Amanda Knox re-convicted of slander related to 2007 Italy murder case

FLORENCE: An Italian court on Wednesday re-convicted Amanda Knox of defamation despite acquitting her of the brutal murder of her British roommate in 2007 while they were exchange students in Italy.

The court found that Knox wrongly accused an innocent man, the Congolese owner of the bar where she worked part-time, of murder. But the prison will no longer be served, as the three-year sentence is considered to have already been served.

Knox showed no visible emotion as the verdict was read aloud.

Amanda Knox wiped away tears on Wednesday after apologizing for naming an innocent man as the killer of her British roommate in 2007, blaming Italian police for her initial false statement.

The American woman was back in court for defamation related to her infamous prison sentence and later acquittal for the murder of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher.

“I am very sorry that I was not strong enough to resist the police pressure,” Knox told magistrates.

“I was scared, deceived and mistreated. I testified at a moment of existential crisis.”

She was 20 years old when she and her Italian boyfriend at the time were arrested for the brutal murder of fellow student Kercher at a girls’ dormitory in Perugia.

The murder began a long legal saga in which the pair were found guilty, acquitted, found guilty again and finally acquitted of all charges in 2015.

But Knox still faced a related libel charge for blaming the owner of a local bar for the murder during his first police interview.

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

The night she was interrogated was “the worst night of my life … I was in shock, exhausted,” she said Wednesday.

“The police interrogated me for hours in a language I barely know, without an official translator or a lawyer.”

“I didn’t know who the killer was … They didn’t want to believe me,” she said.

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

During police questioning, Knox implicated Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba, who then spent nearly two weeks behind bars before being released without charge.

Knox was convicted of his defamation in 2011 and sentenced to three years, which he had already served.

But she said she was shouted at and slapped during the police investigation – claims that sparked a separate charge of defamation of the police, which was acquitted in 2016.

Police found a message on Knox’s phone that allegedly proved she and Lumumba had planned.

“They told me I witnessed something so horrific that it was blocked from me,” Knox said Wednesday.

“One of the policemen put handcuffs around my head and said ‘remember, remember!’,” she said.

“In the end…I was forced to submit. I was too exhausted and confused to resist.”

In 2019, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Knox was not provided with adequate legal representation or an expert interpreter during the interrogation.

That ruling – which found her conduct “undermined the fairness of the proceedings as a whole” – was cited by Italy’s Supreme Court last year when it ordered a retrial.

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

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

“When Amanda accused him, he became widely regarded as the monster from Perugia,” he told reporters outside court.

Both sides will be able to appeal the verdict.

Knox was embraced by her husband in court – the same one where she was re-convicted of murder in 2014 – as a throng of journalists watched.

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

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

One person remains on trial for Kercher’s murder – Ivorian Rudy Guede, who was linked to the scene by DNA evidence.

In 2008, he was sentenced to 30 years for murder and sexual assault, but his sentence was later reduced to 16 years.

Guede was released in early November 2021.

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

She returned to Italy five years ago to speak at a conference on wrongful convictions and appear on a panel entitled “Trial by the Media”.

Leave a Comment