tv Martin Bashir MSNBC October 3, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT
verdict in the amanda knox appeal. it is 9:00 in perusia, italy. family members and spectators and the media are surrounding the courthouse, awaiting the verdict on whether amanda knox will be free, a verdict we expect within the hour. we are in the final moments of the saga that has been ongoing for almost four years. nbc's lester holt is in perusia and joins us now. >> reporter: good evening. there is the scene in the courtroom about three blocks from where we are. the family got word about an hour ago and should be in court by 9:30. they are already there. they were seen walking hand in hand. they gathered up from a restaurant a few feet from where we are. there were hugs all-around. they walked down to the courthouse and the lawyers i
think we are looking at with the prosecution side in that successes. we don't know when court will be called. we were told to begin at 9:30. what will happen is the court, two judges, six jurors had been deliberating since 10:45 our time. they will come back to deliver the verdict. it won't be guilty or not. it will be confirmed or reformed. confirmed would mean that the charges and the original conviction will stand. she will remain in prison serving a 26-year sentence. if they come back with reform or italian, reforma, there is a change to the case. it doesn't mean right away she will be freed. we will have to listen to what's following. that could mean we will reduce or increase the sentence. when we hear those words, we will have to continue to listen to find out how this will all
play out. the prison vans carrying -- >> lester, as i understand it there six separate charges. is that correct? six charges against amanda knox. the sixth charge is the clander charge. they accused another man. that was the sixth charge she was convicted on. they could confirm that and perhaps not the other charges and change the sentencing. there were many variables here. this is not a one way or the other type scenario. >> we heard from meredith kercher's family, particularly her sifter and brother. her brother lyle saying it had been impossible to counter what he described as the knox family's expensively constructed
pr machine and meredith's sister stephanie said her sister's death has been hugely forgotten by all this. >> reporter: the accusations of a pr machine, we heard those in the arguments. that defected the case. many people argued that the original trial, there was a lot of reporting that may have colored that verdict. all that said, the family today of meredith kercher did hold the conference and we want to remind who the most important victim was. the kerchers have kept a low key presence during all this which is their right. they attend in court and they have not reached out perhaps in the way the knoxes have.
we hear that and no one forgets that meredith kercher was the one whose life was taken in all of this. >> indeed. lester, a final question and i will come back to you later, i'm sure. you have been with members of the family and i have been following your reporting on this story for sometime. you have been with some of a manta knox's closest friends. what have they been telling you about today and her performance in court where she gave the statement. they are all hopeful. they thought she did a wonderful job and he was mature and her main goal was to remind or tell the court she is not the person they have been hearing she was. they think on that level she did very well. everyone has been hopeful because a few weeks ago we learned that the dna evidence used to convict her according to experts was not what it seemed. it could have been any member of people. if you take that off the table,
what other conclusion can you have? she was not guilty. that's their hope. i heard stories that some of them are pat and ready to leave. if this goes their way. everyone at the same time have been through disappointment before. the pretrial in which they thought she was led off. the trial when they thought she would be led off and convicted. they are holding their breath here. we saw them hugging and walking over to the courtroom. one of the good friends, madison paxton who had moved here to support her. she according to the producer in the courtroom, she is already shaking and crying. the emotion is very, very thick in the room right now. >> lester holt, thanks so much. let's bring in nbc's savannah guthrie who is coanchor of the "today" show and a legal expert. this has been a complicated case. she made a confession the day after she wrote down the same
confession, she attempted to accuse another man of being responsible who subsequently was cleared because of an alibi. why did she do that if she was innocent? >> that's the question that dogged these proceedings. the reason she was convicted along with the evidence in the first trial, she had subsequently said i barely knew italian at the time and felt pressured by the interrogators and the police and gave a false confession. some might be suspicious of that and say an adult would not say i was there and heard her scream which was what a mabda told interrogators. she said it's because she didn't understand what she was saying and she retracted and believe a high court essentially has thrown out the statements because there were questions about the techniques. it came down to this dna evidence and left her to mention that has been taken apart by the
independent experts. >> one of the problems is that a clasp from her bra strap had dna on it and found the straps on six weeks after the initial police investigation. is that right? >> that's right. that added to for a lack of better word the fishiness of the situation and not only that, once the independent court appointed experts looked at the procedures that the i calan police used, they were flawed. in garbage in, garbage out. it's on that basis because the experts concluded that the dna was not trustworthy, the knox family is so hopeful there will be an overturning of the verdict. i would caution everybody, this is a court of law and anything can happen. >> there is also a problem though. her friend rafael, she said they were together. she said she smoked marijuana
with him and spent time with him. he said he has no recollection of being with her that night. >> or he wasn't sure i think if she left. this is what compounded the problem for both of them. their initial statements didn't pan out. that's why the cloud of suspicious circled around them. there is this other defendant. somebody serving 16 years in prison. this man named rudy getty who was a small time drug dealer. his dna was found at the crime scene. that conviction has been upheld. >> also in relation to what happened that night, rafael said he was online and he was watching a video of a movie and looking at cartoons. when police again investigated, they found he hasn't touched the computer from the evening until about 5:30 the following day. why would he make statements about his actions when they are completely false.
