It is being reported on January 14, 2016 that the Italian courts in Florence have acquitted Amanda Knox of slandering the police. Knox was facing an additional two years and eight months in prison for accusing the police of “pressures and mistreatment.” Knox claimed that the police abuse caused her to falsely accuse her former Congolese boss, Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith Kercher.
In all five courts upheld Knox’s calunnia conviction for pointing the finger at Lumumba, which gave her a three year sentence, time served. Judge Massei only gave her one year for calunnia while Judge Hellmann thought it warranted a three-year-sentence and the Supreme court agreed. This leaves Amanda Knox a convicted felon for life. Now the Italian courts have decided that there is not enough evidence to prove that she slandered the police.
Why would the Italian courts decide over and over that Amanda Knox, without outside pressure, falsely accused Patrick Lumumba but now decide that she didn’t slander the police when she claimed they coerced her to make an alleged false confession. Some speculate that this conflict of reason is due to political pressures on the Italian judicial system not to render a verdict that would give Knox a prison sentence. A prison sentence would automatically lead to a request for Knox’s extradition.
Rumors of U.S. political figures pressuring Italy to not ask for Knox to be extradited swirled around before Knox’s murder trial earlier this year. Shortly before Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were sensationally acquitted of murder, reporter Nina Burleigh wrote: “Knox’s best chance for avoiding extradition would be to convince the State Department to rebuff the Italian minister of justice. . . diplomats in both Italy and the U.S. expect an extradition request to be denied: ‘I don’t think either Italy or the U.S. wants a major burr under our saddle in terms of relationships between our countries, and this would be that, if the Italians pushed it.‘ If they do, the source adds, there ‘is not any way’ the U.S. will arrest Knox, nor will it have her declared a fugitive.”
Harvard Law Professor, Alan Dershowitz, said about Amanda Knox’s case,”This is not a case, as it’s been projected in the media, of no evidence at all. It’s a case of the kind that would have resulted probably in a conviction in most courts in America. ” But as Julian Ku, a law professor at Hofstra University pointed out,“The takeaway is it’d [extradition] be a political decision, not a legal one.”
This political process was investigated by Italian-based journalist Andrea Vogt who filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests. Vogt writes that her requests were to establish two things, “First, they show insight into how American citizens in trouble abroad are supported (or not, depending on your viewpoint) by their government. Second, they contribute transparently to the established written government record, clarifying diplomatic aspects of the case that until now have remained hidden while the saga played out solely in Italian courtrooms and the media.”
Vogt was not sent eleven of the documents she requested. Those that were released showed that, ” . . .the U.S. Embassy in Rome declared the Amanda Knox matter ‘Case Closed’ in a cable to Washington just days after the American’s clamorous 2011 acquittal. The memo reveals wishful thinking on the part of some U.S. diplomats, who were only too eager to see the thorny case come to a clean close.”
The end result was that Amanda Knox who shares a July 9th birthday with OJ Simpson, Jodi Arias and Steven Avery has gone down in history as another murder suspect acquitted under “strong suspicion.” Whether or not political pressure caused the Italian courts to acquit her of slandering police, remains unknown. However, the contradicting verdicts of her being guilty of calunnia while being innocent of slander is very difficult to explain.