Italy opens new slander trial against Amanda Knox. She was exonerated 8 years ago in friend’s murder

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — A Florence appeals court on Wednesday opened a new slander trial against Amanda Knox based on a 2016 European Court of Human Rights decision that her rights were violated during a long night of questioning into the murder of her British roommate without a lawyer and official translator.

Italy’s highest Cassation Court in November threw out the slander conviction, the only remaining guilty verdict against Knox after the same court definitively threw out convictions for 21-year-old Meredith Kercher’s 2007 murder against Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, eight years ago.

The slander charge stems from Knox’s accusation against the Congolese owner of a bar where she worked part-time during an overnight interrogation in the Perugia police station. The accusation appeared in statements typed by police that Knox signed, but which have been ruled inadmissible in this trial by the high court.

Knox, who was a 20-year-old student with rudimentary Italian-language ability who had recently arrived in Perugia, recanted the accusation in a four-page handwritten note in English penned the following afternoon, which is the only evidence that the court can rule on in the new trial, her lawyer said.

Despite Knox’s attempts at walking back the accusation, bar owner Patrick Lumumba was picked up for questioning and held for nearly two weeks. Lumumba, who has since left Italy, is joining the prosecution as a civil participant, as allowed by Italian law.

The slander conviction carried a three-year sentence, which Knox served during nearly four years of detention until being released after a Perugia appeals court found her and Sollecito not guilty. The Cassation Court later threw out that decision, and the defendants were convicted again by a Florence appeals court before the highest court in 2015 exonerated both Knox and Sollecito, stating they did not commit the murder.

Knox, now 36, remains in the United States, where she campaigns for judicial reform and has a variety of media projects including a podcast and a limited series on her case in development with Hulu. She was not expected at Wednesday’s hearing and judges declared she will be tried in absentia

Kercher’s throat and been slit when her semi-nude body was found Nov. 2, 2007 beneath a blanket in her locked bedroom in an apartment she shared with Knox and two Italian roommates.

Rudy Guede, whose DNA and footprints were found at the scene, was convicted of the murder in a fast-track trial and sentenced to 16 years in prison. He was released after serving 13 years, and is currently being investigated for allegedly physically and sexually assaulting a former girlfriend since being freed.

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