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Amanda Knox

Italian court finds American Amanda Knox guilty of slander

Italian court finds American Amanda Knox guilty of slander
US citizen Amanda Knox (C), flanked by her husband Christopher Robinson (R, partially out of frame), arrives at the courthouse in Florence, central Italy, 05 June 2024, before a hearing in a slander case related to her jailing and later acquittal for the murder of her British roommate in 2007. Knox was only 20 when she and her Italian then-boyfriend were arrested for the killing of 21-year-old fellow student Meredith Kercher at the girls' shared home in Perugia. The murder began a long legal saga where Knox was found guilty, acquitted, found guilty again and finally cleared of all charges in 2015. EPA-EFE/CLAUDIO GIOVANNINI

FLORENCE, Italy, June 5 (Reuters) - An Italian court found American Amanda Knox guilty of slander on Wednesday and handed her a three-year jail sentence in a case related to the murder in 2007 of her British flatmate.

The sentence will have no practical impact as it is covered by the time Knox spent in jail before her conviction for the killing of British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia was annulled in 2015.

Knox, who was in court for the verdict, had been sentenced to three years for wrongly accusing Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba of the killing of Kercher in an earlier case. Knox spent four years in jail for the killing of Kercher.

“Amanda feels very bitter,” her lawyer Luca Luparia Donati said in an initial response, adding that she planned to appeal.

Knox, now aged 36, earlier accused Italian police of threats and violence as she sought to clear her name in the last outstanding case against her.

“The police threatened me with 30 years in prison, an officer slapped me three times saying ‘Remember, remember’,” she told the court on Wednesday, saying that police wanted her to blame Lumumba.

“I’m very sorry that I wasn’t strong enough to withstand the pressure from the police,” she added, speaking in Italian.

The stabbing of 21-year-old Kercher and multiple trials provided fodder for tabloids on both sides of the Atlantic and inspired books and films.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2019 that there had been procedural errors during Knox’s questioning and Italy’s highest court last year ordered another trial in the slander case.

Lumumba was held for two weeks in 2007 before he was freed.

“When Patrick was accused by Amanda, he became known everywhere as the monster of Perugia,” Lumumba’s lawyer Carlo Pacelli told reporters on Wednesday, saying that the conviction should be upheld. Lumumba was not in court.

Rudy Guede, originally from the Ivory Coast, was sentenced to 16 years in jail for the killing of Kercher, in a ruling that said he acted with unnamed other culprits. He was granted early release in 2021.

(Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Alexandra Hudson, Crispian Balmer and Angus MacSwan)

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