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What to Know About Amanda Knox’s Slander Trial in Italy

4 minute read

Amanda Knox is facing another trial in Italy this week in connection to a slander conviction for  wrongfully alleging that a bar owner murdered her 21-year-old British roommate in 2007. 

Knox, 36, had planned to appear at Wednesday’s retrial at Florence’s appeals court but remained in the U.S. to take “care of her two young children, one of whom was born recently,” her lawyer said. 

Italy’s top court had ordered the retrial in October after Knox appealed for the slander condition to be overturned. The legal challenge was made possible after a 2022 reform of Italy’s code of criminal procedure. 

Knox became a household name at age 20 after she and her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of murder following the killing of her roommate Meredith Kercher. Knox and Kercher shared an apartment in Perugia, while the latter was on an Erasmus year abroad. During this time, Kercher’s body was discovered in her bedroom with her throat slashed, more than 40 stab wounds and signs of sexual assault. 

Patrick Lumumba—a Congolese bar owner who had employed Knox—was arrested in November 2007 after Knox accused him of murdering Kercher. Lumumba spent two weeks in jail before a witness provided him with an alibi. 

Read More: Amanda Knox on Her New Show, #MeToo and Life After Prison

Knox was then convicted on charges of murder, sexual assault, and slander, while Sollecito was convicted for murder and sexual assault. They both spent almost four years in jail before their release in 2011. Italy’s highest court overturned their convictions in 2015 in light of "glaring errors" in the case. But Knox’s defamation conviction for falsely implicating Lumumba has remained until now. 

Knox has asked for the slander conviction to be dropped in light of a 2019 European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling, which determined that her rights had been violated during police questioning. Lawyers for Knox, argued that she made allegations against Lumumba under police duress with no legal assistance or an interpreter. The ECHR also ruled that the Italian legal system should pay Knox $20,000 in financial damages. 

A third defendant, Rudy Guede—who was from the Ivory Coast but moved to Italy as a child—was charged with Kercher’s murder at the same time as Knox and Sollecito. Guede’s DNA matched a vaginal swab taken from Kercher. After seeking his own fast-tracked trial, separate from Knox and Sollecito, Guede was originally sentenced to 30 years but this was later reduced.

Guede was freed on parole in November 2021, after completing 13 years of a 16-year-sentence. He is currently under investigation for physical and sexual abuse of an ex-girlfriend. 

Where is Amanda Knox now?

Now a lucrative media personality, Knox has built a career as a podcaster and campaigner for criminal justice reform. Her memoir received a $4m advance and her story will be the focus of an upcoming Hulu series about her battle with Italy's legal system, with Monica Lewinsky signed on as an executive producer.  

"On the one hand, I am glad I have this chance to clear my name, and hopefully that will take away the stigma that I have been living with," Knox said during an episode of her podcast Labyrinths in December. "On the other hand, I don’t know if it ever will, in the way I am still traumatized by it," she added

At the time Knox’s conviction was overturned, Lumumba said the decision “shows the power available for rich people.” Living in Poland after his life and business were harmed by the allegations, Lumumba said he was feeling “very bad” about her acquittal. 

“Amanda is free because she is American, but Americans are human like everybody,” he said.

Knox was previously ordered to pay Lumumba compensation but he had not received any payments according to his lawyer Carlo Pacelli. Pacelli added that his client had not been contacted about the retrial at any point in the process. 

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Write to Armani Syed at armani.syed@time.com