Amanda Knox re-convicted of slander in Italy for accusing innocent man in roommate’s 2007 murder

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

FLORENCE, Italy — An Italian court has upheld Amanda Knox’s final remaining conviction stemming from the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher in 2007.

Knox was convicted in 2009 of slander for falsely accusing Patrick Lumumba of murdering Kercher in the Italian city of Perugia. An appellate court in Florence upheld that conviction on Wednesday.

Knox was previously cleared of Kercher’s murder by the Italian supreme court in 2015.

The two-judge, six-jury panel, with two alternates, reached their decision after an emotional Knox told the court that she was “sorry” she did not try harder to retract the accusation and that she was a young person in an existential crisis when she accused him. “I did not know who the assassin was,” she told the court.

The retrial never threatened to result in any more jail time for Knox. She had already served the length of the original slander sentence when she spent four years in detention following her wrongful imprisonment for Kercher’s murder.

In 2007 during an interrogation, Knox, then 20, accused her then-boss Patrick Lumumba of the murder, which led to his arrest and two-week incarceration.

Knox signed two statements prepared by police regarding this accusation, but later wrote a handwritten note to cast doubt on her accusation. She was convicted of slandering Lumumba and sentenced to three years in prison, which she already served awaiting her murder trial in 2009, which led to her first conviction.

In 2023, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that her rights were violated during the interrogation that led to her accusation against Lumumba, which compelled Italy’s Supreme Court to order a retrial at the appellate court level. The trial that concluded on Wednesday was a retrial of her slander charge.

A lengthy legal saga is extended

Wednesday’s judgment extends a lengthy ordeal that outlasted Knox’s trials, convictions and eventual, definitive acquittal in 2015 of Kercher’s murder.

Speaking in Italian in the same courtroom where she was convicted a decade earlier, Knox told the judge that she was “exhausted and confused” when she accused Lumumba of the murder.

She said the police told her she “must have been involved in the horrible crime,” adding that they “yelled at me to remember, remember.” She also apologized for not appearing stressed at the time. “It was a statement made by a young woman in an existential crisis,” she said.

Before her appearance, Knox wrote on X that she had hoped “to clear my name once and for all of the false charges against me.”

Wednesday’s ruling dashes that goal, though it does not necessarily close the book on the legal saga; the decision will still have to go to Italy’s supreme court once more, and Knox has the chance to appeal.

“Amanda is very upset from the outcome,” her lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said outside the court on Wednesday, adding that her legal team was surprised by the judgment. “She was looking to have a final point of all this, 17 years now, (of) judicial procedure.”

Lumumba was arrested for the murder in November 2007 along with Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, based on Knox’s confession to police during an interrogation without a lawyer present.

Knox, Sollecito and Ivory Coast native Rudy Guede, whose DNA was present in the murder room, were all convicted of the murder in 2009. Guede admitted to being in the house with Kercher the night she died, but denied killing her. He said both Knox and Sollecito were also there.

Guede served 13 years of a 16-year sentence and was released in 2021.

The murder convictions of Knox and Sollecito were overturned by a Perugia appellate court in 2011 after an independent review of key forensic evidence, only to have that acquittal overturned by Italy’s supreme court in 2013. A Florentine appellate court then convicted the pair again in 2014. Knox was by then back in US and did not attend that trial.

The 36-year-old Seattle native, now a mother of two, and Sollecito, were definitively cleared in 2015 of Kercher’s murder after Italy’s supreme court voided the 2013 re-conviction.

But after being cleared of murder, Knox remained convicted in the slander case, a ruling upheld by Italy’s supreme court in 2015. She was sentenced to three years in prison, which she served while awaiting the original murder trial and subsequent appeal.

The CNN Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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