Knox and Sollecito: justice revisited in prime time

A soundbite in the court of public opinion is so much easier than wading through all that legal evidence

Column LAST UPDATED AT 11:17 ON Wed 5 Feb 2014

IS THE WORLD turned upside down in the continuing bizarre saga of the Amanda Knox case? It feels like it.

The morning after the guilty verdict was upheld in Florence last week, I asked whether some media representatives were complicit in a public relations-orchestrated sham unfolding before us in what felt like a twisted reality show (though not for Meredith Kercher's family, for whom it is simply reality. Period.)

Now, just a few days later, the scenario is this: an American and an Italian are convicted of murder, and that conviction is upheld on appeal. The next morning, the judge responsible gives an informal interview, conducted in the court house corridors, to a few newspaper reporters. Hours after their articles hit the newsstands, lawyers for one of those convicted (Raffaele Sollecito) pounce on the judge for speaking out “inappropriately” and call for disciplinary action.  

The man actually convicted for murder, meanwhile, is invited to appear on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 where, like Amanda Knox on Good Morning America, he is treated like a celebrity. Just as the ABC anchor had squeezed Amanda’s hand supportively, Anderson Cooper tells Sollecito: “I appreciate you talking to us, and I'm sorry it's under these circumstances.”

I bet the Kercher family is sorry it is under these circumstances, too.

Is this fodder for the college media ethics classes for decades to come? Guilty or innocent, they have been twice convicted. In the United States, Son of Sam laws prevent convicted killers from cashing in on their crimes, but of course Knox and Sollecito are not yet definitively convicted (Italy highest court must yet rule, and that could be as long as a year away). Neither have they received anything in exchange for their interviews, as far as the records show.

So where is the line between glorifying perpetrators and breaking a lance in their favour after conviction in a foreign country? Or does it all come down to ratings, ratings ratings?

It is true that Italy’s justice system has inefficiencies and backlogs and is in need of reform. But it is also true that its judiciary is legitimate and the trial in Florence was fair and presided over by the well-respected anti-mafia judge, Alessandro Nencini - two factors that should be taken into account when the US considers Italy's request for Knox's extradition, if and when that day comes.

Any extradition process will undoubtedly promote a heated political debate in America, where opinions have already become somewhat politicised. Right-leaning commentators have been bumping heads with liberal Democrats like Maria Cantwell, a Washington State Senator from Seattle who is a close ally of Knox's supporters and has the ear of Secretary of State John Kerry, whose ultimate decision an extradition order will be. (He has wisely remained silent on the matter so far.)

While Knox has suffered a big short-term defeat, her home town celebrated a major victory on Sunday, when the Seattle Seahawks trounced the Denver Broncos 43-8 in the city’s first Super Bowl win in 38 years. Knox is going to need an outstanding defence, too. "I’m still in shock," she wrote on her blog on the day of the game. "I don’t know what the future has in store for me, what I will and will not be able to do."

On CNN, Sollecito suggested he was only convicted because he was Amanda's boyfriend and said: "There's nothing against me and nothing very strong against Amanda." His lawyer was introduced as - surprise, surprise - the media-savvy Manhattan defence lawyer John Q Kelly, who has never uttered a single word in Sollecito’s defense in the courts where he has been tried over the last six years.

Kelly apparently is Sollecito’s lawyer in the court of public opinion, where giving a soundbite is so much easier than wading through those 10,000 pages of evidence and 30 expert reports. That's prime time vs justice for you.  · 

Disqus - noscript

Harper Collins should explain the $4 million they paid for Knox's ghost written 'memoir' - a highly defamatory collection of lies which at one stage was (pathetically) meant to launch the convicted criminal on a glittering career as a writer celebrity. Even the New York Times contributed to this horrific deceit, by promoting Knox as a 'writer'.

The truth is that Knox can barely string a sentence together, and is already a confirmed convicted liar (she cannot appeal her conviction for perverting the course if justice) If, as is likely, the Supreme Court rules against Knox, the game will be up - for her and the vile PR people and propagandist publishers and 'journalists' who have made so much money out of Knox's sadistic crimes.

The writer of this article seems to be saying the defendants don't need to be heard ? Aren't there two sides to every story ? Wasn't she found innocent in another appeal that made fun of the investigation against her ? Now they changed their mind again . The Italian justice systems don't seem to be as good as the author is implying. A bit biased and misleading IMO.
Isn't this the case where she/Knox was also accused of being a witch and she-devil openly in court ?

Like the author of this article who has made a living off of the Knox case and continues .
If Knox is so stupid then how did she remove any trace of her from the crime scene ?
If she is so guilty then why did Judge Hellman set her free ? Is he a crook. They made fun of the evidence in his court room.
Stupid is... The prosecutor who said the victim died over a turd in the toilette produced by Rudy Guede .
5th motive change in this case that has taken seven years and still changing motives ?