Visits with Amanda Knox become book

FROM JAIL: Italian lawmaker kept diary, will publish this year

August 30, 2010 

Visits with Amanda Knox become book

Jailed U.S. student Amanda Knox, shown during a hearing in June in Perugia, Italy, is the subject of a book to be released this year. At left is attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova.

FABRIZIO TROCCOLI/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE

ROME - Amanda Knox, the American student convicted in Italy of murdering her British roommate, has told an Italian lawmaker in a series of jailhouse conversations that she hopes to adopt children and be a writer when free.

Lawmaker Rocco Girlanda told The Associated Press on Saturday that he kept a diary of his frequent visits with Knox in her Perugia jail, material that has formed the basis of a book being published in Italy and the U.S. later this fall.

Girlanda’s “Take Me With You – Talks with Amanda Knox in Prison” also includes letters and poetry the University of Washington student sent to Girlanda, the president of a foundation that promotes ties between the two countries.

Knox, 23, was convicted Dec. 5 of murder and sexual assault in the 2007 death of her flatmate, British student Meredith Kercher. She was sentenced to 26 years in prison. Knox’s former boyfriend and another man were also convicted; all three have maintained their innocence and are appealing.

Girlanda met Knox around the time of her conviction, saying he wanted to get to know her in a bid to help offset the diplomatic fallout the explosive case had created. Over some 20 meetings in the ensuing months, he said, a friendship grew.

The two never discussed the case, he said. Rather, their jailhouse encounters focused on issues about Knox’s life – her childhood growing up in Seattle; her memories of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks; her views on religion, spirituality, education, sports, marriage, culture and literature.

Those topics are all addressed in the book, as well as what he said was Knox’s desire to be a writer, “her desire to adopt children, her love for Italy despite everything, the significance of friendship.”

Girlanda stresses in the book that his conclusions are based solely on his discussions with Knox. He said he never spoke to her parents, friends or lawyers, who have depicted her as an innocent, albeit flighty girl who loved Italy and considered Kercher a friend.

“Everything grew from a desire to get to know an American girl, the same age as one of my daughters, who has found herself to be living in the most dramatic experience of her life,” Girlanda writes in the book. “I think that after so many months, after so many meetings, I succeeded.”

The 240-page book is being published first in Italy at the end of October and then in the U.S.; proceeds will go to Girlanda’s foundation.

Kercher’s body was found in a pool of blood with her throat slit Nov. 2, 2007, in the bedroom of the house she shared with Knox while the two were on exchange programs in the medieval town of Perugia in central Italy.

Knox and her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were arrested a few days later. After a yearlong trial, Sollecito was convicted alongside Knox and sentenced to 25 years in prison. A third man, Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivory Coast citizen, was convicted in an earlier trial and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Prosecutors say that on the night of the murder, Knox and Sollecito met at the apartment and that Guede was there. The prosecution said Knox and Kercher started arguing, and that Knox joined the two men in brutally attacking and sexually assaulting the Briton while under the influence of drugs.

The attorney for the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca, has said the sentences were fair and had satisfied the family.

Knox’s appeal is set to begin Nov. 24.

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