More Dirty Linen From the Amanda Knox Trial

Bad girl or bad rap? The jury will soon decide.
The BBC and Daily Mail are reporting all the latest dirt from the murder trial of UW student Amanda Knox in Perugia, Italy. The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Friday, meaning a possible verdict next week.

As a state-owned media channel, the BBC summary is sober in tone: Knox's defense attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova argues that there's no motive; the knife wounds that killed English student Meredith Kercher don't match the supposed murder weapon; and the DNA samples on that knife are too small or inconclusive. (Knox's DNA was found on the handle.) Then there's the issue of sex and sullied reputations, which the BBC addresses with very British understatement: "Dalla Vedova also dismissed a prosecution claim that his client resented Miss Kercher for allegedly saying she was promiscuous."

The Daily Mail, by contrast, jumped all over the salacious allegations being rebutted...

The prosecution's theory of the crime, that Kercher was killed during some sort of violent, vengeful sex game gone bad, has fostered Knox's "Foxy Knoxy" bad girl image in the British and Italian press. Her second defense attorney, Luciano Ghirga, broke into tears while rebutting that image, as The Daily Mail reports: "He denounced allegations made about the character of Knox, who has been depicted as a wild child fueled by drink, drugs and sex."

And further, Ghirga argued that female police officers felt "antagonism" toward Knox when she was arrested and questioned two years ago. Why? Because, as the BBC didn't see fit to mention, "They had it in for her, just because she had condoms and a vibrator in her beauty case."

The evidence--or lack thereof--is one thing. But the stigma of the bad girl still clouds the courtroom. (See Seattle writer Tim Egan's excellent blog post in The New York Times on the prosecution's smear campaign.) It's a short step from condoms to slut to murderess--at least from the prosecution's side of the table. We'll soon see if the jury agrees.

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