Amanda Knox's legal defense got a boost today when forensic tests on a knife that Italian prosecutors claim was used to kill roommate Meredith Kercher ruled out that Kercher's DNA could be in the spot that was newly tested.
The latest tests check a minute spot -- called a trace -- on the knife where the handle meets the blade, but prosecutors are expected to argue that another trace on the knife which was previously tested indicate the presence of Kercher's DNA.
Knox's defense lawyer Luciano Ghirga said these new tests "pushes even further away the possibility that this was the murder weapon."
The next hearing in the trial is scheduled for Nov. 6 when the forensic police experts will report on their findings.
Their written conclusions were filed in the Florence court today. Italian news agency ANSA is reporting that the tests found the "presence of a extremely small quantity of genetic matter which could derive from one or more female profiles."
In earlier leaked reports, the test had previously determined that Knox's DNA was likely in the trace. But according to the forensic experts comparative tests "led to the exclusion of the presence of any genetic matter belonging to Meredith Kercher... on the DNA trace being tested."
The knife was retrieved by investigators from the kitchen of Knox's boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. Knox and Sollecito were both charged and convicted of killing Kercher in November 2007. They spent four years in prison before an appeals court threw out the conviction in 2011.
Italy's supreme court has since ruled that the appeals court did not properly consider all the evidence and has ordered a new trial, which began Sept. 30. In their written "motivations," the supreme court argued that this trace should not have been dismissed without testing and DNA tests should be carried out on it before proceeding with any further decisions.
Knox's lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova did not sound surprised about the results of the forensic tests.
Remarking on the sixth anniversary of Kercher's murder, which falls Friday, he said, "We still don't have one shred of proof. It will be six years tomorrow since the murder and we are still debating circumstantial evidence which is highly doubtful. There is not one element of proof in this case and there is nothing new."
In another development surrounding the Amanda Knox case, a claim she wrote in her biography that she was sexually harassed in jail by a top prison official led to an investigation and an order that the official stand trial for allegedly sexually abusing another female inmate.
Knox wrote in her book "Waiting to Be Heard" that she endured several instances of sexual harassment during her four year incarceration in Capanne high-security prison in Perugia. The most persistent offender, she claimed, was Deputy-Commander Raffaele Agiro'.
She wrote that Agiro' would summon her to his office to interview her, but the conversation invariably turned to her sexual habits and preferences. Knox also complained in her book that Agiro' would always turn up whenever she had an appointment for a medical exam.
An unnamed female Milan police officer who was briefly jailed in the prison in 2007 before being released and acquitted is accusing Agiro' of sexually abusing her.
"When I read the name of Agiro' as the person who had molested Amanda I thought that the right moment had come to refer what had happened to me. I think that a person who has taken advantage of a situation of psychological hardship [subjection] should be stopped," she is quoted as saying five years after the alleged jail cell rape took place.
Agiro' has always professed his innocence.