A witch hunt is never about the witch, it’s about the devil. And in the Meredith Kercher murder case, the devil lurking in the background of the trials and convictions of Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollcito, is the Monster of Florence.
Today I examine the role of the Italian judiciary in the framing of Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher, the skillful way Giuliano Mignini used the Italian media to hold the entire judiciary hostage to his career ambitions, and why I believe the Italian judiciary may finally be ready to fully exonerate Amanda and Raffaelle of any involvement in the murder of Ms Kercher.
At the time of the Meredith Kercher murder on November 1, 2007, the Italian judiciary was was locked in a struggle with the Perugian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini.
Mignini was facing charges for abuse of office, relating to his ‘Narducci Trail’ investigations.
Mignini and his colleague Michele Giutarri had both been indicted after Mignini had Mario Spezi arrested and briefly imprisoned, in connection with the Monster of Florence crimes. Spezi was released just three weeks later, after an intense media campaign by his writing partner the American author Douglas Preston.
But rather than back off of his satanic sect Narducci trail investigations, Mignini instead plowed ahead with still more satanic sect cases. At the time of the Kercher murder, Mignini had a case unravelling in Florence against a pharmacist and friend of Spezi’s named Francesco Calamandrei.
When the Calamandrei case was dismissed in 2008, Mignini pressed his next ‘satanic sect’ case against the 20 innocent people in Florence, including Spezi and members of the Narducci family. Mignini had also tried at first to link the Kercher murder to “rites related to Halloween”.
But Mignini and Giutarri were not crazy in pursuing their ‘satanic sect’ claims in the Narducci trail line of cases. Rather, they were following the lead of the earlier convictions in the Monster of Florence case, against the defendants Mario Vanni and Giancarlo Lotti.
Vanni and Lotti were convicted of being accomplices to Pietro Pacciani in the Monster of Florence murders. Pacciani was convicted in a show trial at the first level, but then acquitted on appeal.
The case against Pacciani was so weak, that the prosecutor took Pacciani’s side and argued for acquittal, which was granted. But Giutarri arrested Vanni just as the acquittal was due, dominating the newspaper headlines, and the court of cassation would end up overturning Pacciani’s acquittal.
Pacciani died two days before his re-trial was due to begin. But Vanni and Lotti were convicted nonetheless of being Pacciani’s accomplices, and thus Italy was spared the embarrassment of never having solved the Monster of Florence crimes.
It is these two convictions, these two false convictions, which the Italian judiciary is in my view trying so desperately to protect.
And Mignini, by continuing to file ‘Narducci trail’ cases, and invoking the same ‘satanic sect’ conspiracy theory, was holding the judiciary hostage to his unprincipled career ambitions.
The challenge Mignini presented to the Italian judiciary, was how to stop Mignini’s witch hunt of innocent citizens, without also discrediting the ‘satanic sect’ convictions of Vanni and Lotti in the Monster of Florence cases.
The task of acting as a kind of judicial baby-sitter to Mignini, fell to Judge Paolo Micheli.
The judge who dismissed Mignini’s case against the Florence 20 in 2010, Judge Micheli, also presided over Rudy Guede’s fast track trial in 2008 – which was also the pre-trial hearing against Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito, to certify the case against them as warranting a full trial.
The challenge for Judge Micheli, was to walk Mignini back from the edge, but without so completely devastating Mignini’s reputation, that the public might begin to question the validity of the satanic sect theory which had been used in the convictions in the Monster of Florence murders.
Micheli dismissed Mignini’s case against the Florence 20, calling the file ‘just so much waste paper’. Meanwhile, the prosecutor in Mignini’s own criminal case in Florence described Mignini as ‘having fallen prey to a kind of delirium’.
But Judge Micheli allowed Mignini’s case against Knox and Sollecito to go forward to trial. Had Judge Micheli simply done his job, properly heard and investigated Mignini’s case, the only fair outcome would be full dismissal.
What Mignini has pulled off is a kind of blackmail.
Mignini wanted his promotion at all costs, and was willing to convict and imprison dozens of innocent people to get his way. Amanda and Raffaele are only two of Mignini’s more recent victims, but there are scores of damaged lives left behind in the wake of Mignini’s lust for career advancement.
After Michelli dismissed the case against the Florence 20 in 2010, Judge Hellman’s appeal court fully acquitted Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito for any involvement if the murder of Meredith Kercher in October of 2011.
Extraordinarily, Judge Micheli waited over one year to release his motivation report, only doing so about two months after the Hellman court released its motivation report in favor of acquittal. Motivation reports in Italy, are normally due in 90 days.
I believe Judge Micheli’s delay in releasing his motivation report, was to allow him the opportunity to conform his report to that of Judge Hellman.
In March 2013, both decisions were reversed, as the pendulum swung back. But there were important differences.
The Narducci trail case of the Florence 20, was sent back down absent the element of criminal conspiracy among the defendants. In essence, the case was rigged for dismissal, a fact confirmed by Michele Giutarri in a magazine interview earlier this year.
Whereas the case against Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito was rigged for conviction.
A previous cassation ruling against Rudy Guede in his fast track process where Guede’s defense waived the right to challenge the evidence, determined that Guede had killed Meredith along with others. Cassation ruled that Knox and Sollecito’s trials should be bound by that finding, which is grossly and patently unfair.
