Letter to the Court of Appeals of Florence

My lawyers today deposited in my absence a letter I wrote to the Court declaring my innocence and further explaining why the prosecution’s and civil parties’ accusations are impossible.

Here are both the English and Italian translations.

I have been informed of the need to correct a statistic quoted in my letter to the Court. The National Registry of Exoneration has assessed that:

26% of all DNA exonerations contained false confessions.

Of those exonerations, 78% were homicide cases.

Separating homicide from all other types of cases, 62%  of exonerations involved false confessions. Over 6 in 10 persons wrongfully convicted of homicide falsely implicated themselves and/or others.

Thank you, Professor Saul Kassin. I’m sorry to all for my misunderstanding.

How can anything be harder to conceive than those personal declarations I agonized over while in prison awaiting judgment which would define the course of my life?

There were different challenges then. There was prison, where nothing is safe or private, where I was distracted by being constantly on guard against abuse. There was the overarching and debilitating anxiety of being unjustly persecuted and torn from my life’s course. There was having to sit patiently through the vortex of closing arguments which heard seemingly endless, unsubstantiated pronouncements of my supposed psychopathology and evil. I cautioned myself against protesting too much, for fear of offending the authorities, as well as against protesting not enough, for fear of seeming insincere and resigned to guilt. There was to consider that every word I said would be scrutinized by minds with their own agendas. There was to consider that what I wore, how I did my hair, what gestures or facial expressions I made, were going to be under an even harsher scrutiny which would taint the message I was attempting to convey. Would the fact that I’d become near-sighted in prison affect the court’s reading of me, because I couldn’t make eye-contact with their pupils? But would wearing glasses be construed as a stunt to get attention? Then, afterward, I wouldn’t be going home to the safety and support of my family and friends, but always back into the cold custody of the very authorities I was defending myself against.

I had thought that was long over. That the mistakes and lies had been revealed. That my innocence had been acknowledged. I thought I was safe.

Back then, there was little I could do to further defend myself. I had already testified to what I had really been up to the night of the murder and what really happened during my interrogation. Even after painstaking consideration of what I should make sure to remember to say, all I could do was stand up and let the words come. To protest. To beg. To show them who I was, whose life was at stake.

From the outset my lawyers assured me I’m my own best defense. I’m no lawyer or forensic expert, but I’m sincere, and clearly not the type of person who would torture and murder anyone.

Now? I decided not to go back to Italy for fear of being wrongfully imprisoned once again. The prosecution has proven ruthless in their irrational pursuit of me. The cost of that choice was losing my own best defense before this new appellate court which had been instructed by the Court of Cassation to find me guilty. I haven’t been there to see their faces, to gauge their reactions to the further developments in the case. I’m both blind and invisible.

From the safety and privacy of my own home, what can I say? How can I say it? What could ever stand in as substitute to me standing before them, beseeching them to see reason in my own voice, with my own eyes?

The facts. Logic. It should all come down to the facts and logic. After six years, I’ve picked up a bit of the method of all those lawyers, and I can’t just leave it all up to them. The court must know, everyone must know, that I can’t draw a free breath until justice is served.

I wrote the court a letter. I protested, I begged. I hoped to show them who I was, whose life was at stake. I wasn’t there to beseech in my own voice or see it register in them with my own eyes. But it was all I could do.

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58 Responses to Letter to the Court of Appeals of Florence

  1. Cinnamon says:

    I’ve just read the update. All I can say is that I feel for you. You are beautiful – inside and out. I’m sorry you’re going through all this.

  2. Kinda late, but cheers 😉

  3. Brian (Hotchips57) says:

    Amanda you have support all around the world.
    I’m from Australia & have been following your case since 2008 when I watched a documentary on it.
    Right from the start I knew you were innocent.
    I could not believe that such injustice could exist.
    Your words were well written & clearly debunked the lies put forth by the prosecution.
    If the ideal of justice in Italy is to be saved then there can be only verdict, You & Rafaelle are Innocent of all charges.
    Stay strong & have faith.

