Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Story – The Friends of Amanda Knox

by Anne Bremner

My initial involvement in the Amanda Knox case came when I received a phone call from King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey nearly four years ago while I was at a conference for the American College of Trial Lawyers. Mike and I talked for some time about Amanda's legal plight. I was interested and probably got hooked on this case at that time. Soon thereafter, I met Mike and Tom Wright for lunch and breakfast at AJ's Restaurant on two occasions in Seattle. Following my conversations with these two remarkable men at those meetings, I was hooked for sure.

What happened next is that we met with the Knox family in West Seattle. I then spent weeks with a certain individual watching the crime-scene videos and studying all the evidence of the case. By then I was more than hooked, and completely convinced that Amanda was innocent. I also conducted my extensive research and found my beliefs to be confirmed.

It was decided that I would release all the evidence to the world's press. The individual specifically required me to not reveal that he was the person behind this. I then released the crime-scene videos to the Today Show and a shot was heard around the world. I felt as if I was Daniel Ellsberg releasing the "Pentagon Papers."

Mike Heavey, Tom Wright and I became “The Friends of Amanda Knox”. We were joined by best-selling author Douglas Preston, “The Monster of Florence” who had lived through the same terrifying experience as Amanda with the prosecutor Mignini; Jim Lovering (our brilliant writer and researcher extraordinaire); Paul Ciolino (famed and talented investigator) and sometime later, Mark Waterbury (extraordinary DNA scientist and author of “The Monster of Perugia). This fine group of people were responsible for turning the “supertanker” around of false and malicious press accounts about Amanda Knox. And in that, they turned around the trial.

The Friends of Amanda Knox consisted of a small group of extraordinarily talented and motivated individuals. What I recount here is but a fraction of what they did. I hope that they tell their stories to show how a group with unique and complimentary talents and skills can turn around an international sensation- in what could be a template for other future efforts to save victims of injustice – innocents abroad. The Friends of Amanda did all of the work, I was the mouthpiece or messenger.

This is what we discovered: the now-famous bra clasp with mixed DNA --purportedly Rafael Sollecito's -- turned from white to black from dirt because it hadn't been collected for months and was dropped repeatedly; a policewoman disturbed the crime scene when she crashed through a window in the house by mistake and shattered glass everywhere; investigators did not cover their heads, letting their long hair hang over the scene; unidentified observers were lounging around the scene and talking on cell phones; and the filming of the evidence was conducted like an old high-school audio-visual class project. We called this fiasco "Fellini Forensics," in mock honor of the famous Italian filmmaker's surreal style. My friend Jim Lovering stayed up all night culling through the tapes and then cataloging them.

In addition, the Italian appellate court would discover that the knife that was such an important part of evidence in this case was shoddily transported in a shoe box, further validating the fact that the forensic evidence was unreliable, contaminated and inadmissible.

I then wrote my piece, "Amanda Knox, My Truth and My Challenge," for the Perugia Shock. I also posted it on my Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper blog for "City Brights." Jim was the genius behind these as well. This was a stepping stone for more articles and discussions, including ones with CNN Anderson Cooper (I blogged for AC 360 on the Amanda Knox subject), Bill O'Reilly, Gerald Rivera, Jane Velez Mitchell,,, MSNBC, CNN, HLN, Fox News Channel, NBC, CBS, ABC, the BBC, most of the United Kingdom press, the Italian press and local Seattle media. I made weekly appearances for years in the national and local media. All told, I have made hundreds of appearances on behalf of Amanda Knox.

A number of on-air personalities -- and even Donald Trump -- offered to fly to Italy -- and have Amanda's family flown there -- and advocate and fund-raise for Amanda and do anything they could on her behalf and bring her home. I appeared on Dateline NBC with Dennis Murphy and the Today Show over time. I developed relationships with most everyone in the national and local media. And I appeared with Sollecito's and Meredith Kercher's attorneys on the Italian version of "Oprah," "Porte a Porte."

I spent a huge amount of time trying to turn people around on the issue: All of the previously mentioned media outlets required this. I met with the UK Observer and did scores of BBC interviews. I talked to Nick Pisa and debated Barbie Nadeau on the air. For three-and-a-half years I went on TV and radio weekly to get the word out about Amanda Knox. I met with Time Magazine's Tiffany Sharples and a fantastic Time story resulted from this exchange. And New York Times writer Timothy Egan interviewed me and others on the case. Tim's two pieces were real turning points for Amanda. I partnered with KING-TV Seattle's Linda Bryon as well as Kathy Goertzen of KOMO-TV in public appearances and speeches.

