MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Amanda Knox back in front of an Italian court

Apr 10, 2024, 3:37 PM | Updated: 3:39 pm

Image: American Amanda Knox delivers a speech during a panel session entitled "Trial by Media" duri...

American Amanda Knox delivers a speech during a panel session entitled "Trial by Media" during the first edition of the Criminal Justice Festival, an event organized by The Italy Innocence Project and the local association of barristers, on June 15, 2019 in Modena, Italy. (Photo: Emanuele Cremaschi, Getty Images)

(Photo: Emanuele Cremaschi, Getty Images)

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Amanda Knox is again defending herself in an Italian court in a slander case that has the potential to remove the last legal stain against her, following her exoneration nine years ago in the 2007 murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher.

Despite a murder conviction against a man whose DNA and footprints were found at the scene, and a 2015 high court verdict definitively clearing Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, doubt about her role persists, particularly in Italy, and among members of Kercher’s family.

A slander case against Knox for wrongly pinning the murder on the owner of a bar where she worked is part of the reason for this.

Here is a glance at the key details in the case:

Who is Amanda Knox?

Knox was born July 9, 1987, in Seattle, Washington, the eldest of three daughters born to Edda Mellas, a mathematics teacher originally from Germany and Curt Knox, a vice president of finance for Macy’s. Knox and her sisters were raised in West Seattle.

Knox was a 20-year-old student who had recently arrived in the university town of Perugia when her British roommate, Kercher, was found dead in her room in the apartment they shared with two others on Nov. 2, 2007.

The murder grabbed worldwide attention as suspicion fell on Knox and Sollecito, with whom she had been involved at the time for just about a week. Knox and Sollecito were convicted in their first trial but were ultimately exonerated by Italy’s highest court in 2015.

What is the slander case?

Knox was accused of slandering the Congolese bar owner who employed her part-time, based on two statements typed by police that she signed during a long night of questioning just days after the murder. She recanted in a four-page handwritten note the next afternoon, but the memo showed her confusion as she attempted to reconcile the signed statements with her own conflicting recollections.

The slander conviction and three-year sentence remained until the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Knox’s rights had been violated during questioning without a lawyer or qualified translator. Based on that ruling, Italy’s highest court threw out the conviction last November and ruled the two statements typed by police were inadmissible. It ordered a new trial.

How did Knox rebuild her life?

Knox returned to the United States after an appeals court threw out her first conviction in 2011, following four years behind bars. While she hoped to resume her life as a college student, she was dogged by public scrutiny as her legal cases continued in Italy. Now 36 and the mother of two small children, Knox campaigns for criminal justice reform and against forced confessions, drawing on her experience.

She has a podcast and a new limited series in development for Hulu that includes Monica Lewinsky among the executive producers. She also has recorded a series on resilience for a meditation app.

What happened in Wednesday’s hearing?

An appeals court panel of two judges and eight civilian jurors heard arguments from the prosecution and the lawyer for the wrongly accused man — the bar owner — maintaining their position that Knox committed slander.

Her defense attorneys stressed her overturned murder conviction and the interrogation techniques that were strongly censured by Europe’s human rights court. The trial will continue on June 5, when a verdict is expected.

Contributing: Bill Kaczaraba, MyNorthwest

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