  4. Brian (Hotchips57) says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth, except you put very eloquently and I’m from Australia.
    Amanda we are behind & Rafaelle.
    If there’s any justice & common sense in the judge & jury then you be aquitted & declared innocent again.
    Stay strong.
    Brian

  5. Brian says:

    As the trial enters its final stages, I pray for three things:

    Wisdom and eloquence for Amanda’s and Raffaele’s lawyers;

    An open mind and sound judgement for the judge and jury; and

    Just and fair verdicts of acquittal for Amanda and Rafaelle.

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  7. pozyczki says:

    Nice weblog here! And may the good times and treasures of the present become the golden memories of tomorrow. Wish you lots of love, joy and happiness. MERRY CHRISTMAS. !

  8. Kokomo Joe says:

    WHAT IF???

    Back in November 2007 Amanda wrote in her prison diary:

    ” …unless Raffaele decided to get up after I fell asleep, grabbed said knife, went over to my house, used it to kill Meredith, came home, cleaned the blood off, rubbed my fingerprints all over it, put it away, then tucked himself back into bed …”

    She called the diary entry a “hyperbolic explanation” but suppose that it actually was her subconscious memory recalling the gist of what really happened?

    That certainly would explain several things: the possibility that the DNA on the knife blade really was Meredith’s and the possibility that the DNA on the bra clasp really was Raffaele’s, and also would mesh well with the Supreme Court’s insistence that Guede did not act alone.

    And, it’s as good a theory as any the police, the prosecutors or the Kirchers’ lawyer have come up with.

    WHAT IF???

    • Rob H says:

      Good heavens, Kokomo! I believe you might have solved the case! Have you thought about a career in investigations? Or maybe the law? Or perhaps you work for the NSA? The kindly, gentle Italian boy enjoys a sweet night with his new girlfriend….they watch a film, they have a romantic meal…they make love…they fall asleep. Later, he wakes..she’s still asleep beside him. He looks at her and thinks to himself…”Nah…not for me after all…I’m off to her place with the local burglar and a big knife to stab that English girl to death…much more fun.”

      Yes! Caso Chiuso! Do you think he planned to frame Amanda from the moment he woke up next to her or do you think he was aware of the possibility, perhaps days earlier or even from the moment they first met, that should he decide on a whim to engage in an orgy of murderous violence he would always be able to pin the crime on her? I don’t think I have ever come across someone as perceptive and, dare I say it, as perspicacious as you before. Could I have your autograph? A signed photograph perhaps?

    • Som Nathan says:

      @kokomo joe. One more guilter troll driven by cooked up fantasies of perugian prosecution and police personnel with “6th sense” and “intutive crime solving skills”. Your WHAT IF hallucination is unsupported with ground reality and facts.And the only facts that matters is that RUDY GUEDE is the only one who
      broke-in robbed, raped and killed Meredith and got away with lighter sentence because of flawed “fast track” italian justice system for this case. There is abundance of evidence of he being the lone actor in killing Meredith. Prosecution’s fantasies are falling apart slowly. The more they drag this case, the more they get exposed of their lies and fantasies. “Kitchen knife” is the starting point. AK and RS were, are and will be “innocent” of this crime. The information compiled at this site is fantastic, proving the innocence of AK & RS. Any open minded sane person will come to that conclusion of their innocence. Throw in the lies, fantasies, false confessions taken as matter of fact by the prosecution, plus hallucinations, subconcious memory recalls by the victims the simple case gets blown out of propotions.

    • Corrado Massa says:

      what if the moon is made of cheese? 🙂

      • Kokomo Joe says:

        “Thanks” for the sarcastic replies. Despite what you think I am serious and not stupid. I was putting forward a theory that could demonstrate Amanda’s innocence (while putting blame on Raffaele which, I know, is still both unproven and unpopular.)

        This case has turned from “innocent until proven guilty” into “guilty until proven innocent” and has to be fought that way. So much has been slung at Amanda by the other side that I am hoping her attorneys can answer it by at least suggesting another explanation. Maybe the court will decide it is plausible enough that it MIGHT have happened that way, and give her the benefit of the doubt.

        • Rob H says:

          I profoundly disagree with your second sentence and much else besides.

