Italian uproar erupts after Amanda Knox acquittal

Stephen Robert Morse Tow-Knight Fellow in Entrepreneurial Journalism , The City University of New York
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PERUGIA, Italy — It was silent in the courtroom for a long time after Amanda Knox, the now-exonerated American woman, was led into an Italian courtroom for the last time. A presiding judge spoke. We heard not a word from the jury. And then she was declared “innocenta.”

Then anger erupted in the streets outside.

News crews — mostly Italians — alternated between filming and shouting “Vergogna! Vergogna!” (“Shame! Shame!”) for the first five minutes.

A mass of people took up the calls of “Shame!” outside the courthouse, and in a second gathering area nearby. While American media filmed, the discontent — expressed in Italian — may have eluded them.

Whistles, it should be noted, are a sign of disapproval in Italy. This detail has been ignored by most English-language reporters.

Earlier, Italian journalists called Carabinieri (the Italian police) on this correspondent, saying he was not welcome.

Mario Spezzi, the noted Italian true-crime author who co-wrote the well-known — here, at least — “Monster of Florence,” told The Daily Caller, “There is something wrong with Perugia today. Something wrong with this town.”

Knox will have to pay court fees and investigative costs, amounting to 22,000 Euros, related to the one criminal count on which she was convicted a second time: defamation. But she is no longer a convicted murderess. (RELATED: Live tweeting from the Amanda Knox trial)

Court officers quickly whisked Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito out a back entrance, and the locals began showing their displeasure shortly afterward. Displeasure at Amanda Knox, annoyance at the media spectacle that has invaded this ordinarily quiet town, or anger at for all things American — it is too early to know for sure.

Italy’s Corriere Della Sera reported that the angry mob on the streets of Perugia also shouted “Bastards!” and “Bought!”

Deana Knox, Amanda’s sister, read a short statement on the courthouse steps before disappearing again. “We are thankful this nightmare is over,” she said. “Amanda has suffered for three years for a crime she did not commit. But now we ask for the privacy we need.”

The Knox family will reportedly hold a group press conference at some point to announce their plans.

“The appeals court in Perugia has given me back my son,” added Raffaele Sollecito’s father, Francis.

Amanda, meanwhile, returned to her jail to sign papers and make final preparations to return to the United States. Her attorney said she would likely spend one more night in confinement because it was too late in the evening to process her paperwork. In addition, numerous media outlets have reported that Knox’s passport has expired during her imprisonment, adding one more step in her long journey home to Seattle.

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