Amanda Knox Reconvicted of Slander by Italian Court

An Italian court has reconvicted Amanda Knox of slander, overturning her hopes of clearing her name despite her previous exoneration in the 2007 murder case of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher.

Amanda Knox with her husband
Amanda Knox (right) reconvicted of slander in Italy.

An Italian court reconvicted Amanda Knox of slander on Wednesday, dashing her hopes of clearing a long-standing legal blemish that persisted despite her exoneration in the 2007 murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher. Both were exchange students in Italy at the time.

The Florence appeals court’s decision marks the sixth instance where an Italian court concluded Knox falsely implicated an innocent man, Patrick Lumumba, the Congolese owner of the bar where she worked. Knox has maintained that her accusations were coerced during an intense night of questioning, conducted in her rudimentary Italian when she was just 20.

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Despite these claims, the panel of two judges and six jurors upheld a three-year sentence, which Knox has already served during her four-year incarceration while various trials took place. The court’s detailed reasoning will be released in 60 days.

Knox returned to the Italian court for the first time since her 2011 release, hoping to clear her name definitively. She appeared alongside her husband, Christopher Robinson, showing no visible reaction to the verdict. Her lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova, expressed surprise and disappointment, noting that Knox had anticipated an acquittal after nearly 17 years of legal battles. Another defense attorney, Luca Luparia Donati, indicated plans to appeal to Italy’s highest court.

This new trial was instigated by a European court ruling that found Italy had violated Knox’s human rights during the intense questioning sessions following Kercher’s murder, where she was deprived of legal representation and an adequate translator. Addressing the Florence court, Knox apologized for wrongly accusing Lumumba, attributing her statements to police pressure.

The murder of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in Perugia attracted international attention, focusing suspicion on Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. Over eight years, the case saw numerous verdict reversals, polarizing public opinion and becoming one of the first trials heavily scrutinized on social media.

Media interest remained high as Knox, her husband, and her legal team arrived at the courthouse. Photographers swarmed them, and a camera accidentally struck Knox on the temple. Despite her eventual exoneration and the conviction of an Ivorian man linked to the crime scene by DNA evidence, doubts about Knox’s involvement lingered, particularly due to her initial accusation against Lumumba.

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Lumumba’s lawyer, Carlo Pacelli, highlighted the severe impact of Knox’s false accusations on Lumumba’s life and business, although he has since rebuilt his life in Poland. Pacelli emphasized that every court thus far has confirmed Knox’s slanderous actions.

Now 36 and a mother of two, Knox advocates for criminal justice reform and fights against wrongful convictions. She was freed in 2011 after a Perugia appeals court overturned her initial murder conviction. She remained in the U.S. through further legal proceedings until Italy’s highest court definitively exonerated her and Sollecito in 2015.

In the fall, Italy’s highest Cassation Court annulled the persistent slander conviction, ordering a new trial based on a 2022 judicial reform. This reform allows cases to be reopened if human rights violations are discovered. The court was instructed to disregard two incriminating statements signed by Knox during her overnight interrogation on November 6, 2007, under extreme stress and confusion.

In a subsequent statement, Amanda Knox expressed doubt about the validity of her earlier confessions, citing the intense pressure and exhaustion she experienced.

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