Slinging Mud at Mignini

“My room, obviously was not as medicinally clean as Laura’s.” Amanda Knox

In Knox’s memoir, she describes the aftermath of Massei’s verdict and sentencing.  She claims in her story to feel trapped and angry. She’s afraid of the spiteful, bitterness she feels welling up inside her. She feels [in January 2010, in her frozen cell] the Italians have made a “mockery” of the word justice.

What’s strangely absent is the sort of despair we’d expect someone in her position to feel.  Jail.  How would she survive? What about the social stigma?  Would she ever recover? What about the young life she had lost and still appeared to be losing?

But none of that is evident, because if it were, it would mean Knox had acknowledged what had happened, and understood [even if she didn’t accept] the consequences. That’s how grief works.  When the reality of one’s situation is authentic, and one is authentic about it, then so is the grief that arises.  Grief is an integral part to healing, even if our grief is a kind of self-pity directed to ourselves.

But Knox doesn’t even seem to grieve.  Instead she presents an indignant portrait of herself in her narrative: she’s not heartbroken or grinding her teeth in self-righteous frustration. She’s merely trapped and angry. That sounds like someone in a bad relationship, not someone enduring the personal catastrophe of imprisonment [whether deserved or not]. And she’s afraid of her own spite and bitterness.  Again, that sounds like someone in a bad romance.

And then it emerges – if she is not to blame, who is, besides the Italians [as a nation] making a mockery of justice [in an American sense of the word.]

Despite her aversion to her own spite and bitterness, Knox in her memoir takes a shot at Mignini, citing his conviction for abuse of office for manipulation and intimidation; but she doesn’t seem to have anything to say either about Massei or his 400+ page report on his findings.

Knox doesn’t seem to wish to argue the judgement of the case.  If you were innocent, wouldn’t you wish to thoroughly and comprehensively debunk the charges against you?  On the other hand, if you were guilty, wouldn’t you be facing potential contempt of court charges for putting it in words and arguing against a judgement?

The only way to get away with doing that is by selectively cherry-picking your narrative, and mincing through a few very cleverly chosen words.

Compare the legitimacy of this statement, for example:

The Italians have made a “mockery” of the word justice.

To this one:

Judge Massei/Mignini/The Court of Assisi have made a mockery of justice.

Making a mockery of a word is fine; accusing legal professionals of impropriety in your case is grounds for a lawsuit. But I’m guessing Knox was hoping a lay reader might miss the nuance.

Let’s deal briefly with Knox’s “indictment” of the prosecutor who first convicted her. Is Mignini a dirty prosecutor?  Does he have a case to answer for?

The case against MIGNINI

There is certainly smoke. In 2004, two prosecution offices – one in Florence, the other in Perugia – engaged in a public battle over the right to pursue the Narducci case. Part of this battle involved the prosecutors using various dirty tricks to undermine one another.  Mignini was at the centre of this, and could very easily have been tempted to cross certain legal lines, but did he? If there was smoke, was there fire?

Just a month after winning his case against Knox, a Florence court found Mignini guilty of “exceeding the powers of his office.” What Knox fails to mention in her memoir is firstly that Mignini was also acquitted on three accounts of fabricating evidence*, and secondly that he too appealed his conviction. In November 2011, at around the same time Knox won her appeal, so did Mignini.

That Knox even with the benefit of hindsight selectively left certain information – like this –  out of her memoir, regarding Mignini, given her memoir was published in April 2013, seems more than a little mischievous. It was a serious enough misrepresentation for Mignini to file a lawsuit against an Italian publication for publishing extracts of Knox’s memoir [her book has not been published in Italy for legal reasons].

The Italians have made a “mockery” of the word justice.**

Now, it’s not that unusual for top criminal prosecutors to face criminal charges, public ire and abuse.  We’ve seen this in other cases too, including Oscar Pistorius [Gerrie Nel], Jodi Arias [Juan Martinez] and O.J. Simpson [Marcia Clark].***

In our opinion, the timing of the witch-hunt against Mignini, slap bang during the Knox trial, wasn’t accidental, and the fact that Mignini lost Knox’s appeal is, we think, partly because his resources, his attention, his focus, was distracted by having to contend simultaneously with spurious allegations [such as those in Frank Sfarzo’s blog] that suddenly came out of the woodwork during the appeal.

It’s no excuse for Mignini that he dropped the ball and lost the case [as discussed in Foxy Knoxy Fights Back], but taking pains to clear his own name while prosecuting the Knox case provides at least some sinister context for why the defense team seemed to be on the ball. A defense counsel seeming to be on top of their case and actually having a credible case, as we’re about to see, is the difference between chalk and cheese.

*Mignini was accused of manufacturing a fake audio recording, but this was later demonstrably proved to be authentic.

**On June 1st, 2010, Knox was back in court to face slander charges.  Eight police officers filed suit after she accused them of physical violence used to pressure her into falsely accusing Patrick Lumumba. News reports at the time, notably, quoted Knox’s lawyers saying she had cut her hair two days after the verdict on December 5th, 2010.

Her court appearance today [June 1st, 2010] was the first time Knox had left the Capanne prison outside Perugia since she was convicted of murder on Dec. 5, and the first time she had been seen in public in six months. Looking somewhat tense, she sported a new, boyishly- short haircut and wore white pants and a yellow blouse. Her lawyers told reporters that Knox had cut her hair very short two days after her conviction.

“She had wanted to cut her hair for a while,” her lawyer Maria Del Grosso said, “but she waited until after her sentence because she was afraid that all people would talk about was her hair. “The focus should be on the legal aspects of this case, and not on Amanda’s look,” said Del Grosso.

***In Marcia Clark’s case, while trying to win the state’s case against O.J. Simpson, Clark’s ex-husband sold topless images of his then wife to the tabloids taken while they were on their honeymoon in France.

Foxy Knoxy book cover