence of the trial just concluded] serves the purpose of “saving face” in the Procura and “the truth will come out later?”

    Mignini: I don’t even want to comment on this. I will only say that a total of 18 judges among the Riesame, Cassazione, GUP and Assise courts have confirmed the prosecution’s theory. Did I deceive them all? This is a sovereign state, and there is a a sentence In the name of the Italian people that is in the name of all of us. Period.

    http://www.ilsecoloxix.it/p/italia/2...risponde.shtml
    Last edited by Fabrizio; April 26th, 2011 at 03:29 AM.

  8. #308

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    Dec 12, 2009: Mignini interview with Il Secolo.

    Jan 23, 2010: Mignini convicted of abuse of office.

  9. #309

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    ^The interview at least deals with 2 of the issues that are in the post by Frankz: Preston as well as the Knox trial.

    If I can find a post conviction interview I will post it.

    ----------

    This is an overview of the case by Andrea Vogt for Seattlepi:

    FLORENCE, Italy -- Giuliano Mignini, the lead investigator who successfully prosecuted Seattle native Amanda Knox of murder, was convicted Friday in Florence of abuse of office.

    Although cleared of the main charge against him, the remaining charges resulted in a suspended sentence of one year and four months.

    A judge decided that Mignini abused his office by wiretapping several journalists and police officials.

    The conviction stems from a series of killings in Florence -- the so-called "Monster of Florence" case -- and not the Knox prosecution. It is unclear how the prosecutor's troubles will affect Knox's appeal. She was convicted in December of murdering her roommate Meredith Kercher.

    His troubles may keep Mignini from taking part in the appeal. His lawyer noted that Friday's decision wasn't about the Knox prosecution.

    "This was a sentence that has everything to do with the power equilibrium in Florence. The Meredith case has nothing to do with it," Mauro Ronco told seattlepi.com.

    But Knox's American attorney, while saying he respects the Italian justice system, noted that in many jurisdictions, including the U.S., a prosecutor's office wouldn't have proceeded with a case while it faced an indictment.

    Last summer, an Italian court decided to delay a decision in the accusations against Mignini. That allowed him to continue to pursue his case and trial against Knox.

    "I don't think it's good for a prosecutor's office to prosecute a case when they are under indictment," said Knox's lawyer, Theodore Simon of Philadelphia.

    By doing so, the fairness of the trial and integrity of the verdict can be called into question, he said. And he noted that Italy's Supreme Court had faulted the prosecutor's office for violating Knox's rights and supressing some of the comments she made to Italian police, Despite Friday's conviction, Mignini will be allowed to continue his magisterial duties. If he is not convicted of any other crimes in the next five years, Friday's action will be expunged.

    "I am shocked," Mignini said in an interview with seattlepi.com after the hearing, held in an ancient, baroque Florentine courtroom with oak paneling and antique leather chairs. "It was totally unexpected. "

    Surrounded by his family, including his daughter, his sister and his 40-year-old wife -- who is now four months pregnant with their fourth child -- a stupefied and disappointed Mignini said he is a victim of a Florentine power struggle and vowed to appeal.

    "This case never should have been heard here in Florence," he said.

    Francesco Maresca, the lawyer who represented the Kercher family in the Knox trial, was also present when the sentence was declared.

    He expressed surprise, but maintained that the Monster of Florence case is complicated and entirely unrelated to the Knox prosecution.

    "They are separate trials," Maresca said. "They have nothing to do with one another."

    Mignini led the investigation into the murder of 21-year-old Kercher in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007. In early December 2009, Mignini obtained convictions in the case: 22-year-old Knox was sentenced to 26 years in jail for murder, sexual assault, theft and slander and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, to 25.

    A third suspect, Rudy Guede, was convicted after a fast-track hearing. On appeal, his sentence was reduced to 16 years.

    Mignini has been dogged especially in American media accounts and by public relations representatives and supporters who argue that Knox is innocent. They charge the prosecutor overstepped his judicial authority.

    The abuse-of-office charges heard Friday result from a 2006 episode that happened as he was investigating the Monster of Florence serial killings in the '70s and '80s.

    The epic investigation has stretched over 30 years.

    It fell into Mignini's hands after it was discovered that a Perugia doctor, Francesco Narducci, may have been killed in foul play or in a conspiratorial cover-up related to the Monster of Florence case. Authorities claimed in 1985 that the doctor had drowned.

    An exhumation of the body ordered by Mignini led authorities to believe he had indeed been killed.

    This put some of the investigation into the Perugia jurisdiction. A turf battle between the two territories (Florence and Perugia) broke out over who should be investigating.

    "This case is a complete minefield," said investigative journalist Franca Selvatici of La Repubblica, who has covered the case since 1981.

    "It is a unique case, unique in its cruelty, its ferociousness, but also in the fact that there were so many different and contested hypotheses, both on part of investigators and journalists," Selvatici explained.

    Perugia claimed jurisdiction since Narducci was found in the province of Perugia, while the Monster of Florence killings were in the province of Florence.

    Authorities in Florence wanted to control the investigation, which Mignini said resulted in an investigative dead end.

    When Mignini pressed forward to investigate some powerful Florentine personalities, he eventually hit a brick wall and was denied permission by Florence officials.

    The detective working the case, Michele Giuttari (himself convicted Friday and given a suspended sentence of one year and six months) secretly recorded a phone conversation of the Florentine prosecutor Paolo Canessa.

