TODAY | September 30, 2011
>> of the trials that is capturing the world's attention, the murder conviction appeal of amanda knox in perugia. right now the prosecution is delivering its rebuttal in a courtroom not far from here. amanda knox will have her chance to address the court and deliver a statement probably on monday. we'll have our exclusive and very emotional interview with her parents in just a moment, but first let's find out more about what's taking place inside the courtroom. nbc's keith miller has been covering this trial and the one before it for the better part of four years. keith, good morning.
>> good morning, matt. four extraordinary years and the drama doesn't stop. amanda knox is the only female american locked up here in italy for the charge of murder, but the knox family is hoping the outcome of this appeals trial will reduce that number to zero. amanda knox in court this morning appearing pale and weak. so much so, one of her lawyers offered comfort with an embrace. her defense team has a reason to appear confident, after delivering a powerful summation of the case thursday, concluding knox should be set free . she got no sympathy from the prosecuti prosecution. on rebuttal this morning they forcefully argued the original dna evidence is valid. it is an argument the prosecution won't let go, despite a court appointed forensic scientist calling the work of italian crime scene investigators sloppy, and the dna results unreliable. the final days of this appeal trial sent hcentered almost entirely on knox 's character. the question being raised in court , is knox capable of murder. defense lawyers said knox had been crucified by the prosecution, attempting to justify wrongfully imprisoning her for murder.
>> the assessment of all the evidence has been completely revised so therefore the scenario is completely different and we look forward to the appeal.
>> reporter: another defense lawyer asked the judge and jury thursday to look at the knox family, sitting in the front row of the courtroom. they are terrified, he said, also victims of this crime. it was a moving court performance that left knox 's family in tears. and earned one defense lawyer a kiss of gratitude from italy's most know tierious defendant. and one of the most dramatic moments in court this morning, the prosecutors saying not just his team but some people in seattle thought that amanda knox was guilty and he went on to say that her back is covered and she just may walk saying "once again it's the black man who will take the fall." that man is rudy guede , sentenced to 16 years in prison.
>> playing the rates card. clearly the prosecution and the defense pulling out all the stops.
>> this is knockout time. they know it's do or die. she will walk free or they'll keep her locked up for life
>> keith miller thank you very much.
>>> after another very tense day in court on thursday, i caught up with amanda 's parents, and at this stage of the appeal i think you'll see their emotions are clearly very close to the surface.?i what is the one piece of evidence that you have heard in this appeal or in the first trial or what is the one key lack of evidence that you think vindicates your daughter?
>> common sense . that's the thing that is missing especially in the first trial, and to use the theory of the prosecution, four people inside a very small room, one person fighting for their life, three people, i'm sure their adrenalin's running, and for amanda and rafaelle to leave nothing in that room, no hair, no blood, no saliva, nothing, no fingerprints, anything, it's physically impossible to take place. and to me, that is just pure common sense .
>> she's going to get a chance to stand up in court in the next couple of days.
>> after 1,400 plus days in prison, she's going to get to state her case.
>> first of all, how do you think, knowing your daughter, she will steel her nerves? think about that moment and what's at stake?
>> i don't expect her to steel her nerves. you know, it's actually going to be very painful to listen to.
>> but you say it's going to be hard for you, and part of me as a dad would say my daughter's going to get a chance.
>> to speak her mind and speak from the heart.
>> why is it going to be so hard for you to hear it?
>> because she's literally fighting for her life.
>> she is totally terrified by what's happening to her, and the fact that this is important, that she get up and try to say exactly what she's feeling and thinking. even though it's a good thing that she can speak, we will see the pain or hear the pain in her voice, and it's like watching your child be tortured.
>> there was a point this morning where the judge in the case was listening to one of amanda 's lawyers, and he was nodding his head. now, you're smiling. he seemed to be nodding in agreement. have you guys, first of all, did you see it?
>> i heard it. i heard about it, because people were --
>> other people saw it, yes.
>> people were astounded because he is so stoic and does not show expression and to have him nod is like phenomenal.
>> which raised the request he in my mind, have you two and the rest of your family become expert tea leaf readers? do you look for every facial expression , every piece of body language from the judge and the jurors to try and get a hint as to what's going through their mind, even though you don't understand a lot of what's being said.
>> absolutely, because that's one piece that we can see. we watched how the jurors and the judge reacted when the prosecution was presenting, because like you said we can't understand most of it and we only get little updates in english to us so we spend a lot of time just looking at these people and so then we were then comparing how they were reacting when the defense presented.
>> they stare at amanda constantly. that's what i noticed in court , constantly looking for her reaction.
>> amanda really hasn't showed a lot of emotion to them, you know, she's been fairly stoic herself. you know especially when lamumba's lawyer was just assaulting her character she winced you know at things being said about her that are just so untrue.
>> the next few days are going to be a turning point in your lives. you're either going to get to take amanda home or she's going to remain in prison for a very long time, pending a final appeal.
>> if it comes to that, can you go through this again?
>> we will.
>> we will.
>> it does not matter. we'll find a way. she's not staying here. period.
>> i mean, you know, amanda will find a way to live through it, if she can do that, you know, that's the least that we can do. we're not stopping, and no parent would. if you had a kid who you knew was innocent, wouldn't you do everything that you could to help them? everything. you just don't stop.
>> we're going to have much more of our exclusive interview with amanda knox 's parents later in the show and don't forget of course on monday where we're expecting the verdict in this murder conviction appeal. special coverage here on "today" and on nbc news.