>> this is the problem for both of them. when you looked at their statements that police had, they couldn't be verified or they were discredited in the example of him saying he was on his computer and the internet records, there was no such evidence. that compounded the problem with them. they would say fine, take away the dna evidence if you have a problem, but you have this suspicious behavior. on the other hand, what's the motive. it doesn't make a ton of sense. i don't think they argued why amanda knox or her boyfriend would have it out for meredith kercher. >> the dispute over boyfriends and the hygiene and the house they were living in. >> that was the argument. >> that's weak. >> this was not the only argument. they made an argument about a sex game. some of them had evidence for them and some had no evidence. that's what's striking about the differences between the italian
and american legal system. neither system is perfect. let's get that on the table. what they are able to argue in the italian system is different. they can argue issues of character. you have the civil matter so the kercher family is suing civilly and right alongside the criminal case. the kercher lawyer was assassinating the kirk of amanda knox before the same injury that decided the criminal issue. >> one final question before we go to break and we'll keep the audience updated to what's happening. there is an issue about the murder weapon. the kitchen knife about 6 1/2 inches long. two of the wounds in meredith's neck were found not to have come from that particular weapon. >> one other issue, this was the weapon found at rafael's house and allegedly had the dna of meredith kercher, her blood on the tip of it and amanda knox on
the handle which would have been a devastating piece of evidence that ties meredith kercher to amanda knox. this was the big piece of evidence discredited with regard to the dna. there a lost questions in this case. it's hardly open and shut on either side no matter who you believe. >> a wonderful exposition of the complexities. stay with us. a verdict is connected any moment in the amanda knox appeal. we will take you live to italy the moment it happens. stay with us. yet they're closing thousands of offices, slashing service, and want to lay off over 100,000 workers. the postal service is recording financial losses, but not for reasons you might think. the problem ? a burden no other agency or company bears. a 2006 law that drains 5 billion a year from post-office revenue while the postal service is forced to overpay billions more into federal accounts. congress created this problem, and congress can fix it. gives you a 50 percent annual bonus.
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pleaded for her life and freedom earlier today saying i did not kill, i did not rape, i did not steal. i was not there. knox along with her boyfriend were convicted of killing her college roommate meredith kerchner 2009. nbc's keith miller is outside the courthouse and joins us now. keith, good evening to you. >> hello, martin. the judge warned the packed courtroom to maintain order when the verdict is read, saying this is not a ball game. can you confirm or do you know if amanda knox is in the courtroom right now? >> she certainly is within the courtroom. i don't know if she is in the actual gallery where the proceedings take place, but we saw her being escorted by police van and her codefendant in police vans into the back of the courtroom. this is an underground garage
here. this was built as a bunker, an underground bunker to try mafia chiefs. she is down below there. she will be brought up along with the codefendants just before the judge and jury enter the courtroom to deliver their verdict. >> as i understand it, there eight individuals on this panel. six members of the public and two judges. are they required to deliver a unanimous verdict or would they accept a majority? >> the judge really has total sway over the case. it is not a unanimous verdict as you would have in some cases. the presiding judge has two votes. so in fact if you ended up with a hung jury as we call it in america, he could swing two votes one way or the other to sway the actual verdict. he has tremendous influence on which direction this verdict goes.
