Amanda Knox returns to Italian courtroom, examining clear name in defamation case: NPR

Amanda Knox arrives flanked by her husband Christopher Robinson, right, in the courtroom in Florence, Italy, on Wednesday.

Antonio Calanni/AP

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Antonio Calanni/AP

FLORENCE, Italy — Amanda Knox returned to an Italian court Wednesday for the first time in more than 12 and a half years to clear herself “once and for all” of a defamation charge that persisted even after she was exonerated in the brutal murder of her British roommate in 2007. in the idyllic hilltop town of Perugia.

The murder of Meredith Kercher, 21, made global headlines as suspicion fell on Knox, a 20-year-old exchange student from Seattle, and her new Italian boyfriend of only a week, Raffaele Sollecito . The reversed verdicts during nearly eight years of legal proceedings polarized trial observers on both sides of the Atlantic as the case was hotly debated on social media, still in its infancy.

In a sign of the fervor that continues to surround the case, cameras converged on Knox, her husband Christopher Robinson and their legal team as they entered the courtroom about an hour before the hearing was set to begin. A camera hit her in the left temple, said her lawyer, Luca Luparia Donati. Knox’s husband examined a small bump on her head as they sat in the front row of court.

Knox planned to go to court and a decision is expected later Wednesday, his attorney said.

All these years later, despite Knox’s exoneration and the conviction of an Ivorian whose fingerprints and DNA were found at the scene, doubts about his role persist, particularly in Italy. This was largely due to the accusation she made against a Congolese bar owner who employed her part-time, a complaint which resulted in her being found guilty of defamation.

Knox, now 36 and the mother of two young children, is returning to Italy for only the second time since she was released in October 2011 after four years in prison by a Perugia appeals court which overturned the original guilty verdict in the case. murder case against Knox and Sollecito.

She remained in the United States despite two other voluntary verdicts before Italy’s highest court finally exonerated the two men of murder in March 2015, stating categorically that they had not committed the crime.

“I will enter the same courtroom where I was once again convicted of a crime I did not commit, this time to defend myself once again,” Knox wrote on social media. “I hope to clear my name once and for all of the false accusations made against me. Wish me good luck.”

Knox’s day in court was set by a European court ruling that Italy violated his human rights during a long night of interrogation days after Kercher’s murder, deprived of a lawyer and of a competent translator. In the fall, Italy’s highest court of cassation threw out the slander conviction that had withstood five trials, ordering a retrial, thanks to a 2022 Italian judicial reform allowing cases that reached a verdict to be reopened definitive if human rights violations are noted.

This time the court was ordered to disregard two prejudicial statements written by police and signed by Knox at 1:45 a.m. and 5:45 a.m., while she was held for questioning overnight until early hours of November. December 6, 2007. In her statements, Knox said she remembered hearing Kercher scream and named Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a bar where she worked, for the murder.

A few hours later, still in custody around 1 p.m., she asked for a pen and paper and wrote her own statement in English, questioning the version she had signed.

“Regarding this ‘confession’ that I made last night, I would like to clarify that I very much doubt the veracity of my statements because they were made under the pressure of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion “, she wrote.

Whatever the outcome, Knox faces no further prison time. The four years she served before the first acquittal cover the three-year sentence for defamation.

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