Amanda Knox back in Italian court for slander trial linked to Meredith Kercher’s murder

Amanda Knox back in Italian court for slander trial linked to Meredith Kercher’s murder
  • PublishedJune 5, 2024

Amanda Knox, the American who spent four years in jail in Italy for the murder of her roommate before she was cleared of the crime, returns to an Italian courtroom on Wednesday seeking to reverse a lesser charge related to the case that attracted global attention more than a decade ago.

This time, Knox is battling to overturn a slander conviction for falsely accusing her then-boss Patrick Lumumba of the murder of Meredith Kercher, Knox’s British roommate when the pair were students in the Italian city of Perugia.

Kercher’s body was found on November 2, 2007, with stab wounds to the neck in the apartment she shared with Knox and two Italian women in Perugia.

Lumumba was arrested for the murder in November 2007 along with Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, based on Knox’s confession to police during an interrogation without a lawyer present.

Lumumba, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, served nearly two weeks in jail before a lack of evidence led to his release.

Knox, Sollecito and Ivory Coast native Rudy Guede, whose DNA was present in the murder room, were all convicted of the murder in 2009. Guede admitted to being in the house with Kercher the night she died, but denied killing her. He said both Knox and Sollecito were also there.

Guede served 13 years of a 16-year sentence and was released in 2021.

Knox and Sollecito’s murder convictions were overturned by a Perugia appellate court in 2011 after an independent review of key forensic evidence, only to have that acquittal overturned by Italy’s supreme court in 2013. A Florentine appellate court then convicted the pair again in 2014. Knox was by then back in US and did not attend that trial.

The 36-year-old Seattle native, now a mother of two, along with Sollecito, were definitively cleared in 2015 of Kercher’s murder after Italy’s supreme court voided the 2013 re-conviction.

After being cleared of murder, Knox remained convicted of slander against Lumumba, a ruling upheld by Italy’s supreme court in 2015. She was sentenced to three years in prison, which she served while awaiting the original murder trial and subsequent appeal.

She petitioned the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in 2019 that her human rights were violated when she accused Lumumba of the murder because she did not have a lawyer present, nor was there an acceptable translator during the interrogation that was neither filmed nor recorded. The court ruled that the circumstances “compromised the fairness of the proceedings as a whole.”

The European court case led the Italian supreme court to reopen and then overturn her slander conviction in 2023 and order the new trial currently underway in Florence that began April 10. She has not attended any previous hearings, but has been back in Italy several times, including in 2021 to speak at Italy’s Innocence Project, which advocates for wrongfully convicted people.

The final hearing on Wednesday will take place in the same courtroom where Knox’s 2013 conviction occurred. Lawyers for the prosecution, Knox and Lumumba will speak. Knox’s lawyer told CNN she will testify but it is not known if Lumumba will be present.

Knox does not face additional jail time no matter the outcome of Wednesday’s hearing.

The two judges and eight jurors will deliberate the case until a verdict is reached on whether to overturn the slander conviction or uphold it.

The decision will then have to go to Italy’s supreme court once more. “On June 5th, I will walk into the very same courtroom where I was reconvicted of a crime I didn’t commit, this time to defend myself yet again,” Knox wrote on X. “I hope to clear my name once and for all of the false charges against me. Wish me luck!”

Knox is currently working on a series about her life story with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky for the US streaming service Hulu.

SOURCE: CNNNEWS

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