October 3rd, 2011
05:10 PM ET

Live blog: Amanda Knox to go free after jury overturns murder conviction

For further updates please read the full CNN Wire story here.

[Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET] Business mogul Donald Trump told CNN’s Erin Burnett he hoped that Amanda Knox would somehow be able to rebound and make some “dividends” off her ordeal. “I”ve been supporting the family. I’ve been helping the family and will continue to help them,” he said.

“For her to have spent four years in a terrible jail is just outrageous,” he said. "I don’t think they [the Knox family] can leave [Italy] quick enough. She went to Italy to learn the language. Well, she learned the language,” he said.

[Updated at 6:54 p.m. ET] Rocco Girlanda, a member of the Italian parliament who became an advocate for Knox, said she was  "incredibly happy" upon leaving prison. He said Knox will leave Tuesday for Seattle, her hometown.

[Updated at 6:22 p.m. ET] Rocco Girlanda spoke briefly with the father of Raffaele Sollecito, Knox’s former boyfriend and co-defendant.

The family had no plans to meet with Knox and were “driving towards our home,” he said, according to Girlanda. “Raffaele is very spaced out,” Girlanda said Sollecito's father told him.

Read: Italian jury clears Amanda Knox of murder

[Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET] Jeffrey Toobin, a CNN contributor and legal analyst, said the evidence against Knox was “somewhere between thin and non-existent.”

[Updated at 6:09 p.m. ET] Amanda Knox is in an undisclosed location with family and will take the next flight to Seattle, Washington, CNN’s Matthew Chance reported.

“She’s told everybody that she wants to get back home as soon as possible. She told the court that earlier today. She begged them. She pleaded with them," Chance said.

[Updated at 6:00 p.m. ET] CNN’s Matthew Chance described the courtroom scene as the ruling was read: “It was absolutely electric. There were whoops. There were tears.” Amanda Knox “was in hysterics, in a positive way,” he said. Quietly sobbing, she was quickly led out of the courtroom. “She could barely walk,” he said.

Also present were members of slaying victim Meredith Kercher’s family, including her mother and sister, who cried on a man’s shoulder as the ruling was read.

“These were very different emotions sort of circulating through that courtroom,” he said.

[Updated at 5:49 p.m. ET] CNN's Becky Anderson, reporting from outside the courtroom, said the crowd, comprised largely of young people, seemed divided. “Many of them are absolutely furious over what they heard today. ‘How could they [court officials] have gone this far andoverturned on appeal?” she said, summarizing a viewpoint of those milling around the building in Perugia.

“Others say this shows that the Italian justice system works," she said.

[Updated at 5:34 p.m. ET] Rocco Girlanda, Italian MP,  tells CNN and other media outside the jail that Amanda Knox is meeting her parents a few miles from the prison. Her first desire is to lie down on a green field, he said.

Knox enjoyed a measure of support inside the prison. She jumped for joy when other prisoners said  “Well done!” CNN's Paula Newton reported.

[Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET] Amanda Knox has left the Capanne prison where she has been held for four years.

Knox was in the back of a black tinted car and is officially a free woman, CNN's Paula Newton reported.

"That was her private escort out of here,” said Paula of a Mercedes sedan that exited the prison. “I did get a very short glimpse of her. It was her."

A book author and Italian parliamentarian who was friendly with Knox said she was very happy about the ruling but was anxious to see her family.

Rocco Girlanda told reporters that Knox's passport is okay and she will leave for Seattle, Washington on Tuesday morning from Italy.

[Updated at 5:01 p.m. ET] Meredith Kercher's family returned to their hotel and issued the following statement according to a spokesman:

"We respect the decision of the judges but we do not understand how the decision of the first trial could be so radically overturned," the statement said. "We still trust the Italian judicial system and hope that the truth will eventually emerge."

[Updated at 4:41 p.m. ET] A tinted van drove inside the Capanne prison compound but there has been no confirmation that it contained either Knox or her co-defendant Sollecito. Authorities at the prison have remained tight-lipped about the process of when or how Knox will leave the prison.

[Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET] A convoy of cars with sirens is returning to prison, likely with Amanda Knox inside.

If she is indeed back at the prison she will likely pick up her remaining belongings, sign a few papers and leave.

There is a heavy security presence in front of the prison gates, CNN's Paula Newton reported.

Newton said they believe Knox was inside the convoy because they could hear cheers erupting from inside the prison, presumably on her arrival.

