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Knox told to 'act as a defendant' in Meredith trial

American slammed for remarks by victim's family lawyer

09 January, 12:05
Knox told to 'act as a defendant' in Meredith trial (ANSA) - Florence, January 9 - The lawyer acting on behalf of the family of murdered British student Meredith Kercher on Thursday told Amanda Knox to "act like a defendant" during the course of her new trial by a Florence court.

"This is the moment to act like a defendant. She must stop making (public) statements," said Francesco Maresca in reference to an interview published by daily La Repubblica on Thursday.

There, the young American said she wanted to talk to Kercher's family and "tell them directly that I have nothing to do with Meredith's death, that I loved her and that we were friends". Knox, Kercher's flatmate at the time of the November 2007 murder in Perugia, is facing a new trial, together with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, for homicide.

The pair were convicted by a court of first instance in 2009, but were then acquitted on appeal two years later.

Then, the Court of Cassation, Italy's highest court, subsequently overturned the appeal ruling and ordered a new appeals-level trial in 2013.

The prosecution has asked for a 30-year jail sentence for Knox and 26 years for Sollecito in this latest trial. On Thursday Sollecito's lawyers, Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori, made their closing statements. The rebuttal is now scheduled for January 20 and the sentence is likely to come on January 30, the judges said.

Meanwhile, Knox's lawyers have said that the young woman is following the trial closely from her home in the United States' city of Seattle and that she is not sleeping at night due to concern.

The defendant has said she would not appear in court for the retrial because she was "afraid" of a wrongful conviction after spending four years in jail in Italy, including the time spent in custody prior to her first trial, despite her claims that she is innocent.

Knox told La Repubblica newspaper that if she is convicted again she would be a "fugitive" suggesting she would not return to Italy.

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