        • Corrado Massa says:

          Kokomo joe, I don’t think you’re stupid. I think you are not well informed. Please consider three facts: (1) your hypothesis fits a totally insane Raffaele, but he was and is perfectly sane. (2) There is no trace of Raffaele in Meredith’s room, and (according to all experts) the infamous “proof” of the bra clasp is totally worthless. (3) Raffaele has a solid alibi, because Meredith dead after 9 p.m. and before 10 p.m. of 1st Nov, likely around 9 1/2, whereas Raffaele in the lapse of time from 9 to 10 was working near his computer.
          Believe me, nothing supports the grungy and odd “theories” of prosecutors. They are not partially wrong, they are totally wrong, and both Amanda and Raffaele are innocent.

          • Kokomo joe says:

            Thanks for the first sensible (not to mention polite) comment I received. Let me repeat, I do believe completely that Amanda is innocent and I would like to believe the same about Raffaele. But the lawyers have to provide the court with alternative possible scenarios to the false ones the prosecutors are pushing.

          • Rob H says:

            If Kokomo really thinks that after more than six years of both defences maintaining their own and each other’s innocence, that Amanda Knox should instruct her defence to argue, weeks before a verdict that Mr Sollecito, whom she clearly cares for very deeply is in fact the killer, then perhaps he is in need of some very strong medicine. Such an absurd strategy based on Kokomo’s fantasy would all but ensure her own conviction.

          • Corrado Massa says:

            @ Kokomo joe: Kokomo, surely you agree with me if I say that fighting prosecutor’s lies with another lie is unethical and unacceptable.

    • Stacy Morgan says:

      “…and then pretended really well the next couple of days, well, I just highly doubt all of that.”

      It’s always a good thing to quote a statement in its entirety, Kokomo. Otherwise, someone just may misinterpret it. Not that that may be the actual objective, right?

      Nah.

  9. You made some clear points there. I looked on the internet for the topic and found most persons
    will go along with with your site.

  10. Stephen: I am interested in your Letters in the Mail subscription. I’m a high college English teacher, and that i believed this might be a very good way to get my students to write responding for the letters. Even so, I have to be certain that the topics on the letters will be appropriate for my students 9, 10, and 11th graders. Will you please comment on what the topics will be in general? Thank you.

  11. gourlay says:

    Awesome, quite a few pretty strong points! I appreciate you penning this article and the remainder of your website is outstanding!

  12. Robert Owen says:

    I’m looking at your update from 12/20/13 in which, based upon input from Saul Kassin, you refine your comments regarding false confession frequency. Interesting stuff. If I’ve got this right, you’re saying that when the cops are investigating a homicide they’re far more likely to extract a false confession than they are when investigating other crimes? If you have one, could you provide a link to the study or data source supporting this (if I repeat the contention elsewhere I’d like to be able to back it up)? Also, are there any theories about why this would be? Is it as simple as the cops just being more motivated to close out homicide investigations than they are to close out say, a robbery or rape?

  13. JT says:

    A well written and extremely powerful letter. When I think about what you and Raffaelle have been through, tears come to my eyes. May the New Year bring you complete exoneration and the opportunity to move forward without fear.

  14. Ian Morris says:

    There is one aspect of this case I can not get my head around and that is the idea that a woman would help a virtual stranger to rape and murder another woman. In cases where women have helped other men carry out sexual assaults and murder, the women have been in long term dysfucntional relationships with a domineering male and the female partner does not help the male partner with his crimes until the couple have been together a long time. Myra Hindley is an example of this. In addition no evidence has been presented Amanda had any hatred towards Meredith. If Amanda had no anomosity towards Meredith, why would she help a stranger to rape and kill Meredith? Is there any precedent to the scenario potrayed by the prosecution?

    • Julie Jorgensen says:

      You bring up a very good point Ian. This is the crux of why Amanda should never have been convicted in the first place especially without any forensic evidence tying her to this crime. To make up for this “lack of evidence or motive”, the police and prosecution have resorted to a revolving door of possible scenerios, each one less plausable than the first. It was a sex orgy gone wrong, no wait it was a fight over cleanliness, no, it was an unflushed toilet and ensuing argument, wait no, it was a drug and alcohol induced frenzy, oh wait she only smoked one joint and didn’t drink…well there must have been no motive. How many more impossible motives will they yet dream up before this is all over?

