A common denominator with the wrongful release of Anthony Porter and the Amanda Knox murder case is the involvement of Innocence groups. In particular, a private investigator, Paul Ciolino who worked hand-in-hand with the leader of the Chicago Innocence group, David Protess.
Together they implemented a scheme to blame an innocent man, Alstory Simon, for the murder of a young couple in a Chicago park and free the murderer, Anthony Porter. Their plan succeeded, Anthony Porter was freed and in his place, Alstory Simon took the fall. Ultimately the truth came out and Alstory Simon was released from prison on October 30, 2014.
Anthony Porter could not be returned to prison due to the fact that he had been pardoned by the governor. In February 2015, Alstory Simon filed a $40 million lawsuit against Ciolino, Protess and Northwestern University.
A reenactment of these crimes have just been released in the documentary, A Murder in the Park. The film illustrates how Paul Ciolino pounced on an innocent man, Alstory Simon and “bull-rushed him” at home early one morning. Simon had been under the influence of drugs and was unable to defend himself. Ciolino along with an accomplice, bullied and threatened Simon with guns and fake police badges. In the end they coerced Alstory Simon into giving a rehearsed confession on video.
Immediately after obtaining this false confession on video, Paul Ciolino raced to the news station to air it on the morning news show. Ciolino didn’t want the police investigators to have time to examine the video before releasing it to the public. After the public outrage, this airing of his confession caused the real killer, Anthony Porter, to be set free from prison 48 hours later. A mistake that could never be rectified.
Below is the news show with Paul Ciolino describing how he got this taped confession. Ciolino tries to make it sound like he just stopped by for a friendly visit, with his unnamed partner, and magically, 17 years after the crime, Alstory Simon suddenly decided to confess.
Ciolino reveals his strong-arm tactics in this coerced confession at 0:46 of the video below. Ciolino describes how he treated Simon on TV, “I dragged him over in front of the TV. . .” Ciolino makes another slip at 7:18 when he described Alstory Simon, “He was weak . . .” Ciolino then tries to cover this by following with, “in his denials during the interview.” Ciolino goes on to say that he hoped Anthony Porter would be set free and compensated. Revealing that profiting from millions of dollars in restitution from the city is the end game for the members Innocence projects.
Paul Ciolino did not choose Alstory Simon out himself. Ciolino was under the direction of David Protess, President of the Chicago Innocence project.
Ciolino bragged about coercing the false confession from Alstory Simon. Ciolino said,
“I can lie, cheat, do anything I can to get him to say what I gotta get him to say.”
This same way of thinking trickled over into his next big case – Amanda Knox.
After the scandal of Anthony Porters unjust exoneration, Ciolino sidled over to the Amanda Knox case. Once again, innocence projects sought to free two more convicted murderers, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Knox and Sollecito were originally found guilty in 2009 for the murder of Meredith Kercher based on their changing alibis, eye witness accounts, and an abundance of circumstantial evidence. Among the truckloads of evidence included some DNA samples including mixed blood of Knox and the victim found in several places in the cottage as well as on a knife and Sollecito’s DNA on the victim’s bra clasp.
“Public relations [PR] played a major part in the release of accused killer Amanda Knox from an Italian prison.”
Amanda Knox’s father hired public relations firm Gogerty Marriott to help mislead the masses about Meredith Kercher’s death. Since the killing occurred in a foreign country and another language, Americans depended upon the media’s interpretation of what happened and what was happening.
As reported in PR Daily, “Marriott began working on the case three days after Amanda Knox was arrested. The key to the image rebuilding was TV magazine shows, including ’20/20′ and ’48 Hours.’”
Peter and Paul
“By enlisting her friends and family, and targeting specific news organizations to tell the family’s story, Marriott eventually helped reshape how the world saw the young American.”
Paul Ciolino was teamed up with CBS/48 Hours reporter Peter van Sant to conduct a media campaign for Amanda Knox. Together the duo took on the mission in doing/saying anything that pushed Amanda Knox’s alleged innocence in the U.S. media. They conducted their own biased investigation and dished out emotional commentary about the trials on prime time television.
They even confronted a witness, Nara Capezzali, at her home one night in Italy. Armed with a news crew, cameras, and an interpreter, Ciolino tried to coax out the elderly woman out to discuss “a very important issued that concerns somebody’s life.” The wise woman refused to come out for the two pushy buffoons banging on her shutters. An interesting powerpoint analyzing this segment and their misleading ‘investigation’ into what the witness really heard, can be viewed here.
