Amanda Knox: Reconvicted Over Slander in Italy

Alessia Pierdomenico /
Alessia Pierdomenico /

In a recent legal setback, Amanda Knox was re-convicted of slander by an Italian appeals court in Florence, dashing her hopes of finally clearing her name in a saga that began with her 2007 arrest for the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. This marks the sixth time Italian courts have upheld the decision that Knox falsely accused Patrick Lumumba, the Congolese bar owner where she worked, of the murder.

Knox, who was an exchange student at the time of the incident, has consistently claimed that her accusatory statements were made under duress during a grueling overnight interrogation by police, where she had limited command of Italian. Despite her arguments, the Florence court panel, consisting of two judges and six jurors, reaffirmed her three-year sentence, already served during her initial four-year detention in Italy.

Appearing in an Italian courtroom for the first time since her 2011 release, Knox, alongside her husband Christopher Robinson, maintained composure as the verdict was delivered. Her attorney, Carlo Dalla Vedova, expressed their dismay outside the courthouse, stating, “Amanda is very embittered.” He added, “We are all very surprised at the outcome of the decision.”

The defense team, led by Dalla Vedova and Luca Luparia Donati, indicated plans to appeal to Italy’s highest court. The retrial was spurred by a European court’s finding that Knox’s human rights were violated during her initial questioning, as she was denied access to a lawyer and a competent translator.

Addressing the court, Knox delivered a heartfelt statement, her voice wavering as she recounted the intense pressure she faced from police. “I am very sorry that I was not strong enough to resist the pressure of police,” Knox said. She continued, “I didn’t know who the murderer was. I had no way to know.”

The murder of Kercher, a 21-year-old British student, and the subsequent trials of Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, have captivated international audiences and were among the first high-profile cases influenced by social media. Despite Knox’s exoneration and the conviction of Rudy Guede, an Ivorian man linked to the crime scene by forensic evidence, suspicions about Knox’s involvement persisted, fueled by her initial statements against Lumumba.

Lumumba’s attorney, Carlo Pacelli, highlighted the enduring impact of Knox’s accusations on his client, noting, “Patrick has always been dutiful to all of the court decisions, and all the courts up until today have affirmed that Amanda Knox was a slanderer.”

Knox, now a 36-year-old mother and advocate for criminal justice reform, has worked to rebuild her life in the United States. Reflecting on her coerced confession, she wrote in a statement after her release, “In regards to this ‘confession’ that I made last night, I want to make clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressure of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion.”

As Knox prepares for another legal battle, the world watches closely, awaiting the final chapter in a long and tumultuous legal journey.