      • Ciao!
        Hi!
        Here is a song to CELEBRATE you.
        Ecco una canzone per celebrare voi.
        You are the Light,they the Darkness.
        Voi siete la luce e le tenebre.
        You are a flower among the fields;tu sei un fiore tra i campi.
        CRISTO BENEDICA/Chrysta. dabraslavić\Хрыста. дабраславіць

        Arrivederci,
        Juan

  15. frank says:

    Hi Amanda your letter was perfect and in my opinion, as I wrote, demonstrates your innocence, because only the one who is innocent can write those things. And I’m confident that the judges will notice that (or, will not pretend not to have noticed). By writing and re writing it you ended up with doing a few mistakes in Italian. One you should fix, because is very bad and I’m sure your accusers will use against you, as they always did with all of your words. When you say “bestemmiavo”. I know you thought “I swore”, you looked for a translation in Italian and you found this strange word, “bestemmiare”. But that doesn’t mean “talking bad words”, that means “being blasphemous”, like insulting god, which of course was not what you were doing. What you meant with “I swore” is “dicevo parolacce”. Something completely different (“swearing” is one of those words not translated correctly in dictionaries). Btw, I congratulated your lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova for his outstanding performance in court and I’m sure he’ll be able to rebut the forthcoming lies in the last day. You are in good hands and I think judges will not pretend that there’s a proof against you, that would be too much! The European Court of human rights would condemn Italy for that!

    • Corrado Massa says:

      You’re right, “bestemmiavo” is a very bad mistake. What can we do about it ?

      • frank says:

        Mini proof read, for what it matters: “per sopportare i loro sospetti” = “per supportare i loro sospetti”. “Bestemmiavo” = “dicevo parolacce”. “Di riferrire alle testimoni” =”di rifarvi alle testimonianze”. “Scappellotti”, I wouldn’t call them Scappellotti after having seen your description (“bam! Bam!”)… “Assassinio di carattere”, maybe carlo will have to explain what it is since in Italian there’s not such expression. But everything is simply beautiful! To be read again as last thing of the trial, and it will get you acquitted!

    • Corrado Massa says:

      The English version reads: . If the blows are violent, “sberle” is more correct than “scappellotti ” and the Italian version should be: ” sono stata colpita da due sberle sulla testa”

      ” Facevo osservazioni insensibile ” should be replaced with ” facevo osservazioni prive di tatto ” ( in the English version)
      because “osservazioni insensibile” is not an Italian expression.

      ” misuravo i passi ” should be replaced with ” camminavo avanti e indietro ”
      (
      ) .

      What about the obscure expression “assassinio di carattere ” ?
      The English version reads:
      ” the prosecution and civil parties created and pursued this character assassination ” Maybe here character means “personaggio ” (like “character” in a film)
      If so ( a big if 🙂 the correct Italian expression might be ” L’ Accusa e le parti civili hanno creato e sostenuto un’ Amanda immaginaria, presentandomi falsamente come un’assassina ” or something of this kind.

      • frank says:

        I think this word scappellotti was created when she was in jail and they needed to be diplomatic. But no, I don’t think we are talking noons in a kindergarten giving a scappellotto to a kid… They were sberle, they were colpi. Time to talk clearly…

        • frank says:

          “Scappellotto” = what you give to a little kid having his “cappello” (hat) to move. So, almost a caress…

        • Corrado Massa says:

          In Amanda’s book there is some detail on “scappellotti”.
          In Ch. 12, p. 149: ” I was hit on the head, twice ” I said.
          The doctor gestured to the nurse, who parted my hair and looked at my scalp.
          ” Not hard ” I said. ” It just startled me. And scared me. “

  16. Update says:

    Interesting statistics. I wonder how many of the 60% were young people without legal help, in a foreign country, being interrogated from 10pm to the next morning?

