They claim they can say this is a foot, and whose it is?

Peril in Florence

Florence, 14 January 2014

Writers, readers, scientists, lawyers, judges, experts… the whole world by now understands that against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito there’s nothing, and loves to supports the end of a miscarriage of justice. But what about that part of the world that is important, the judges who will have to say guilty or innocent?

The press reported with plenty of irony the accusation’s theories, based on a turd (for the public prosecution) or on the usual insults to Amanda and now even to the journalists (for the private prosecution). Those theories are so far-fetched (to be kind), those arguments are so irrelevant, that Amanda is even advertising them on her website. And whoever hears those theories instantly becomes her supporter.

As Amanda pointed out, they try to discredit her as a person because they have no proof against her. The whole of the media today kind of defend Amanda and Raffaele, since journalists who were on the case since its beginning can’t be deceived by that so-called “evidence,” which the Supreme Court suggests turning into “proof” thanks to conjecture. But judges specialize in conjecture, and you need a real strong personality to run against Supreme Court prescriptions. So, Amanda and Raffaele are living a concrete peril in Florence.

Amanda, saying that she was “psychologically tortured,” explained why she signed those statements that were an indirect accusation of Lumumba (indirect, because there’s not the sentence “Patrick Lumumba killed Meredith Kercher”) and made her main point, that that implicit accusation made no sense and was contradictory, that it was only the desire of the investigators, who indeed didn’t investigate Lumumba, but they ran to arrest him and they declared the case closed (if it was a real accusation they should have wiretapped him, followed him, checked his movements, his alibi, interrogated him, and then eventually arrested him).

Amanda’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova showed that the two DNA tests used to accuse Amanda and Raffaele made no sense, so it’s useless going to see if they are valid or not. Of course they are not valid, as two independent experts like Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti easily figured out, but as the Supreme Court judges, not exactly scientists, didn’t. He and Luciano Ghirga socratically have shown they know that they don’t know. They don’t claim to know the mystery of that night. “Probably Meredith was attacked from the front,” Ghirga explained, “But I don’t know.” They don’t know the mystery of the DNA, they only know that those results are impossible. They don’t know the meaning of life, and they are not here to teach it to us, they only know that against Amanda and Raffaele there’s no proof. And, they underlined: “There’s no proof against Amanda and Raffaele,” not only “against Amanda,” making a main defense point of the fact that the two don’t accuse each other, as guilty co-defendants usually do.

At this point Giulia Bongiorno arrived. She attended this trial only at the beginning, thinking probably that it was useless to listen to the others, and that it would have been enough for her to come one day and with her greatness have Raffaele and Amanda acquitted. 

Obviously things didn’t go as planned. Re-entering the trial with no knowledge of the sentiment of the jury, Bongiorno used a language perfectly comprehensible to us, but not at all to the judges.

She offered complicated theories, in reverse but very similar to the accusers’ ones, about why the cops blamed Amanda, and only by reflection Raffaele, who was “her half”…

She knows exactly what happened in that room: Meredith was attacked from behind, the opposite of what Amanda’s defense had suggested.

She swept away Amanda’s self-defense, having nothing to say on something like 36 cops over a girl, but blaming only one interpreter.

She turned herself into a DNA scientist, going into scientific details such as the relation between peaks –those that are real alleles and those that look like alleles but are instead stutters. Having not attended the trial, she indeed couldn’t know what was evident to us, that those judges have no idea of what peaks… alleles…. stutters… electropherograms… percentages of peaks… are, and that you only have to tell them whether those tests are possible in nature and in logic, or not.

Bongiorno attributed the presence of possible Raffaele’s DNA on the bra clasp to the mess that was made in the house during the 46 days, forgetting that that kind of contamination, in the opinion of the Supreme Court (and Nencini has in full regard the opinion of the SC [he said that!]), can explain other clues, such as the DNA of Amanda in Filomena’s room, but not Raffaele’s DNA on the bra clasp, which for Conti & Vecchiotti too, comes mainly from wrong interpretation, and only hypothetically from a contamination.

