— As prosecutors vow to take Amanda Knox’s case all the way to the Italian Supreme Court in Rome after an appeals court overturned her murder conviction on Monday, her legal team said they are prepared.
Carlo Dalla Vedova, one of Knox’s defense lawyers, spoke exclusively with TODAY’s Matt Lauer on Tuesday, declaring this procedure of appealing to the Supreme Court “standard.’’
“We are ready,’’ Dalla Vedova said. “The opposition to the Supreme Court can only be filed for violation of law, so there would be no review of the evidence. It will be only limited to a possible violation of the principle of law. If that happens, we will be ready to defend and support our clients’ rights. We are not worried.’’
The 24-year-old student from Seattle was freed on appeal Monday after a four-year imprisonment in Perugia, Italy. In 2009, she and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Knox's 21-year-old British roommate Meredith Kercher. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison; Sollecito got 25. Both of those convictions were overturned on Monday.
The prosecution’s process of appeal to Italy’s highest court cannot begin until appeals court judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman issues an explanation for overturning Knox’s conviction. The prosecutors will then analyze that report to see what grounds they will have to file an appeal, which most likely would not be heard until 2012. Knox would not be forced to attend a retrial.
“The motivation is going to be filed within 90 days so we will know exactly what is the grounds based on which the court has decided to dismiss the accusation,’’ Dalla Vedova said.
An emotional Knox broke down in tears upon hearing that she would be set free, concluding a particularly trying week in a case that has captivated both countries.
“Amanda was extremely scared,’’ Dalla Vedova said. “She knew this decision would change her life, and the entire week for her was extremely difficult. For her, this was the end of a nightmare.’’
As for his own emotions in the charged courtroom atmosphere, Dalla Vedova declared that he was simply doing his job.
“I never make a personal issue when I’m working,’’ he said. “I work for my clients and we knew we had good reason for having our appeal accepted, so we were waiting for this moment. We are extremely happy for the future of Amanda. Amanda is a very good girl, and she deserved to go back to her life and freedom.’’
Knox was painted as “Satanic’’ and a “she-devil’’ by the Italian prosecution team, led by Giuliano Mignini. Dalla Vedova dismissed the notion that Mignini and the prosecution are attempting to take the case to the highest court for personal reasons.
“It’s not Mr. Mignini; it’s the office of the prosecutor has made a huge mistake,’’ he said. “The mistake was made at the beginning because they evaluated Amanda’s behavior in the wrong way and the court of appeal has recognized this mistake. There have been a number of mistakes that have been confirmed, therefore altogether, the handling of the accusation, especially in the first investigation period, it’s a result of a big mistake, and thank God we have the appeal that has rectified the mistake.’’
There have been reports of a mixed reaction outside the courthouse following the decision, from cheers to others yelling “Shame! Shame!’’ Dalla Vedova felt the reaction was all positive.
“I don’t agree with your statement,’’ he told Lauer. “There were no critics outside."
As for the intense media spotlight, Dalla Vedova believes it only helped Knox's case.
“The media have changed the public opinion in the sense that they’ve moved it to the possibility of (Knox) being innocent in the last year,’’ he said. “So we actually are satisfied in how the media have handled this.’’