his associate judge as well. they will try to come to a consensus, but that's not necessary. >> you spent a great deal of time covering this case. you are outside the courtroom. is there a tension between i guess the credibility of the italian criminal justice system versus this young american student? >> absolutely. without a doubt. the italian judicial system in the last week of the trial during most of the summation. you really had the prosecutor trying to defend the police department. that independent forensic sciences report condemning the police and sloppy police work and mishandling of evidence and in the end, the dna which was crucial to the original convictions was determined as unreliable as one courtroom wag
told me, if amanda knox is found not guilty, you could find the officers from the crime squad here directing traffic by the end of the week. wow. outside the courtroom. stay with us. i would like to bring in savannah guthrie now. as i understand it, these proceedings, this is an appeal court proceeding. is this the end or can they appeal to a higher court if the family is not satisfied with the verdict? >> the defendant is entitled to an appeal and so is the prosecution. >> the prosecution as well? >> that is a big difference between our system and their system. the prosecution is appealing at this level right now. remember amanda knox got a 26-year sentence and she is appealing. that's the process we have right now. they are asking for a greater sentence. they want a life sentence and want six months solitary confinement. this jury is considering whether to lessen the charges or the sentence, but whether to increase the sentence and if
either side doesn't like the result, they can apply for an appeal in the italian supreme court. they don't get it as a matter of right or discretion. it's unlike this process. this appeal was a redo of the trial. there is live testimony and witnesses. the supreme supreme court review is more like our supreme court where they are looking at points of law and points of procedure whether evidence should have been let in. >> if this verdict overturns the original findings and reforms that, amanda knox can go even though the prosecution will appeal that decision. >> she will probably be on the first plane out and whatever happens in italy, they will have to extradite her back. >> thank you again for your expertise. supporters of knox have been following every twist of this trial. today standing vigil for the seattle native while awaiting word from italy, stephanie has been with them a wading the verdict and joins us now.
good afternoon. >> good afternoon, martin. >> i imagine there must be tension where you are with friends of the family and indeed family members very anxious about how this is going to play out. >> absolutely. anxiety is palpable in the presidential suite. the number of close family friends and supporters. they have been with the family all along. the group that helped raise money to help pay for legal fees. a number of them have done interviews and organize groups to support amanda knox. they can never had this group ever doubt she was innocent. they think this is a glaring travesty of justice they thought in 2009 that that verdict was a complete shock that she is guilty. they have an expectation that it's going to be overturned now. what they said is that if that's not the case, there is going to be an outcry from the 63.