She assumed that the judges already knew that someone had climbed the wall, so it would have been enough to mention that and show a picture. Having not attended the trial, indeed, she didn’t notice what we had noticed: that judges are aware only of the arguments brought by the prosecution and relaunched by the Supreme Court but, for some reason, they seem not to know anything of the confutation of all those arguments by the defense.

We weren’t shocked, indeed, when we saw that Nencini didn’t know that the wall was climbable (as he didn’t know that Amanda was diagnosed with HIV…. as he didn’t know that it had been already ascertained that Amanda and Raffaele called 112 before the police arrived… etc.).. Bongiorno, instead, was caught by surprise, and that paralyzed her.

She insisted that “Raffaele is innocent,” rather than “Amanda and Raffaele are innocent.”

She had also made a mistake in the appeal document, when she explained why it wasn’t possible that Capezzali, Monacchia and the Dramis sisters had heard the scream at 11:30. But the Dramis sister never claimed to have heard a scream, and writing that four witnesses (and not two, as sustained by the prosecution) had heard that scream makes it really difficult to overturn it! We were expecting Bongiorno to amend her little but important error in her speech, but no mention of it.

In other words, Bongiorno’s defense, almost in conflict with Knox’s defense, was not fully comprehensible to the judges, and it had the effect of making them nervous. On the other hand, it was really useful since it confirmed the feeling we have had that the judges, by reading the case file, have for some reason not memorized the defense arguments, but have given full value only to the Prosecution/Supreme Court ones.

As we remember, the verdict was set up for today. Thanks to Bongiorno, we understood that today Amanda and Raffaele would have been convicted.

So, the defense strategy hasn’t paid off so far. But they have time to change it. Something happened indeed; it looks as if the judge is maybe starting to have some doubts, he took more time to study the case, and moved the verdict day to January 30.

So, now that they know their strategy was ineffective, they know what to do. Simple –how about supporting Amanda and Raffaele?

Amanda didn’t say “an interpreter convinced me,” Amanda said, “They slapped me, threatened and psychologically tortured me.” Indeed it came out that it wasn’t true that Patrick had killed Meredith. Raffaele and Patrick, then, didn’t say, “How strange, with me they were so kind, they kept asking if I wanted to have a lawyer!” No, Raffaele and Patrick said similar things, even more grave. And today the Perugia prosecutor is, coincidentally, seeking jail just for three of those cops. A circumstance that lawyers are keeping secret from Nencini, along with Amanda’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Amanda indeed has appealed her calumny conviction, which one day can be overturned, so we can’t say that she was definitely convicted for calumny. But let’s not tell Nencini… let’s tell him that the cops are perfect and Amanda is a slanderer….

This courtroom is not a convention about DNA. The only argument to propose to these judges –who quickly comprehended this case from the papers– is that those two DNA results on knife and bra clasp are IMPOSSIBLE and, given that those tests are not repeatable, they don’t exist, they can’t be considered, then we are not allowed to say if they are true or not. That the so-called DNA of Amanda and Meredith in Filomena’s room was mixed, therefore not reliable. What is important, though, is that it was collected on December 18, so that one yes: it clearly comes from contamination caused by the tens of people who stepped into that house in 46 days.

It’s useless spending hours to show how Raffaele’s toes touch or don’t touch the floor. The only effective argument is that the footprint on the bath carpet can’t be attributed to anyone, so we are not allowed to compare it with Raffaele or Rudy’s foot. You barely understand that it’s a footprint by looking at it.

It’s useless saying who the luminol footprints belong to; the only effective argument is that they were left days or weeks before the crime on a floor that the girls were washing, therefore by stepping on it they pushed the detergent into the tiles, and that detergent reacted to the luminol.

Their Occasion

These lawyers are lucky: they had Amanda and Raffaele to speak clearly, in their books and even in court.

They had Amanda to explain everything already on December 15, 2007, when she asked to be interrogated, and then again at the trial, and prior to that in her email and in her memorials, and now in her letter to the court.

They had the prosecution never requiring the interrogation of Amanda and Raffaele, and providing reconstructions risible and continually changing. Nencini in person said that it was kind of strange that the prosecution never required the interrogation of Raffaele (and, as he then learned, of Amanda). How about making a hypothesis in court about why the prosecution didn’t seek those interrogations? (Perhaps because, being innocent, they would have effectively defended themselves? Or they could have said what happened in the police station?)

