Tiziana Fabi / AFP - Getty Images

TODAY   |  March 26, 2013

Italian court will re-try Amanda Knox

In an unexpected decision, the Italian supreme court in Rome is overturning Amanda Knox’s acquittal, saying she will stand trial again for the murder of roommate Meredith Kercher. NBC’s Michelle Kosinski reports and Italian legal expert Praxilla Trabattoni discusses the case.

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>>> good morning. welcome to "today" on a tuesday morning. i'm savannah guthrie .

>> and i'm matt lauer .

>> there is a lot of news to get to. we just received a statement from amanda knox and she says the decision by italy 's supreme court to order a new trial in the murder of her british roommate is "painful."

>> michelle, what can you tell us?

>> reporter: in court, you started to see the judges seeming annoyed, tough on the defense, leaving many here to start to wonder, could this years long case really land back in trial all over again? and that is now what has happened. amanda knox , now 25 years old, back in college in seattle, has been out of an italian jail for almost two years, getting on with her life. now the italian supreme court says she and then boyfriend raffaele sollecito will be tried again for the murder of her roommate british exchange student meredith kercher back in 2007 . in a statement this morning, amanda says it was painful to receive the news. when the prosecution's theory of my involvement in meredith 's murder has been repeatedly revealed to be unfounded and unfair. the prosecution responsible for the many discrepancies in their work must be made to answer for them, for raffaele's sake, my sake, and most especially the sake of meredith 's family. our hearts go out to them. no matter what happens, my family and i will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity. amanda and raffaele were convicted of the murder in 2009 , and then acquitted on appeal two years later, and with much criticism of the investigation. prosecutors, though, appealed that acquittal, calling it illogical for throwing out virtually everything, like the validity of dna evidence , the reliability of witnesses. a lawyer for the kercher family blasted the judges who ultimately released aplan da, as seeming biased. the kerchers releasing their own statement. we all still miss meredith terribly, taken from us far too soon in such a brutal way, with too many unexplained factors. still unexplained, still battled, nearly six years later. defense attorneys say they will continue to fight. so this case will go back for retrial in the appeals court . it's not necessarily the case that amanda will have to appear. she could be tried in absence. but it's possible that italy could ask for the u.s.'s help in making her come back here. matt?

>> thanks very much. an italian legal analyst was in the courtroom when this happened. good morning to you.

>> good morning, matt.

>> in this country, the systems of justice in the two countries are different. if this country, this would sound an awful lot like double jeopardy . take me through the reasons and why you think it's a fair decision.

>> no, matt. this isn't a case of double jeopardy . in italy , the supreme court is called to appeal on cases of matter of law, where a violation of law is considered to have occurred. and this is the case. the prosecution appealed the case because on 16 points, it believes that violations of law were committed.

>> and what exactly are amanda knox 's option s right now and her legal team. what can they do to try to prevent this trial from happening, if anything?

>> no, there's nothing they can do to prevent this trial from happening. it will go forward. it was sent back to the appeals level where amanda will be tried again together with former boyfriend raffaele sollecito for the matter of meredith kercher , on the basis of what the motivations of the supreme court believes were the violations of law. the prosecution filed 16 points of appeal, and now it's just a question of time, 90 days in particular, for the supreme court here to issue its motivations and tell us what the scope of this appeal will be.

>> michelle kosinski mentioned that amanda knox might not even appear for this trial. could she be forced to testify even if it is from a distance?

>> the motives of appeal do not imply a case of having her as witness. her slander case, her slander conviction was confirmed and that would have been more important for her to appear and testify. the reasons presented for the prosecution for a new appeals case are not -- do not need her to come over to italy and testify.

>> and i was interested in what michelle had to say, where she said the judges in this case appeared to get annoyed with the defense. you were inside the courtroom. over what point of law did they become annoyed?

>> well, indeed, the judges were huffing and puffing as the defense had to literally defend itself in a new appeals case, because at the end of the day , the prosecutor almost seemed to present a new appeals , and this wasn't the place to do that. this was a place to discuss the violations of law, the contradiction of the motivations of the judgment, and instead, it turned out to be almost a second appeals case. and when the defense insisted on these points, that's when the judges seemed annoyed.

>> and i spent some time with you over in italy as the appeals process was wrapping up, and so you have been watching this for a long time. can you give me your guesses as to how the italian people might react? this is a story that's been out of the headlines there for several years. how are they going to feel about it being back on the front pages?

>> well, matt, since the appeals judgment was issued, italian people 's hearts seem to have very much warmed to amanda for how she's been conducting her life after this terrible, terrible case, this terrible story. she's been very much avoiding the limelight, it appears, over here in italy , and she doesn't seem to have made the most of an easy notoriety she could have benefited from. so i think that really made italian people reconsider perhaps what they initially thought after the judgment. but now, you know, there's always those people that believe that the courts should triumph, so that she is guilty.

>> all right. thank you very