Interview With Former FBI Agent Defending Knox Has Repercussions in Italy

Lawyer for Rudy Guede, also convicted in Kercher death, blasts agent interview.

ROME, Sept. 6, 2010— -- The case of Amanda Knox continues to elicit strong reactions on both sides of the Atlantic, as the U.S. student waits in an Italian jail to appeal her December 2009 conviction for the murder of her British roommate.

After former FBI agent Steve Moore came forward in the United States last week, appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America" and other U.S. shows to defend Knox's innocence, Italian newspapers picked up on the interviews with banner headlines.

"Amanda, new accusations from the U.S.," read the leading daily Corriere della Sera Saturday. "A former FBI agent, who carried out a private investigation, tells American TV: 'Rudy Guede is the murderer and evidence was manipulated to make her [Knox] look guilty,'" according to the subtitle.

That was too much for Walter Biscotti, a lawyer representing Rudy Guede, the third person -- along with Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito -- convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007.

An indignant Biscotti contacted ABC News in Rome today in response to the headlines.

First of all, he said, he wanted to speak in defense of the Italian judicial system.

"I think it is only right that I speak out in favor of the Italian justice system, of which I am a part," Biscotti said, "and of the courts of Perugia in particular.

"Even if they ruled against me, I cannot accept that our judicial system be treated this way," said Biscotti, defending the centuries-old reputation of the Perugia courts.

He pointed out that the building where the trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher was held had been the seat of the first university for judicial studies in Europe -- in 1308 -- before Christopher Columbus arrived in America.

"Ask yourselves what Americans were doing at that time in America," Biscotti said.

Biscotti took offense with statements made by Moore, a 25-year FBI veteran with international experience, implying that evidence was planted during the crime scene investigation.

"He said that investigators manipulated the evidence, an affirmation that would get you arrested in a minute, if you said it in Italy," Biscotti told ABC News.

Was Guede the Sole Perpetrator?

"It is a serious accusation against the Italian legal system and, as a man of the law, I cannot accept this," Biscotti added

Guede, 23, a native of the Ivory Coast who was raised in Perugia by foster parents, was convicted to 30 years in prison for his role in the sexual assault and murder of Kercher, 21. He was tried separately from Knox and Sollecito and, on appeal in December, his sentence was reduced to 16 years.

Biscotti also took issue, as he has done repeatedly in the past three years, with attempts to put the blame for the murder solely on his client, Guede, whom, he says, he is defending pro bono.

He said lawyers for Knox and Sollecito told the media after every hearing in their year-long trial "there is no point holding this trial because these two are innocent, the only guilty person is Rudy," and he criticized a list of U.S. legal experts who have spoken out about the case in the United States.

"... it is all a clear, unequivocal attempt to say that Amanda is beautiful, white and innocent and her boyfriend is too, and Rudy is the guilty one because he is Rudy."

"This is another attempt [by Moore] in this sense, and I cannot accept it," Biscotti said.

"I don't like the fact that every so often another, excuse the term, phony expert appears who, to gain publicity for himself, says all these things."

The Italian news agency ANSA, which also reported the news of Moore's support for Knox, was told by Knox's Perugia lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, that he did not know Moore "and therefore I prefer not to comment on his statements."

"Criticism of the investigation is not new," Ghirga told ANSA, "and I will limit myself to taking note."

Biscotti and his partner, Nicodemo Gentile, have made a final appeal on Guede's behalf to Italy's top court, the Court of Cassation in Rome, which will hear his appeal Dec. 16.

Upcoming Appeal for Amanda Knox

Knox, 23, and Sollecito, 26, have been in prison in Italy for almost three years since their arrest shortly after Kercher's body was found semi-naked with her throat slashed in the house she shared with Knox.

They have appealed their respective convictions to 26 and 25 years in jail, and are scheduled to appear in court in Perugia Nov. 24, in front of a new jury and judges.

Their lawyers have requested an independent review of all forensic evidence, which was hotly contested in the first trial, in the belief that such a review will prove that the evidence placing them on or near the scene of the crime is unreliable.