On June 27, 2011 Rolling Stone Magazine published an article by Nathaniel Rich titled: The Neverending Nightmare of Amanda Knox The writer did a bad job. It was amateur work: there were false public relations points all over the article, and the writer didn’t even try to be objective. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Thanks to the proliferation of pro-defense propaganda identical to that littered throughout the Rolling Stone article, Meredith Kercher was denied justice.
Nathaniel Rich’s article is lengthy and filled with factual errors. Some parts were well-written, he is a talented writer. However, in this case, he wrote a clearly biased article which contained many inaccuracies. His story was widely circulated by pro-defense supporters. For the sake of brevity, this article will jump to the parts where the most egregious errors and omissions were found.
Rich stated in his article,
“When the prosecutor hypothesizes that the victim was slaughtered during a satanic ritual orgy, you’ve got the crime story of a decade.”
The prosecutor, Dr. Giuliano Mignini, never said that there was a satanic ritual or any type of satanism ever. This was a myth perpetuated by supporters of Amanda Knox in order to turn public opinion against the prosecution. Nowhere in any of the court transcripts interviews, or testimonies, available here, was satanism or witchcraft ever mentioned by the prosecutor. This accusation has been repeated incessantly by various Amanda Knox supporters in an attempt to disparage a well-respected public prosecutor.
Rich then mentions a U.S. senator who questioned whether Knox got a fair trial, referring to Senator Maria Cantwell from WA, hometown of Amanda Knox and her public relations firm Gogerty Marriott.
The news in the Seattle media was biased as I wrote about in a past article showing one example of how they mistranslated the news out of Italy. When Cantwell said, “I have serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted this trial.” She seems to have forgotten that Italian native Raffaele Sollecito was also found guilty at the same time. So her unproven accusation of anti-Americanism doesn’t hold up. On the contrary, anti-Italian sentiment by Americans like Donald Trump, and Knox supporters who all rallied for a boycott of Italy was prominent in the American media. As far as Cantwell’s “serious questions about the Italian justice system” Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz answered this when he said, “Who are we to judge Italy’s criminal justice system?” He pointed out that the U.S. criminal justice system treats poor and minority people much worse than other countries, like Italy.
Rich also wrote, “ Italian lawmakers in Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition request a probe of the prosecutor’s office” Mignini did have “an initial conviction stemming from 2006 wiretaps and the investigation into the Monster of Florence [case] but it was overturned and annulled in Florence on appeal” in 2014. All charges against Mignini were dropped.
Next Rich climbs into Amanda Knox’s mind and writes,
“Knox did not understand, for instance, that she was beautiful.”
What this has to do with a murder case, Rich doesn’t say. However, what is clear is that Rich is wrong about her not thinking highly of her own looks. Amanda slept with four different men in the six weeks she was in Italy before being arrested so it’s doubtful that she was unaware of her attractiveness. On top of this, she wrote in her
memoir, “Looking back now, I’m sure [Patrick Lumumba and Juve] hired me because they thought I’d attract men to the bar.” (Waiting to Be Heard, A.Knox)
Rich then proceeds to give an unquestioned retelling of the defense’s version of events without mentioning the contradictions with Knox and Sollecito’s stories, changing alibis, or the evidence. Rich writes:
“A butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil, and a twister forms over West Texas. A man sneezes, and the stock market crashes. An American girl in Perugia allows the postal police to enter her house, and two years later, she is convicted of murder and sentenced to 26 years in jail.”
Instead of delving into the complexities of this case, Rich embellishes upon it. One of Rich’s main sources of information was Amanda Knox’s confidant Madison Paxton. He goes on to describe how grueling it was for Knox and Sollecito to be questioned by police, neglecting to mention that all of Meredith’s friends and acquaintances faced many hours of questioning.
For an accurate picture of Amanda Knox’s five days between the murder and her arrest see the graphic below.According to Rich, if Knox and Sollecito had only waited for the carabinieri to arrive that Nov 2nd morning, everything would have turned out right for them. What Rich doesn’t understand or neglects to mention is that the reason the postal police arrived first was to return Meredith’s cell phones. They were unaware of a murder as Knox and Sollecito hadn’t bothered to look in Meredith’s bedroom, the couple claimed that all they knew at the time was there was an alleged break-in. Rich arrogantly writes,
“The two postal-police officers, however, allowed themselves to be led through the house in search of clues by a band of child sleuths out of Scooby-Doo.”
