Amanda Knox Charged with Slander? Are You Kidding?

Well if you weren’t yet convinced how dysfunctional Italy’s criminal justice system is, you have to be convinced now after reading the morning papers today.  Despite the fact that Amanda Knox has been sentenced to 26 years for murder, prosecutors are seeking additional prison time and additional charges for “slander”.  See story. The lawyers allege that Knox besmirched the good reputation of the Italian police when she explained that police slapped her on the back of the head during their 14-hour, all-night interrogation.  

As a lawyer, and a former American prosecutor, I have seen some pretty petty moves pulled by prosecutors.  However, this “slander” charge I think would top them all.  In this country, I don’t ever recall anyone being charged with criminal slander. Sure, it is something you can sue for.  But to be charged with a crime? Almost unheard of.

I have to admit, part of me is glad these charges have been filed.  Why?  Because the frivolousness of these charges is really something that everyone will agree on.  Even those people who believe Knox is guilty of murder have to admit that this charge is really silly.  If the Italian prosecutors really believed their murder conviction would be upheld, then why would they worry about getting more time for slander charges?  The truth is the prosecutors are probably nervous about the conviction being overturned. Additionally, are the Italian police such a sensitive bunch that their “feelings were hurt” by allegations that they slapped an arrestee?  Are the Italian police so much different from all other police of the world that they never ever manhandle suspects?  It is laughable that the Italian prosecutors are really trying to get the world to believe that.  The Italian police admit that they interrogated Knox for 14 hours without food or sleep, and that they did this by working in teams against this one girl.  That in itself is abusive and coercive.  Does any more “slander” really damage the reputation of the Italian police?  The so-called “confession” that Amanda Knox made to the police was the result of the police repeatedly insisting that she committed the crimes. Using an universal interrogation trick, the police insisted that Amanda “imagine” what happened if she had committed the murder, and Amanda complied.

Aren’t people allowed to public criticize the government in Italy?  (I guess not – remember how Giuliano Mignini tried to bring defamation charges against the West Seattle Herald?) The image of the Italian criminal justice is going from bad to worse with this new “slander” charge.  Let’s see if Amanda’s defense lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova can try to get these charges dismissed.   You really have to wonder about the wisdom of Judge Claudia Matteini in bringing these charges.

Am I the only one who thinks these charges are ridiculous?

See my past posts about the Amanda Knox case beginning the summer of 2009.

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24 Responses to “Amanda Knox Charged with Slander? Are You Kidding?”

  • fred:

    I noticed that your blog comes up #1 when you google the slander prosecutor’s name, ie. Guiliano Mignini. That is hilarious , wonder how long before u get sued.

  • Steve Graham:

    Yeah your right, but google results vary from area to area, and in Italy I am sure they look thing up on http://www.google.it rather than what we use, and on that Italian google, my site ranks #5. It is not intentional, i guess i just mention him a lot in my posts because I view the Amanda Knox case from the perspective of a former prosecutor. I do blame him most all for the injustice.

  • F. G. Sarducci:

    Well, you know these Italians are very sensitive.
    I got arrested once just for wearing clothes that offended them.
    And they didn’t even say “fuck the draft” or anything that you might think a normal person could be offended at.
    The next thing that will happen is that the Italian prosecutors will be writing a book about their experience prosecuting this case.
    Probably they will be on Letterman and Oprah talking about their book.
    The first mistake that anyone can make is going to Italy at all.
    The Italian food is actually much better in New York where I live now.

    Bless you my son for this wonderful blog that you have!

    F.G. Sarducci

  • Michelle Moore:

    Dude, you’re brilliant!!!! Thank you for speaking out on your belief’s!!!
    Sincerely,
    Michelle Moore

    PS My husband is Steve Moore, I will pass this along!
    Mignini, Mignini, Mignini,, Mignini…
    🙂 thanks again

  • Steve Graham:

    Thanks Sarducci, thanks Michelle! I am glad you guys came by. Michelle, tell your husband to keep up the good work!

  • Paul:

    Good stuff Steve. Few things have done more to damage the reputation of Italy than these slander trials. It is important to recall that Amanda never said she was hurt–only intimidated and scared. She also expressed sympathy for the police on several occasions, saying that they had a tough job to do and were trying to get to the bottom of a terrible crime.

    Getting the full context of events is also important. Far too many people believe that they would not have “broken” in this kind of situation. But of course they would have. These police techniques work–that’s why there used. The right to counsel and requirements that interrogations be recorded are an acknowledgment that many people could not withstand the pressure of trained interrogators given a free hand.

