LATEST UPDATE (3:51 pm) ACQUITTAL – CONVICTION OVERTURNED — AMANDA KNOX TO BE RELEASED FROM PRISON
Today Amanda Knox will learn her fate. Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in December 5, 2009 of sexually assaulting and murdering Knox’s roommate Meredith Kercher two years earlier, on November 1, 2007.
Knox and Sollecito have been in jail since their arrest on November 6, 2007 – just short of 4 years. They have always professed their innocence and appealed their convictions. The appeal trial began on November 24, 2010 and has consisted of 20 hearings (including the last one on Monday October 3) in just over 10 months. This morning, the court will announce it’s decision.
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For the latest on Amanda Knox: Coming Home, tune in to World News with Diane Sawyer tonight, Nightline at 11:30 p.m. and Good Morning America tomorrow morning.
4:59 p.m. ET – Statement from the Kercher family:
We respect the decision of the judges. But we do not understand how the decision of the first trial could be so radically overturned.
We still trust the Italian judicial system.
And hope that the truth will eventually emerge.
4:25 p.m. ET – Telegraph reporter Jon Swaine noting that Amanda Knox’s American passport has expired during her time in prison.
4:19 p.m. ET – Italian newspaper La Repubblica blogging that crowds in piazza were screaming: “shame, shame!” and “give Amanda to us!” “Bastards!”
4:15 p.m. ET – @JoshElliottABC: The crowd outside the Perugia courthouse is in full-throated dismay. The anger feels unfocused..
4:09 p.m. ET – About a dozen Amanda Knox supporters burst into applause and cheers when they learned the murder charge against the Seattle native was being overturned. The supporters, from the group called Friends of Amanda, were gathered at a downtown Seattle hotel to watch the proceedings on TV. When they learned Knox was being freed, they began chanting, “She’s free!” and “We did it!” (via @AP)
4:08 p.m. ET – @JoshElliottABC: Just spoke with Carlo Dalla Vedova, one #AmandaKnox’s lawyers. Described her as “scared, b/c her life was hanging in the balance.”
4:05 p.m. ET – @JoshElliottABC: #AmandaKnox, acquitted…the crowd’s only reaction was when the polarizing prosecutor left the courthouse, to rabid jeers.
4:04 p.m. ET – Statement from Amanda’s sister Deanna: “We are thankful that our nightmare is over. She has suffered for a crime she did not commit.” She thanked lawyers – and those who supported her all over the world. Finished with a plea for privacy.
4:03 p.m. ET – @EVargasABC: Amanda’s sister Deanna just gave a statement outside of court. Asked for privacy so Amanda and the family can recover.
4:02 p.m. ET – ABC Producer Phoebe Natanson at Perugia courthouse says “Crowd screaming. Booing. Saying ‘che schifo” – what a disgrace! Now stopped. But can hear whistling down road. A lot of commotion in crowd. The crowd doesn’t know what’s going on….Curt and Deanna about to come out. Lots of crowd booing and cheering.”
4:01 p.m. ET – latest from ABCNews.com: http://abcnews.go.com/International/amanda-knox-innocent/story?id=14654317
3:52 p.m. ET – Amanda’s father Curt Knox hugs Knox’s attorney. In Seattle, ABC’s Neal Karlinsky says cheers and tears right now.
3:51 p.m. ET – ABC’s Terry Moran calls it “A complete repudiation of the prosecution in this case.”
3:50 p.m. ET – Amanda Knox to be immediately released. Acquitted. Conviction overturned.
3:47 p.m. ET – Producer @NikkiBattiste says Knox lawyer Maria del Rosso kneeling down next to Knox, comforting her.Silence as we wait for jury
3:46 p.m. ET – @EVargasABC: #AmandaKnox lawyer speaking to Amanda…Can only imagine what he is saying in this moment
3:41 p.m. ET – @EVargasABC: courtroom filled with tension and silence. Families, prosecutors, defense, Amanda and Rafaelle all gathered waiting…waiting for a verdict
3:38 p.m. ET – ABC producer @NikkiBattiste inside courtroom where Amanda Knox has just arrived — looking very serious. Tense courtroom. Silent.
3:34 p.m. ET – @JoshElliottABC: #AmandaKnox will learn her fate in just moments. Stay with @ABC for a Special Report, anchored by @DianeSawyer. VERDICT: — mins
3:31 p.m. ET – @EVargasABC: Prosecutor Guliano Mignini welcomes Kercher family with handshakes and kisses on the cheek
3:30 p.m. ET — @JoshElliottABC: Once the judge enters the courtroom, #AmandaKnox will quickly learn her fate. Verdict: 2 mins
3:29 p.m. ET – @EVargasABC: Kercher and Knox family both under heavy media spotlight. Seated away from each other on opposite ends of the courtroom.