martin? >> stephanie goss, thank you very much indeed. coming up, will amanda knox finally be heading home? a verdict in her appeal case any moment. we will bring it to you live from italy. stay with us. why do we have aflac... aflac... and major medical? major medical, boyyyy! [ beatboxing ] ♪ i help pay the doctor ♪ ain't that enough for you? ♪ there are things major medical doesn't do. aflac! pays cash so we don't have to fret. [ together ] ♪ something families should get ♪ ♪ like a safety net ♪ even helps pay deductibles, so cover your back, get... ♪
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so there a lot of questions in this case. >> we are watching images live and expecting amanda knox to appear in the courtroom at any moment. as you were saying this is not just an appeal by the prosecution. they will like to increase the sentence. >> it's worth the various options. there could be an out right acquittal or overturning of the conviction in the first trial. there could be just a reduction of the sentence somewhat. the judges and the jury has the
discretion to do that. the sentence completes the rest of the 26 years. do that six months of solitary confinement. >> the slander conviction stems from her fingering this bar owner who ultimately was found to be innocent. he was never tried. he was never charged because hoe had an alibi for that night and she pointed the finger at him and charged with slander. you can see her serve time on that. >> that was a very complicating aspect of this case. if he had not been identified by
a swiss businessman who said he was in the bar and saw him, he might have been tried for the murder of meredith. >> that's what amanda knox and other than the dna which as we mentioned, the court-appointed experts, the remaining questions have to do with amanda knox and what she said to police. why she initially told police she was there and heard meredith kercher's screams. she department know italian that well and she was pressure and coerced by the interrogators. there were a lot of questions and some of them have to do with her behavior. there was a time she accompanied h her. certainly there were reasons why they were suspicious. >> also kissing her boyfriend at a case that the whole case erupt and they found that difficult to
believe if she was innocent. >> that's right. however and maybe that's poor judgment and poor behavior at the moment that a young woman has died, her friend and roommate. it's not evidence that somebody committed a murder. i think that's one of the things i have been most struck by. the italian legal proceedings. some of this evidence that comes in. you wouldn't hear the ranked character assassinations. they were talking about that amanda knox was dirty and had poor hygiene problems and made that an argument to say she was guilty of murder. that seems crazy. >> the judge would have overruled such a comment. we are observing scenes where it looks as though members of the judiciary are discussing and preparing that she has not
appeared. we would like to go to london and home of the murder verdict in this case. meredith kercher. we heard from meredith referrer's brother and sister today, condemning the pr machine that they allege has been built up around amanda knox. who else are you hearing from the family? >> her mother also spoke. we haven't heard that much from the family over the years. in the course of covering this, so many times we would say let's get a comment. what can we add from their side of things. of course we like to keep it balance and we want to keep it balanced. often they would not want to comment. occasionally they put out a statement. they might sometimes put out somethi
to be protective of this british citizen. people really did side with the family wanting to get more information. very protective of meredith and her family. they haven't said much until now. to quote meredith's sister, she put it bluntly. she said remember, what everyone needs to remember is the brutality of what happened that night. everything that meredith must have felt that night. everything she went through. the fear and the terror and not knowing why. she didn't deserve that. no one deserves that. they really sort of brought us back to the moment and in covering this, it's all been about what's going on with amanda and her ex-boyfriend. i think people do tend to forget that there was a victim of a murder here. the problem is someone is already convicted of that murder. you can't remedy that situation where there is someone who
initially was convicted and the loss of meredith kercher. you can't change that. however what can be changed right now in some people's views last year according to meredith kercher's family is the detail and the remembrance of the victim. >> we have been seeing pictures of meredith kercher's mother in court today. we are awaiting the judge. we know that he is there. amanda knox arrived sometime ago in the 15th century building. a wonderful building there in italy. we are awaiting her arrival in the courtroom. nbc's keith miller is outside right now. outside the courthouse. keith, the italian judge is there. the scene is set. what happens next? >> the jurors will file in and
we will see the defendants, both amanda knox and rafael will be brought up from the holding cells and take their place alongside their defense attorneys. the row behind them is the knox family and the kercher family is behind the prosecutors. the private attorney pursuing a civil case against amanda knox. once that is set, the judge will call order to the court and begin to read the verdicts. there at least five and it will take some time. he asked for silence and there should be no outbursts and no applause in one way or another. it was anything but that. it was pandemonium in the courtroom. they broke down into tears and there was yelling for the spectators and right now even though you can not see it, there hundreds of people outside the courtroom waiting to hear the
verdict. they are certainly not going to take the verdict whichever way it goes quietly. i think the italians are trying for a little bit better krout control than the first time around. you can expect pandemonium in the scene. a lot of emotion on the part of all the families and the defendants. >> keith miller outside the courtroom. thank you and do stay with us. next, we continue to look at live pictures from inside the courthouse in italy. we are now just moment away from a verdict. stay with us. that ol' broom dumped me here... oh, oh. oooh! will love ever come my way? oh my! ♪ i believe in miracles [ male announcer ] swiffer attracts dirt. swiffer sweeper's new, thicker cloths get deep into ridges picking up more dirt, dust and hair than a broom to help leave your floor up to three times cleaner. you sure are a pick-me-up! [ male announcer ] swiffer cleans better or your money back.