They had a Perugia prosecutor to accuse just those who on November 6 interrogated Amanda and Raffaele, and who had access to the knife and bra clasp! They had the Court of Florence to convict just that prosecutor, and not exactly for tax evasion but for “fabricating evidence.” (Conviction annulled, sure, but the opinion is out there…).

They had the European Court of Human Rights to declare Amanda’s appeal “receivable.”

They have the whole of the press and scholars of the case giving their support.

They had the tramp to show in court his madness.

They realized in court, before it was too late, that judges didn’t “memorize” their arguments but considered only those of Mrs. Caprioglio (of the SC). They have the motivations document from the SC, from reading which it looks evident that only one judge worked on the case.

They could see in court, before it was too late, that their strategy so far doesn’t work.

Last but not least, they had the judge to take extra time to think about the verdict. So they have extra time too!

If in the last day they will speak clearly, if they will chose to support the self-defense of their clients, they will make them free. Otherwise, an appointment next year in Rome, likely, to appeal a conviction.

Frank Sfarzo









Notable articles:



Musings On A Show Trial

John Douglas & Mark Olshaker, AMANDA’S UNENDING PUNISHMENT


Can Anyone Get A Fair Trial In Italy?

Unarresting the Arrested:FBI Profiler John Douglas on the case against Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito

The Neverending Nightmare of Amanda Knox


  1. Excellent article Frank. It is really disturbing to see that the Florence court seems to know nothing about the case beyond what the SC has told them. There is still a small window to try and correct some of this. This entire process has been a farce.

  2. what is surreal is that nobody has disproved the Conti/Vecchiotti report.

    Of course they haven’t, only forensic scientists could really do that.

    So instead they just seem to be bypassing it and presenting the same old evidence as though it never happened.

    I don’t see how this doesn’t bring either Italian science or the legal system into disrepute, but there you go.

    • “what is surreal is that nobody has disproved the Conti/Vecchiotti report”

      Yes, it is surreal. The proper way to challenge it would be to find an independent forensic scientist of a similar caliber in the field of DNA identification. The prosecution only had Novelli, not a forensic scientist at all, saying “contamination must be proven.” Very well professor: try breaking some good-practice rules in your lab, publish the result and try repeating “contamination must be proven” when your colleagues start laughing at you.

      It’s like some other wisecracking Italian “expert” said, “DNA doesn’t fly.” Only it bloody well does – ever inquired why DNA labs get so nervous about dust?

      “So instead they just seem to be bypassing it and presenting the same old evidence as though it never happened.”

      It’s hard to believe but the supreme court is making it possible. Take Curatolo. The supreme court said that Hellmann only found Curatolo unreliable because Curatolo was a heroin addict.

      It’s simply untrue – Hellmann and his panel observed Curatolo on the stand and found him something of a joke. His testimony was contradictory – he couldn’t get his dates right. He was held in jail at that time, but could not tell if he was serving a sentence or being held pending trial (!) He said he had been taking drugs before jail but that heroin does not cause hallucinations. He said he had chosen that lifestyle out of his idealistic anarchistic convictions.

      The supreme court crowned its vindication of Curatolo by saying heroin does not cloud one’s memory. It’s as credible as Curatolo’s claim it does not cause hallucinations. In reality, heroin can damage one’s brain, including the memory zones. High doses can also cause hallucinations. But why do the judges think they are competent to discuss that?

      • opiate drugs are well known to cause dreams and hallucinations.

        ‘The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan’ was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge following just such a hallucinatory dream.

        See also ‘Confessions of an English Opium Eater’, by Thomas De Quincy.

        That as the creative state of the eye increased, a sympathy
        seemed to arise between the waking and the dreaming states of the brain
        in one point—that whatsoever I happened to call up and to trace
        by a voluntary act upon the darkness was very apt to transfer itself
        to my dreams, so that I feared to exercise this faculty; for, as Midas
        turned all things to gold that yet baffled his hopes and defrauded his
        human desires, so whatsoever things capable of being visually represented
        I did but think of in the darkness, immediately shaped themselves into
        phantoms of the eye; and by a process apparently no less inevitable,
        when thus once traced in faint and visionary colours, like writings
        in sympathetic ink, they were drawn out by the fierce chemistry of my
        dreams into insufferable splendour that fretted my heart.

