Amanda Knox convicted in slander retrial in Italy over 2007 killing of her roommate

ROME: Amanda Knox, an American who was convicted and then exonerated of murdering her housemate while they were studying in Italy, on Wednesday lost another trial in an Italian court against slander charges related to the 2007 killing. Knox was convicted by a court in Florence on charges that she had slandered a man who ran a bar where she worked by unjustly accusing him of killing her housemate, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, in 2007.Knox was sentenced by the court to three years in prison, time she has already served.
Knox was initially found guilty of slandering the man, Diya Lumumba, also known as Patrick, in 2009, a conviction that was upheld by various Italian courts. At the time of the killing, Lumumba ran a bar called Le Chic where Knox worked part time.
Knox declined to speak to reporters after the ruling Wednesday. Her defence team said they would most likely appeal to Italy’s highest court.
Speaking to a courtroom packed with journalists earlier, Knox, referring to her comments about Lumumba in 2007, described “the worst night of my life,” and said she had been bullied by the police into accusing an innocent man of murder. She told the court, speaking in Italian and with her voice cracking at times, that she had been a frightened 20-year-old who had been tricked and was “psychologically destabilised”.
The hearing Wednesday is the latest turn in a legal journey whose echoes continue to reverberate nearly 17 years after the murder of Kercher, a British student. Knox became a household name in 2007 when she was arrested with her boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, then 23, for the murder of Kercher during what prosecutors described as a sex game gone wrong. All three were studying in the picturesque central Italian city of Perugia. Knox was convicted in 2009 of the killing by an Italian court but acquitted on appeal. She returned to the US in 2011 while her case bounced between various courts until she and Sollecito were exonerated by Italy’s highest court in 2015.
Speaking to the court, recalling the events that led her to accuse Lumumba, Knox said that Kercher had been the “victim of horrible violence.” In the days after Kercher’s death, Knox said she had been “under shock and exhausted” and had never felt “so vulnerable in my life.” It was at that point, she said, during a nightlong interrogation, that the police pressured her into naming Lumumba, with whom she had exchanged some texts that night. She said one cop had slapped her.
Lumumba, who now lives in Krakow, Poland, did not attend Wednesday’s hearing and has not commented. Although Knox recanted her statements accusing Lumumba, he was arrested, held in prison for two weeks and released only after one of his clients provided an alibi. Lumumba sued for slander, and Knox was found guilty and sentenced to three years, which she served during her four years in prison.


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