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tense these moments must be. >> when a person's life hangs in the balance, the families are there, there is a time right before when the judge comes in, a silence comes across the room and these are tense moments. the stakes couldn't be higher. this is a young woman if her conviction was upheld will spend another 22 years in prison at least. >> as i look had the her now, she looks deeply distressed. she didn't look comfortable as one would expect in these circumstances. it's a tense moment for the judiciary as well. >> there is times of coverage not noenl this country, but
italy as well. many have felt that it's their own judicial system on trial, having people from around the world saying what do they do in italy. what kind of system is this? one thing i will say for the legal system and this appeals process, this trial that we have seen would never have happened in this country and our country, you have a trial. it goes up on appeal, but only points of law that are in question. he or she got to redo the trial, about half the cases are overturned on appeal at this level. you do get two bites of the apple. >> 46% of cases are retried in the terms and an italian court are tried in return. >> this is one aspect that amanda knox benefitted by. >> there she is in the courtroom. is that rafael talking to her now? >> i can't make it out.
>> it was. as you were saying, it's an incredibly tense moment. the judge has been assertive about demanding order and quiet. is that because of what happened when the original conviction happened? >> this goes back to what we were talking about. the italian legal system, nobody wants to have a further black eye so at a minimum they maintain decor um. these two judges that sit on the jury are professional for that reason and particularly the head judge will hold tremendous weight over the lay jurors. he is the tie-breaking vote as well. if there were to be a split. . >> some people are looking at the way this panel has been made up would say six members of the public and two professional judges, isn't that going to mean that the judges are going to
lead the argument and they are italian judges and want to uphold the credibility and integrity of the italian system. >> i can make another argument ul raise good points. i can say two professional judges who are learned in the law will be more inclined to look at the evidence and look at the fact that there own court-appointed experts disputed the evidence that tied amanda knox and rafael to this crime scene. perhaps they will benefit by the fact that there professional judges and that you have jurors swayed and they don't look at the evidence. you have professional judges who make a living this way. they will look hard at the evidence and maybe set aside the issues as character. >> let's go to keith miller who are outside the court. the judge has ordered a sense of
people surrounding you are defending the italian court and the system of justice in their country. . >> to some degree, but not entirely e. we had the prime minister of this country has four court cases pending. he continues to evade justice in one way or another by enacting new laws to protect people in public office. there is suspicion about how transparent the judicial system is. this has not done any favors. the crime itself, the investigation of the crime, they wrapped up this murder investigation in four days. a lot of people are saying why rush to judgment that quick? why not wait another week or wire tap them or use the other tals there was a rush to
judgment and the italians are not happy about it regardless of how they think the verdict should turn out. >> savannah, keith is referring to the police investigation. you and i have talked about the process, but are the police also under some kind of scrutiny in this case? >> they have to be. not looking good to have the lens shine on them and have two court appointed experts whose defense lawyers are hired guns. they went through with a fine tooth comb to find them lacking and going back to amanda knox's confession, it's my understanding that some if not all was thrown out and not really used as evidence by the
italian supreme court because of the practices were so questionable. >> it was remarkable that when she was interviewed, she was not granted the presence of the lawyer at that time. >> she had spotty italian at the time. this morning we hear her speaking eloquently and flutely in italian. at the time she just moved there. she wasn't really fluent in the language. >> also we talked about this business of dna evidence on the night, but also on this strap that was picked up six weeks later. why was that not found. >> that's the $64 million question and why is it that they were not able to trample off with the bra clasp on the ground? that's why the experts kind of threw their hands up and say there is not sufficient evidence to test or it's so sloppy and so contaminated, you will never get
a good result. garbage in, garbage out and you have a crime scene that will not offer the forensics you need. >> one of the problems throughout is that once the dna is disputable, so is the testimony from rafael and from amanda knox. on occasions, it is contradictory and there were no witnesses to any of this. >> certainly in the early days, they and their odd behavior in some ways is responsible for the investigating lens shown on them. this bar owner who ultimately was exonerated because he had an alibi. he was the guy. for that she is facing a slander conviction. there was a time that rafael said we were hanging around and looking on my computer. when they looked at the record, there was no internet activity. that was not substantiated.