Rich relishes in criticizing the Italian police. Again, the postal police were not there to investigate a murder. Meredith’s door had not been opened, no body had been found, and nobody had called the carabinieri yet. Rich also neglects to mention that it was Amanda who gave the postal police the impression that it was no big deal that Meredith’s door was closed. It was only after Filomena arrived that the alarm was raised. Would Rich have preferred that two postal police returning a cell phone just assume a murder has taken place and treat people accordingly? Then Rich would be writing an article about postal police brutality.
Rich decides to interject some description of Perugia by Henry James. Rich uses James’s description to fling another attack on Italians,
“An imperious tone could be detected in the proclamations made by Perugian authorities throughout the Kercher investigation.”
Yes, the defense would feel that way after they have been found guilty. Rich does not attempt to disguise his pro-defense agenda.
As Rich recounts Knox’s story of what happened, he overlooks the many witnesses who described the deteriorating relationship between Amanda and Meredith. Rich makes no mention of how Amanda fancied Meredith’s boyfriend, Giacomo Silenzi and the fact that Meredith blew off Amanda on Halloween night, leaving Amanda to wander around alone and dejected. This was all outlined in the prosecutor’s closing arguments.
Rich doesn’t question Knox’s serpentine ‘explanation’ of how her blood ended up in the sink mixed with Meredith’s DNA (most likely blood) in the bathroom. Amanda Knox says:
“There were drops of blood in the sink. At first I thought the blood might have come from my ears, which I had pierced extensively not too long ago, but then immediately I knew it wasn’t mine… when I touched the blood in the sink, it was caked on already…”
To this day, Amanda has not given a plausible explanation for why she was bleeding the night of the murder.
Rich also fails to mention the suspicious scratch on Amanda’s neck.
Rich overlooks the fact that the only reason Amanda went back to the cottage that Nov 2nd morning to allegedly discover the staged break-in, was because Filomena kept calling Amanda repeatedly demanding that she return, as documented in trial testimonies and phone records. Rich also gets the timing wrong of when Sollecito called the carabinieri, it was 20 minutes after the postal police arrived at 12:30pm. These times are all in the indisputable cell phone records.
Rich continues to take pot shots the the postal police, calling them, ” sleepy, junior-varsity unit of the state police.” But Rich never criticizes Amanda even as he details multiple examples of her suspicious writing and behavior. Amanda was laughing and making faces at the police station only hours after Meredith’s body was discovered. Amanda made an obnoxious comment to Meredith’s friend who expressed a hope that Meredith hadn’t suffered to which Amanda replied, “What do you think? She f*cking bled to death?” Amanda swiveled her hips in a dance move and exclaimed, ‘Voila!’ as she was about to enter the crime scene to answer questions. Knox seemed elated at the attention and not mournful at all after Meredith’s death. She even lied and told people that she heroically found Meredith’s body and called the police. Amanda didn’t even bother to attend the memorial service for Meredith her supposed “friend.”
Rich regurgitates the (Friend-of-Amanda) FOAker mantra claiming that there was no physical evidence of Amanda in Meredith’s bedroom. He overlooks the fact that Amanda’s desk lamp was locked inside, complete wiped of any finger prints. There was a blonde hair found on Meredith’s body and a footprint in Amanda’s size under the pillow. Other physical evidence of Amanda, besides her blood in the bathroom and footprints in Meredith’s blood in the hallway, were her fingerprints on a glass. “Knox’s fingerprints were only found on a glass in the kitchen. None of her fingerprints were found in her own bedroom, or elsewhere in the cottage.”
The evidence of a clean-up was overwhelming. There was only a partial bloody footprint on the bath mat (which matched Sollecito’s foot perfectly) but the heel of the foot which should have been on the tile floor was missing – cleaned away. None of this is mention in Rich’s article.
