Italy opens new slander trial against Amanda Knox

In this Sept. 26, 2008 Amanda Knox, center, is escorted by Italian penitentiary police officers to Perugia's court.
In this Sept. 26, 2008 Amanda Knox, center, is escorted by Italian penitentiary police officers to Perugia's court. Copyright Pier Paolo Cito/AP
Copyright Pier Paolo Cito/AP
By Euronews with AP
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Amanda Knox was previously convicted and later exonerated for the murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher in 2007.


Amanda Knox is on trial again, facing allegations that she falsely accused a Congolese man of murdering her roommate while the young women were exchange students in Italy.

Knox was convicted and then exonerated for the murder of Meredith Kercher in a case that grabbed the global spotlight.

In 2016 Italy's highest Cassation Court definitively threw out the convictions of Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, who was also accused of Kercher's murder.

Knox was a 20-year-old student with rudimentary Italian who had recently arrived in Perugia, when she endured a long night of questioning in the murder of Meredith Kercher. She ended up accusing the owner of a bar where she worked part-time of killing the 21-year-old British student.

Knox's accusation against Lumumba appeared in statements typed by police that she signed. She recanted the accusation in a four-page handwritten note in English penned the following afternoon – the only evidence the court can rule on in the current trial.

The resulting slander conviction carried a three-year sentence, which Knox served during nearly four years of detention until a Perugia appeals court found her and Sollecito not guilty. After six years of flip-flop verdicts, Knox was definitively exonerated by Italy’s highest court of the murder in 2015.

In 2016, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that this interrogation had violated Knox's rights because she was questioned without a lawyer or official translator – and last November, Italy's top court threw out the slander conviction and ordered a retrial.

Lumumba's lawyer Carlo Pacelli this week argued that the court should readmit the disallowed documents as reference since Knox referred to them multiple times in her written statement. He also shouted "Amanda is a liar!" in the courtroom, receiving a reprimand from the president of the court.

Knox, now 36, did not appear at Wednesday’s hearing in Florence, and is being tried in absentia. She remains in the US, where she campaigns for social justice and is pursuing various media projects, including a podcast and a limited series on her case currently in development with Hulu.

She has said of her wrongful conviction in 2007 that "the earth dropped out from beneath me, and global shame rained down on top of me."

Lumumba, who is participating in the prosecution as permitted by Italian law, also did not attend the trial.

Court recessed after nearly four hours of arguments and will reconvene June 5 for rebuttals and a decision. The case is being heard by two professional judges and eight civilian jurors.

Kercher’s body was found with her throat slit on 2 November 2007 in her locked bedroom in an apartment she shared with Knox and two other roommates.

Rudy Guede, whose DNA and footprints were found at the scene, was convicted of the murder and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

He was released after serving 13 years, and is currently being investigated for allegedly physically and sexually assaulting a former girlfriend since being freed.

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