My assistant, Joan Stapleton, and Tom Wright set up the websites "" and "" They hired a lawyer to create a trust fund at our own expense. They worked very closely with the Knox family on both sites and ultimately turned it over to them. Tom Wright, the true heart and soul of the Friends of Amanda, took on the torch of these projects and developed a world class website that was translated into many languages. It was and is the most definitive site for information about Amanda Knox. The site has received nearly a million hits from all over the world.

Tom Wright kept an ongoing blog on the website to inform the public the press about any new developments. The Internet hits exploded off the charts. The research receptacle that Tom Wright and Jim Lovering, our researcher extraordinaire, nurtured was vast. We advocated for the securing of a State Department lawyer. We spent considerable time on this issue. We actually contacted an attorney, who later became President Obama's White House Lawyer. We then spent a lot of time with John Q. Kelly, who was excellent. The family chose Ted Simon, who ultimately found little apparent success with the State Department. We, of course, wrote to Congress and to Obama. The Friends of Amanda Knox was a force to be reckoned with.

I became the target of much ire and vitriol against Amanda because I chose to be the face for the Friends of Amanda Knox. Amanda's attorneys and family were not able to step forward to address the evidence and their public-relations representative was tight-lipped, recommending silence, on the advice of Italian counsel, because of fear of retribution and defamation charges in Italy. Websites adverse to Amanda posted terrible comments about me online, including vicious attacks voiced on the Perugia Shock. Amanda-haters posted tasteless, doctored pictures of me online as well as false and defamatory remarks about me, too. I received more death threats than I can count. Every article or story where my name appeared had hideous, menacing comments. In my 25 years of legal practice, prior to my involvement with the Amanda Knox case, I had never had a negative news article or comment published about me in the media or on the Internet. That all changed with Amanda Knox. I received a virtual avalanche of negative publicity, comments and posts. My involvement in this case nearly ruined my reputation and career.

I staked my reputation and career for Amanda Knox. I would still do it all over again if asked. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.


brmull said...

But you still have the facts wrong.

The bra clasp was collected 46 days--not months--later, and the prosecution was aware that it was left at the cottage within a few days of the initial search. No one could explain in court how it could have been contaminated with Raffaele Sollecito's DNA when he claimed he'd never been in that room. None of the investigators' DNA was found in the house, nor was Sollecito's DNA found anywhere else except one cigarette where it was mixed with Knox's DNA, so the idea that investigators somehow tracked it into the victim's room seems implausible.

Likewise no one can explain how transporting the knife from Sollecito's apartment in a cardboard box--not a shoe box--could have resulted in the victim's DNA being desposited on the blade. The victim's DNA was at the crime scene, 10 minutes away. Moreover the knife was already inside an evidence bag! This is just more PR campaign nonsense.

Lastly no one has ruled, at least not yet, that these two items were inadmissible. The appeals court will certainly deem them unreliable, based on the incomplete picture they were given by the "independent experts". My opinion is in agreement with the prosecution experts who testified that the bra clasp is reliable. I think the knife is questionable, mainly because Dr. Stefanoni did a poor job of documenting her work, but it should not be dismissed entirely because of Knox and Sollecito's suspicious reaction to the news that the knife had the victim's DNA. There is reason to believe the knife was used in the crime somehow.

Anonymous said...

You are to be commended for standing up for another victim of an out of control prosecutor. I can understand how people have differing opinions on this case but I am still amazed at the ad hominem attacks on the part of some of the guilters as well as the blatant attempts to silence those with different views. This has obviously become an emotionally charged issue and you are to be admired for jumping into the cauldron.

George Barwood said...


46 days = 1.5 months. So it is plural.

I agree the knife probably wasn't contaminated in transport. Rather, there was no DNA on the knife blade at all, only starch. But by turning up the amplification far enough, the chance of contamination from other samples of Meredith Kercher's DNA in the same lab becomes a near certainty. This problem is well known.

I don't agree with you on the bra clasp - this could have have been contamination before or during collection. Sollecito had attempted to break down the door, so it's likely his DNA was in the vicinity. This could then be transferred either as dust or by investigators gloves.

I regard the DNA evidence as unreliable. What decides the case for me is the mobile phone evidence, especially the call at 22:13. I have made a wiki about this :

Anonymous said...

