Curt Knox’s Vigil

It is a gorgeous, sunny, cool fall day in Perugia. The locals are out strolling up and down the central Corso Vannucci enjoying the sunshine while the hundreds of journalists here for the Amanda Knox verdict are scurrying around trying to do background stories.

Curt Knox during interview with APTN. Freeze frame of APTN footage shot by Gianfranco Stara.

AP Photographer Pier Paolo Cito in Perugia. He will be in courtroom for verdict Monday. Photo by Trisha Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spent most of my day at the outdoor cafe at the exclusive Brufani Hotel where all the US networks have set up. It was there that I was able to sit down and have a conversation with Amanda’s father Curt Knox.

Interview with Curt Knox at Brufani Hotel

He was suprisingly calm on the surface and very articulate although he admitted his stomach is churning. He said his daughter’s life is in “somebody else’s hands.” I asked him if all the press attention was driving him crazy and he said “no, you are not driving me crazy.”

I was impressed by his thoughtful response during our interview on the Italian judicial system that has come under harsh criticism from some quarters in the United States. Unexpectedly one of the individuals who has suffered the most, Amanda’s father, was the most respectful of the Italian system. Below is his entire quote to me:

“I am very thankful that they have the style of system that they do here in Italy, which really allows a re-trial in some circumstances and I think what has been presented in the appeals trial with a review of the independent experts that are court-appointed, as well as re-examining certain witnesses I think has been very helpful….In our opinion there is a very wrongful conviction that took place in the first instance but given the nature of how the appeals system works here, it is an opportunity to resolve that. I am very thankful that system exists in the manner it does here.”

On the independent experts he was referring to a 145 page report by independent experts analyzing the DNA. These experts said that traces of murder victim Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the presumed murder weapon, a kitchen knife, were unreliable. The knife had Amanda’s DNA on the handle and was found in the kitchen of her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, not at the scene of the crime. The experts also said fragments of Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra strap were unreliable and should be thrown out because they were not found until 45 days after the murder and were likely to be contaminated.

Curt Knox did however have a bone to pick with me, which he did very graciously. He asked me if I was the journalist who went into the prison with the delegation from the US-Italy Foundation and briefly interviewed Amanda in her jail cell shortly after the verdict in the first trial. I said I was, and he told me he thought I had mislead both the prison officials and Amanda and that was dishonest. I assured him that the prison officials were given my documents, including my press pass at the entrance, and as soon as I saw Amanda I told her, in English, I was a journalist with the Associated Press before the guards even opened the door to her cell. He seemed satisfied with my answer.

Prison Van entering Capanne Prison near Perugia where Amanda Knox is being held. Freeze frame of APTN footage shot by Pietro De Cristofaro

When asked how Amanda is spending her final hours before the verdict Curt said, “Well it is a very stressful time right now, I mean she is 24 years old and she could be looking at the rest of her life behind bars so she’s trying to just pass the time and and prepare herself to do her spontaneous statement.”

Amanda is expected to make a spontaneous statement shortly after the court session begins Monday morning.

Post in: Italiano

6 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Laura
    2011/10/04

    F R E E ! ! !

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    i feel like humpty dumpty
    2011/10/05

    I didn’t follow this news a lot like many people did but what i saw was: English media, who are on the side of the victim, they cried for Meredith Kercher, called the pretty Amanda “Foxy Knoxy” on the other hand the American media (including New York Times!) all support her.
    It was astonishing, it turned out like big media war and nobody bothered, all they want to win…

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Elspeth Slayter
    2011/10/06

    Loved this post. Is Pier Paolo Cito wearing a “Liberta” t-shirt – and by chance does that mean “free” or “liberty?” What a wild story this all was….our own home here in Cambridge is split down the middle with the Turk on the “guilty” side and the American on the “not guilty” side. We have agreed to not agree. :)

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2011/10/06

      Oh, I am so glad you mentioned this. I hadn’t even thought about the t-shirt. The t-shirt says LIBERA, not Liberta’. Associated Press has been extremely careful not to express opinions in the Amanda Knox story and Pier Paolo, who was one of the pool photographers in the courtroom would never have been wearing a t-shirt indicating an opinion. LIBERA is an excellent non-profit Italian organization that combats the Mafia. They get land confiscated from Mafia bosses and transform it into land for making food products — tomatoes, olives, wine — which they then sell to raise money for other projects for combatting the Mafia. They run summer programs for university students to come work on the land during their school vacations so they can familiarize themselves with the issues involved with the fight against the Mafia. Last year, I briefly did some reporting on them down in Sicily and was impressed with their passion and conviction. I would like to send my own son on one of these programs. The Associated Press in Italy has done lots of stories on LIBERA over the years and apparently Pier Paolo got himself a LIBERA t-shirt. While I am on the subject of Pier Paolo, he was two spots away from me in the courtroom during the verdict standing on a ladder. The close-up photo of Amanda sobbing as she was taken out of the courtroom was on the front page of newspapers around the globe. All of us at AP are very proud of him.

      Reply
  4. Avatar
    brmull
    2012/12/08

    This blog is very well done and offers a unique perspective. Thank you.

    As a reader I’m curious how Curt Knox came to believe that you had misled both Amanda and prison officials. As a professional journalist who believed you had done nothing wrong, weren’t you curious? Did you find out whether it Amanda who originally complained about you? Assuming it was, did he tell you what Amanda said about you?

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2012/12/08

      Thank you for your comment. Apparently, Amanda told her family that she did not know I was a journalist, and that I had not introduced myself as a journalist. I know I did introduce myself as a journalist from the AP and I was frantically taking notes in my Reporter’s Notebook the whole time I was speaking with her. However, I was with a delegation led by an Italian politician and it is possible that she got mixed up or confused. Some people have also said that the family didn’t want Amanda to speak to any journalists because they were hoping to sell her story once she got out to pay back all their legal expenses. Barbie Nadeau wrote about this in her book on Amanda “Angel Face.” Basically it came down to my word against Amanda’s on what words were exchanged between the two of us at her prison door.

      Reply

Leave a Reply