Prosecution makes final push in Amanda Knox appeals trial

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 30, 2011 at 6:22 AM

Updated Friday, Sep 30 at 5:25 PM

SEATTLE -- Italian prosecutors are making a final push to keep Amanda Knox behind bars.

The former UW student is back in a courtroom in Perugia, Italy, as her appeals trial undergoes its final stages. The case is days away from a verdict by six jurors and two judges, who could overturn or uphold her murder conviction and 26 year prison sentence.

After the defense presented their final arguments Thursday, the prosecution and defense will spend Friday delivering their rebuttals.

On Thursday, defense laywers said Knox and her former Italian boyfriend and co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, were wrongfully convicted in the 2007 murder of Knox's British roommate, Meredith Kercher, and "crucified" by the prosecution.

Court began Friday with prosecutors launching a fierce counterattack, defending the police investigation and arguing DNA evidence that put Knox behind bars is still valid, even though independent experts testified they found the police work to be sloppy and unreliable.

Some of the major developments Friday:

*Rebuttals by the prosecution are expected all day Friday; defense lawyers are expected to wrap up their rebuttal arguments on Monday.

*Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini said Knox would flee if her conviction is overturned and she is released; he told jurors that "only you can stop Amanda from escaping."

*In the civil rebuttal, the prosecution said Knox falsely accused Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a bar where she worked, of murder to distance herself from the crime.

*Prosecutors blamed the media for the recent turn in Amanda's favor. On Thursday, the defense also blamed the media, saying Knox had been crucified and run over by a media tsunami that turned the public against her, especially after her arrest.

*Prosecutor Mignini said even people in Seattle think Amanda Knox is guilty, based on interviews in Seattle. It was not clear what interviews he was referring to.

*But Magnini also went on to say Knox has her back covered and would probably be set free, saying then that "the black man" would take the fall, referring to Rudy Guede, the man convicted of murdering Kercher and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

*Knox and Sollecito are expected to give their final statements in court on Monday.

*While Meredith Kercher's family have not been present during the trial, Kercher's sister and mother are expected to arrive Monday to hear the verdict.

Meanwhile, Knox is preparing the speech of her lifetime. After rebuttals are finished, she will speak in court and tell jurors in her own words why she believes she deserves her freedom.

Knox's parents, who are in Perugia, Italy, told TODAY's Matt Lauer that Amanda Knox's final statement will be difficult for her.

"I don't expect her to steel her nerves," said Curt Knox, Amanda's father. "It's actually going to be very painful to listen to."

"She is totally terrified by what is happening to her," said Edda Mellas, Amanda's mother. "We will see the pain, hear the pain in her voice...It's like watching your child be tortured."

Walking into court Friday, Knox appeared pale and frail. When she got up during morning break, she was unsteady on her feet and had to be helped out of the courtroom.

"She's losing weight, she can't eat, she can't sleep. These people hold her life in their hands," said Mellas.

Knox's parents said common sense is what has been missing from the trials and that there is no evidence linking Knox to the murder.  Still, they know the next couple of days will serve as a turning point, with them finding out if they can get to take Amanda Knox home or if she'll stay in the Italian prison.

"We'll find a way. She's not staying here period," said Curt Knox.

A verdict is expected Monday in the case. If her murder conviction is overturned, Knox could be freed within a day or two. If her conviction is upheld, her case could be appealed to the Italian Surpeme Court.

KING 5's Linda Byron, Liza Javier and Natalie Swaby contributed to this report.
 

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