Updated February 26, 2012
John Follian reports for the Rupert Murdoch owned Times of London. He has reported extensively on the Meredith Kercher murder case and has also written a book on the subject. I recently wrote an article detailing the Architects of the Foxy Knoxy Myth. Even though Follain was not considered one of the architects, he is another reporter that must be called out for his reprehensible coverage of the Amanda Knox case. He definitely shares blame for the smear campaign put forth against Knox throughout her ordeal.
Follain’s publisher Hodder & Stoughton delayed the release of his book three times since it had first graced Amazon’s UK website before finally releasing it October 25, 2011. Funny that a book titled “Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher Case from Her Murder to the Acquittal of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox” was delayed so many times all while claiming to be “definitive.”
Follain is known for his chummy relationship with prosecutors and the police involved in the Amanda Knox case, seen by several court observers frequently whispering in their ears during court sessions.Follain’s close ties with police got him into Capanne prison, where he tried to speak with Amanda, who refused (he interviewed her cell mate instead).
Follain’s publishers designed at least four different covers for his book
From the time that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty in Perugia, Italy, in December of 2009, scientists and experts all over the world have criticized the forensic practices of the investigators and their findings.On appeal, the judge ordered independent experts to review the scientific data in the case.These independent experts, Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti, both scientists from La Sapienza University in Rome, concluded that the main pieces of scientific evidence were unreliable.
For competent experts and intelligent observers, the conclusions of the court appointed independent experts validate what they have been saying all along and is not at all surprising. However, the Conti-Vecchiotti report, which carefully documents the sloppy evidence gathering, must have come as somewhat of a shock to Follain, who as late as March 2011 told readers that, “Contamination is in theory always possible but I see nothing to indicate that happened here” and concluded that Amanda Knox’s appeal would go the same way as her original trial. Had Follain listened to anyone other than police and prosecutors, perhaps he would not have been so blindsided by the Italian Appeals Court decision that declared Knox and Solecito Innocent.
Follain talks with Monica Napaleoni, head of Perugia’s homicide squad and prosecutor Giuliano Mignini
The Times of London, at one time one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious papers, has allowed Follain to nurture his ridiculous tabloid sensibilities. For instance, in September 2008, Follain wrote an article headlined “Amanda Knox, ‘Foxy Knoxy’, reveals her lesbian trauma.” The story here was that Amanda had mentioned to Raffaele that some of her high school classmates thought she might be a lesbian, because she had helped a gay male friend set up an organization for gay students.
Since Follain began covering the case, his obsession with Amanda and her sex life has exposed a Madonna/whore complex unmatched even by London’s sleaziest tabloids the Mirror and the Sun.Thanks to Follain, trashy headlines never failed to accompany an article about Amanda Knox in the Times: “Amanda Knox snared by her lust and her lies”, “Foxy Knoxy the ‘she-devil’ waits serene”, “Diary reveals Foxy Knoxy’s sex secrets”.
On December 6, 2009, the day of the verdict, Follain put forth the absurd assertion that the relationship between Amanda Knox and murder victim Meredith Kercher had soured because “it appears that it was Knox’s sex life that really drove a wedge between the women” even though both were sexually active at the time and no evidence was presented that Meredith ever said anything negative about Amanda’s sex life. Additionally, Follain asserted the oft repeated lie that Amanda brought home “strange men” to the cottage where her and Meredith lived—-even though at trial it was shown that Amanda had very few visitors, and all the visitors were known to Meredith.
Incidentally, in the same article on the day of the verdict, Follain quoted a blogger named Peggy Ganong, stating that she was an “Italian-speaking” Seattle blogger and quoting her where she said: “The implication was that all Italian forensics are inferior to American forensics, and I think that’s just not true. The forensic evidence was a lot stronger than her supporters said”. Of course, Follain failed to mention that Ganong could not speak Italian, had no experience in forensics, had never been to Perugia, and was administrator of Amanda Knox hate site Perugiamurderfile.org.
Follain takes an afternoon stroll with Franscesco Maresca, civil attorney for Meredith Kercher’s family
Perhaps what Follain is most well known for is writing the June 15, 2008 article with an interview of Amanda Knox’s parents Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, which prompted the police to charge both with criminal slander simply for repeating what Amanda had told them about being hit during her interrogation.Curt Knox stated: “Amanda was abused physically and verbally. She told us she was hit in the back of the head by a police officer with an open hand, at least twice. The police told her, ‘If you ask for a lawyer, things will get worse for you’ and ‘If you don’t give us some explanation for what happened, you’re going to go to jail for a very long time.”
Incidentally, in this same article, Follain made egregious errors in describing a story about rape that Amanda Knox had posted on her Myspace page. Follain summarized it as a story in “which a young woman drugs and rapes another woman” and quoted from it as follows: “She fell on the floor, she felt the blood on her mouth and swallowed it. She couldn’t move her jaw and felt as if someone was moving a razor on the left side of her face.”
Follain completely misrepresented the story, suggesting that it glorifies rape. In fact, the story is about the relationship between two brothers, one of whom accuses the other of drugging and raping a girl. This leads to a physical altercation between the brothers, described as follows: “Edgar dropped to the floor and tasted the blood in his mouth and swallowed it. He couldn’t move his jaw and it felt like someone was jabbing a razor into the left side of his face.” This story has been available online ever since Amanda and Raffaele were arrested. Why did Follain alter the text? Perhaps he did so because an accurate description of the story would not have the lurid and incriminating spin he wanted to convey to his readers.
Follian stands with other reporters and Amanda’s defense team during an appeal hearing
Now that Amanda Knox has been declared innocent, journalists like Follain that happily smeared Knox, printing whatever lie suited them at the moment, should finally face public scrutiny which has long since been warranted. Of course this will never happen because our attention spans are too short to hold yellow journalist’s feet to the fire. We are far more eager to move on to the next big story.
If Follain’s journalistic efforts have shown us anything, accuracy is not his strong suit. Keep that in mind if you plan on reading his book.