you can see why they were just young and silly and maybe they were afraid, but they did and said things that cast them suspicious. that's part of the reason the case got off to the foot it did. >> why was she never braun to the presence of the lawyers? >> i imagine at that time she probably didn't assert the right. i don't know that for a fact. >> it's hard to know that it's conveyed to someone like a police investigator. i need a lawyer. >> most 20-year-olds would not have the wherewithal to think to ask for a lawyer in law school. we learned that in the first day of criminal procedure. i want a lawyer in no uncertain terms. that's not uncommon knowledge of most nung people. . >> we are still awaiting the judge at the bench. amanda knox is seated. there a number of individuals in
what look like police garments protecting the area. what is the scene look like outside? >> very packed. hundreds of people lined up here and along with the cameras from all over the world, i have got french on one side and british television on the other. live cameras waiting for this decision. amanda knox goes into the court. >> i'm afraid i need to interrupt. the court has been called to order and they have risen. we are expecting the judge at any moment. this is the judge.
-- >> we are following proceedings and you will hear translation as we have it. the judge is >> they've found her guilty of defamation. but part of the murder conviction has been overturned. [ speaking foreign language ] and there she is, breaking down at this moment, as the judge continues to speak.
>> silenceio. >> the judge there demanding silence from the courtroom. >> amanda knox has been found not guilty and she has to pay -- she has to reimburse -- >> amanda knox has won her appeal. the conviction, the verdict has been overturned for murder. they are currently moving now out of the courtroom with amanda knox. she's crying, as you can see. there's a scene of chaos inside and we understand chaos outside. her parents there, holding each other. her mother, her father.
and there really is -- there really is pandemonium. this is chaotic, savannah. >> it is, indeed. it was hard for us to hear. we didn't hear the live translation, but as we understand it, and certainly the reaction, which you see on her face, says it all, that the conviction has been overturned. you mentioned a conviction on defamation or slander, and i think we thought that might happen, but what's unclear is whether she's been basically sentenced to time served. but we see a lot of smiles in that courtroom on the knox side of the bar, and i see her mother there, edna mellas, smiling and grasping the hands of some onlookers. >> and her father as well, tearful, delighted, shaking hands with members of the judiciary, as well. i believe that's her lawyer. as we understand it, she has had her murder conviction overturned. but she is found guilty of slander. so that charge continues.
that's -- >> and yes, and now, forgive us as we are just getting this live and in another language, but that slander conviction, as i understood it, carried a sentence of up to 12 years. she already has served, as we know, four years, so it's unclear to me whether there's any additional jail time for her in this. but the bottom line is, the victory is hers, if it's an outright overturning of that murder verdict. a total vindication for amanda knox. >> we're seeing members of the family continue to cry there. i guess this panel must have been persuaded, therefore, by the questions about the dna. >> i think so. >> that's clearly what swung this. >> that was the difference. if you look at between the first trial and the second one, the forensics completely and totally fell apart on the second trial. they were ultimately discredited by two experts that were appointed by the court, so they had that credibility. these were not hired guns that amanda knox's defense team
hired. and for that reason, it would appear that the jury and the professional judges who sit on the jury found there just wasn't sufficient evidence. there was reasonable doubt, and so she is now, eventually, going to be a free woman. >> do you think -- and again, we're not able to -- we don't know the exactly details. the appeal court is saying that the evidence against them is not reliable, in neither case. >> and that speaks to the dna evidence and the forensics, which we've talked about and were really undercut by the independent experts, but it also speaks to, even some of the other evidence being confusing, unreliable, conflicting. when you're talking about two young people serving 10 to 20, 30 years in prison for a murder, you've got to have something more than some flimsy evidence, some suspicion, and clearly, the italian jurors who looked at this case, looked hard at it found that it just wasn't sufficient evidence to hold these two. >> amanda knox said in her
