Amanda Knox, the American student sentenced to 26 years in an Italian prison for murdering her roommate, is facing an additional investigation that during her trial she slandered the police who interrogated her, officials said today.
The slander accusation is in response to statements Knox made during her Meredith Kercher was found murdered Nov. 2, 2007 in the cottage the women shared in Perugia, Italy.
Lead prosecutor Giuliano Mignini confirmed that Knox and her legal defense team had been notified of the new judicial development.
Slander is a criminal offense in Italy for which the penalty is a fine and or a prison sentence of between two to six years.
Knox's parents, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, are also under investigation for slandering police for statements they made to a British paper when referring to what their daughter had said about being mistreated by the police. The suit against the parents was brought by the police, while the case against their daughter was requested by the prosecution.
Knox's father, who has been in Perugia for the last month visiting Amanda in prison, told ABC News today that "Amanda was upset to be made aware of the new charges knowing that she is telling the truth."
Curt Knox added, "I feel that this is harassment on a young lady that had just been sentenced to 26 years in prison. I know she is telling the truth and it upsets me about the approach the prosecution continues to take."
Amanda Knox Clinging to Hope
The possibility of slander charges against Knox stem from her court testimony last June.
Knox told the court that during her interrogation police officers had put her under psychological and physical pressure. She described how they had scared her and hit her on the head.
"They called me a stupid liar," Knox testified and "one shouted, 'You don't remember?' Then a policewoman behind me hit me across the back of the head. I turned towards her and she did it again."
When twice asked in court by the judge to identify the police officers who had allegedly hit her, Knox was unable to do so and several police witnesses disputed her statements in court.
Prosecutors Mignini and Manuela Comodi insist there is no proof to back up Knox's allegations and moved to have Knox investigated for slander after her she made her allegations. Knox has been formally informed that this investigation has been concluded. Notification of a judicial investigation is the first judicial step in Italy before someone is formally charged, something that is likely to happen in the next couple of weeks. If charged with slander Knox will have to face a further trial.
Knox is currently waiting to appeal the Dec. 5, 2009 sentence in which she and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty of Kercher's sexual assault and murder.
A third person, Ivory Coast native Rudy Guede, was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in the murder, but in December 2009 Guede's sentence was reduced on appeal to 16 years.
Curt Knox said today his daughter is hoping that her conviction and sentenced will be reversed on appeal.
"Amanda was devastated with the verdict, knowing that she is telling the truth and had nothing to do with Meredith's death. She is hopeful that this will be overturned during the appeals process, but is still not her normal self knowing that she is innocent and having been convicted of a crime that she did not commit," he said.