Amanda Knox back in court in Italy, in retrial for defamation


Amanda Knox returned to court in Italy on Wednesday for a defamation case related to her infamous prison sentence and later acquittal for the 2007 murder of her British roommate.

The American was only twenty when she and her then Italian boyfriend were arrested for the brutal murder of 21-year-old fellow student Meredith Kercher in the girls’ shared home in Perugia.

The murder began a long legal saga in which Knox was found guilty, acquitted, found guilty again, and ultimately acquitted of all charges in 2015.

But she still had a related defamation conviction, having blamed a local bar owner for the murder during the initial police interrogation.

In October, Italy’s highest court overturned that conviction on appeal and ordered a new trial, which began earlier this year in Florence, in Knox’s absence.

But she decided to show up for a hearing on Wednesday, where she would speak in her defense – and after which lawyers expect a verdict.

“I hope to clear my name once and for all of the false charges against me. Wish me luck!” Knox wrote on X earlier this week.

Both parties can appeal the verdict.

Knox arrived at the courthouse – the same one where she was convicted of murder again in 2014 – hand in hand with her husband, met by a horde of reporters and camera crew.

Her murder trial attracted worldwide interest, much of it salacious, and focused on prosecutors’ claims that Kercher died as part of a sex game gone wrong.

But as Italy’s highest court acquitted Knox and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito once and for all, it said there were “major flaws” in the police investigation.

One person remains convicted of Kercher’s murder: Ivorian Rudy Guede, who was linked to the crime scene by DNA evidence.

He was sentenced to 30 years for murder and assault in 2008; his sentence was later reduced to 16 years on appeal.

Guede was released in early November 2021.

– ‘Monster of Perugia’ –

Kercher’s half-naked body was found in a pool of blood in the roommates’ house in November 2007. Her throat had been slit and she had suffered multiple stab wounds.

During the police interrogation, Knox accused Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba, who subsequently spent nearly two weeks behind bars before being released without charge.

Knox was convicted of defamation in 2011 and has already served three years.

But she said she was shouted at and punched during the police investigation – allegations that led to a separate charge of defaming police, of which she was acquitted in 2016.

She petitioned the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in 2019 that Knox had not been provided with adequate legal representation or a professional interpreter during her interrogation.

That ruling – which found that her treatment “endangered the fairness of the proceedings as a whole” – was cited by Italy’s highest court last year when it ordered the retrial.

Knox said last October that Lumumba was “my friend” at the time of Kercher’s murder.

“We are both victims of the violation of my human rights during my interrogation, without which I would have been helpless against the coercive pressure of the police,” she wrote on X.

But Lumumba’s lawyer, Carlo Pacelli, described how Knox’s accusation changed his life.

“When he was accused by Amanda, he was universally regarded as the Monster of Perugia,” he told reporters outside the court.

“He lost his job, his bar was confiscated for months and had to return to Poland because his wife was Polish.”

Lumumba is not present at the hearing.

Now 36 and with two young children, Knox is a journalist, author and campaigner for criminal justice reform.

Five years ago, she returned to Italy to address a conference on wrongful convictions, where she appeared on a panel entitled “Trial By Media”.


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