[Updated at 4:23 p.m. ET] Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S.State Department said the following regarding the Knox verdict:

"The United States appreciates the careful consideration of this matter within the Italian judicial system. Our Embassy in Rome will continue to provide appropriate consular assistance to Ms. Knox and her family."

[Updated at 4:23 p.m. ET] An Italian court on Monday night ordered the immediate release of Amanda Knox after a jury overturned her murder conviction, Knox's lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova told CNN.

The prosecution can appeal the case to the highest court in Italy. Both will be freed and it will be up to Italy to make an extradition request to the United States should the high court overturn the appeals verdict.

[Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET] CNN's Becky Anderson reports that the crowd is continuing to mill about after the verdict.

"There are people who are protesting her decision here,” she said. ‘There have been shouts, screams.”

[Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET] One of Amanda Knox’s lawyers, Carlo Dallas Vedova, said outside court that “we are satisfied" with the jury's ruling.

"Amanda is released," he said. "She wants to go back home. She has always confirmed that she was a friend of Meredith."

He said that she will be leaving Italy "as soon as possible."

"She really wants to go back home," he said.

[Updated at 4:06 p.m. ET] CNN's Matthew Chance said that before the verdict was read Amanda Knox “looked devastated. She was sitting on the chair sobbing, talking to her lawyer and the decision was delivered very quickly. What it means is that after four years in jail she can walk free tonight.”

[Updated at 4:06 p.m. ET] CNN's Richard Allen Greene reports that a mostly young and rowdy but cheerful crowd has converged on the square outside courthouse. There are at least hundreds filling the square, he reported.

[Updated at 3:58 p.m. ET] Deanna Knox, one of Amanda's sisters, spoke outside the courthouse thanking those who supported their family throughout the case.

“Not only did [defense lawyers] defend her brilliantly but they also loved her ... and lastly we are faithful to the court for having the courage to look for the truth," she said.

There were cheers of approval from the crowd in as she spoke.

"She suffered for four years for a crime that she did not commit," Deanna Knox said of her sister.

She then praised the jury's ruling.

"We are thankful to the court for having the courage to look for the truth and overturn this conviction," Deanna Knox told reporters.

She then asked that Amanda Knox and the family be given the privacy to "recover from this horrible ordeal."

[Updated at 3:58 p.m. ET] Meredith Kercher's family is still sitting inside the courtroom where two of the three people accused of murdering her have now had their convictions overturned.

Kercher's sister Stephanie is sitting stone-faced.

CNN's Matthew Chance reported that Kercher's mother appeared upset when the verdict was read.  The family was stunned and silent. Stephanie Kercher, Meredith's sister, began to cry.

He noted the family believed Knox and Sollecito were guilty of the crime.

[Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET] As one of Sollecito's lawyers left court a group outside the Perugia building began booing.

[Updated at 3:52 p.m. ET] There was an audible gasp outside the courthouse when the verdict was read in court.

Knox and Sollecito were swiftly taken out of the courtroom.

Knox's family hugged and celebrated inside the courtroom after hearing the news as Amanda Knox appeared to turn around and smile at them.

Knox and Sollecito will go back to prison to pick up their things and then will be free to leave.

[Updated at 3:48 p.m. ET] A jury has partially overturned the conviction of Amanda Knox.

The jury has overturned the murder conviction but upheld the conviction on the defamation charges after she accused club owner Patrick Lumumba of killing British college student Meredith Kercher in 2007 in Perugia.

The judge has called for silence in the courtroom as applause erupts.

The jury has also overturned the murder conviction of Raffaele Sollecito. Both will be free to leave. Knox will be given time served for the defamation charge.

[Updated at 3:44 p.m. ET] CNN's Matthew Chance tweets from inside the courtroom:

Matthew Chance @mchancecnn: Charged atmosphere inside court. The defendants, the families, the media all on edge. Silence!!

[Updated at 3:37 p.m. ET] Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have entered the courtroom to hear their fate.

Knox, who is wearing a hooded black jacket, is flanked by three female guards behind her. She appears slightly nervous, and is beginning to tear up as she sits at the defendant's table awaiting the jury's ruling.

[Updated at 3:29 p.m. ET] CNN's Hada Messia reports that prosecutors Manuela Comodi and Giuliano Mignini have arrived in court.

Mignini greeted the Kercher family, shaking their hands and then kissing Meredith Kercher's sister Stephanie on the cheek.

Lawyers for the defense and the prosecution have shaken hands and exchanged a few words as they await the jury's ruling.

