The Nencini Papers

nenciniDay 9

Day 9, 9 January 2014


Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy. Sun Tzu

There is a lot of media attention today.  Christmas and New Year has been and gone and the public are hungry for the next instalment of the appeal.  We see Sollecito arriving at the court with his father.  Franscesco is ebullient and effusive.  He is his son’s bodyguard, waving away the reporters.  Sollecito cuts a stiff, dark, lonely figure.  He looks withdrawn, staring straight ahead and mute, and wears dark glasses.

Ahead of the hearing Knox was asked by REPPUBLICA what she would do if the verdict went against her.  She said, ‘”In that case I will become a fugitive.”

Against this background, Avv. Bongiorno has her work cut out.  Knox having undermined her own lawyers by upstaging them at her defence submissions in December with her email, makes for an uphill struggle.

Bongiorno commences by asserting that her client was the subject of police persecution.  She uses the French Revolution as a parallel, claiming Sollecito has been chased by the ‘sans-cullottes’.  This is possibly a reference to his middle-class status.

The sans-culottes (French: literally “without breeches”) were the common people of the lower classes in late 18th century France, a great many of whom became radical and militant partisans of the French Revolution in response to their poor quality of life under the Ancien Régime.

The irony is not lost that few people can afford Bongiorno’s fees.  She is, or was, a member of Berlusconi’s cabinet thus useful for lobbying on behalf of her clients.  It seems unlikely a defendant is at a disadvantage being a doctor’s son, but okaaay.

She claims that because Police Chief Gubbio called a press conference and said, ‘casa chiusa’ on arresting the pair four days after the body was found, it proves undue haste caused by public pressure to solve the case.  She claims Knox was suspected because she acted like a liberated woman sexually and because she had the keys to the apartment.  Sollecito because of the initial footprints found and because he was Knox’ boyfriend.

Bongiorno puts forth an alternative footprint analysis to forensic police officers Boemia and Rinaldi, and shows a presentation by Prof Vinci who uses a different approach, to show that it is Guede’s footprint rather than Sollecito’s.

She is tired of her client being seen as ‘half a character’ to that of Knox.

The calunnia committed by Knox does not prove she is a murderer.  Nencini points out that the Supreme Court ruled the interrogation transcript was not permissible.

Bongiorno launches into a scathing attack on police interpreter Anna Donnino, who had suggested to Knox in the initial police interview that perhaps she had amnesia from having suffered a trauma.  She calls Donnino more of a ‘psychic’ or a ‘medium’ who induced Knox into ‘raving’ a confession.  ‘Where is Raffaele mentioned in Knox’ confession?’ asks Bongiorno.

Interestingly Knox did seize on the ‘amnesia’ suggestion and claimed to have lost her memory as to what she did that night until mid-November 2007, when she records in her Prison Diary it all came flooding back to her after seeing a prison nun.  She was asleep during the time of the murder, she tells the reader, and she is so happy she cries.

In my cell I was waiting for an answer to come to my head, when a sister arrived at my door.  She told me to be patient because God knows everything and would help me remember the answer.  I nodded along and after a while the sister left, wishing me good luck.  Perhaps a minute later, I sat down to write and try to remember and then it hit me.  Everything came back like a flood, one detail after another until the moment my head hit my pillow and I was asleep the night Meredith was murdered.  I cried, I was so happy.  I wrote everything I could remember and an explanation for my confession previously.  And this is what happened since I have been here.  Just a spaghetti.

Back to Bongiorno.  Here we see the first hint of a separation strategy.  Later, she will publicly seek to distance her client from Knox.

She complains that Sollecito’s family were wiretapped by the police ‘as though they were murderers’ and called insulting names by Napoleoni and Zugarini.

