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Amanda Knox Exclusive: Convicted Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini May Return for "Appealing" Courtroom Drama, Citing Loophole

US murder suspect Amanda Knox smiles prior to the start of a hearing in the Meredith Kercher murder trial, in Perugia, Italy, Friday, July 17, 2009. Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, are on trial for the murder of Knox's British roommate, student Meredith Kercher, found dead in the house they shared on Nov. 2007. (AP Photo/Stefano Medici) AP Photo/Stefano Medici

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, Nov. 2, 2007 (CBS)
CHICAGO (CBS) No one can say Italian prosecutor Giuliani Mignini lacks a flair for the dramatic -- he's maneuvering to play a role in future proceedings involving Amanda Knox, despite legal obstacles.

"Perugia II - The Appeal" is scheduled to premiere this fall to a packed courtroom in Italy. It promises to be just as engrossing as "Perugia I - The Trial," last year's top reality "whodunnit."

As in Perugia I, the sequel casts American student Amanda Knox and her former BF Raffaele Sollecito as innocent victims of an Italian justice system that approximates Alice in Wonderland more than The Good Wife. Devotees of the story will be relieved, the plot remains the same: "Who murdered Knox's roommate, Meredith Kercher, in November 2007?"

Currently in production, Knox and Sollecito appealed their December 2009 murder convictions last week. Knox is serving a 26-year prison sentence and Sollecito, a 25-year term. The prosecution also appealed. It's seeking life sentences for both defendants.

All the appeals will be argued before a new, not yet appointed, appellate judge and jury. The appellate trial is expected to last 8 to 10 days and begins as early as October.

Giuliano Mignini
Some fans may hope that Giuliano Mignini reprises his role as lead prosecutor allowing him to take his ultimate-fighter combat style to the next judicial level. Certainly, Mignini's skillful use of questionable evidence and a cast of shaky eyewitnesses - some literally pulled from detox facilities - kept everyone glued to their seats in Perugia I.

And few can forget Mignini's remarkable improv performance in the 2008 prequel; Rudy Guede: Break-in Artist to Slasher. (The Ivory Coast national got 30 years, then appealed it to 16.)

In that trial, the always inventive Mignini tried to convince a judge that British student Meredith Kercher was the victim of a satanic murder masterminded by her demonically motivated roommate, Amanda Knox. Mignini did everything but talk backwards in an effort to convince the court that Kercher's murder was a ritual killing carried out as part of a dark, demonic ceremony called Halloween.

Not since fellow European Max Von Sydow played the role of Father Martin in the 1973 occult classic The Exorcist has an audience seen such a fantastical portrayal of a self-styled avenger pitted against imagined forces of evil. The only element missing from the prosecutor's otherwise head-spinning performance was Mignini, himself, levitating before the judge's eyes.

The tagline for the trailer to The Exorcist warned, "Something beyond comprehension is happening... A man has been called for as a last resort... That man is The Exorcist."

Will "that man" again be Giuliano Mignini in Perugia II?

Amanda Knox (AP Photo, file)
A first reading of the script, says no. Italian law precludes a person from acting as both a trial prosecutor and an appellate prosecutor on the same case. The rule means to prevent over-zealous prosecutions. But it may not hold back Mignini.

In an exclusive interview with CBS News' Crimesider last week in Perugia, Mignini described a legal loophole that may allow him to be part of the appellate prosecution team that faces off against Knox and Sollecito later this year.

Mignini says the case against Knox and Sollecito is very complicated so the new appellate prosecutor may want his help. Italian law only prevents Mignini from being the lead appellate prosecutor. It won't stop him from being part of the prosecution team, if duty calls.

Mignini told Crimesider that if asked he would serve, saying he considers it his job to do so. So like the fictional prosecutor in A Tale of Two Cities, Mignini might again, "spin the rope, grind the axe, and hammer the nails into the scaffold" in the case against Knox and Sollecito.

Since Perugia I closed last December, Mignini's star has fallen. In January, he was convicted of abuse of office in an unrelated case in Florence. Sentenced to 14 months in prison, he remains free pending appeal. He also continues to work as a prosecutor.

So Perugia II - The Appeal could be just the right comeback vehicle for the disgraced officer of the court.

Giuliano Mignini is balding and has an unfortunate weakness for corduroy sport coats. Yet he does bring to mind the Terminator in one respect: like it or not, Mignini may, indeed, be back.



Doug Longhini, who reported this story, is an investigative producer for 48 Hours | Mystery. He has been covering the Amanda Knox case since November 2007.  Giulia Alagna contributed to this story from Perugia, Italy.

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PICTURES: Verdict In Italy

MORE ON CRIMESIDER
March 18, 2010 - Amanda Knox Italian Police Bombshell: We Knew She Was Guilty of Murder Without Physical Evidence
March 4, 2010 - Italian Judges Still Sure Amanda Knox a Killer
December 23, 2009 - Rudy Hermann Guede Will Get Out of Jail Before Amanda Knox for Meredith Kercher's Murder
December 16, 2009 - Amanda Knox May be Joined in Jail by the Prosecutor That Put Her There
December 4, 2009 - Amanda Knox Verdict: Italian Jury Will Announce Decision at 6 P.M. Eastern
December 3, 2009 - Amanda Knox Pleads With Jury: I'm No "Assassin"
December 1, 2009 - Lawsuits Fly in Amanda Knox Murder Trial
November 24, 2009 - Amanda Knox: Sex-Game Murder Charge is "Pure Fantasy;" Italian Prosecutors Want Life Sentence
November 20, 2009 - Amanda Knox Trial: Convicted Killer Fingers Knox for Meredith Kercher Murder
June 19, 2009 - Knox's Mom Says Daughter, Victim Got Along
June 15, 2009 - "Always A Crescendo:" Amanda Knox Talks About Murder Investigation On Stand
June 12, 2009 - Knox's Alibi: Sex, Drugs And Sleep


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