TODAY   |  December 05, 2009

Knox’s friend: Guilty verdict ‘devastating’

Dec. 5: Amanda Knox’s friends Jessica Nichols and Andrew Seliber react to the news that their friend has been sentenced to 26 years in prison for killing her British roommate.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> keith miller , thank you. amanda knox 's friends, an miguel tejada nicholls and andrew seliber join us this morning and dan abrams . thanks for being here.

>> good morning.

>> have you heard from amanda recently?

>> just a letter in the last few weeks sh and she was kind of preparing for the reality of what was coming up between the duality of thinking she may be coming home or she may be staying there for quite some time, so --

>> your reaction to hear this verdict, were you expecting the worst, andrew ?

>> no. i was hoping for the best, obviously. i thought i had been prepared for it but never thought it would actually happen, so it's kind of devastating to see the guilty verdict come up, especially when you look at the lack of physical evidence .

>> and jessica, i know you both watched this trial and said that the person the prosecution has been painting is not the person you knew from school.

>> absolutely not. i actually met amanda in prison. i didn't know her at school. andrew did. but the person that she is is not even remotely comparable to the person that they've made her out to be.

>> and what was your reaction when you heard the news last night?

>> i was -- still am a little speechless. it's devastating. it's frustrating. it's infuriating. it's awful.

>> dan, let me bring you to the conversation. a lot of folks who followed this trial say there's not one piece of evidence that necessarily places amanda knox in the room at the scene of the murder. a lot of folks think that the evidence was circumstantial at best. was it a close call in your mind?

>> i think it was a close case, leg legally, and here's why. you have conflicting statements. you have dna evidence . now, the defense says the dna evidence isn't reliable, and certain dna evidence they would say isn't particularly relevant and they have explanations and they challenged, for example, whether they actually found the right murder weapon, et cetera . but with all of that said, this was still a serious case, brought in a serious court with serious scientific evidence was produced. and this was not some case brought in an afghan tribal court. i mean, this is a real courtroom with real evidence . again, that's not to say there wasn't reasonable doubt here, but --

>> right. a lot of folks certainly want to look at this through the eyes of the american justice system even though intellectually we understand it's a different system there. but for a moment, help us here. if this same evidence was brought in an american court, do you think the outcome would have been the same, or would it have even gone to trial?

>> i think it would have gone to trial. it absolutely would have gone to trial. do i think a jury would have found reasonable doubt ? possibly. possibly. i think that there's a very good argument that there was reasonable doubt presented by the defense here. but it's not a slam dunk , meaning i think that there are some people who are -- who are saying that this was an easy case in a way for acquittal. it wasn't based on what i've seen. i've read the transcripts, et cetera . there was a lot of evidence presented in this case, both her own statements and physical evidence , as well.

>> andrew , a lot has been said about her being portrayed as -- i've read the term "she devil" in the case. you know amanda . were there points -- i mean, how closely did you follow this case and were there points you just looked at and said i don't know who that person is they're talking about?

>> i followed the case since the day she was arrested. i met her my first year in college and we quickly became best friends . what shows in the media and the reports, descriptions of her character are completely off the mark.

>> what about the drugs?

>> i would say she's very athletic and cares a lot about her health and, you know, would never try drugs more than any other college student might experiment a little bit, say, with marijuana, but nothing major. she wasn't into hard drugs . she wasn't a big partier. so to hear these things about how she became this crazed sex addict who did drugs all the time and was almost a near alcoholic over there is --

>> i think it's fair to say the media treated her unfairly. the media in europe and much of europe --

>> you think so.

>> no question they treated her unfairly. and i think the family and those who support her have every right to be upset.

>> we're out of time, but kwkly, the appeals process in italy better than the u.s.?

>> she can actually get a new trial by the appellate court . this isn't over. you heard the family say they're going to fight this. i said it's certainly not a slam dunk , but it's not a slam dunk she won't win something on appeal.

>> jessica nicholls, dan abrams , andrew seliber, thank for joining us.