        • Not to mention he had been used in 3 other trials by Mignini. Amazing how many crimes he eye witnessed while strung out.

          • In the eyes of Italy’s supreme court, the fact that Curatolo testified in other trials as a prosecution expert, and the resulting convictions were definitive, makes him even more credible.

            The SC’s section on Curatolo is a masterpiece of logic.

        • Ah, the Confessions! The archididascalus; the man who laid down his conscience; the poor friendless child; and the noble-minded Ann. I remember them better than the visions, but “shaped themselves into phantoms of the eye” says it all.

          • Hey Alex, I just dug up something really interesting here that maybe you will enjoy. ;-D The guilters have some of the usual stuff on PMF and likely elsewhere citing the extradition of Mehmet Sidali to Turkey as proof that the U.S. will extradite despite double jeopardy. Well, it turns out that Mr. Sidali was never extradited at all: apparently he is still living in New Jersey, aged 74 (per public records.) The case was decided upon a Writ of Habeas Corpus – 914 F.Supp. 1104 (1996) – Sidali v. I.N.S. – United States District Court, D, New Jersey – Judge Barry – January 31, 1996 – wherein the judge ruled that there was simply no Probable Cause to believe that Mr. Sidali had committed the crime charged! Sidali had been acquitted not once but twice, and then just like in Italy, his convictions were “annulled” and he was summarily declared guilty without even being present (although he was in the country.)

            Because he was not present where and when he was tried and found “guilty”, the Federal Court did not take that as Probable Cause – so it looked at the evidence itself. As in Knox, there was none, and the Court made special note that the Turkish authorities had failed to test a semen stain and blood drop, and had failed to prove that a break-in had not occurred. The court further ruled that merely being present in the house where the crime occurred was not a basis for Probable Cause to charge or assume guilt. In the end, the Federal Court slapped Turkey silly for even asking for extradition – and the Federal Government (DOJ) silly for daring to process the request! It as much as declared the whole matter political in a footnote!

            Guilters want to point to Sidali as proof that Knox will be extradited: in reality, the case is so parallel – and the final result so opposite what they unthinkingly presume – that Sidali is actually their downfall: they didn’t bother to look up the final disposition! A Federal Court will have to look at all the evidence against Knox – and then it will very publicly slap the Italian judicial system absolutely silly in its rendering, and prohibit the DOJ from molesting Knox at all. End of Story.

          • Unfortunately, the District Court’s decision was overturned by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals (look up “Sidali vs. Immigration and Naturalization Service”) on the grounds that, after all, probable cause did exist. The whole case revolved over one question, whether the conviction of Sidali by Turkey’s “General Board” constituted “a foreign judgment of conviction, obtained following a trial at which the accused was present.” The district court thought it did not while the circuit court thought it did.

            In this case though, Amanda is absent from the third trial.

            I’m not sure if Sidali got extradited at all or whether the Mehmet S. Sidali of New Jersey is the same person. The magistrate who found him extraditable was actually sympathetic to the man. He freed him on bail and asked the Secretary of the State to look into the man’s circumstances. It’s also clear that Turkey only wanted Sidali back when the US asked it to extradite a drug dealer who had escaped from a Chicago jail and fled to Turkey. It was a politically motivated exchange.

          • Oh, crud. I thought I had found something, since the judge’s language was so clear. On thing that might factor is that Turkey does not have trials by jury, which Italy (sort of) does – but I am not an attorney and this stuff gets really difficult to predict. Sorry for the false lead.

          • In Amanda’s case the court documents which Italy will have to send to American contain 2 reports by experts rejecting the only real peice of evidence against her, the knife.

          • Unfortunately, the cited ruling makes is very clear that it is not the function of the Federal Court to judge between conflicting evidence – to act as a trier of fact in the case itself – but only to judge whether the evidence in and of itself is reliable and supports Probable Cause. And as Alex pointed out below, there was a later ruling in the third circuit in 1997 which went against Sidali. I thought I was onto something in the matter… but overruled after all. Sorry.