CNN's Richard Allen Greene notes that more than a dozen plainclothes police officers are now inside the courtroom.

[Updated at 3:18 p.m. ET] The family of victim Meredith Kercher has arrived in court.

CNN's Becky Anderson asked Meredith's brother Lyle Kercher how he was feeling. His response: "Nervous."

Anderson reports the entire Kercher family looked very tired and very emotional.

[Updated at 3:17 p.m. ET] CNN's Matthew Chance tweets from inside the courtroom:

Matthew Chance@mchancecnn: More than dozen judicial police in plain clothes in court "in case of public disorder" #AmandaKnox

[Updated at 3:13 p.m. ET] Italian media outlet ANSA reports that the ruling has been pushed back to 3:45 p.m. ET.

[Updated at 3:12 p.m. ET] Carlo Pacelli, the lawyer for Patrick Lumumba who was first accused in the crime, is in court, apparently the first from the prosecution side to arrive.

Last week Pacelli called Knox satanic and Lucifer-like. He's smiling and chatting with journalists. He fought for defamation damages for the bar owner Knox was convicted of libelling.

[Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET] CNN's Matthew Chance tweets from inside the courtroom:
Matthew Chance

@mchancecnn: Tension intense inside court among handful of journos allowed in #AmandaKnox #meredithkercher

[Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET] CNN's Richard Allen Greene reports from inside the courtroom: At least five plainclothes Carabinieri police in court in addition to the usual uniformed officers.

Defense attorneys Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova  have arrived at court as well. When asked about Amanda Knox's mood, Dalla Vedova smiles and says "I don't know. I haven't seen her for a few hours."

Sollecito's lawyer Giulia Bongiorno has also entered the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET] So, what will happen when the jury hands down their ruling?

There are three possible outcomes for the defendants:

1) Verdict is upheld: In this case, Knox and Sollecito will continue serving their respective 26 and 25-year jail sentences. However, prosecutor Manuela Comodi has called for their sentences to be increased to life.

2) Verdict is overturned

3) Verdict is partially overturned, with a decrease in sentence (verdicts can be upheld on some counts but not others, this may result in a decrease in their sentences).

[Updated at 2:44 p.m. ET] Amanda Knox's family have just arrived at the courthouse. Her mom and dad, her stepmom, stepdad and her sisters are the first to enter the courtroom after journalists were let in.

In about 45 minutes they will find out whether their daughter will remain in prison in Italy or return home with them after the four-year saga of the case.

[Updated at 2:39 p.m. ET] CNN's Antonia Mortensen reports that hundreds of onlookers have gathered around barriers places around the court entrance in hope of a glimpse of the families and Amanda Knox.

A young local Italian woman who is a student in Perugia told Mortensen this appeal ruling is like the event of the year in Perugia. She added that it has become a spectacle or a movie.

A middle aged Italian Perugian outside the court told Mortensen that he can't wait for this to be over so that the town can get back to normality. He calls this situation 'a circus'.

He added "the Italian legal system is very good and we should have faith in it."

Meanwhile, more police officers have arrived at the court, Mortensen reported, but so far neither Meredith Kercher nor Amanda Knox's relatives have arrived at the courthouse.

[Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET] A caravan of cars believe to have Knox and Sollecito inside has arrived near the courthouse in Perugia, Italy.

Two police vans have arrived with a police car escort, CNN's Richard Allen Greene reports.

Sirens are competing with clicks of dozens of photographers shutters, he said.

Onlookers appeared to rush after the vans to try and get a glimpse inside.

[Updated at 2:27 p.m. ET] A media vigil of sorts continues at the prison where Knox has been held for almost four years, CNN's Paula Newton reports.

Knox will return here no matter what happens - either to return to the same cell to finish out her sentence or to collect her belongings and officially leave Italy for Seattle, Washington.

We'll find out which of those scenarios it will be in about one hour when the ruling is read aloud in court.

[Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET] CNN anchor Becky Anderson reports there are barriers set up outside the entrance to the court holding back hundreds of camera crews and observers.

[Updated at 2:21 p.m. ET] The streets outside the court in Perugia, Italy are packed.

Journalists from hundreds of media outlets from around the world and members of the public have swarmed the area.

[Updated at 2:12 p.m. ET] When the ruling comes down it will be a decision made by eight jurors - six members of the public and two judges.

The judges take part and vote as part of the jury: their role is to guide but not to instruct the other jurors how to vote. The presiding judge, Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, who is also one of the jurors, will then read out the verdict.

