Knox reacts to news she has been acquitted (AP photo)
It was an out of control, drug fueled orgy gone wrong. She confessed. She was a manipulative, cold-blooded killer.
Those are just some of the falsehoods that became accepted as facts in the Amanda Knox case. Falsehoods that helped wrongly keep her in an Italian prison for nearly four years.
"She over and over again got herself into terrible trouble by being so trusting of strangers and assuming that their intentions were as pure as their own," writer Nathaniel Rich told 97.3 KIRO FM's John Curley Show.
Rich authored an extensive investigative report on the Knox trial for Rolling Stone magazine, in which he makes a compelling case that she was not only innocent, but naively helped investigators form a case built on incompetence and delusional theories that ultimately led to her conviction.
Rich says he was originally drawn to the case because of the sordid details of an orgy-murder involving two beautiful young girls, a story he calls "fascinating in a perverse way."
But he says once he investigated, he found the supposed the facts in the case were either falsehoods or complete fabrications. "The story was really about this girl who had gotten herself into trouble in part but also had been taken advantage of and manipulated by a police force and investigators who were under enormous pressure to find out who had murdered this girl."
Rich says a big part of the inaccurate portrayal of Knox was driven by the the relentless drive of the British tabloid industry, which breathlessly reported every supposedly sordid detail about the case. Some of the information came from leaks by prosecutors. Some was outright fiction.
Rich says he spoke with one tabloid writer published regularly in the biggest British papers who admitted to regularly writing false information.
Knox en route to the Rome Airport following her acquittal (AP photo)
The writers are mostly freelancers who depend on getting published to make their money. "They have to pitch a story everyday. They more sensational it is the more money you can hope to get for it and you auction it off for the various tabloids," Rich says.
He says the example that first got him interested in the case was the discrepancy about a bathroom in the house Knox and Kircher shared.
Photos of what appeared to be a blood splattered scene were plastered all over the British papers. Amanda had told police she saw just a few droplets, so she was widely portrayed as a liar.
"How could this girl have gone into the bathroom and not seen blood?" wondered Rich.
It didn't take him long to determine the supposed blood was actually a chemical substance used to expose minute drops of blood during an investigation, much like the powder used to reveal fingerprints. The chemical turns pink after exposure to the air, and was slathered all over the bathroom.
"She's a tragic figure to me and the attempts to describe her as this manipulative she-devil mastermind became almost comical when considering how pitifully naive she was when it came to the real world," Rich says.
-Josh Kerns/97.3 KIRO FM