Amanda Knox will appear in Italy for the new defamation trial

Amanda Knox, the American convicted and later cleared of killing her roommate while they studied in Italy, is due to appear again in an Italian court on Wednesday, this time to defend herself against defamation charges linked to the 2007 murder.

It is the latest twist in a dramatic legal journey whose echoes continue to resonate nearly 17 years after the murder of roommate Meredith Kercher, a British student, which sparked headlines around the world and turned Ms. Knox into a staple of the tabloids.

Knox is on trial again on charges of defaming the owner of the bar where she worked by accusing him of killing Kercher, who was stabbed. She was convicted of slander in 2009 and was confirmed by various Italian courts.

But a European court ruling and a change in Italian law allowed a new appeal by Knox, and Italy's highest court in October ordered a new trial, which began in April at the Florence appeals court. The ruling is expected on Wednesday.

For Knox, acquittal would mark the end of a long ordeal. Writing on social media platform X on Monday, Ms Knox said she would appear in court and she hoped to “clear my name once and for all of the false allegations against me”.

Ms. Knox became a household name in 2007, when the then 20-year-old American was arrested along with Raffaele Sollecito, 23, her boyfriend, for the murder of her 21-year-old roommate, Ms. Kercher, during what prosecutors described it as a sex game gone wrong. All three were studying in the picturesque central Italian city of Perugia.

Ms Knox was convicted in 2009 of the murder by an Italian court but acquitted on appeal. She returned to the United States in 2011 as her case bounced around various courts until she and Mr. Sollecito were acquitted by Italy's highest court in 2015.

The conviction for defamation against the bar owner, Diya Lumumba, known as Patrick, was confirmed in the various trials.

Since returning to the United States, Ms. Knox, now 36 and the mother of two young children, has become an advocate for people incarcerated for crimes they didn't commit and an advocate for criminal justice reform.

Rudy Guede, a Perugia resident with a history of break-ins, was tried separately and convicted of murder. He served 13 years of a 16-year sentence and was released in 2021, recently making headlines after an ex-girlfriend accused him of physically abusing her. His lawyer said this week that the case involving his ex-girlfriend is still under investigation.

Mr. Lumumba, who at the time ran Le Chic, a bar where Ms. Knox worked part-time, became collateral damage in the case after Ms. Knox identified him as Ms. Kercher's killer during an all-night interrogation a few days after the murder. homocide.

Ms. Knox recanted within hours of signing two statements accusing him, and those statements were later ruled inadmissible in court. But Mr Lumumba was arrested, held in prison for two weeks and released only after one of his clients provided an airtight alibi.

Mr Lumumba sued for defamation and Ms Knox was convicted and sentenced to three years, which she served during her four years in prison.

In a December 2023 episode of “Labyrinths,” the podcast she hosts with her husband, Christopher Robinson, Ms. Knox said the defamation conviction still bothered her.

For some, she said, it was “proof that I'm a liar and I'm an unpleasant person and that I have something to hide and I never told the whole truth about what happened to Meredith and only to anyone who was involved in the matter.” . the crime would never make statements implicating themselves or others.”

Ms Knox – who arrived in Perugia just two months before the murder – claimed she was forced to accuse Mr Lumumba during a late-night interrogation in which she had no legal representation. During questioning, Ms Knox said she was slapped on the back of the head by police.

There are no records of the interrogations that night, and Italian police officers had sued Ms. Knox for defamation for describing the interrogation. She was tried and acquitted in 2016.

In 2019, Europe's top human rights court ruled that Ms. Knox had been deprived of adequate legal assistance during interrogation, violating her right to a fair trial, and ordered Italy to pay her €18,400 , at the time approximately $21,000, in damages. , costs and expenses. The court also raised doubts about the role of Ms. Knox's interpreter and said that Ms. Knox's statements during the interrogation “were made in an atmosphere of intense psychological pressure.”

At the April hearing in the defamation case, the Italian prosecutor and Carlo Pacelli, Mr. Lumumba's lawyer, argued that Ms. Knox had knowingly accused the bar owner of diverting attention from herself and derailing the investigations.

Jurors at Wednesday's hearing will be asked to consider the four-page statement he wrote to recant the two signed statements he made accusing Mr. Lumumba, “as well as the context and evidence on record,” Mr. Pacelli said in a call. interview. Although she knew her client was innocent, Ms. Knox never reported this fact to investigators, she said.

In the handwritten statement, he writes of his confusion: “I want to make it clear that I have many doubts about the truth of my statements because they were made under the pressure of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion.”

Knox had been ordered to pay damages to Mr Lumumba, but Mr Pacelli said she had never given any money to his client. Because of the accusation, Mr. Lumumba lost his business and left Italy with his family. He now lives in Krakow, Poland, and did not respond to requests for comment.

“This is a process that offers some really surprising twists from time to time,” Pacelli said.

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