"48 Hours" reveals Amanda Knox's untold story
"48 Hours" has learned just how frightening those first dark days in prison were for Amanda Knox. Right from the beginning, she was terrified that she might be sexually assaulted.
"This is a letter that came to me from Amanda," said investigative journalist Bob Graham, of Amanda's letter detailing cruel manipulation and incidents of sexual intimidation. She described how a high ranking prison administrator ordered her into his office -- alone at night -- to talk about sex.
The letter read in part:
"He was fixated on the topic of sex, with whom I'd done it, how I liked it, if I would like to do it with him."
"When I realized that he really wanted to talk to me about sex I would try to change the subject."
Amanda wrote that she was particularly frightened because the administrator "acted as if he was the king of the castle."
"Therefore, I thought he didn't have to answer to anyone for his behavior."
Amanda eventually came to believe that the administrator had a different motive; that he was perhaps trying to support the prosecution's theory that she really was a sex-crazed she-devil who killed Meredith Kercher during a violent orgy.
"'I realize that he was testing me to see if I reacted badly, to understand me personally," she wrote. "He wanted to get a reaction or some information from me... I did not get the seriousness of the situation."
The intimidation reportedly ended after Amanda's lawyers complained.
"What does this letter say to you about what she's been going through?" Peter Van Sant asked Graham.
"It says in a time when she was clearly traumatized by...the murder of her flat mate...and here she was being pressured, in a prison system -- a system that at least she should have had some degree of safety, and here was this guy, a senior officer in this prison, now pressing her about sex, pressing her, 'do you want to have sex with me?" said Graham.
Bob Graham spoke with the administrator, who admitted he and Amanda discussed the topic of sex, but claims she brought it up.
Madison Paxton says Amanda stood her ground, showing remarkable strength.
"It's still her life," she said. "And the only way that the prosecution wins...is if she becomes some broken, bitter person who relies on the free and abundant tranquilizers at the prison. She's never done that and she's beyond determined to not do that."
Amanda's focus was the appeal - and she soon had a world-renown ally.
"This case horrifies me. I'd like to say it shocks me. But I've seen others like it," said psychologist and professor Saul Kassin, an expert on police interrogations.
On his own initiative, Kassin filed a report with the Italian court on Amanda's behalf. It outlines some of the psychological reasons why Amanda could have confessed to a murder she did not commit.
"Amanda Knox, like everybody, has a breaking point. She reached her breaking point," he explained. "Eight or 10 or 12 police officials in a tag team-manner come in and interrogate her... Their goal is a confession and they're not leaving that room without it."
At her first trial, Amanda told the court just how badly the Italian police had intimidated her:
"I was very, very scared because they were treating me so badly and I didn't understand why" she said with a sigh. "They told me that I was trying to protect someone. But I wasn't trying to protect anyone. ...but they continued to call me a stupid liar."
"She's obviously in a state of grief or shock," Kassin said of her statement. "She is accused, she's called a liar when she denies having any involvement... She's in a foreign place. ...And she's being interrogated in a language in which she's not fluent."
"Now, what does that do to someone?" Van Sant asked.
"She's confused. She's disoriented," Kassin replied.
Hour after sleepless hour passed, with no food, no water, no bathroom breaks and no attorney. During that brutal interrogation, Amanda's mother says, it was the police who first brought up the name Patrick Lumumba, Amanda's boss. They had discovered that Amanda had exchanged texts with him the night of the murder. Amanda's last message said, "See you later."
"See you later is an American way of saying goodbye. But in Italian, it's not, is it? Van Sant asked Amanda's mother, Edda Mellas.
"No, and they took that to mean we're making an appointment to get together later tonight; that's the way they interpreted it," she replied.
"They kept saying you sent this thing to Patrick. We know that you left the house. We know! I just said his name," Amanda told the court.
She didn't know it at the time, but the moment Amanda named Patrick Lumumba would seal her fate. She described it in the letter to Bob Graham:
"So I said Patrick. Nearly all the police officers leapt up, they hugged each other and went off in search of Patrick," she wrote. "In the meantime, I just cried. I curled up into a ball and bawled my eyes out. I don't know how long I cried. I was so tired. I couldn't think."
Hours later, Amanda signed that confession that placed her in the house where Meredith Kercher was killed.
"I believe Amanda's confession is false. I believe Amanda is innocent," Kassin said. "If she was there...wouldn't she have known that Patrick wasn't there? Wouldn't she have known that Rudy was there? The reason she didn't know those things is that she wasn't there."
Amanda later recanted, but it was too late. The damage done, she was officially under arrest.
Three years after the murder, Amanda is ready to attack all the prosecution's evidence head on at her appeal: the confession, the eyewitnesses and the DNA.
"You can't even put into words, as we sit here and talk to you, what it must be like for her," Curt Knox told Van Sant. "I mean, our lives are not on the line. Her life is. It's gonna be put in somebody else's hands again."
And the prosecution would not go down without a fight.
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