Who approved this ‘investigation’? Since when is it acceptable to harass a witness of a murder trial at her home late at night? Why weren’t they arrested? This unacceptable behavior was aired on a prime time U.S. television show as if it were all just entertainment. This would never have been tolerated on U.S. soil. Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of the outrageous antics of the Friends of Amanda Knox crowd.
Immediately after Knox and Sollecito were convicted of the murder in 2009, Ciolino and van Sant were prominently displayed on American television where they gave impassioned seemingly rehearsed, monologues of their ‘expert’ opinions of the case. This is how a murder trial is presented to Americans?
They described the verdict by the Italian courts as “disgusting,” saying that it was “the legal equivalent of a mob carrying torches,” “Amanda never had an opportunity to prove her innocence,” “she didn’t get a fair trial,” “this is Italy vs the U.S.,” “we’re getting payback from sins that have occurred since the end of World War 2″and “this is a nationalistic decision.” Ciolini claimed that all of the evidence was, “fairy tales and nonsense.”
With all of these ridiculous and xenophobic remarks, they seem to have been forgotten that Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian native, was also found guilty of murder. Nevertheless, these ignorant, one-sided accusations would be repeated over and over by supporters of Knox working together to campaign for her freedom. Other news programs followed the same line. In summary, Americans were fed biased coverage of the Meredith Kercher murder trial on all of major media outlets from day one. This wasn’t Italy vs. America but PR Propaganda vs. Truth.
Under the direction of Gogerty Marriott the Friends of Amanda Knox set out to mislead the public concerning the facts involved in the murder of Meredith Kercher. Victimizing the victim and her family again and again.
Meredith’s mother suffers from severe kidney disease requiring dialysis and her father has suffered two strokes since her murder. Her father did manage the strength to write a book about losing his daughter and his belief that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox were involved. He confirms that Meredith was not friends with Knox.
The despondent father had a single ray of light from Meredith. He wrote about how he would see a white feather when he was visited by Meredith’s friends. He saw the feather as a sign from Meredith. (Later on, Bruce Fischer, executive directer of Injustice in Perugia website would ridicule this – see below.)
Without the backing of a PR firm and team of people to fight for Meredith, the Kerchers remained a dignified silence throughout the long years of this trial and onslaught of the Friends of Amanda Knox (FOA.)
A group of volunteers (well mostly volunteers) got together. They deny being brought together by Gogerty Marriott. They held a pow-wow on Vashon Island to work out their scheme to use whatever means to push for Knox’s case.
Some of the major players of the FOA: Ciolino rubbed elbows with retired FBI agent, Steve Moore, and authors of two pro-defense books, Candace Dempsey and Mark Waterbury.
The individuals on the above panel: Candace Dempsey, Steve Moore and Mark Waterbury all wrote pro-Knox books about the murder of Meredith Kercher and profited handsomely from her death. No word of any proceeds being allocated to the Kercher family.
Steve Moore gave a presentation without once mentioning or showing the foot print soaked in blood which was a perfect match to Raffaele Sollecito’s foot on the bath mat (left pic) and without any bloody footprints leading up to it (ie. clean-up job.)
“In this country we don’t let former FBI agents decide guilt or innocence, we let juries decide guilt or innocence.” ~Paul Callan
Steve Moore’s arguments fell apart when confronted by prosecutor Paul Callan with humorous results. (AK was not denied food and water for 53 hours, and her behavior was suspicious.)
Steve Moore and Paul Callan discussed the case again here. Paul Callan expresses his surprise at Steve Moore’s accusations that ‘everything is wrong’ in this murder case. Callan pointed out that Steve Moore was claiming that everything was wrong. “The DNA is wrong, the knife is wrong, the motive is wrong, the confession is coerced, the prosecutors are corrupt and superstitious.” and how Callan has never seen that before in a murder trial. (Probably because Gogerty Marriott and the FOA have never gotten involved in a murder trial in Perugia, Italy before.)
Steve Moore was friends with Paul Ciolino and Bruce Fischer (above pics) and knew the Sollecito family personally. Moore’s wife confronted and screamed at the prosecutor in the original trial and was almost arrested.
Why did the American media allow such a slanted perspective of this case? The answer begins with Curt Knox hiring Gogerty Marriott’s public relations firm which appears to have brought all of these people together as well as the major media outlets. As described in this article.
