The directors of the Lifetime channel's Amanda Knox movie may have employed some artistic license, but some people might call them whoppers.
Billed as "based on a true story," the film which aired Monday night, drew the ire of the Knox family, who lashed out at Lifetime in a statement released today for what they see as "a selfish, profit-making motive behind their decision... The story they have told is riddled with a multitude of inaccuracies and we are deeply upset at its airing."
The film, "Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy," also upset the family of the murder victim, Meredith Kercher, and Knox's ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, who was convicted of murder along with Knox.
The lawyer for Meredith Kercher's family, Francesco Maresca called the movie "inopportune and inappropriate."
"Because the appeal trial is ongoing, and because Meredith's family has expressed its desire more than once to be allowed to remember her far from the media," Maresca said.
Sollecito's lawyer, Luca Maori, told Italian news agency ANSA today that his client was "disgusted" after having seen parts of the Lifetime movie in his prison cell.
Sollecito's lawyers have also sent warnings to Lifetime in recent days. "If someone has acted wrongly, now they will pay because the film offended the memory of the victim and offers an incorrect reconstruction of events," Maori told ANSA.
Filmmakers blended the facts of the case, and actual statements from Knox and other trial testimony, with some new interpretations of the events in the hillside cottage three years ago that led to Kercher's death and Knox and Sollecito's conviction. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison while Sollecito got 25 years.
At least 15 scenes or lines are false or fabricated. Here's a sample:
Movie: The movie shows Hayden Panetierre, who plays Knox's character, dressing in a sexually suggestive manner, waving and smiling to photographers on a red carpet leading into the court house. Fact: Knox did not dress provocatively or smile and wave as if walking a Hollywood movie premiere line. There is no red carpet leading into the court house in Perugia, and Knox was brought through a back entrance and directly into the courtroom, often avoiding much of the press.
Movie: Knox upsets a grieving roommate worried that Kercher may have suffered by coldly saying that her throat was cut. This makes the prosecutor wonder how Knox could have known that Kercher's throat had been slashed. Fact: In that incident, Knox did not mention that Kercher's throat had been cut. Her remark, as told to police by one of Kercher's friends, was, "Of course she suffered. She f...ing bled to death."
Movie: Police forensic scientist Patrizia Stefanoni says there is DNA of both Knox and Kercher on the knife the prosecution alleges is the murder weapon. Stefanoni's character says Knox's DNA is on the handle and Kercher's "is on the tip of the blade." Fact: The DNA of Kercher - which was not blood DNA - was found mid way on the dull side of the blade.
Movie:The prosecutor in the film charges that Knox and Sollecito returned to the scene of the murder hours afterwards and cut Kercher's bra from her body and moved the body to stage a sex assault. Fact:There was nothing to suggest during the investigation or the trial that the bra clasp was cut off hours after Kercher died or that her body was moved.
Movie:Knox tells her mother she was questioned by police for 13 hours. Fact: Knox was questioned nearly 50 hours over a span of several days.
Movie:One witness for the prosecution in the film is a store owner who says he saw Knox buying bleach at his store early on the morning after the murder. In the film, he contacts police immediately. Fact: The store owner didn't contact police until months after the crime, and that was at the prodding of a reporter.
Movie:The movie takes great lengths to establish the relationship between Knox and Sollecito, even showing them in a romantic picnic scene. Fact:No picnic has ever been mentioned by Knox or Sollecito and it was winter during the six days they knew each other between their first meeting and the crime.
Movie:Knox, Kercher and Rudy Guede, the third person convicted in the crime, are shown hanging out together in drug-fueled party where he kisses Knox's hand. Fact:Both Guede and Knox have stated they were not friends and there was never any communication between them, according to police.
The Knox and Kercher families have been dreading the movie. Amanda Knox herself was hyperventilating and shocked when she saw clips from the movie trailer in her prison cell during an Italian newscast.
Knox's family statement today added, "None of Lifetime's channel's, owners, writers, producers or actors know us, have ever met us or Amanda, and obviously don't know who we are."
Kercher's father, John Kercher, told the London Sun earlier this month that -- after seeing the movie's trailer -- Kercher's mother Arline can't bear to watch the preview and he found it upsetting.
"Your imagination runs riot as it is about what happened," John Kercher told the newspaper. "But to actually see it like this is very distressing. The scenes are absolutely horrific. "It's awful what these film people have done."
Knox lawyers filed a complaint Feb. 3, against Lifetime TV, YouTube and Google asking them to stop distribution of the video and to remove trailers from the Internet.
YouTube pulled down the trailers and Lifetime had reedited them.
The Knox complaint stated the TV movie may induce "an evil opinion" of Amanda Knox, particularly among the jurors currently considering her appeal. The document also states the movie appears to infringe Knox's "fundamental constitutional rights" and jeopardizes her right to a fair trial.
Knox lawyers say they will take further legal action.
Lifetime hired a team of lawyers in Milan, Italy to defend their movie. A hearing date to hear the case has been set for March 24 in Perugia.
Amanda Knox was just 20 years old in the fall of 2007, when she moved to Perugia,to study Italian, when her roommate was murdered. Knox was arrested and charged with the crime, along with her Italian boyfriend.
Knox and Sollecito are appealing their convictions. In December, Knox and Sollecito lawyers were granted a re-examination of forensic evidence by independent experts, a request that was denied during their trial in 2009.
Knox lawyers say that, according to the Italian constitution, Knox and Sollecito are presumed innocent until the legal process is complete. In Italy, a conviction and sentence are not final until the appeals process concludes. It is unprecedented in Italy that a film airs before legal proceedings are over
The third person convicted, Rudy Guede, had his appeal rejected in 2010 and was sentenced to 16 years. His conviction and sentence are final.