3:26 p.m. ET – “Amanda Knox” now trending worldwide and in U.S. on twitter – as people watch and wait for verdict
3:24 p.m. ET – @EVargasABC: Kercher and Knox family in court now together…silence throughout when the Kercher family arrived. Wonder what this must be like for all
3:21 p.m. ET – ABC Producer @NikkiBattiste inside the courtroom says the courtroom went silent when the Kerchers walked in. The Knox family is looking at them.
3:20 p.m. ET – @JoshElliottABC: The tension’s palpable…and isolated tempers are flaring…outside Perugia’s courthouse. The announcement is near. Verdict: 10 mins
3:19 p.m. ET – @EVargasABC: Kercher family is entering the courthouse now.
3:18 p.m. ET – ABC Producer @NikkiBattiste says Knox’s lawyers here now. Sollecito’s are arriving. The press is packed body to body. Front row is still photographers. Rest of the journos are behind them.
3:13 p.m. ET – in Knox’s hometown, Seattle, Washington where supporters are gathering to watch verdict, friend of the family Tom Wright tells The Telegraph: “The end is near, and we hope it will be a positive one… We’ve known her since she was a kid. She’s a person of stellar character.”
3:08 p.m. ET – @EVargasABC: #Knox family and Rafaelle’s father are all inside the courtroom
3:05 p.m. ET – @JoshElliottABC: Perugia’s a college town–why this massive crowd is so young. Much American English can be heard, in the throngs. Verdict: 28 mins away.
3:01 p.m. ET – @JoshElliottABC: The crowds are 10-deep outside Perugia’s courthouse. #AmandaKnox will learn her fate, after nearly four yrs in prison. Verdict: 30 mins.
2:52 p.m. ET – Producer @NikkiBattiste from inside the courtroom: the Knox family just arrived in the courtroom looking very tense. They’re the first here.
2:52 p.m. ET – From @EVargasABC: Knox family first to arrive at the court house looking very tense.I know they are also very hopeful-such an important moment for this family
2:51 p.m. ET – @JoshElliottABC: #AmandaKnox family walked as one down Via Calderini & into the courthouse, hopeful of a reunion after nearly 4 years. Verdict: 42 mins.
2:50 p.m. ET – @EVargasABC says people are streaming into the court house. Thousands crowding the streets.
2:48 p.m. ET – Producer @NikkiBattiste says there are 46 news organizations at courthouse right now, one person per organization allowed in court. About 400 journalists in Perugia covering the case. Must be hundred cameras outside at least.
2:43 p.m. ET – @JoshElliottABC: To answer a much-asked Q: interviewed 100-plus locals…almost evenly split on conviction being overturned or upheld.
2:40 p.m. ET – @JoshElliottABC: Officials are entering the courthouse, as the crowds continue to swell in Perugia. #AmandaKnox verdict: 50 minutes….
2:37 p.m. ET – @EVargasABC: Knox family has left the hotel and are walking together to the courthouse for the verdict.
2:34 p.m. ET – @JoshElliottABC: Vans carrying #AmandaKnox and Raffaelle Sollecito just tore past the courthouse, and the thousands gathered outside. Verdict: 60 mins away.
2:32 p.m. ET -
Crowds in front of Perugian courthouse. (From Producer @JustinWeaverABC.)
2:20 p.m. ET – ABC’s Neal Karlinsky from Seattle where family and friends are tensely waiting to hear the verdict: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2011/10/knox-hometown-supporters-wait/
2:18 p.m. ET – ABC Producer @Rich_McHugh: Must be a thousand people here at court house awaiting #AmandaKnox verdict… Kind of electric here
2:16 p.m. ET – @JoshElliottABC: Just spoke w/ Curt Knox, #AmandaKnox’s father, at his Perugian hotel–understandably tense, but very hopeful. A verdict is 75 mins away.
2:10 p.m. ET – @JoshElliottABC: #AmandaKnox has left the prison, en route for Perugia’s courthouse.
2:07 p.m. ET — @EVargasABC confirms: “Verdict to come at 9:30 p.m. here in Perugia.” (3:30pm ET). #AmandaKnox
2:06 p.m. ET — ABC Producer @NikkiBattists says huge crowd outside of courthouse, hundreds, maybe thousands of people.