Anne, excellent article. Thanks so much for your flattering comments. We all made a great team!

- Jim Lovering

Anonymous said...

Anne, you said it yourself. You were doing fine for 25 years. "That all changed with Amanda Knox."

She is no good, and you weren't wrong to drop this case when the stress led to your car crash and meltdown. I admired you for coming clean at that time about a lot of issues in your life. I thought to myself, "Anne is saved in spite of herself, she's out of this disaster now."

Amanda will do you no good. Count your blessings that you can back out of this endless saga of heartache and never return. Don't creep back into this case now. Drop it like a hot potato and move on to real success. Amanda Knox will tie you up in knots and destroy your life. Look at the effect she's had on everybody she touches. She has hurt Curt, Edda, her entire family, Raffaele and his family.

I say this practical advice to help you despite your brother's remarks and despite the fact I think Knox is guilty guilty guilty. Don't let her drag you down.

Anonymous said...

Ms Bremner, I read with some awe at all you tell us that you have done for this case.
I am amazed at all that you tell us that your involvement really was.

With such massive involvement on all the levels that you tell us, didn't you ever happen to notice that Knox's co defendant's name was spelled Raffaele Sollecito ??

A Voice of Sanity said...

Yeah. Sure. Everything was fine. Perfect evidence collection techniques all round. Move along, nothing to see here.

Amanda Knox prosecutors: Ignore science, demand life, think of weddings

"Two judge-appointed, independent Roman forensic experts with advanced degrees beg to disagree. They’ve declared her work “unreliable.” Not just “inconclusive,” but worthless, meaningless, out. Their 145-page report was scathing and meticulous. They found more than 50 errors in the sloppy police investigation. And that was before Stefanoni sparked laughter in court by admitting that she stored key evidence in the victim’s shared refrigerator and then sent it off to the Rome lab, not even accredited at the time."

Well, don't all "forensic experts" do that? Store key evidence in the apartment fridge along with everyone's salami sandwich? Nothing wrong there.


Anonymous said...

It is really pointless to continue with debating this case - especially the DNA issues. The point is guilt cannot be proven beyond all reasonable doubt. The DNA may well have been fine, but if the slightest doubt existed, then Judge Hellman under the appeal rules only had the option to acquit. Far better that a guilty person walks free than an innocent be jailed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for you comments.....glad Amanda is home. I was honored to be a part of The Friends of Amanda Knox...what a fabulous group of dedicated people.

Anne Bremner

barbara said...

I'm so glad Amanda had a group of such dedicated professionals helping her, without them she surely would still be in prison.

Anonymous said...

With all respect, the lead article here is plain silly and nonsensical. Sollecito and Knox may be innocent or they may be guilty - nobody knows. To claim, however, that the people mentioned above had anything to do with their acquittal is absolutely risible.

A Voice of Sanity said...

"Sollecito and Knox may be innocent or they may be guilty - nobody knows."

Sure we do. Unless the universe just fell into a worm hole the normal rules apply. There was never the slightest reason to suspect either of them of involvement except for the demented rantings of a particularly crackpot lawyer in Italy. All the evidence always pointed to Guede and no one else.

The only thing we learned from this is that it isn't just the USA which is inflicted with incompetent boobs with law degrees and (all too often) the powers of a prosecutor. Cases like this and DNA have shown how shabby the legal system is in too many countries. It's just too bad that the USA is a world leader in this, if (sadly) few other things.

Anonymous said...

I think its a shame that while blowing your own horn you didn't acknowledge that FOA does not deserve the sole credit, that others do also.

You certainly do deserve credit for all of your work though. Thank you for all you have done. All the interviews and information.

Anonymous said...

Voice of Sanity - As you say the normal rules apply, travesties of justice or injustice happen all the time,I have followed the case and can categorically state I don't know whether they are guilty or not - how anyone can so confidently pronounce their guilt or innocence is beyond me - they must know something the rest of us don't
- Judge Hellman implied as much in his interview.
What is all this with corrupt officials in Perugia - we don't know that. Those who claim they are guilty think the officials are great and those who maintain their innocence claim the officials were all corrupt.
Bye the way - The USA lags considerably behind Europe regarding DNA and forensic science.

A Voice of Sanity said...

"... how anyone can so confidently pronounce their guilt or innocence is beyond me ..."

For the same reasons that five little girls having a tea party in Palo Alto aren't guilty of robbing a local bank at gunpoint -- or committing piracy off the coast of Africa. It is (or would be) a crackpot accusation.