appeal to the court this morning, i did not steal, i did not rape, i did not kill. i was no there. and the dna evidence, which has completely crumbled, has supported her in that effect. >> yeah. and that knife that was found at raffaele sollecito's apartment -- >> the 6 1/2-inch kitchen knife. >> it was the only piece of evidence that i'm aware of that put -- placed them at the murder scene. it was said to have meredith kercher's blood on the tip and amanda knox's dna on the handle. and yet, these court-appointed experts found that that dna evidence was totally unreliable. and without that, there was no forensic underpinning to this case. there was a lot of innuendo, there was a lot of hype, there were a lot of inflammatory statements, there were a lot of theories for which there wasn't much evidence. and ultimately, the italian appeals court has decided to shut it down. >> you were saying earlier, though, that amanda knox did not help herself with some of her contradictory statements. raffaele sollecito saying he was
on the computer watching a movie, when, in fact, he wasn't on the computer when police investigated. but also, the fact that the dna that was allegedly found on this bra strap has been found six weeks after the original police investigation. >> right. which is an indictment of the italian police practices as well. i mean, a key piece of evidence like that not being found for six weeks and ultimately it being -- by the way, six weeks in which this was an active crime scene and apparently police officers were trampling all over it. so i think there's a lot to look at here in terms of the italian justice system, in terms of the police practices. but, yes, as you mentioned, in fairness, the behavior of both raffaele sollecito and amanda knox in those early days had a lot to do with why a cloud of suspicion formed over them. >> thank you, savannah. lester holt is now joining us from italy who has with him two of amanda's closes friends. >> reporter: standing by right
now with alex gutierrez, an attorney who practices in italy and the united states. he was with me here as we watched the verdict here. it was -- the court confirmed the conviction on the slander charge. >> right. partially reformed the sentence. >> reporter: but she's already served four years, so essentially, time served. >> time served, because the sentence was three years, and she did four already. >> reporter: you sat in on some of the appeals process, you know the heart of the prosecution case, the dna was discredited by court-appointed experts. is that the straw that broke the camel's back for the prosecution? >> that is definitely the straw that broke the camel's back. having a court-appointed expert saying that the dna evidence was tainted, and then having the prosecutor attack the court-appointed expert, trying to impeach their credibility, made a big dent -- >> the camera looking at the kercher family. they spoke earlier today, reminding the world that it was their daughter who was the most important victim of this, who brutally lost her life in this horrible crime. as i have covered this story, i've been just struck by the incredible amount of sadness,
because one young life was taken, two others were altered in a way that none of them, obviously, had planned on. the families, the family of amanda knox, traveling, making this trip time after time. >> you have to feel for them. it's a bittersweet victory right now. because we still have to remember the real victim here. >> reporter: we, of course, perhaps wonder what went on in that house. ru ru ru rudy gooid was convicted previously. he is serving time for this case. but amanda knox, raffaele sollecito has been exonerated and will be freed. >> may i add, not with a definitive decision. because it could still turn around, but by that time, i believe that amanda will be in the united states. >> raffaele sollecito, though, is an italian native, he'll stay there. >> exactly.
he's still under the gun. >> here's a scene outside the courthouse. one of the reporters on the ground said it was a mix of americans, italians, and people of other national 'tis who have followed this case, standing out there, waiting for word, and i'm sure by now the word is filtering out in the crowd, waiting to hear from some of the key players in this case. also for amanda knox and raffaele sollecito, we expect to see the prison vans leave here shortly. i'm sure each of them has to compose themselves. when amanda knox walked in the courtroom, both you and i, we gasped, because she looked absolutely terrified. >> i've never seen anything like that. >> she was weak, she was trembling, trying to compose herself. and as the verdict was read and you speak fluent italian, i was a few steps behind you, but we could see she quickly collapsed into the arms of her attorneys. >> but i've never seen anything like this in italy before. ever. >> reporter: you'll note that the courthouse is just that brown door. if it wasn't for these crowds, you could walk right past it and