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

FLORENCE: An Italian court on Wednesday convicted Amanda Knox again of defamation, even though she was acquitted of charges related to the brutal murder of her British roommate in 2007 when the two were exchange students in Italy.

The court found that Knox had wrongly accused an innocent man of murder, namely the Congolese owner of the bar where she worked part-time. However, she will not have to serve any further prison time as the three-year sentence will count as time already served.

Knox showed no visible emotion as the verdict was read.

Amanda Knox wiped tears from her eyes on Wednesday after apologising for naming an innocent man as the killer of her British roommate in 2007 and blaming Italian police for her original false statement.

The American was back in court on a defamation charge related to her infamous imprisonment and subsequent acquittal for the murder of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher.

“I am very sorry that I was not strong enough to withstand the pressure from the police,” Knox told the judges.

“I was frightened, tricked and abused. I made the statement in a moment of existential crisis.”

She was 20 when she and her Italian boyfriend at the time were arrested for the brutal murder of their fellow student Kercher in the girls’ shared house in Perugia.

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

However, Knox was still convicted of libel because, when first questioned by police, he blamed the murder on the owner of a local bar.

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

The night of her interrogation was “the worst night of my life.” “I was in shock and exhausted,” she said on Wednesday.

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

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

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

During police questioning, Knox incriminated Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba, who subsequently spent nearly two weeks in prison before being released without charge.

Knox was sentenced to three years in prison for defamation in 2011, which he had already served.

However, she claimed to have been shouted at and beaten during the police investigation – allegations that led to another charge of defamation of the police, of which she was acquitted in 2016.

Police had found a message on Knox’s phone that they said was evidence that she and Lumumba were plotting.

“They told me I had experienced something so terrible that my memory had blocked it,” Knox said Wednesday.

“One of the officers hit me on the head and said, ‘Remember, remember!'” she said.

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

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2019 that Knox was not provided with adequate legal representation or a professional interpreter during her interrogation.

That ruling, which found that her treatment had “compromised the fairness of the entire trial,” was cited by Italy’s highest court last year when it ordered the 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 changed his life.

“When Amanda accused him, he was widely considered the monster of Perugia,” he told reporters outside the courthouse.

Both parties can appeal the decision.

Knox was hugged by her husband in the courtroom – the same courtroom where she was convicted of murder again in 2014 – as a crowd of reporters watched.

Her murder trial attracted worldwide attention, with many of the cases being salacious, centering on prosecutors’ claims that Kercher died during a sex game gone wrong.

But Italy’s highest court acquitted Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito once and for all, saying there had been “significant deficiencies” in the police investigation.

One person has yet to be convicted of Kercher’s murder: Ivorian Rudy Guede, whose DNA evidence was linked to the crime scene.

He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder and sexual assault in 2008; his sentence was later reduced to 16 years on appeal.

Guede was released in early November 2021.

Knox is now 36 years old, has two small children and is a journalist, author and campaigner for criminal justice reform.

Five years ago, she returned to Italy to speak at a conference on miscarriages of justice and to participate in a panel entitled “Trial by the Media.”

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