  17. Pigsticker says:

    In spite of what the judge said (prior to reading the letter, that is), it seems that you have a good chance of winning this. I wouldn’t say 100%, but very good. Maybe about 90%. Based on this article on Wrongful Conviction News, your lawyers completely demolished the prosecution’s arguments. There were, however, one or two accusations they made that had to be retracted. That’s unfortunate… but at least there’s hope of an investigation into that Interrogation from Hell.

    http://wrongfulconvictionnews.com/amanda-knox-and-her-lawyers-demolish-the-accusations-part-2/?fb_action_ids=10201788166758220&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B1426386067594741%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.likes%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

    Of course, like most articles about the case, it is tainted by comments from guilters, but overall Frank did a very good job. I wish they didn’t force him to shut down Perugia Shock…

  18. Amanda says:

    Tracy,

    In the days before the hearing I was continually working on this letter and sending my lawyers updated versions that differed only very slightly from each other. I asked them to submit the most updated version, which I’ve posted here. I will ask them to make sure they did.

    Thank you for the heads up.
    a

  19. Brian says:

    I’ve been thinking about whether to write this or not, but I have decided to, in hope that it might do some good.

    I will begin by assuring Amanda and everyone who reads this that I absolutely and completely believe in her and Raffaele’s innocence. So I guess my real reason for this post is to offer a couple of suggestions.

    First, Amanda made the point in her excellent email to the Court that she acted like an innocent person by staying in Perugia when she could have left. This is an important and telling point that ought to be strengthened. RAFFAELE HAD A CAR and Perugia is only a two hour drive from Rome and only 8 hours from eith Zurich or Geneva. If they had been involved in the crime in any way they could have gotten in the car and been gone before the crime was even discovered!

    Second and, I think, more critical – I am very much afraid that Amanda has made a grave tactical mistake by not appearing at the trial to deliver her statement in person. The judge’s snide comments about “if you are part of the trial you are at the trial” demonstrate that he was annoyed, and that could fatally undermine the value of the email.

    Believe me, I understand her fear of returning and the reasons for it. But when Raffaele appeared at the trial, made his statement, and was allowed to leave the country again, the fears became less relevant.

    No matter how good her lawyers are (and we all hope they are really good) NO ONE can present the case for Amanda’s innocence better or more compellingly than Amanda herself, live and in person.

    It is not too late. When the court reconvenes in January for rebuttal arguments Amanda could still appear, make her “spontaneous declaration” and leave Italy again before the vrdict is delivered, as Raffaele did.

    I know this would be very very difficult, Amanda, but you have shown incredible courage through this whole nightmare and I hope you can muster the courage to do it once more. I think if you don’t, and the ultimate decision is negative, you will look back and say, “I wish I had.”

    Continue to be strong Amanda and have a wonderful Holiday with your family and friends.

    • Philippe says:

      But..we are far from the reasonable, the logical. Since the first forensics results came back placing only Guede at the scene we left the realm of a world in which you can trust the prosecution is after the truth. I think the very fact that there is still a trial, and this incredible fantasy theory still allowed to being be presented by the prosecution shows that unfortunately there was not much choice but to write…I am amazed of how many days we have heard the prosecution lawyers being presenting their theories, how much it resonated in the press, and how short a time for the defense. And there was already two trials which they both had to sit thru.. She stayed in Perugia wanting to help.. Look at what it brought in return..

    • Noel says:

      Remember that neither Amanda or Raffaele’s attendance was required. The last time Amanda trusted the authorities, we all know what happened. This was the best decision she could have made in my opinion.

    • brian says:

      Another point I haven’t heard much about is that you could not have left Raffaele’s apartment that night, gone to your house, been involved in the murder and returned to Raffaele’s apartment without having taken his keys, since you couldn’t have gotten back into his apartment without them. And then your DNA would have been on the keys. If the prosecution had found your DNA on the keys they would have said so and used it to bolster their “case.”

      • Stacy Morgan says:

        Brian, it’s easy to say it might have been worth the risk when you’re not the once facing that risk. Amanda KNOWS what the risk was having spent four years in an Italian prison already. She and her lawyers were the best judges of that.

  20. Pigsticker says:

    My favourite part? When you mention the wrongful convictions. They are NOT a problem confined to just the one country, regardless of how messed up their judicial system is. It seems that in all those cases, the police and prosecutors continue to justify their mistakes (and, in some cases, malicious manipulation of the evidence), while the families of the victims are the last to believe the truth.

