Amanda Knox lawyer confident before Italian appeal ruling

Amanda Knox gestures while speaking during a news conference at Sea-Tac International Airport, Washington after landing there on a flight from Italy October 4, 2011.  Credit: Reuters
Amanda Knox speaks at a news conference at Sea-Tac International Airport in Washington after landing there on a flight from Italy on Oct. 4, 2011.
Credit: Reuters

A lawyer representing Amanda Knox said Monday that he was confident Italy’s top court would uphold a verdict clearing the American student and her former boyfriend of the 2007 murder of Briton Meredith Kercher.

Italy’s Court of Cassation is due to decide Monday or Tuesday whether to initiate the process for a retrial, after Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were acquitted in October 2011 following four years in prison, or to close the case definitively.

Both Knox’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga and Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno said they were confident the 2011 verdict clearing their clients would be upheld by the court, which will rule only on procedural issues, not on questions of merit.

“There seems to be very little criticism of the technical aspects of the trial,” said Ghirga.

The ruling could be the last development in a case which grabbed world headlines and turned an unaccustomed spotlight on the hilltop town of Perugia where Knox and Kercher shared an apartment as foreign students at the university.

Prosecutors last year filed a motion to appeal against the acquittal, calling it “contradictory and illogical”.

If the Court of Cassation upholds the request and decides to go back to trial, a new series of hearings will be held at a later date.

However, Bongiorno said there was little room for the decision to be challenged.

“We have a verdict behind us that is so well-grounded, coherent and logical that we’re very calm,” she said as she entered the court.

Italian law permits prosecutors to appeal against not guilty verdicts. The Court of Cassation will decide whether there were any procedural irregularities that give grounds for a retrial, rather than examining the facts of the case.

Knox and Sollecito won their appeal against a 2009 verdict that found them guilty of murdering the 21-year-old Kercher during what prosecutors said was a drug-fuelled sexual assault.

Their acquittal came after independent forensic investigators sharply criticized police scientific evidence in the original investigation, saying it was unreliable.

Kercher’s half-naked body, with more than 40 wounds and a deep gash in the throat, was found in the apartment she shared with Knox.

Knox, who returned to her Seattle-area home after she was released from prison in Italy, is scheduled to speak publicly about the trial for the first time on American television in April, when her memoirs are also due to be published.



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