Rather than list evidence, Rich’s article gets more and more absurd. He lists what he considers the three disadvantages of Knox:
1. She was American
2. She barely spoke Italian and
3. She had an “obstinate faith in the kindness of strangers.”
Firstly, the only reason she got acquitted and avoided going back to prison was because she is American and her American public relations firm (and biased American journalists like Rich) supporting her. They influenced the public, celebrities and politicians to pressure Italy to acquit. Fellow FOAker, Nina Burleigh, wrote in a 2015 article, “A State Department source tells Newsweek that diplomats in both Italy and the U.S. expect an extradition request to be denied.” As Harvard Law School professor, Alan Dershowitz, explained on CNN, extradition is a political process.
Not to forget another major plus that Knox got from being American-a four million dollar book advance for starters.
The second and third point are opinions and people who were there disagree completely. Amanda spoke Italian well according to officer Rita Ficarra who only speaks Italian (see excerpt from Ficarra’s testimony below) and furthermore, native Italian speaker Raffaele was always by Amanda’s side throughout the investigation so Amanda was never at a loss for knowing what was going on. On the contrary, she seemed to be keeping a close eye on things as she would accompany Raffaele to the police station even when she wasn’t invited. Rich fails to back-up his third alleged disadvantage of Knox, which appears to be an attempt to elicit sympathy for Amanda.
Rich then gives some corny story from Amanda’s friend about how nice Amanda was with a crying woman in Seattle. It has nothing to do with the case but all to do with evoking sympathy for a murder suspect.
Rich missed the mark again when he wrote that Amanda was “closest” to Meredith in the cottage, a claim not supported by Meredith’s friends or family. Meredith told her sister that she was distant with Amanda, describing their relationship as superficial. Meredith ignored Amanda’s texts on Halloween night, and did not invite her to a party that night. There are many pictures of Meredith but not one picture exists of Amanda and Meredith together.
Rich claims that immediately after the murder Knox volunteered to stay to meet with Meredith’s family and help the police. This is yet another PR tall tale as only Filomena ever contacted the Kerchers, Amanda never did as shown by phone records. (Years later and after Amanda published her book she whined in interviews that she wanted the Kerchers to read her book and take her to Meredith’s grave.)
Also Amanda was told by the police, as were some of Meredith’s friends, that they were not allowed to leave Perugia as they were needed to answer questions during the investigation. This doesn’t stop Rich from going on and on about how Amanda’s mother wished she put Amanda on a plane home, another PR ploy to pull readers to sympathize with Knox.
Rich writes again that Mignini suggested satanism to someone early in the investigation. Mignini has never mentioned satanism in court or elsewhere. Only Amanda Knox apologists have ever asserted this claim. There is not one word of criticism towards Amanda and Raffaele’s changing alibis, drug use, or the outrageous public relations campaign waged in the American media to support the defense and boycott Italy. Up to the very end of the trial, Raffaele could never decide if Amanda was really with him the night of the murder as he said in a news conference in July 2014. This upset the FOAkers like ex-FBI agent Steve Moore’s wife who tweeted about it.
Rich does compliment the defense attorney,Giulia Bongiorno, “It is immediately clear that Bongiorno is the best lawyer in the room.” However, later on Amanda Knox supporters weren’t happy with her after Raffale gave a press conference where he said he was not with Amanda the night of the murder.
When a police officer testified that he did not believe Knox took a shower as she claimed that November 2nd morning, because she had body odor, he used the phrase, “she smelled like sex.” Rich ignores the serious implications of this testimony. If Amanda hadn’t gone to the cottage to shower, then what was she really doing the morning after Meredith was murdered? Cleaning up? Rich follows this with Amanda’s unfounded allegation that she was asked about Meredith’s sex life. This was also denied in court testimonies by police detectives and translators who interviewed her. The police only asked about who visited the cottage. Rich tries to persuade the reader that Amanda’s possible lie about showering and her inappropriate hip-rolling dance move before entering the crime scene (before her arrest when Amanda was having fun nonstop) was simply all just horny male detectives interpretation of the stinky siren. In reality, these were red flags of a psychopathic killer demonstrating lack of remorse and enjoying being the center of attention.
