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Amanda Knox reconvicted of slander in Italy in case linked to her quashed murder conviction

Amanda Knox reconvicted in slander case
Italian court reconvicts Amanda Knox of slander in case linked to quashed murder conviction 01:47

Florence, Italy — Amanda Knox, the American student who spent nearly four years in an Italian prison after being convicted in 2007 of murdering her college roommate Meredith Kercher before being cleared more than a decade later, was re-convicted Wednesday of slander for wrongly accusing a bar owner she had worked for at the time of the killing.

A court in Florence found that Knox had wrongly accused the innocent Congolese man of Kercher's murder, but the American will not serve more jail time in Italy as her new three-year sentence has already been satisfied by time she served on the reversed murder conviction.

Knox showed little emotion as the verdict was read in court Wednesday, but she was embraced by her husband in the courtroom afterward and they held each other for a while.

Italy Knox Trial
Amanda Knox arrives with her husband Christopher Robinson, right, at the court in Florence, Italy, June 5, 2024, for her retrial on a slander charge that stuck even after she was exonerated in the brutal 2007 murder of her British roommate in the idyllic hilltop town of Perugia. Antonio Calanni/AP

The court said Knox would have to pay the legal fees of and damages to Patrick Lumumba, the bar owner she had been working for part-time in Perugia at the time of Kercher's killing — a sum it said was still to be determined. 

Her lawyers said she would appeal Wednesday's ruling, and they have 45 days to file their appeal with Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation in Rome. That court only rules on whether a lower court's ruling has been reached in line with legal procedures, however, not on the merits of any particular case.

The Florence court was to publish the reasoning for its decision within 60 days.

Knox had returned to the court this week in an effort to clear the last legal stain on her name.

"I will walk into the very same courtroom where I was reconvicted of a crime I didn't commit, this time to defend myself yet again," Knox said in a social media post on Monday, before she returned to the court. "I hope to clear my name once and for all of the false charges against me. Wish me luck."

Kercher, a British student, was found dead in her bedroom in the apartment she shared with Knox in the Italian city of Perugia. She had been sexually assaulted and had multiple stab wounds. Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of murdering her in a sex game gone awry.

Italian student Raffaele Sollecito, slain British woman Meredith Kercher and her American roommate Amanda Knox.
From left: Italian student Raffaele Sollecito, slain British woman Meredith Kercher and her American roommate Amanda Knox. AP

In 2015, after seven years of legal battles and flip-flop verdicts, Knox and Sollecito were cleared of the murder, but the slander conviction against Knox stood. She made the accusation against the Lumumba during a grueling 53-hour police interrogation soon after her arrest.

Very soon after implicating the man, however, Knox wrote a four-page statement in English casting serious doubt on the testimony she had given to the police.

"I want to make clear that I'm very doubtful of the veritity [sic] of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion. Not only was I told I would be arrested and put in jail for 30 years, but I was also hit in the head when I didn't remember a fact correctly," she wrote in the statement.

Knox's defense team has always maintained that the accusation against the bar owner was coerced.

Amanda Knox arrives at Milan's Linate airport
Amanda Knox arrives at Milan's Linate airport in Italy, in a June 13, 2019 file photo, for a visit to speak at the Criminal Justice Festival. REUTERS

In 2019, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Italy had violated Knox's human nights during police questioning. Knox said she was interrogated without a lawyer or a proper translator and that she was also beaten by the police. 

Italy's highest court ordered a retrial, which culminated Wednesday with the decision against Knox. 

Prosecutors had asked the court to confirm the slander conviction and impose a penalty of three years, which was granted, but as Knox already spent almost four years behind bars, starting in 2007, she won't have to spend any more time in jail.

Another man, Rudy Guede — whose footprints and DNA were found all over the crime scene — was convicted of murdering Kercher in 2008 and served 13 years in prison before being released in 2021.

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