Latest Amanda Knox News: The Problems with the Prosecutors’ Closing Arguments

Today during his closing argument, prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola vouched for the credibility of known heroin addict Antonio Curatolo, who claimed during the criminal trial that he saw Knox and Sollecito near the crime scene the night of the murder.

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini. (Photo by PerugiaShock.com)

Curatolo’s testimony unraveled during the appeal when Curatolo’s story grew more implausible as he claimed buses were running and students were congregating on a night when the buses were not running due to the disco being closed.  During his closing argument, Costagliola apparently minimized the effect of heroin use on a person’s perceptions and credibility, which led Perugia Shock blogger to sarcastically write:

Heroin doesn’t give hallucinations …  your perceptions won’t change. You can work the same if you take heroin. You can follow a class without any problem. You can work at the assembly line. You can manage your clients’ money. You can operate on your patients. You can sit on the directors’ board. You can sit in court to testify, or to judge people. It doesn’t give you hallucinations. So, why do people take it if it doesn’t give them not even a bit of hallucination?

In the U.S. the testimony of known drug addicts is so troubling that courts often will issue an “addict instruction” to the jurors cautioning them to be careful in considering the testimony of an addict.  The instruction usually goes like this:

The testimony of a drug addict must be examined and weighed by the jury with greater care than the testimony of a witness who does not abuse drugs. An addict may have a constant need for drugs, and for money to buy drugs, and may also have a greater fear of imprisonment because his or her source of drugs may be cut off.

I noticed the prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola also asked the jurors: “As you make your decision, I wish that you jurors feel a little bit like the parents of Meredith Kercher…”.  For what it is worth, in the U.S. these sort of put-yourself-in-the-victim’s-shoes type of arguments are considered prosecutorial misconduct, and are banned in courts.

Not to be out done by Costagliola, Mignini himself made some pretty outlandish statements today, comparing the Amanda Knox defense claims to Nazi propaganda. Mignini argued that the defense committed: “…slander, slander, slander in the hope that it some of it will stick. It’s worthy of the noted propaganda minister of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.”

Who was impressed by all this nonsense?  Pretty much just Barbie Nadeau, who headlined her article as follows: “Knox Appeal Hits a Snag – Since her appeal began, Amanda Knox has appeared to be sailing toward an acquittal—but the prosecution’s powerful closing argument today could alter her fate once again.”  Is she kidding?  Apparently in the mind of Barbie Nadeau, the jurors said to themselves: “Hmmmm…. maybe we shouldn’t acquit.  Mignini DID have a pretty good point about our war-time allies the Nazis.”

Lastly, Mignini made reference Rudy Guede and argued: “Don’t let the poor black guy be the only one to pay the price for this murder.”  The best response to this was by EdLancey in the comment section of Nadeau’s article.  He wrote: “Have you ever heard a more disgusting comment, the poor girl’s room was covered in his [Guede’s] bloody footprints and semen, and this lunatic tries to play the race card.”

 

14 Responses to “Latest Amanda Knox News: The Problems with the Prosecutors’ Closing Arguments”

  • quentin:

    There is so much that astonishes me about Italy that I don’t know where to begin. The entire prosecution case was demolished in the first trial and it is utter dust now. Nevertheless, the prosecutors get to just make things up. I mean that quite literally. They just say things for which there is no foundation in evidence. They just lie, and lie, and lie, and lie, and lie. And everyone smiles and treats this as normal. Amazing.

    For anyone keeping score, here is the evidence in the murder room:

    Traces of Amanda Knox: Zero
    Traces of Raffaele Sollecito: Zero
    Traces of Rudy Guede:

    –DNA in the victim
    –DNA on two articles of her clothing
    –DNA on her purse
    –Bloody palm and fingerprints
    –Bloody footprints

    Recall, that this isn’t even controversial. Guede stipulated as to its accuracy.

    The plain fact is, if you slow down, decaffeinate, use reason rather than impressions, you discover that the entire prosecution case is a hoax. I have never seen the like of it.

  • Great point about the prosecutor asking the jurors to think like Meredith’s parents. It is a blatant appeal to emotion.

  • As the appeals trial draws to a close, I am increasingly nervous. Why anyone would believe the discredited Mignini is beyond me, but as quentin points out above, the Perugian justice system seems quite capable of any outrage. I fear they may uphold the prior conviction as a way of showing “solidarity” with the prosecution’s flagrant abuse of the system.

    • connie:

      Evidently in italy it is not, a “flagrant abuse of the system”… it IS the system.
      My fear is they will uphold to save face in the COURT of world opinion.

  • SKIN COLOR has nothing to do with this!! Rudy Guede is the only one who killed Meredith Kercher, and thus the only one who should “pay the price”. Prosecutor Mignini is demented to think Amanda and Raffi are guilty! Total. Nutcase. IF he really even believes what he is saying!! -f

  • Denver Morgan:

    Wow this prosocution is insane asking the jurys to convict out of sympathey
    for Meridith is just plaing crazy look a the evidence the not the smoke screen the prosocutor is trying to use and the to say the poor black guy
    he murdered and raped her my goodnesss he deserves no pity.

