Knox's Lawyer Lashes Out at U.S. Critics

Tired of months of insinuations and attacks, prosecutor Giuliano Mignini spoke out last Saturday morning.

"They have said, from over 9,000 kilometers away, without even having seen perhaps even one word of the investigation's filings, or knowing the complexities of the Italian judicial terminology. 'We understand everything: Only one person is responsible, the black boy, the others have nothing to do with the crime. We can tell you this.'

"I am shocked and scandalized by this attitude," said Mignini. "It is the first time I have come across such presumption and superficiality. ..."

These words sum up what everyone in Perugia is calling "the American plot, " an all-out defense of Amanda Knox orchestrated by the U.S. TV networks that in the recent months has even irritated the lawyers defending Knox, the girl who is accused of killing Meredith Kercher.

It all started with the arrival of Joe Tacopina, the unconventional lawyer hired by the ABC network who was the first to accuse the Italian investigators of incompetence.

"Tacopina has never had a role in the defense of Amanda," said Luciano Ghirga, the lawyer for the young American, "and we have warned him a number of times not to speak for our client."

Then on July 17 Seattle judge Michael J. Heavey, a neighbor of the Knoxes, wrote to prosecutor Mignini, arguing for Amanda's innocence. "Did you ever happen to hear something which you absolutely cannot believe? Well, this is my reaction to the news of Amanda's involvement in the murder," he wrote.

At the end of September, even The New York Times had expressed bewilderment at how the Perugia investigation was being conducted.

The Umbria-American war has now reached its peak. Commenting on a video aired by NBC in which viewers could see a policewoman kicking down a door and other officers wiping some blood and shaking out a bed cover, the lawyer Anne Bremner, hired by a group of Amanda's friends, didn't hold back on accusations against the Italian forensic police.

"They handled the scene of the crime incompetently. The way the whole investigation was carried out would be laughable if a young woman had not been murdered."

The Perugia police refute this point by point.

"That video was taped on the morning of Nov. 2, during the first inspection after Meredith's body had been found," explained Monica Napoleoni, the police commissioner who leads the homicide division in Perugia.

"The door you see is not the door of the apartment where the crime was committed, but rather of the apartment downstairs where Giacomo Silenzi, Meredith's boyfriend, and his friends lived. There were traces of blood outside (that then turned out to belong to a cat with an injured ear) and the prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, who was there at the time, authorized policewoman Lorena Zugarini to kick in the door, which was locked."

The images of the bed cover and the traces of blood being recovered are also from the apartment downstairs.

"You can tell right away if you notice the closet, which is different from the one in Meredith's room," the police said.

This is a translation of a story by Meo Ponte, crime correspondent for the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

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