            Nevertheless we will continue to support and to fight this thing. This case is so obviously political and so obviously crooked. I simply wish that the Kercher family could see and accept that they have been duped – that they are sleeping with the enemy. I keep thinking of an episode from the second season of Net Tricks with Amanda Redman, et al.: Family Business. For the Kercher family, their attachment to this false “guilt” and their trust in the Italian authorities is truly tragic – for all concerned.

          • People knew how to write in those days eh?

  3. It’s really sad if judge Nencini has only read the supreme court’s ruling and has ignored the actual evidence in the case. The SC report either ignores or misrepresents evidence and the arguments by the defense and judges Hellmann and Zanetti. It’s a biased source of information about the case.

    As for Bongiorno, she probably asked herself and the court, “What evidence against my client, Raffaele, have they got?” Two bits: the clasp and the footprint, both worthless although for different reasons. Apart from that, the witnesses – namely Curatolo and possibly Capezzali. (Quintavale has nothing on Raffaele.) Of course Curatolo was a drugged bum and Capezzali is crazy and half-deaf, but…

    … but some people keep asking: “Why is there so much evidence, worthless and contrived but still part of the dossier?” The prosecution has the supreme court’s “osmotic” argument – that taken together, all those discredited bits and pieces are still indicative of guilt.

    Bongiorno’s answer to this is in her diatribe against the cops: because they decided early on that the couple were guilty. They did not investigate; they collected evidence against Knox and Sollecito. Once you accept it, everything falls into place.

    Why didn’t Patrizia Stefanoni run a definitive blood test on the Luminol areas? Why did she try to conceal the negative TMB results? Because the Luminol was something she could show to her bosses, an inconclusive preliminary test of course, contradicted by the TMB, but it was something. Some dirt on Amanda and Raffaele. When the standards of evidence are low to non-existent, anything vaguely incriminating will do.

    Why didn’t Stefanoni test random samples from Filomena’s room for DNA, as required by good scientific practice? Because she already had mixed DNA from a Luminol blob. That was something. If she’d tested a random spot and it had the same mixed DNA, it would have worked for the defense, meaning both girls walked barefoot in the room. If she’d found Rudy’s DNA, it would be even worse for the prosecution. So she skipped the substrate test required for her result to have any meaning. It’s unscientific and dishonest cherry-picking.

    Bongiorno’s view of the case also explains the emergence of the freakish witnesses. The investigation had been closed when cops started looking for people who could be convinced to testify. Curatolo was an easy pick: as a drug addict and dealer, he was vulnerable to police pressure. He ended up in jail anyway despite having testified for the prosecution more than once.

    Nara Capezzali had a history of hospitalization for a mental disorder. She came forward when Knox and Sollecito had already been named as the likely culprits by the police. Not at all unusual for disturbed people, unfortunately.

    • The most troubling thing is that she can’t reproduce any of this evidence. We simply have to take her word for it and ignore the independent experts who testified.

      • And she still had not released the electronic data files underlying her “word” on the DNA evidence at all. She is like Joe Isuzu: “Trust Me!”

  4. Frank,
    The truth you write is not what the defense would want to read. The article reminds us the ISC didn’t know, they’re too busy to read all the details, they’re too busy with 1,000 other cases.
    And now I wonder how much does the Florence courtroom understand about this case? We all know its clouded in lies by Rudy Guede and then the truth is insulted by the face saving prosecution and gestapo like loyalty of their party.
    What good is DNA evidence to a retarded jury?

  5. The idiot who calls herself Andrea Vogt is actually now arguing that the case is going great for the prosecution because they aren’t emphasizing the kitchen knife or the sex game theory. So they have no murder weapon and no motive and this is supposed to indicate imminent victory. She also seems to envision a scenario where they let Sollecito go and still convict Knox. It’s finally come to that for the gutter journalists covering the case. No evidence is necessary, just throw Knox in jail.

  6. Hey Frank…still lying, huh? Did you beat anyone up lately?

  7. Hi Frank!

    Can you or anyone else for that matter tell me what this means?

    They had the European Court of Human Rights to declare Amanda’s appeal “receivable.”

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