Rich’s version of the night Amanda followed Raffaele to the police station on November 5, 2007 is, again, playing into the defense PR. Rich claims that Amanda went with Raffaele, as usual, sat down and wrote in her notebook that she was tired and didn’t want to stay. Rich neglects to mention that Knox was energetic enough to entertain the male officers with her yoga moves and stretches. Officer Rita Ficarra who was there testified about that evening with Knox:
Rita Ficarra: “Amanda. I saw that she was with other of my colleagues. . .My astonishment was that I saw, I found her there, and I found her doing – demonstrating – her gymnastic abilities she was doing a cartwheel; she had shown the back arch, she had done the splits, and it seemed to me, sincerely, a bit out of place, that is to say given the circumstances, the moment and the place. For which [reason] I admonished her, and I even asked her what she was doing there. She, and my colleagues also confirmed this, said to me that she had come because they had called Raffaele Sollecito, he had been invited that evening to give another recap, and she had accompanied him.
GCM: You said this to her in English or in Italian?
RF: In Italian. I reiterate that she speaks Italian, with me she speaks only in Italian. I do not understand a word of English, so … My colleagues confirm that there was Sollecito who was there in another room and in that moment the Deputy Commissioner Napoleoni and other colleagues were listening to him. And continuing to speak, the girl told me that she was rather shocked at the fact, annoyed at the fact that she had been called and recalled several times by the Police and [that] she was totally tired. At that point, I also admonished her because I said you’re tired, yet nonetheless you came this evening, when nobody has invited you could have gone to rest. “
Rich describes the scenario in a pro-defense way, making it seem the police were coercing them to confess over hours of questioning. In fact it didn’t take long at all for Raffaele to take away Amanda’s alibi followed by Amanda quickly blaming her boss, Patrick Lumumba of the murder as well as placing herself at the murder scene.
Amanda and Raffaele had arrived late to the police station – after 10:30pm. An interpreter for Amanda arrived at 12:30 AM and a statement where Amanda accused Patrick Lumumba of the murder was typed up and signed at 1:45 AM. So it was a very short questioning with Amanda and Raffaele both changing their stories and having translator called in from home and statements typed up all within 3 hours.
Rich also makes some unfounded accusations against Rudy Guede:
“Rudy Guede didn’t have a criminal record, but he had been accused of several local burglaries.”
Rudy was not accused of any burglaries, that is a crime. If he had been accused of a crime, he would have a police record. Rudy did not have any criminal record. Rich follows up with more unfounded accusations against Mignini claiming that he said every case he ever worked on was satanic. Again, this was a favorite lie of the Amanda Knox supporters and Rich repeats it several times in his article.
Rich then relays that Amanda said that she regretted accusing Lumumba of murder. More likely she regrets that Lumumba was able to get an iron-clad alibi and be freed. This is because, for the two weeks Lumumba was in jail, Amanda never told her lawyer or police officers that she made a mistake and that Patrick should be freed. If Patrick had not found a credible person to vouch for his whereabouts the night of Meredith’s murder, he would probably have been convicted of the murder.
Amanda never recanted her accusation against her former boss while he was incarcerated, hence her conviction for calunnia which was upheld in 2015 by the Italian Supreme Court. Years later on her blog, Amanda claims that she is not responsible for paying Lumumba the court ordered fees of approximately $10,000 Euros.
In summary Rich’s article is full of errors, personal attacks, innuendos, gossip along with significant omissions. This case is complicated and mistakes are forgivable, Rich’s article is not. It is an example of public relations propaganda which helped to pervert the course of justice in Meredith Kercher murder’s case. It has no place in Rolling Stone Magazine. If the Rolling Stone continues to publish articles of this caliber, it’ll be called Trolling Stone, whose articles are used by trolls to attack justice.
Two unrepentant murderers have slipped through the net and the family of Meredith Kercher will never know what really happened to their young daughter. The killers have selfishly locked away their memories of what they did to Meredith that November 1st night while in an ironically revolting twist are given one public platform after another to repeat their stupid lies and play the victim.
R.I.P. Meredith Kercher you deserved so much better than to spend your last moments on earth with those hideous creatures. At least Meredith is free now, but the rest of us must endure them over and over in the media. All thanks to the unscrupulous public relations firms who support killers.