[Updated at 2:04 p.m. ET] A van has left the prison where Amanda Knox an Raffaele Sollecito were being held while the jury deliberated.

It is believed Knox and Sollecito are in the convoy of vehicles that left the prison and en route back to the courthouse to hear the ruling.

Sollecito is normally not held in the same prison as Knox but was held there during the deliberations.

[Posted at 1:59 p.m. ET] An Italian jury has reached a decision on whether it will uphold or overturn the convictions of Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaelle Sollecito in the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

The ruling will be read at 3:30 p.m. ET (9:30 pm local time), the court said Monday.

The jury deliberated for nearly 10 hours before reaching their decision.

Knox and Sollecito, who returned to prison after speaking in court Monday morning, are likely to begin heading  back to the court in Perugia, Italy, now to hear their fate.

Nearly four years after she was arrested on suspicion of having killed her roommate in this picturesque Italian university town, Amanda Knox stood up in court and pleaded with a jury Monday to overturn her conviction.

"I am not what they say I am. I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal," Amanda Knox said, her voice trembling with emotion. She was making perhaps the most important speech of her life, and it showed.

Knox and co-defendant Sollecito have been fighting to be acquitted of the murder. Prosecutors have called for the pair's sentences - of 26 and 25 years, respectively - to be increased to life.

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Filed under: Amanda Knox • Crime • Italy • U.S. • Washington state
soundoff (2,309 Responses)
  1. AndyDenHaag

    In the Netherlands – that is in Europe you know, we have had a more complete impartial coverage of all the evidence, not the cherry-picked stuff you get in the US. I would agree with you lot given the one sided nature of your coverage that they both must me innocent. However, as we have had an unbiased press here with more complete coverage, I can say that they are both probably guilty. AK probably knew something of it and so would be an accessory. That is the true balance of the evidence. Whether this is enough to convict in the appeal – well this one really could go either way.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hillwilliam

      Well observed

      October 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • whoknew

      I agree and I am from the States. I think she got caught up in something, due to her own immoral inadequacies, and knew about it, so she should serve time for her role as an accomplice. I just don't buy that she is completely innocent.

      October 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary McQuire

      Spare us all your words of wisdom. Were you there?????????????

      October 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fig

      You say that your country has received a more objective perspective of the evidence and that, given your country's coverage of the trial, you believe her to be guilty.. then say it could go either way? Does your country's media know something the Italian and American media doesn't?

      October 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wildone

      In the US the accused is innocent until proven guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt". Whether or not Knox and Sollecito are truly guilty has not been proven "beyond a reasonable doubt". Many people thought that OJ Simpson was guilty of double murder, but he could not be convicted because the prosecution failed to prove his guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt". The Italian police evidence gathering was shoddy and they relied on the testimony of someone (Guede) who was offered a reduced sentence for that testimony they used to convict. Soon we will find out if the Italian justice system believes in justice or simply refuses to change the convictions because they fear a loss of face. If it is the latter I fear that there is no justice in Italy.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Paul

    Of course being free is better than being in prison, but imagine trying to get a job and get back on with your life if you were her and they let you go.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Venusian

      If she's released, book and movie deals will make her rich, she won't need a job.

      October 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nelle

    I believe Amanda Knox is innocent. I believe the real killer is Rudy Guede, the African immigrant. However, I don't believe Amanda will be released though I hope and pray I am mistaken! I believe no U.S. citizen will ever get a fair trial outside the U.S.. This is a witch hunt. I believe Italy wants a martyr. Italy wants to persecute someone.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • sheppard

      Can you give any thing substantial that supports this 'belief'?

      October 3, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Atticus

      I feel the same way, this is terrible and I hope the absolute best for her

      October 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debbie

      I also believe she's innocent. I hope she is able to come home. I've always wanted to travel but i'm afraid to leave the US for fear i'll be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      October 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • AndyDenHaag

      Its funny you seem to think that no US citizen will get a fair trial outside of the US. Actually it is the other way around. The US is the only signatory to the vienna convention that does not provide consular access to foreign citizens who are arrested. US citizens do get this right when they travel abroad. It is simple travel advice to keep your mouth shut until you have seen someone from your embassy. If your government does not give this simple travel advice then perhaps you should ask it to do so.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LCW