2:03 p.m. ET – Italian news agency ANSA reporting that the verdict will be at 3:30 p.m. ET
1:21 p.m. ET – Italian MP Rocco Girlanda adds that: “She [Amanda] was very satisfied, I also saw her many times in the last few days and she was extremely tense about this speech and then at a certain point she said (puts his hands in his hair imitating her) Oh my God, I should have said many other things, but I forgot but she is satisfied.” (via APTN)
1:19 p.m. ET – Italian MP Rocco Girlanda says he has just visited Knox in Capanne Prison, tells the press that: “Amanda is relaxing while she is waiting for the sentence. There are obviously the most difficult hours, no? The time never seems to pass. She is relaxing in the chapel she is playing (the guitar) and singing.” (via APTN)
12:36 p.m. ET – Our producer @Rich_McHugh on the ground in Perugia notes that Italian wire service Ansa is saying #AmandaKnox is currently sitting with a priest in the prison, awaiting her fate
11:50 a.m. ET – From our producer @Rich_McHugh: Latest #AmandaKnox buzz around Perugia: if acquitted, she will head to Rome and a waiting plane.
10:47 a.m. ET – @EVargas – #MeredithKercher family press conference has ended.
10:44 a.m. ET – @EVargas – question asked at Kercher press conference: “What would you do if Knox fam reaches out to you?” “I don’t know. We need to find out what happened to Meredith and to get justice for her”
10:42 a.m. ET - @EVargasABC: “Meredith’s mother saying that Meredith and Amanda were not that close…”I think they were friendly but I wouldn’t say they were that close.”
10:28 a.m. ET – “What everyone needs to remember is the brutality of what happened that night, what she must have felt, the terror,” said Stephanie Kercher, sister of Meredith Kercher, at press conference, Elizabeth Vargas reports. “Only those people there that night will know what actually happened.”
5:21 a.m. ET – Full video of Amanda Knox’s statement to court:
5:04 a.m. ET – “We believe there were an awful lot of mistakes made,” says Giulia Bongiorno, attorney for Raffaele Sollecito in press conference outside courtroom.
4:55 a.m. ET – Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are currently being transported back to prison.
4:46 a.m. ET – Court adjourns as deliberations begin, Judge says not to expect a verdict before 8 p.m. local time, or 2 p.m. Eastern Time
4:43 a.m. ET – Knox, wrapping up final plea: “We deserve freedom”
4:40 a.m. ET – Knox: “Meredith has been murdered, and I always wanted justice for her… I insist on the truth… I want to go back home… I am innocent, Raffaele is innocent”
4:38 a.m. ET – Knox: “The person who shared my life, who had the bed next to mine, had been killed in our home. And if I had been there that night, I would have been dead, been killed, just like her. The only difference is I was with Raffaele…”
4:37 a.m. ET – Knox: “I didn’t kill, I didn’t rape, I didn’t steal. I was not there.”
4:36 a.m. ET – Knox: ”I had never faced so much fear and tragedy and suffering. I didn’t know how to face that. I didn’t know how to live that deeply. How I felt when we found out Meredith had been killed. I couldn’t believe it – how that was possible… I am not what they say I am”
4:35 a.m. ET – Amanda Knox giving final plea before Italian court now, watch live in English. ”I’m paying with my life for something I haven’t done.”
4:30 a.m. ET – As part of his final plea, Sollecito points to a bracelet that says “free Amanda and Raffaele” says he has not taken it off until now. The bracelet resembles a Livestrong bracelet but is white, reports ABC producer Nikki Battiste. He spoke for 20 minutes. Video of Sollecito’s remarks:
4:25 a.m. ET - Raffaele turns to Knox family. Amanda’s mother and sister Deanna starts crying, reports ABC producer Nikki Battiste.
4:19 a.m. ET - Raffaele Sollecito is speaking softly in court while some members of Knox family beginning to cry, reports ABC producer Nikki Battiste.
4:16 a.m. ET - Raffaele Sollecito says in final plea it’s imposible to convey what he has been feeling this year, says he has never hurt anybody in his life.
4:14 a.m. ET - Raffaele Sollecito stands to make his final plea to court, apologizes for being nervous.
4:13 a.m. ET – Knox defense lawyer Luciano Ghirga finishing up final rebuttal.
3:55 a.m. ET – Knox’s defense lawyer Luciano Ghirga has begun giving a rebuttal. Has 30 mins technically to speak. He is the last rebuttal, followed by statements, including Knox’s own.
3:45 a.m. ET – The judge and jurors have entered the courtroom. Knox is sitting very upright, looking at judge, our producer Nikki Battiste reports from inside courtroom.
3:39 a.m. ET – Amanda Knox has entered the courtroom in Perugia, Italy. From ABC News Producer in the coutroom, Nikki Battiste: “Looks very tense and serious. Green short with black coat. Sat down took off coat. Talking to laweyr Carlo Dalla Vedova. Didn’t look at family. Hundreds of flashes.”