  • I don’t understand why the court allows itself to be treated in such a undignified manner. Playing to emotions by comparing the defendants to Nazis and asking the judges to think of the family seems like outrageous behavior and it has no place in a court.

    Why doesn’t the defense rise to object this behavior? Ask for proof that the defendants are Nazis or that they are somehow followers of Nazis and ask what all this means in this murder case. Where are the facts that indicate these defendants are involved in this murder? Not in pretending to be the family or a Nazi. I’m sorry but Italian courts are being made to look foolish by allowing such undignified behavior. It is as if the judge rules over some open mic night at a perverted karaoke trial night.

  • David Shortt:

    I think by saying poor black guy..Migini is trying to fool the jury into believing that Guede is scapegoated due to his colour and therefore someone must be held accountable for Meridith’s death.

    As if Guede’s light prison sentence is the proof of Amanda and Raffaelles greater guilt of something as we all know has been dreamt up in Migini’s mind and echoed in the street of hard truths in the form of a street criminal and heroin addict. H

    This man is hardly Moses coming down the mountain. He has a fork that warns the jury that if they would be challenging both the Italians courts decision against Rudy Guede as well as a seperate italian Jurys decision therby he is playing one off the other to his advantage.

    Migini proclaims previous court sentences as proof to twist his existing theory as if by fine tuning it he can pull the wool over the jurys eyes.

    Those court decisions that we have all worked and strived to prove as a miscarriages of justice and succeeded at every level and in every detail and this will be remembered as miscarriage of justice and Migini will not pull this from before our eyes.

  • Barry Tumwater:

    Playing to emotions and distorting evidence worked the first time. Hopefully the memory of the independent report will be fresh enough to check it. Noting that the report eliminated the knife as the murder weapon and that Mignini chose to mention the vibrator, will this be the first vibrator ever used to slit a throat?

  • Evergreen:

    On that last part, where he invoked the Nazi comment, that is truly uncalled for, and should forever be not allowed to be used in court, or anywhere. That said, the prosecution seems to be invoking another reference to WWII, not in words, but in their actions. They seem to be invoking the motto of a famous US Army unit of WWII, with his evidence discredited, he is still going for broke.(Sorry to any veterans of the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regiment or their families that may be reading this). What I mean by going for broke, is he still thinks he has a chance at getting the outcome he feels he was denied, Life in Prison!

    I was wondering what else the prosecution would do to hide the fact their evidence seems to be gone. I admit, I almost laughed when I heard them say the evidence speaks for itself. Claiming no contamination on the bra clasp because it never left the scene. The fact it was exposed to the elements should be contamination enough. This case seems to be slander alright, to DNA Evidence itself. It’s always a double-edged sword. It puts the guilty away, and frees the innocent. After this, can a court even trust it? Plus, it’s use to clear cold cases might be in jeopardy. The evidence could now be considered suspect because at the time, not much was known about DNA evidence.

    I just hope that the last mention of slander in this case will be the charges filed against Mingini, after this is all over. He may have got the equivalent of a slap on the wrist for the charges he was facing, in a concurrent trial, going on at the same time the first trial in this case, but I believe it was contingent on not abusing his office again. I think their might be just that happening in this trial. Plus, when the verdict happens, and if she is released, how fast can they get out of the country?

  • Frank C.:

    If Amanda Knox is found guilty, boycott Italy until its government exorcises its justice system.

    • connie:

      Touche’ !

    • Evergreen:

      I must admit, I am not sure about a boycott working(some of our local industries here are intertwined, some parts of the 787 I believe are made in Italy, or were at one point), but I do root against Italy in sporting events(too bad the US lost to them in the Rugby World Cup, but the US team is not as good as other nations that the sport is more popular in). Although the US Servicemembers there behave honorably when they are off-base(and not on deployment), I wonder how the case is affecting them?

      That said, it seems that Migini continues to put on a show, that has succeeded in at least getting his name mentioned, with the race card. Although I notice, he does not mention Guede’s name. I wonder if this part was brought up to play to not just the jury, but people here in the US, and try to shift the momentum of news coverage here, and in Italy, back to him. Also, could this be a veiled reference to the Fort Lawton incident during WWII, where an Italian POW was lynched after a riot and the blame placed on several African American servicemembers? I just hope that the outcome is that the judge and jurors see through the latest arguments from the prosecution and reverse the convictions of Sollecito and Knox, and apologize to the Kercher family for putting them through this, actually, to all families involved in this trial. I just hope this injustice does not take 60+ years to correct(as in the case of the wrongful convictions in the Fort Lawton incident).

  • Jeremy:

    I won’t go back to Italy until Mignini is safely off of the streets.

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