    In the five days leading up to her arrest, Amanda was interrogated for over 40 hours–longer than the average work week. They hounded and harassed her. The evidence plainly shows that she was on the point of emotional and physical collapse. They were also bugging her phone, and while they heard nothing incriminating they did learn that their time was running out. Amanda’s mother was scheduled to arrive and she could be expected to protect her daughter and find a lawyer. So the police planned a brutal overnight session involving no fewer than a dozen detective grade officers, a number of them brought up from Rome expressly for the purpose. Amanda was just a kid who did not know the language well, or Italian law and customs. She was allowed no food or bathroom breaks. She had no lawyer and no help from the American counsel. She was screamed at and lied to repeatedly, and, yes, she was almost certainly slapped in the back of the head. Even the cruel, Knox-hating journalist Barbie Nadeau has said this very likely happened.

    The police tag-teamed and mobbed Amanda for hours. In the end the exhausted youngster capitulated and gave–not a confession–but highly confused police induced hallucination. Indeed, the mental health professional who interviewed her after the arrest said that at that point she was still extraordinarily confused.

    In short, the behavior of the police was disgraceful from start to finish. If they believe this is a an overly harsh judgment, let them produce the videotape that shows I’m wrong.

  • Michael:

    My thoughts exactly. The endless nonsensical persecution of Amanda Knox continues. And if Amanda defends herself again at trial, what do you wanna bet new charges will be filed. Catch 22.

  • Michelle Moore:

    Mignini avoids the internet except for anything that is published in Italian. So, you gooooo!

  • John:

    It is interesting to note that Patrick Lumumba, who the police coerced Amanda into naming as the original suspect, was arrested and claimed extremely brutal handling at the hands of the Italian police. In an article from the Daily Mail:

    “At 6.30am on Tuesday, November 6, the bell to his fourth-floor flat in the town buzzed insistently and a woman’s voice outside demanded he opened the door. He had barely had time to do so when the woman, assisted by, Patrick estimates, 15 to 20 others, barged their way in.”

    “They were wearing normal clothes and carrying guns,” he says. “I thought it must be some sort of armed gang about to kill me. I was terrified.

    “They hit me over the head and yelled ‘dirty black’. Then they put handcuffs on me and shoved me out of the door, as Aleksandra pulled Davide away, screaming.”

    “He was greeted outside by a convoy of seven police cars, sirens blazing, and driven to Perugia’s police station, where he was subjected to a ten-hour interrogation.”

    “I was questioned by five men and women, some of whom punched and kicked me,” he claims. “They forced me on my knees against the wall and said I should be in America where I would be given the electric chair for my crime. All they kept saying was, ‘You did it, you did it.'”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-496218/I-fired-Foxy-Knoxy-hitting-customers-Patrick-Lumumba-reveals-framed-Merediths-murder.html#ixzz15UPUpXJg

    Where are the slander charges against Lumumba? Clearly this lawsuit is just a further step in Mignini’s illegal vendetta against Amanda Knox.
    Additionally, the “competent police” who are so concerned about their reputation actually broke their own laws by somehow not providing a recording of the interrogation. Which, coincidentally, is required for Amanda to prove her claim.

    Someone of power in Italy or the EU should step in and say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”

  • Jillson:

    Not bad, Steve.

    Do you suppose that was the real Father Guido Sarducci?
    Anything is possible on the Internet these days.

    He has been back in circulation recently, and appeared at the rally to restore sanity and/or fear.

  • Steve Graham:

    I don’t think so Jillson, because his IP address is in Ephrata. hahaha But it is a real funny comment.
    @John, thanks for your comment. I will check out that link right now! The best part of my Amanda Knox posts are all the great comments.

  • HarryRag:

    I hope Mignini burns in hell. I think he deserves it. The Italians should throw his fat butt in the slammer.

    My opinions: If Mignini thought they were guilty he and his henchmen would not have fabricated all the lies. One example; The authorities told the court that test had not been performed to verify the bloody footprints were of blood, however the test had been performed and the test were negative for the presents of blood. This is perjury!!! I haven’t seen one news article touch on this subject. Why? Are they afraid to speak the truth because Mignini might sue them for slander?

    SOON AFTER THE MURDER, NOV 1, 2007, THE AUTHORITIES STARTED TALKING ABOUT BLOODY FOOTPRINTS COMPATIBLE WITH AMANDA’S AND RAFFAELE’S FEET. THIS BABBLE CONTINUED AND WAS PRESENTED TO THE JURY UNTIL JULY 2009 WHEN WE LEARN THERE WERE NEVER BLOODY FOOTPRINTS ANYWHERE IN THE APARTMENT WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ONE PRINT ON A BATH MAT WHICH WAS OF SUCH LOW QUALITY IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO IDENTIFY WHO’S FOOT MADE THE PRINT. THE AUTHORITIES WERE AWARE OF THE TEST THAT PROVED THE FOOTPRINTS WERE NOT BLOOD BUT WITH-HELD THE EVIDENCE FROM THE DEFENSE AND THE JURY.

    (page 64 hearing Sept. 26, 2009). “Dr. Stefanoni confirmed that to prove that blood is present, you have to test for it. Dr. Stefanoni claimed that no testing was done. In July 2009 the test records revealed otherwise. The luminol findings were tested using tetramethylbenzidine, and the tests were negative for all tracks. The luminol findings tested negative for blood.”