Bongiorno is a colourful character in court in full amateur dramatics mode.  She gesticulates wildly, she raises her voice, she loses her temper she slams down her papers onto the desk as though in a rage.  Bongiorno has wheeled her lawyers trolley into the court and pulls out of the briefcase-on-wheels two kitchen knives which she brandishes about with flourish, startling Nencini somewhat, as she turns to Guede and his supposed knives.. Macchiavelli tweets from the court room:

  1. Details the “plausibility” of an intrusion through the window. Glass shards etc. arguments already seen.
  2. “Cogne” is a famous Supreme Court ruling saying guilt can be found “by logical exclusion” on sheer “a contrario” arguments.
  3. After brandishing two knifes before the court, talking about footprint, makes an emphatic comment “We are not in Cogne”.
  4. Bongiorno has ended the ninja-knife-rotating phase.

She claims the police conjured up Kokomani ‘like a genie from Aladdin’s Lamp’ in order to create a link between Sollecito and Guede.  She says the prosecution changed the motive as they had no choice, and even if it was an argument about hygiene, would someone who had only known Knox nine days rush in to help a murder?

She says the court didn’t give enough attention to later DNA analysis, such as that which came out in the Hellmann Court with Conti and Vecchiotti’s report.  She played a video of the car park CCTV to demonstrate the arrival time of the postale police was wrong.  It was slow, not fast, and this proved Sollecito called the police before they arrived.

She turns to the DNA issue and claims the collection of it was ‘the mother of all mistakes’, and produced photos taken by the defence of the forensic police collecting evidence at the crime scene.  One particular photo is magnified to show a speck on Stefanoni’s latex gloves holding the piece of fabric containing the bra clasp on which Sollecito’s strong DNA profile was imprinted.  She says this speck is dark, but could just as easily have been a pixel effect or a light shadow, or even a speck on the camera lens.  It is not clear what the speck has to do with the DNA.

Turning to the Double DNA knife, she again brandishes a large kitchen knife and asks how likely is it her client would bring a knife from his kitchen, and then put it back in the drawer?  She claims it is incompatible with the size of the wound and produces a penknife which she claims would be the right size, instead and that it fit with the sheet stain outline.

The kitchen knife is 17 cms long and the wound 8 cm.  Dr Umani Ronchi had argued that it had met resistance at the hyoid bone, which is about 8cms away from the entry point, and showed some serration marks where it was broken by the presumed knife.  Bongiorno asserts the knife would have been plunged in all the way.  The bruises at the entry point is believed by the prosecution to match the digits of the hand that brutally suppressed Meredith’s scream, over her lower face, because of their number, shape and that they fit such a hand placed there.  The defence claim the bruising is caused by the effect of a knife hilt.

Of the bathmat, Bongiorno says it could not be Sollecito’s imprint as his big toe does not balance on a dystal phalanx.  However, Sollecito does have a ‘hammer toe’ and this is highlighted on the two luminol prints in the hallway identified as his, the other two Knox, and one unclear.  The one facing Meredith’s door is identified as Sollecito’s.

Bongiorno finishes by pleading that both defendants be acquitted and to judge Sollecito for what he is, and not on half-truths.

Nencini it is noted by some observers, barely looks at Bongiorno’s video and photos.  He has now listed the rebuttals for 20 January and deliberations in chambers for 30 January 2014.

Once again, press interest centres on the ‘personality’ aspect.  They look for a motive for the police prosecuting the pair.   AP releases a report which is taken up by the nationals with a typical ‘police hounded the kids to keep the calm’ slant.  For example, SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE.

There is some light relief.

“The relationship between Amanda and Raffaele was tender, just bloomed, and it had nothing to do with a 50s-something’s searching for thrills,” Bongiorno said.

The two, she said, liked to cuddle and rub noses like Eskimo kisses, which she called “unca nunca.”

At this point, Nencini leaned forward and said, ‘I’m sorry, I am over 50.  You’ll have to tell me what unca nunca means.’

“Unca nunca has nothing to do with bunga bunga,” Bongiorno said, eliciting a rare moment of laughter in a long day of arguments with a reference to former Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s infamous parties with scantily clad women.’








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