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Amanda Knox found guilty of slander again for accusing an innocent man of murder

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — An Italian court re-convicted Amanda Knox on Wednesday of slander, dashing its hope of removing a legal stain against her that persisted long after her exoneration in the brutal 2007 murder of her British roommate while both were exchange students in Italy.

The ruling by a Florence appeals court marked the sixth time an Italian court found that Knox wrongly accused an innocent man, the Congolese owner of the bar where she worked part-time, with the murder.

Knox argued that her statements to police were coerced during an intense night of interrogation and relied on her remedial Italian while she was a university student at the age of 20 years.

But the jury of two judges and six jurors upheld the three-year sentence, which she has already served for four years in Italian detention while the investigation and multiple flip-flop trials ensued. The court’s reasoning will be made public in 60 days.

Knox’s appearance Wednesday in Florence, in a bid to clear her name “once and for all,” was the first time she had returned to an Italian court since her release in 2011. She showed no visible emotion while the verdict was read aloud. She was accompanied by her husband, Christopher Robinson.

But her lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova, said shortly after: “Amanda is very bitter.”

“We are all very surprised by the outcome of the decision,” Dalla Vedova said outside the courtroom. He said Knox expected an acquittal to end nearly 17 years of legal proceedings.

Another defense lawyer, Luca Luparia Donati, said he planned to appeal to Italy’s highest court.

Knox’s retrial was triggered after a European court ruling that Italy had violated his human rights during a long night of interrogation days after Kercher’s murder, deprived of a lawyer and a competent translator.

Speaking to the Florence court in a soft and sometimes brittle voice, Knox said she wrongly accused Patrick Lumumba under intense pressure from police.

“I am very sorry that I was not strong enough to resist the pressure from the police,” Knox read in Italian from a prepared statement, addressing the eight-member jury. She told them: “I didn’t know who the murderer was. I had no way of knowing.

The murder of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in the idyllic hilltop town of Perugia made global headlines as suspicion turned to Knox, a 20-year-old exchange student from Seattle , and her new Italian boyfriend of only a week, Raffaele Sollecito.

The reversed verdicts during nearly eight years of legal proceedings have polarized trial observers on both sides of the Atlantic as the the matter was vehemently debated on social mediathen in its infancy.

All these years later, the intensity of media interest remains, with photographers crowding around Knox, her husband and her legal team as they entered the courthouse about an hour before the hearing . A camera hit her in the left temple, said her lawyer, Luparia Donati. Knox’s husband examined a small bump on her temple as they sat in the front row of court.

Despite Knox’s Exoneration and the conviction of an Ivorian whose fingerprints and DNA were found on site, doubts about his role persisted, particularly in Italy. This is largely due to the accusation she made against Lumumba.

Lumumba’s lawyer, Carlo Pacelli, told reporters that the accusation had scarred him around the world and that his cases in Perugia had failed. He has since resettled in his wife’s native Poland.

“Patrick has always been respectful of all court decisions, and every court to date has affirmed that Amanda Knox is a slanderer,” Pacelli said.

Knox is now a 36-year-old mother of two young children who advocates for criminal justice reform and campaigns against wrongful convictions. She was released in October 2011, after four years in prison, by a Perugia appeals court which overturned the original guilty verdict in the murder case against Knox and Sollecito.

She remained in the United States despite two other voluntary verdicts before Italy’s highest court finally exonerated the two men of murder in March 2015, stating categorically that they had not committed the crime.

In the fall, Italy’s highest court of cassation threw out the defamation conviction that had withstood five trials, order a new trialthanks to an Italian judicial reform of 2022 allowing the reopening of cases that resulted in a final verdict if human rights violations are noted.

This time the court was ordered to disregard two damaging statements typed by police and signed by Knox at 1:45 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. while she was detained for questioning overnight until the early hours of November 6 2007. In statements, Knox said she remembered hearing Kercher scream and named Lumumba for the murder.

A few hours later, still in custody around 1 p.m., she asked for a pen and paper and wrote her own statement in English, questioning the version she had signed, still in a state of confusion.

“Regarding this ‘confession’ that I made last night, I would like to clarify that I very much doubt the veracity of my statements because they were made under the pressure of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion “, she wrote.

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News Source : apnews.com

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