    Thank god the police chief who arrested Ryan Ferguson is no longer in power. He still insists his investigation team “did an excellent job”. If they did such a “good job”, how did two innocent men end up in prison? He just doesn’t want to admit he fouled up, that’s all. Just like the Perugians. Way too much ego. I hope they don’t want to retry you a fourth time…

  21. Philippe says:

    Dear Amanda,
    It’s an amazing letter. One that Touched the heart of everyone , especially all those, like myself, who believe in your innocence since the beginning. It feels as if Emile Zola was the capitain Dreyfus and still managed to write ‘j’accuse!.. ” not an easy exercise, that. Very best wishes to you, hope it will be over soon.

  22. Gregory Thomson says:

    When you were wrongfully imprisoned in Italy you were not allowed to speak or defend yourself, now that you are free they still try to silence you, seems like they have nothing better to do. Your current statement says nothing new to those who care, but now it is in the court record. All the world who wants to make movies or cheap books can no longer ignore.

  23. Tom Zupancic says:

    Well said, Amanda. I admire your courage. Please appreciate, you are not alone here; you have many, many supporters. Your articulate presentation of the facts stands in stark contrast to the illogical, deceitful, ignorant, and downright stupid assertions of your detractors. You have now made this contrast conspicuously obvious. Your response was great!

  24. Jamie says:

    This says it all, Amanda. I have been following this case closely for six years, I was a new college graduate who had recently traveled abroad when Meredith was murdered and you and Raffaele were wrongly imprisoned. It never seemed feasible to me that an otherwise well-adjusted college student would travel abroad, suddenly become homicidal and murder her roommate. It wasn’t until later that the lack of evidence came to surface. Please know that you have many supporters who will celebrate when this is over for you once and for all, I believe that day will be soon. I wish you the best.

  25. Gerard O'Driscoll says:

    Very well said Amanda. I’m glad you’ve come out fighting with more than a hint of exasperation and indignation about how this charade has been allowed to go on for all these years. I particularly like how you’ve repeatedly emphasized the police brutality, prosecution’s mistakes and lack of any coherent theory of the crime. It has needed to be said in this powerful way for a long time. That’s the part we need the news channels and media to run with. That’s the real story here. Again, very well done on the letter.

  26. Corrado Massa says:

    Lettera concisa e chiara, piena di dignità e potenza. Bravissima!

  27. Joan James says:

    Bravo Amanda…beautifully written letter and despite what Nencini says, he knows who you are as do all your supporters! We know that you are innocent, that you are honest and that you are brave, but most of all, we know you do not deserve what the Italian legal system has done to you and Raffaele, and none of us will rest until you and Raffaele receive full exoneration.

  28. Kuba says:

    Thanks for posting this.

    Your letter is incredibly powerful, thought through and well written.
    I believe this is something that won’t be easily dismissed in the minds of the jurors once they’ve heard it.

    Perpetuating this injustice to You and Raffaele is great injustice to Meredith, her memory and her family.

  29. Doug Matthews says:

    Amazing. After the thousands upon thousands of things written about this case, in court, in the media, online, this letter sums it up the best.

    It’s the truth. And truth has power. Now the court just has to be open to that truth.

  30. Tanya Perkins says:

    So well said! I am so impressed by how well spoken you are. You have hit every important point made in your trial and explained every false accusation. If the judges really read what you have written with open hearts and minds, they will have no choice but to find you innocent once again. Question, can they also overturn the guilty verdict for slander?

    • Stacy Morgan says:

      No, they cannot as it’s been upheld by the Supreme Court. Amanda’s only hope for the calunnia verdict to be overturned is by the ECHR which she has applied to. Hopefully, justice will be done there as well as in the Florence court.

      • Tanya Perkins says:

        Thanks for your reply. Do you have any idea how long their inquiry will take? I feel like for Amanda and Rafaela it seems this whole chapter of their lives just goes on and on. I know they are both anxious for a time when this is all behind them and they can begin to live somewhat normal lives.

      • Eric_B says:

        believe it or not there are 3 civil suits.

        The Kerchers, Lumumba, and the owner of the cottage.

  31. Steve Moore says:

    Articulate, concise & convincing. Nicely done.

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