In addition, the cassation court ruled that the testimony of Curatolo, the homeless tramp heroin addict and serial witness for Giuliano Mignini could not be dismissed as less than credible, and instead must be deemed credible. Also, a conclusion the court of cassation was not empowered to reach.
As irrational as the cassation ruling overturning the Hellman acquittal may seem, there may be a deeper reason behind it.
In an article from CBS news earlier this year, Doug Longhini writes: “Following the verdict, judge Hellmann didn’t pull punches. He declared: “the evidence was nonsense.” Suddenly, several prosecutors and judges became the targets of criticism claiming they had mishandled the case from the beginning.”
Continuing, Loughini reports of an effort to incite an investigation into the Knox prosecutors:
“At the time, Girlanda was a member of the Italian Parliament from Perugia. His political party was the PdL (Popolo della Libertà) which was also the party of then Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Girlanda and ten other members of Parliament signed a letter asking Italy’s president to investigate the Knox-Sollecito prosecutors. In addition, Raffaelle Sollecito’s lawyer, Guilia Boungiorno, was also in Parliament, head of its Judiciary Committee, and a member of Berlusconi’s political party.
For his part, Berlusconi and his party were at war with Italy’s prosecutors and judges. The Prime Minister was trying to reign in their investigative powers. Prosecutors, for their part, were trying to put Berlusconi in jail.”
Seen in this light, the court of cassation reversing the acquittal of judge Hellman is not an act of judicial wisdom, but one of self preservation. To avert a political investigation among their own members, Italy’s court of cassation had to reverse Judge Hellman’s acquittal.
Judge Nencini dutifully followed instructions, once again convicting Knox and Sollecito in January of this year, on thoroughly discredited evidence, and witnesses that were deemed unreliable at the earlier Hellman appeal, which had the benefit of actually hearing the witnesses in person.
One can sense the political pendulum swinging first in favor of conviction, then back towards acquittal, then back again towards conviction. And events that unfolded just this year, cause me to believe that the Italian judicial-political pendulum is once again swinging back in favor of acquittal.
Giuliano Mignini has received his promotion. In his new role, he will never again prosecute a case or lead an investigation, he is only allowed to sit with other judges on appeals courts. So the judiciary can be confidant there will be no more Mignini led witch hunts.
Just this summer, the last of the Narducci claims were similarly finally set aside, due to statute of limitations. The Narducci trail is over forever.
Only recently in the past few weeks, the last of the criminal charges against Mignini have been allowed to languish, due to statute of limitations. So Mignini is out of legal jeopardy.
Despite the fact that the only trial on the merits resulted in a conviction and jail sentences for both Mignini and Giutarri, neither will be going to jail, or being held accountable for the crimes they were found to have committed at their first level trial.
In the end, it may be said that the Italian judiciary found it easier to promote Mignini, then to jail him.
Similarly at the national level, the judiciary’s conflict with Burlesconi appears to have also simmered down, with Burlesconi being acquitted on appeal earlier this summer on charges relating to having sex with a minor.
With the seeming rapprochement between Burlesconi and the judiciary now unfolding, the judiciary can once again recognize the innocence of Knox and Sollecito, without fearing that decision would be used against them in a politically motivated investigation by politicians loyal to Burlesconi.
In short and to sum things up: Mignini has gotten his promotion which he valued above the liberty of the innocent; Mignini’s Narducci Trail investigations are over for good; the Monster of Florence convictions against Vanni and Lotti claiming their participation in a non-existent satanic sect are safely in the past; and the war between the Italian judiciary and Burlesconi is in a state of a truce.
For all of these reasons, I believe the pendulum of Italian politics has again swung in the direction of acquittal, and the Italian judiciary is once again in a position to finally recognize, and exonerate, Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito.
These facts, and in conjunction with the ECHR soon to take up the conviction of Ms. Knox for Calumnia in the European Court of Human Rights, provides the Italian Court of Cassation, in March of 2015 when they hear the appeal from conviction of Knox and Sollecito, with the opportunity and incentive to quietly discharge the case, and reinstate the verdict of Judge Hellman, finding that Knox and Sollecito are innocent of any involvement in the murder of Meredith Kercher, and innocent of the crime of ‘staging a crime scene’ because the crime does not exist.
But let us pause for a moment and consider the fate of Mario Spezi.
Unlike the case of Knox and Sollecito, Spezi’s position is a direct challenge to the judicial orthodoxy that a satanic sect is responsible for the Monster of Florence crimes. And in a complete inversion of the moral order, Spezi must defend himself for naming the Monster of Florence, Antonio Vinci.
The man who brutally murdered sixteen young lovers in Italy, is protected by the state; while the man who spent over thirty years trying to expose him, is put in jeopardy at trial for telling the truth.
And before we leave, let us bow our heads in a moment of silence for Vanni and Lotti, wrongfully convicted as accomplices of the Monster of Florence. Lotti the village idiot who testified against himself and Vanni, may have been better off in prison, then living on the streets.
But Mario Vanni, a simple mailman, deserved his freedom. Because he was a human being, and all work is honorable.
TO ALL READERS, PLEASE SUPPORT THE PETITION REQUESTING A FORMAL INQUIRY INTO THE MEREDITH KERCHER CASE; (LINK HERE)