    If you really read all the evidence that surrounds the trial...they really have nothing to go on. Nothing that would suggest Amanda or her boyfriend had anything to do with the crime. If you look up information on Giuliano Mignini–you would see how horrible of a prosecutor he is and how scary it would be to come in the vicinity of him when he's looking for a big case to close. He himself was CONVICTED by the Italian system of "abuse of office" for his shannigans with the "Monster of Florence" case while still being allowed to serve as prosecutor on Amanda's case. How's that for justice? Amanda was a nieve 20year old whose innocence and lack of street smarts got her conviceted of murder. I studied in Italy when I was in college and it makes me sick to my stomach that it could have been me if god-forbid someone around had ended up murdered. I, too, would have cooperated with police, and in sadness I might have hugged my boyfriend for support, and I might have even gone shopping for underwear since my apartment was a crime scene! I truly believe Amanda is innocent along with her boyfriend. The only reason Guede won't testify to that is that Italian system reduced his sentence substantially if he would implicate Knox. He doesn't want more time in prison. He is a criminal...he's not going to do something to help someone else out.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      LCW, well said.

      October 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Katie

    Justice cannot be done for Meredith Kercher with this stain of a sham "trial."

    October 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rosie Deus-von Homeyer

      The trial was fair,Katie.Regrettably the WESTERN Criminal Law is based on the ROMAN law( I am telling you this as I studied law in Germany nnad in Berkeley,CA).

      The Ancient Roman Law says."IN DUBIO PRO REO! Im Zweifel für den Angeklagten!" und because the American lawyers do NOT study Latin in the law Schools,they invented the term:" Beyond reasonable doubt!"

      The forensic evidence was not sufficient...that is WHY Ms.FOX and her lover are free. ARE THEY REALY FREE OF THEIR CONSCIENCE?

      October 3, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Venusian

    If Casey Anthony can get away with murdering a child, this girl deserves no less!!

    October 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • whoknew

      Sure..........let's just free all the murders in the world. No thank you!

      October 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kynt

    The sad thing is that the main interest doesn't seem to be the truth about what really happened but the sentence those get who sit on trial. We don't want to know how or why, we just want to know that someone suffered and someone else is worse off than we ourselves. We all can feel better knowing we're neither dead nor tried for murder.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. KPM

    I have a feeling that they will remain in Italy not of their own free will.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jimbo

    This just seems like a stunt by the Italian machine to make americans mad. They probably get annoyed of american girls like her going to their country and partying and this is how they will punish this behavior. A kind of look what we can do and you can't stop us thing.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rosie Deus-von Homeyer

      And WHY AMERICAN girls are NOT staying in America? WE DO NOT WANT THEM HERE!

      October 3, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. whoknew

    What I question about her is, she always has a smirk on her face, or a look of ease. Never a look of fear, worry, or shear dred she may end up in prison for life. Like she is just assuming she will get off! I think she had something to do with it, but perhaps was not the one who committed the actual murder. However, she deserves some prison time for being an accomplice to a murder.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary McQuire

      You stupid people with your comments on her! You comment on her facial expressions??? The ones the media chooses to show??? Like you have any idea what the truth is!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How can you be so idiotic???

      October 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jamie

    I hope they free Amanda. While the Italian legal system has it's strengths, the courts relied heavily upon the opinion(s) of various media outlets. As a teacher, I have been keeping my students up to date on the Amanda's current situation. If my students can learn anything from these events, it's that in a foreign country, our rights as American citizens are not valid. In a foreign country, one is under the laws of that land and punishments are at their discretion. Any student traveling to a foreign land needs to keep this mind.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ray

    It's like OJ all over again.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dgd32

    You all say she innocent because she is american. Did you know that in the UK she is seen as a monster? One more thing, the Italian judicial system does not need any lesson from the US... where they let go OJ Simpson, and Casey Anthony.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimbo

      You all just want her to be guilty becuase she is American....yes we do see this.

      October 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rami

    Yes, let's give Italy 6B$ and or save their economy for her freedom. We can afford it.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • whoknew

      There goes the food stamp program, and there goes food for my children. LOL

      October 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Probably you don't know that your economy in U.S is much worse than Italy and other countries in Europe. In few years your land will be a property of China !

      October 3, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JohnJ

    to say she's innocent is nonsense, what ever happened to Kercher – Knox knows more than she leaves on, whether she did it or not, she probably could have stopped an innocent girl getting murdered.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary McQuire

      Another comment from the idiot gallery! Like YOU have any idea if she is guilty or innocent!!! Where you there??? Moron

      October 3, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
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