It’s not easy listening to your daughter tell a packed courtroom about her drug use and sex life, but the father of an American college student standing trial in Italy for murder is proud of the way she’s stood up under an aggressive questioning by prosecutors.
“I think she did a great job,” Curt Knox said of his daughter, Amanda. “She was very articulate. She looked in the judge’s eyes. She answered all of the questions and she was not intimidated by the prosecutor during his cross-examination.”
Curt Knox was interviewed for TODAY Monday by NBC News’ Keith Miller in Perugia, Italy, where Amanda Knox testified in her defense late last week. The Italian prosecution asked the 21-year-old college student details about her sex life, drug use and even her personal hygiene. Miller asked Curt Knox if that was painful to sit through in the courtroom.
“Yes, but it’s one in which I think every young person, as they grow up, experimented in certain things, and it’s one in which she’s becoming an adult,” Curt Knox said. “Everybody has their own opinion, but I believe she came off as really who she is, which is just a regular college kid.”
A grisly discoveryIn November 2007, Amanda Knox, who is from Seattle, was just another American college student studying abroad. She was sharing a house in Perugia with another student, Meredith Kercher of Great Britain.
Kercher was found seminude with her throat slit in her bedroom. Police ultimately charged Amanda, her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 25, and Rudy Guede, 21, a native of Africa who was living and working in Perugia, with the crime. Guede was tried separately last year, found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Amanda says she was with her boyfriend at his apartment on the night of the murder. But after being interrogated for 14 hours the following day, she told police she and Sollecito were in her house that night. She testified that she and Sollecito smoked marijuana, watched a movie and made love.
During her testimony last week, she said that she was intimidated and struck twice in the back of the head during the interrogation. At the time, her Italian was not good, and she said she did not have access to representation and was frightened into believing she would spend her life in prison if she did not confess to being at the scene. She also implicated a local bartender, Patrick Lumumba, in the crime. Lumumba has been cleared and is suing Amanda Knox for defamation.
“They called me a stupid liar and they said I was trying to protect someone,” the young woman, who delivered much of her testimony in Italian made fluent by 18 months in jail, said in court. “But I wasn’t trying to protect anyone … I was very, very scared.”
Standing strongThe lead prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, who is accused of abuse of power in another murder case in Florence, was unable to intimidate her, Curt Knox said.
“He was actually trying to put words in her mouth,” he told Miller. “That’s where she stood very strong and said, ‘Stop, let me finish what I want to say.’ I think that was good.”
Amanda Knox, referred to as “Foxy Knoxy” in the Italian tabloids, is also being sued for wrongful death by the parents of her slain roommate. Curt Knox told Miller that his family has been unable to talk to the Kerchers since the murder.
“We’ve tried to express our deep sorrow for the loss of their daughter during interviews,” he said. “We have not contacted them. Until Amanda is found innocent and they know she had nothing to do with the death of their daughter, I find it hard for them to really accept our deepest condolences for the loss of their child.”
Although the trial has been going on for months, prosecutors have produced very little evidence positively linking either Amanda Knox or Sollecito to the crime. Her defense team is expected to begin presenting their case next week. Amanda’s mother, Edda Knox, who is divorced from Curt Knox, is scheduled to be the first witness and is expected to testify about her daughter’s first phone call after being charged.
The trial is expected to continue into September and perhaps October, Miller reported.
Curt Knox said he hopes that his daughter will be exonerated.
“Hopefully, we’re closer. I think the testimony that she provided these last two days really helped in her favor,” he said. “She really did a good job in explaining the situation which caused the various statements, the aggressive interrogation that she experienced. Hopefully the court and the jurors will see the same thing.”