May 17, 2013 at 7:38 AM ET
In an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie, Amanda Knox’s former boyfriend explained why he never abandoned Knox, and said he is not afraid he will be sent back to jail.
“I'm innocent, and we got evidence of our innocence, so we will fight until the end without any worry," said Raffaele Sollecito, author of the new book “Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox.”
Back in 2007, Sollecito had been dating Knox in Italy for just one week when the couple came under investigation for the murder of Kercher, a British university student. Italian prosecutors accused Sollecito and Knox of killing Kercher in a sexual escapade that went awry. Also accused was Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast native who was convicted of Kercher’s sexual assault and murder.
Sollecito, from Italy, and Knox, a college student from Seattle, spent four years in prison until an appeals court acquitted them in 2011 due to insufficient evidence. But two months ago, Italy’s highest court overturned that decision and ordered a new trial to begin within the next year.
“Do you fear that you could be convicted and sent to prison again?” Guthrie asked Sollecito in the interview, which aired on TODAY on Friday morning.
“No,” he replied. “It’s something like a very far-away thought in my mind. I already know that I'm innocent and we already have proved it. So for me, it's kind of nonsense.”
“What strikes me about your story is that you knew Amanda Knox just seven days when all of this happened,” Guthrie continued. “And there was enormous pressure on you to implicate her, to point the finger at her, and you didn’t.”
“I had to be very serious," Sollecito said, "and not playing a game with some people who wanted this game to be played."
Sollecito said he knew Knox was innocent, so even when his own parents asked him in desperation to cooperate with authorities and implicate her in the murder, he couldn’t do it.
“(Amanda) told me that she thinks that I’m a kind of hero, but I don’t feel so,” Sollecito told Guthrie. “And I don’t need any kind of gratitude... I did it because I know it’s the truth. It’s the good thing to do. It’s the only way for me.”
Sollecito said he has remained “good friends” with Knox, who released her own memoir, “Waiting to Be Heard,” on April 30. He has visited Knox in Seattle, and they’ve talked recently about how they should proceed with their next legal battle. He says he does plan to return to Italy, and is currently discussing the situation with his lawyers.
“Do you have faith in the Italian justice system?” Guthrie asked Sollecito.
“I have faith in God,” he said. “The Italian justice system, is something like, you don’t know what to expect.”