    In the tape, Canessa, claimed his boss was not a free man, implying his hands were tied due to powerful personalities that could have been drawn into the homicide investigation.

    Mignini used public funds to have the tape analyzed. And that triggered charges against him.

    "There were errors upon errors in this case, on part of police investigators, on part of journalists, on part of everyone," Selvatici said.

    Friday, however, the investigating Florence magistrate ruled that Mignini was not in the wrong for the taping of Canessa, who had implied that his superiors were not willing to investigate further.

    However, the judge did find that Mignini had abused his office when he wiretapped several journalists as well as a Florentine police official, during the course of his investigation into the death of Narducci.

    Most court observers Friday described the court's decision as aimed at placating both critics and supporters of Mignini's theories.

    For example, the court agreed that its own Florentine judges had indeed said that they were not free in investigating some powerful colleagues in connection with the Monster of Florence crimes.

    But they slapped the hands of Mignini for going above and beyond his authority when he wiretapped several journalists.

    Mauro Ronco, Mignini's lawyer, noted that those wiretaps had been authorized by the investigating judge who was overseeing the case.

    "We will confront all of these issues in appeal once we have seen the judges' motivations," Ronco said.

    http://www.seattlepi.com/default/art...312.php#page-1

  10. #310

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    Surrounded by his family, including his daughter, his sister and his 40-year-old wife -- who is now four months pregnant with their fourth child -- a stupefied and disappointed Mignini said he is a victim of a Florentine power struggle and vowed to appeal.
    So I guess Mignini doesn't regard this conviction as: "a sentence In the name of the Italian people that is in the name of all of us. Period."

    His lawyer noted that Friday's decision wasn't about the Knox prosecution.
    No, it's about his character. Isn't that what got Knox and Sollecito convicted?

    It sure wasn't any DNA evidence.

  11. #311

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    ^ Sure? Unless you have advance info, the DNA evidence has not yet been determined to be invalid. I believe the proceedings on that begin at the end of May.

    In the meantime at least, Mignini is not the judge in the appeal. And remember too, there were 2 judges on the case, not just Mignini.

    I'm not absolving Mignini of anything, but would Knox have been convicted if hehad not been involved? We can only speculate, but 18 other judges who examined the case think she's guilty.
    Last edited by Fabrizio; April 26th, 2011 at 01:37 PM.

  12. #312

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    There was no credible evidence from the start. The presence of DNA is not necessarily evidence; it has to tell a story relating to the crime. The place you live is filled with what's called latent DNA.

    The "forensic science" used in this case was beyond amateurish.

    EDIT: Mignini's involvement in the first place put two people in prison for almost 4 years.

    If the other 18 judges really believed this from the "evidence," and are not just "keeping the company line" until the appeal corrects the situation, then they're no different than Mignini. Pompous and arrogant. I believe the latter.

    But again, two people are in prison.
    Last edited by ZippyTheChimp; April 26th, 2011 at 01:38 PM.

  13. #313

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    I have no idea. I know nothing about DNA, latent DNA or forensics.

    If the 18 judges are keeping the company line, then this really is the biggest railroading in modern times. I would not expect Knox to get a fair trial in her appeal either.

    Get a load of this:

    "The Knox trial is one of the few, in the history of Italian criminal justice, in which over 25 judges have agreed—at different stages—on the adverse impact of the collected evidence against the positions of both Knox and Sollecito. In this respect, the case is rather unusual, as Italian justice is often characterised by conflicting decisions of courts on the same case,” said Stefano Maffei, an Oxford-educated professor of criminal law (University of Parma) in Italy interviewed by seattlepi.com."


    -----


    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    If the other 18 judges really believed this from the "evidence," and are not just "keeping the company line" until the appeal corrects the situation, then they're no different than Mignini. Pompous and arrogant. I believe the latter.

    But again, two people are in prison.
    ^ Well, as long as we're speculating: if Patick Lumumba had not been found to be innocent.... I wonder how long Amanda Knox would have gone on with her charade?
    Last edited by Fabrizio; April 26th, 2011 at 02:45 PM.

  14. #314
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    I have no idea. I know nothing about DNA, latent DNA or forensics.
    That is clear.... but the basics are not hard to fathom regarding what was found and what wasn't, and the logic problem surrounding a complete lack of Knox's DNA in the murder room (where Guede's was everywhere). It is also not hard to understand the concept of latent DNA if you try really really hard.

  15. #315

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    As I said, I know nothing about DNA evidence. Would it be unusual for Knox to have murdered Kercher without her DNA being left behind? Is DNA left behind in all murder cases? Do the dynamics of the murder indicate if DNa will be left behind by the assailant? Is it possible for Guede's DNA to be there but not Knox's if they were both involved? I don't know.

    From an interview with Ellen Kreitzberg, Associate Professor of Law at Santa Clara University:

    "DNA is a very powerful but misunderstood device. What DNA can do is it can be a very definitive identifier in terms of either including or excluding someone as being involved in the crime. The DNA testing and evidence only occurs in a situation where the assailant leaves biological evidence behind. For the most part, we are talking about rape cases where there is semen left that can be tested. There are occasionally non-rape cases where the assailant may have left behind hair fragments or fingernail fragments that are of a sufficient quantity that they can be tested for DNA. "

    http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publicatio...pitaltext.html
    Last edited by Fabrizio; April 26th, 2011 at 03:28 PM.

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