Amanda Knox Back in Italian Courtroom, This Time on Slander Charges

The Seattle college student smiled when she saw her father in the courtroom.

ByABC News
May 17, 2011, 7:12 AM

ROME May 17, 2011— -- Amanda Knox was back in an Italian courtroom for a brief appearance today in her new trial on charges that she slandered Italian police during her murder trial.

Looking at ease, wearing a white long-sleeve t-shirt, black slacks and a green band in her hair, Knox, 23, was escorted into the courtroom by jail guards. She smiled as soon as she saw her father, Curt Knox, who just arrived from their hometown of Seattle Monday night from the U.S. and who she hasn't seen for a number of months.

Knox was in the Perugia courtroom for the first hearing of a new trial in which she is accused slandering seven Perugia police officials and an interpreter. The slander accusation stems from Knox's testimony that police were abusive towards her while she was being interrogated prior to her Nov. 6, 2007 arrest.

Knox has been imprisoned in Perugia since then and was sentenced to 26 years in prison lin December 2009 following her murder conviction. Her then-boyfriend of less than two weeks, Raffaele Sollecito, was sentenced to 25 years on the same charges. Another defendant, Rudy Guede, was sentenced separately for the Kercher murder to a 30-year term which was reduced to 16 years on appeal.

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Knox and Sollecito's appeal trial for the murder started last November and is still underway in Perugia.

Knox insists she is innocent in Kercher's death and denies the slander charges. Her lawyers say she was just trying to defend herself in court and never meant to offend or slander the police. If convicted of slander, any prison sentence imposed would be added to her current sentence.

Although today was the first trial hearing in the slander trial and was expected to be purely procedural, Knox showed up as she has done for every trial and pre-trial hearing in which she is the accused.

In a sparsely-attended hearing, Knox answered 'Si', yes in Italian, to the question from Judge Daniele Cenci if she understood Italian. The 17-minute session was promptly adjourned until Nov. 15 after a number of procedural issues raised by the defense.

Knox's parents, Edda Mellas and Curt Knox, also face criminal charges for repeating their daughter's claims during an interview with a London newspaper. Their libel case is scheduled to begin July 4.

Curt Knox plans on visiting Amanda in jail later today. They have kept in contact by phone while he has been in Seattle. Before the hearing he said, "She's looking forward to a resolution to her appeal and hoping for a good thing." The next hearing in her murder appeal is set for Saturday May 21.

Saturday's hearing had been scheduled to discuss the independent DNA evidence review requested by the appeal court, but the independent forensic experts have requested 40 more days to file their report. A decision on this request is expected on Saturday.

Zachary Nowak contributed to this report from Perugia.