Amanda Knox Slander Indictment: Knox Faces Additional 5 Years in Prison if Convicted

Amanda Knox (AP Photo, file)
Amanda Knox Slander Indictment: Knox Faces Additional 5 Years in Prison if Convicted
Amanda Knox (AP Photo, file)

PERUGIA, Italy (CBS) Amanda Knox learned Monday that she will have to face the Italian legal system again, after a judge ordered the American to stand trial for slander. 

The charges stem from Knox's testimony during her 2009 murder trial that Perugia police intimidated and abused her, to get her to confess to killing and raping her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2007.

Police filed their slander suit after Knox testified in court that during their nearly nine-hour interrogation they bullied her and hit her on the back of the head saying "Come on, come on. Remember. Remember." The police denied any impropriety and have even filed a suit against Knox's parents for repeating her allegations to the media.

Knox's mother, Edda Mellas, told CBS' "The Early Show" that she isn't surprised by the slander indictment.

"I'm disappointed," she said. "But these are the same people that, you know, all ruled against Amanda initially so we didn't think that they were going to change their mind."

The charges against her parents represent "another unusual aspect of an incredibly unusual case," Knox's American lawyer Theodore Simon told "Early Show on Saturday Morning" co-anchor Chris Wragge. "Her parents have been very supportive and incredibly loving in their support of their daughter. They arrived on the eve of the [murder] trial and what happened was truly remarkable. Both were arrested and charged with criminal slander based upon their repeating what Amanda allegedly told them some year-and-a-half prior. The timing of these charges is very suspect."

Amanda's mother said it's hard to be upbeat these days but Knox's stepfather, Chris Mellas, says they are trying to look at the indictment as a positive thing since it gives her another chance to prove her innocence.

"Because, [the confession] is the root cause of it, really," Chris Mellas said. "This is where the beginning of all the errors started."

During the closed-door hearing Monday Knox reportedly broke down in tears and said she simply made use of what she called her right to a defense against an unjust accusation, and did not want to offend anyone, according to "The Early Show." The slander trial is set for May 17.

But before that day Knox will get a second chance to prove she had nothing to do with the brutal murder of Kercher on Nov. 2, 2007, in the apartment they shared in Perugia.

Knox's attorneys submitted a five-page document requesting, among other things, the review of forensic evidence, including DNA samples they claim were tainted and mishandled beyond usability, and the calling of witnesses, in advance of a Nov. 24 court date for her appeal.

Edda Mellas told the morning show that she sees a glimmer of hope in the upcoming appeal process.

"I think we're all starting to get a little more hopeful because we have such a strong case for appeal," Edda Mellas said. "There's nothing that connects her to that crime and now we have a judge who might actually listen. So, we're keeping our fingers crossed that it goes correctly."


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