The Night of Justice
Defense Lawyers Confident that Supreme Court Will Cancel the Ruling After their Appeal
Florence, January 31, 2014
We had not a reasonable doubt that the mind of the judge was already made up and so, probably, did Amanda’s lawyers. They tried again yesterday morning, in the few minutes left, to change that idea. They don’t know how else to explain that the presumed evidence against Amanda is nothing but the opinions and the hypothesis of the prosecutors, their cops and their consultants.
What was supposed to be an appeal trial, indeed, became instead a real retrial (e.g.: The Knife. For the second time experts had found no DNA from Meredith on it, so it was due to exit the trial. That knife, instead, kept being discussed, as if nothing had ever happened).
No Reaction Required
It was not even 10:30 am when Amanda’s lawyers finished their quick replay. The jury retreated for deliberation, giving an appointment for about 5:30 pm. But at 6 nobody had shown and that’s when the judge started to send out the clerk, every now and then, every time coming back to announce the delay of the reading.
He thought about everything, even to avoid the murmur of disapproval that the press would probably utter at the reading of a guilty verdict, and which would have remained recorded in the footage and consigned to history.
So, after 9 pm the clerk came out a last time, told the press it would be five more minutes, and “ordered” them to have zero reaction at the reading of the verdict. The request was for the press, not for the general audience. The five minutes became 50 minutes and at 9:55 the judge read the guilty verdict for the absent Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. He started with the increased penalty for the calumny, which resulted in 28 total years for Amanda. For the rest, he “confirmed the first grade sentence,” which meant 25 years for Raffaele.
No cautionary measure for Amanda, as she already is “legitimately” abroad, but seizure of his passport for Raffaele.
Raffaele had been present for the replays by Amanda’s defense in the morning, then left the courtroom.
While a storm was raging in the whole country, Raffaele had reached his girlfriend, 31-year-old flight attendant Greta Menegaldo, in Treviso, near Venice.
The request for the seizure of a passport is probably the worst possible solution; it makes the defendant not even sure about what to do. So, from the information that was leaked, we heard that apparently Raffaele and Greta drove around in her Mini. They went to Austria, carrying luggage enough for a couple of days (they were filmed by local crews in the Mini). Then Raffaele was informed of the guilty verdict and instead of continuing, returned to Italy, and signed in with Greta at the Hotel Carnia in Venzone.
The owner of the hotel, interviewed by local media, bragged to have informed the police that Raffaele Sollecito was his guest, and the police went to the hotel this morning at 6:30. Raffaele and Greta were detained and interviewed in the morning in the Udine police station. The cops, probably after having consulted with the Florence prosecution office, in the end seized Raffaele’s passport, notified him of the order not to leave the country, and released him and Greta.
A Verdict to Appeal
After studying the motivations, which the judge said will be produced within 90 days, Knox and Sollecito’s defense team will appeal through the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court of Cassation will likely either uphold the verdict, which would result in a warrant of arrest for Knox and Sollecito and a request of extradition for her, or cancel it, which would clear them completely and definitely.
In the European Court of Human Rights, an appeal filed by Amanda Knox is pending, which, if successful, could earn her compensation and give grounds to the defense to ask for a revision trial for both convictions, the one for calumny, already definitive, and the one for murder, in case it should occur.
Concurrently with the main trial, yesterday morning in the same Florence court a preliminary hearing was held, for a lawsuit from the original prosecutor against Raffaele, for defamation and “vilification of the state.”
It happens, though, that to be tried for vilification of parts of the state, the competent ministry has to authorize it. But the Ministry of the Interior didn’t answer the request. The judge could have closed everything. Instead, he reserved more time for a later decision.
Mario Spezi Acquitted
The original prosecutor started many trials against the families and against journalists for nonexistent defamations and other imaginary crimes. Notably, all the steps of those trials, usually of no media interest, are then selected and, when it’s convenient, they are advertised through one favorite journalist. All this even though that prosecutor was previously convicted for doing exactly these kinds of things.
As we remember, journalist Mario Spezi, after having been cleared of murder, was accused of defamation of the ex-cop, Giuttari. All steps of his trial were advertised as described above, except when, last week, a judge in Perugia acquitted Spezi.
Facing trial for imaginary crimes like this are Amanda, Raffaele, their relatives, Frank Sfarzo, Giangavino Sulas, Alessandro Penna and the whole RCS group (which owns Oggi magazine).
“Only one proceeding remains to me” –Spezi, present at the Knox trial, told us yesterday in court– “The one for calumny against the Sardinians, started from the same prosecutor as well”. But that charge is likely going to expire because of the statute of limitations.