Americans were misled from the start of the coverage of the murder case of Meredith Kercher. This one-sided campaign, ostensibly designed and implemented by a public relations firm helped to influence politicians and this seems to have directly led to the Italian Supreme Courts shocking decision to acquit Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito due to lack of evidence.
The prejudiced media manipulation didn’t stop with the news coverage by Peter and Paul. Next on the agenda was to disparage the reputation of the prosecutor of the original trial which found Knox and Sollecito guilty, Guiliano Mignini.
Once again, 48 hours was the news program to provide Americans with slanderous personal attacks of the Perugian prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini. This time FOA Douglas Preston stepped in. A crime writer, Douglas Preston, was investigating a murder mystery and questioning witnesses. The Italian witnesses were no doubt shaken up as they called the police which resulted in Preston being questioned by Mignini. Preston was upset by the way he was treated by the criminal prosecutor and left Italy.
When the Amanda Knox case erupted in the news, Preston exacted his revenge on Mignini by talking smack on 48 hours. On the 48 hours show, Preston says, “It appears that Mignini . . .” used a psychic as a witness. In the ‘news’ show,Preston portrayed the attorney as insane and obsessed with satanic rituals.
These personal attacks on the Italian prosecutor were slanderous and vindictive. These types of attacks by the FOA would not stop here.
This spinning of the facts of the case included trolling online. The criminal activities of Amanda Knox supporters online included leaving countless pro-defense comments on news articles, tweeting pro-defense messages on social media 24/7, harassing the victims family, and attacking people who felt Amanda Knox was actually guilty. FOA trolls ferreted out personal information about people whom they labeled ‘guilters’ and ‘haters.’ FOA trolls went so far as contacting the employers of people who opposed them in attempts to get them fired. The criminal behavior of the trolls who supported Knox went unchecked by any authority as Twitter did little to stop them.
To make matters worse, Amanda Knox follows these trolls on twitter showing that she was aware of them and never spoke out against the abuse of the Kerchers or the personal attacks. On her own blog, she approved comments that insulted the murder victim’s family.
A troll that goes by the name Annella has contacted the murder victim’s family, employers of those she opposes and uses a photoshopped avatar portraying Amanda Knox as friends with Meredith Kercher even though many witnesses and the Kerchers maintain that they were not friends, hence no real pictures of them together exist. Annella also made many disturbing comments on Bruce Fischers IIP forum (see below).
Amanda Knox displayed a disturbing obsession with harassing the victim’s family. Pleading on major news shows to visit Meredith’s grave with the family and even making a music video which was almost an exact copy of the original video Meredith Kercher had starred in before her death. For 20-year-olds being in a professional music video is an enviable accomplishment. Knox being very competitive, had to copy her rival Meredith, even after death.
Paul Ciolino was connected to Bruce Fischer who describes himself as executive director of Injustice Anywhere website. This website and its forum has been a place where Amanda Knox supporters congregated. The many personal attacks online by this organization are too numerous to cover in one blog. However, below are some screen shots from IIP’s website illustrating how they chose to campaign for Amanda Knox including Annella whom Amanda Knox follows on twitter and Bruce Fischer ridiculing the feather symbol that Meredith’s dad wrote about in his book.
Bruce Fischer executive director of Injustice Anywhere, teamed up with Tom Zupancic of the Injustice Anywhere Advisory Board and Greg Hampikian of the Idaho Innocence project to claim that the forensic analysis in the Meredith Kercher murder case was flawed. Blaming the forensic scientists to create reasonable doubt is a tactic of innocence groups to push for exonerations of convicted murderers.
Journalist Andrea Vogt writes, “Boise State University biology professor Greg Hampikian went on the public speaking circuit saying he knew what happened, touting his role in “freeing” her. To get the whole story, I filed a public records request to gain access to his full research and communications on the matter. BSU issued this formal denial, on the grounds that Amanda Knox’s defense falls under Idaho economic trade secret laws and attorney client privilege.”
There were other Friends of Amanda who helped to push Amanda Knox’s alleged innocence in American media. So much so that Italy became weary of the bad publicity and gave in to their tyranny. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were acquitted by the Italian Supreme Court in 2015, based on paragraph 2 of article 530 of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure, which pronounces a verdict of acquittal “when evidence is lacking, insufficient or contradictory”