Day one of the Meredith Kercher murder trial was meant to be about documents, procedural matters and charge sheets. Instead, defense lawyers exploited the media spotlight to launch impassioned speeches on behalf of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, saying they were not murderers but innocent “lovebirds."
Knox, 21, poised and relaxed, entered the court in Perugia Friday smiling broadly, dressed casually in a grey hooded sweatshirt and striped T-shirt. During breaks she chatted to her lawyers, Carlo della Vedova and Luciano Ghirga, and to her female interpreter.
The bespectacled Sollecito, 24, wearing a lime-green sweater and cream polo neck and with his flowing hair cut short, occasionally glanced along the row at Ms Knox sitting a few feet away. His former girlfriend kept her head turned away from him.
The charges against the pair were read out: murder, sexual violence, simulation of a break-in by smashing a window and theft of cash and credit cards. In addition Patrick Diya Lumumba, a Congolese barman whom Ms Knox at first accused of the murder, is seeking damages.
The pair are accused of killing Kercher, a British student who was studying Italian in the town. She was found semi-naked on Nov. 2, 2007, with her throat slashed in the hillside cottage she shared with Knox and two Italian women.
In a forceful speech della Vedova told the court that the confession in which Knox made the accusation and admitted being present at the scene of the crime had been ruled inadmissible by the Court of Cassation because it was made at night without a lawyer present, violating her rights.
Sollecito’s barrister, Giulia Bongiorno, a prominent lawyer who is also a parliamentary deputy, argued Knox and Sollecito had been “lovebirds” who had no need of “kinky sex” with others — to repeated interruptions from the prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, who protested that the trial proper had not begun and that speeches should wait.
Undeterred, Bongiorno declared there had been no sex and drugs party at the cottage the night Kercher died — “no glasses, no bottles, no drugs." The DNA evidence against Sollecito was flawed and the defense would prove that he had never even met Guede, she said.