    …………………………………………………………..
    NOTE: Massei report: All the alleged foot prints in the apartment, which were found in the listed rooms, were tested for the presence of blood using ‘tetramethylbenzidine’, and all the alleged foot prints tested negative for blood, leaving only one possible bloody foot print in the entire apartment, which is the one on the bath mat that was in the bathroom:

    1) Romanelli’s room
    2) Knox’s room
    3) corridor

    Massei rep page 256-257: With respect to the Luminol-positive traces found in Romanelli’s room, in Knox’s room and in the corridor, she [Dr Stefanoni] stated that by analysing the SAL cards “we learn, in contradiction to what was presented in the technical report deposited by the Scientific Police, and also to what was said in Court, that not only was the Luminol test performed on these traces, but also the generic diagnosis for the presence of blood, using tetramethylbenzidine, and this test, gave a negative result on all the items of evidence from which it was possible to obtain a genetic profile” (page 64 hearing Sept. 26, 2009).
    =====================

    • Steve Graham:

      You’re not Harry Rag, so I don’t know why you are impersonating him. Don’t know why it took a year for me to notice that.

  • Nancy:

    I’ve been to Italy many times and fell in love with the country years ago but, I’m truly disgusted with the way this case has been handled. Steve, thanks for continuing to write about Amanda. Do you think that the odds are good that she’ll win her appeal?

  • Evergreen:

    It seems that when this case is out of the news, a surprise story suddenly appears. While the evidence is being retested in the appeal, news about the slander charges against the parents have broke. The trial will occur on July 4. It’s there court, they can set a date. Bad enough the trial, the appeal, the slander trials, are all going pretty slowly. Although I was surprised about this, I was following the news out of Italy for another case that has been in the news, but don’t want to say more about it(it involves the guy in charge of Italy), and his trial is being fast-tracked.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2014230306_knox16m.html?syndication=rss

    • Steve Graham:

      I know what you mean. i don’t want to say his name either, he who shall not be named. I don’t mind obliquely comparing Mign1ni to Muss0lini though 😉

  • Evergreen:

    Media coverage of this case seemed to be getting at least on the fair side, but then the police in Perugia went after Frank Sfarzo, the Perugia Shock blogger critical of Mignini. The Committee to Protect Journalists sent a letter to the Italian President, about the harassment of the journalists reporting on the case.

    http://www.cpj.org/2011/04/journalists-threatened-for-reporting-on-murder-cas.php

    Earlier I suggested that I hoped the embassy would stay involved in the case, or get more involved. NOw, if journalists who may be critical of the prosecution are being investigated, or worse, intimidated, by the powers that be in Perugia, they may not respect Diplomatic Immunity either.

  • Steve Graham:

    Thanks for sharing that link Evergreen. The abuse of the media seems to have gone well beyond just Giuliano Mignini at this point. And this is exactly the type of thing that Spezi complained about in his book so many years ago. At some point I am just waiting for the Italians to wake up and fix this, but they have just let Mignini go on for far too long.

  • Bill:

    Why are you surprised ? Is it not true that in the USA you can get arrested for telling a police officer to f— off ?

    • Steve Graham:

      No you actually can tell the police that in this country. I used to tell police that when I was a prosecutor all the time. I mean you can’t refuse a lawful request, like to produce one’s license and insurance, but you can certain insult and disrespect government officials under the first amendment.

  • I’m sure that Big Meany would sue us all if he could. Good job on getting your blog up there on the google index. 🙂

    • Steve Graham:

      Yeah, I love the fact that this blog ranks number one for “Giuliano Mignini” on google right now in the U.S. I have just been begging for a suit from him for slander. I think it would improve my Amanda Knox street cred. Ha ha. Thanks for visiting my blog Doug.

  • Charity:

    I have some questions:

    Now that she is on American soil, can she be forced back to Italy if their stupid counter-appeal goes through???? Can she be granted an Asylum from the U.S.?

    Does she have to pay the slander charges which was caused from her torturous interrogations?

    And also if the victims family sues, does she have to go to Italy? And does she have to pay millions if they win???

    I can’t how blind these people are who think she’s guilty. I think there is a BIG difference Casey Anthony and Amanda Knox in wondering if there is guilt. HUGE difference. Amanda is guilty of acting younger than her age and being too naive and too trusting. I was THAT may years ago. (I’m 47) Now through hard knocks, I am no longer trusting and naive. I hope she will not be too cynical, but wiser.

    • Steve Graham:

      Thanks for visiting my blog, Charity. In theory Italy could file an extradition request but the chance of the State Department granting it is real unlikely. I suppose she has a judgment for money damages for the slander charges, but I really don’t know how the heck the Italian plaintiff would ever collect money from her in the U.S. A lot of these judgments are not worth the paper they are written on. What assets does Amanda have to pay? A lot of these sort of judgments are dischargeable in American bankruptcy courts anyway.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR….
Photo of Steve Graham Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking: www.grahamdefense.com
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