Amanda Knox seeks to have slander conviction overturned

 

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The Independent Online

Amanda Knox is seeking to have her slander conviction overturned, four months after she was cleared of killing her room-mate Meredith Kercher.

In addition to receiving a 26-year prison term for the killing of the British student, who was stabbed 40 times and had her throat slashed in November 2007, Ms Knox was sentenced to three years for slandering a bar owner, Patrick Lumumba.

Under questioning, she claimed that she heard him murder Miss Kercher at the apartment the two women shared in the Italian city of Perugia, and had "covered her ears to cover the screams".

Ms Knox, a 24-year-old American, later told a court that police pressured her into making the false accusation during a lengthy interrogation. As a result of her claims, Mr Lumumba was arrested and jailed for two weeks before being cleared of involvement in the crime and successfully suing Ms Knox for slander.

In October, the appeal court in Perugia freed Ms Knox after her lawyers raised doubts about the DNA evidence used in the first trial.

Although the slander conviction remained, she was released because she had already spent three years in prison – a longer term than was required under her sentencing for slander. After securing her freedom amid a blaze of publicity, she immediately returned home to Seattle.

In 2007, Mr Lumumba was quoted as saying: "I still don't understand how I finished up in all this. Because I'm black? Because I'm the perfect guilty one?"

At one stage he also said he could never forgive Ms Knox, but has since rescinded the statement. As recently as last September, he said he was still suffering nightmares as a result of the arrest.

Dave Marriott, a spokesman for the Knox family, confirmed that lawyers had launched an appeal against the slander conviction. But he said it was not clear when the court would consider the request. Knox's then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, was also acquitted of killing Ms Kercher, of Coulsdon, Surrey.

A third defendant, Rudy Guede, was convicted in a separate trial of sexually assaulting and killing Ms Kercher and jailed for 16 years – a sentence since confirmed by Italy's highest court.

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