An American student accused of killing her British roommate in Italy is taking legal action to block a book about her sex life on the grounds it will influence her murder trial this week.

Amanda Knox is claiming nearly $664,000 in compensation for damage allegedly caused by the "prurient" book, "Amanda and the Others: Lives Lost around the Perugia Murder," published last month by Italian crime journalist Fiorenza Sarzanini. She also wants it withdrawn from bookshelves.

Her lawyers said that the book, excerpts from which were published in the newspaper, contained details about Knox's sex life that were ''not in any way useful or considered relevant to the investigation."

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These had been "reported in a prurient manner, aimed solely at arousing the morbid imagination of readers. This crosses the limits of legitimate exercise of the rights of the press,'' the lawyers said, adding that Knox has suffered from a media "smear campaign."

Knox, 21, goes on trial Friday with her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 24. Both deny any involvement in the murder of Meredith Kercher. A third person charged, Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast immigrant, was sentenced to 30 years in jail in October under fast track procedures for his part in the killing and sexual assault of Kercher.

A judge has not yet decided whether or not the trial will be open to the public.

Kercher was found semi-naked with her throat cut on Nov. 2, 2007, in her bedroom at the hillside cottage that she shared with Knox and two Italian women. The prosecution alleges that she was killed when Guede, Knox and Sollecito tried to force her to take part in a drug-fueled ''group sex game'' that went wrong and ended in murder.

Click here for more from the Times of London.