Amanda Knox asks the Italian court to overturn the defamation verdict


By Silvia Ognibene

FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) -American Amanda Knox accused Italian police of threats and violence as she tried Wednesday to overturn a defamation conviction in the latest outstanding case against her following the 2007 murder of a British student.

Knox, who served four years in prison for the murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher before her conviction was overturned, is facing a new trial for falsely accusing Patrick Lumumba, a Congolese cafe owner, of the crime.

“The police threatened me with 30 years in prison, one officer hit me three times and said, ‘Remember, remember,’” Knox told the court, saying the police wanted her to blame Lumumba.

“I am very sorry that I was not strong enough to withstand the pressure of the police,” she added in Italian.

Italy’s Supreme Court in 2015 overturned Knox’s conviction for the murder in the city of Perugia, ending nearly a decade of courtroom drama in which she was twice found guilty.

The brutal stabbing of 21-year-old Kercher and several trials provided fodder for tabloids on both sides of the Atlantic and inspired books and films.

Knox also received a three-year prison sentence for wrongly accusing Lumumba of Kercher’s murder. The sentence had no practical impact as it was covered by the time Knox spent in prison.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2019 that procedural errors had been made during Knox’s interrogation and Italy’s highest court ordered a new trial in the defamation case last year.

Lumumba was held for two weeks in 2007 before being released.

“When Patrick was accused by Amanda, he became known everywhere as the Monster of Perugia,” Lumumba’s lawyer Carlo Pacelli told reporters on Wednesday, saying the conviction should be upheld. Lumumba was not in court.

Holding hands with her husband Christopher Robinson, Knox, 36, previously made no comment to reporters and camera crews when she arrived at the court. The hearing started around 9:50 am (0750 GMT) and a verdict was expected later in the day.

Rudy Guede, originally from Ivory Coast, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for Kercher’s murder, in a ruling that said he worked with unnamed other perpetrators. He was granted parole in 2021.

(Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Alexandra Hudson and Crispian Balmer)

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