Evidence, evidence, evidence. What does the evidence say?

Anonymous said...

Anne Bremner is telling her story with hope that other people will tell their story --- quote: "I hope that they tell their stories to show how a group with unique and complimentary talents and skills can turn around an international sensation- in what could be a template for other future efforts to save victims of injustice – innocents abroad.".

this is people serving.

QuentinZ said...

This was the clearest case of two young people being framed as any one among us is likely to see. Enlightened opinion in Italy, the U.S. and the U.K. acknowledges this. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were a terrible fit for the crime. There was no motive, no confession, no credible witnesses, and every single piece of the physical evidence fell apart upon review. The original sentencing report ("Massei report") is one of the acute intellectual embarrassments of our time. Even if you know nothing about the case you can tell the report is execrably written, wildly illogical, speculative and laughably self-contradictory. If you do understand the details you know that he has misstated, misrepresented, and ignored testimony, and when he doen't know what else to do he just makes things up.

Anonymous said...

"It was and is the most definitive site for information about Amanda Knox."

No Anne, Injustice in Perugia was the most important site on the case by far. You should give them the credit they deserve. They were equally if not more important for Amanda's freedom than FOA.

Anonymous said...

Some of the comments here are incredible - as if people choose to live in their own little make believe world. How can anyone hold that websites can have any sway on a court? I've visited most sites on this case - for and against - and sure they are useful for enlightening people as to the opposing views and the webmasters do a good job - but to maintain they can influence a foreign court is plain ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

Anne, if I ever find myself in a jam like this, I would hope you would fight just as hard for me. You proved yourself to do the right thing to do at all costs, simply because it was the right thing to do. I pray karma comes back around. In spite of your challenges, you kept trudging on and I'm certain as I sit here that you will be blessed! Thanks for standing for what you believed! - Debbie

Anonymous said...

I agree, I fail to see how Friends of Amanda or any website and anonymous internet posting could have anything to do with influencing the judges' ruling in the appeal court. The evidence was always problematic and that's what won the appeal, not some silly website in the U.S! Just like this website is great for expressing opinions, at the end of the day it means absolutely nothing. Everyone knows why lawyers will choose certain cases for little or no pay anyway....just ask Jose Baez.

Anonymous said...

No good deed goes unpunished. The same internet haters that made life miserable for Amanda and all who supported her have shown up here. And they never identify themselves. Everyone knows the the media and public opinion have an influence on judicial proceedings. That is what the FOA and others worked to change. The negative and false info in the media was changed. Injustice in Perugia came late in the game but was successful, as were Amanda's lawyers, ultimately. The positive comments, however, that hope springs eternal and that we least those of us pure of purpose....can make a positive difference in this world.

Anonymous said...

Please try to get this right. I haven't got anything against this site - it's fine, it's got a point of view, and that's great. I enjoy reading up on this particular case - I visit all the sites - some like this one believe strongly in their innocence - other sites maintain they are guilty. I haven't got a problem with any of that - establishing the pros and cons helps to provide more information and that can only be good. Sure, sites might even sway some people's opinions - but to think they can sway a court, especially a foreign court, is simply make believe.

A Voice of Sanity said...

"... to think they can sway a court, especially a foreign court, is simply make believe."

In the USA, courts, judges, lawyers and juries, are highly influenced by public opinions. It's often the most important factor in the verdict, far more important than actual evidence.

This case in Italy was all about one prosecutor grandstanding for the press and the public, making a total ass of himself and then trying to cover it up. Anything which pushed public opinion the other way was bound to have some effect. The judges may deny it, but they were conscious of it no matter what they may say.

Don't be fooled by claims by lawyers about the "majesty of the law". Far too often the 'system' guesses at the answers then makes up excuses to justify what it did.

You have been warned.

Anonymous said...

And you do an injustice to Mignini. What a great man he is. He prosecuted with wisdom.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were at the scene of the crime when police arrived. The devilish duo were eager to repeat excuses made of clever stories about buckets, mops, and wet floors. These stories were trotted out within an hour or so of a dead body being discovered in the room beside Amanda's in a cottage where a cleanup had occurred to obscure clues of murder.

Amanda's pretended trip to Gubbio, guess she will have to reschedule.

A Voice of Sanity said...

I'm not Sheldon Cooper but even I'm not sure if this is sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

Public opinion is more important than actual evidence - how can you say something like that, that's horrible and grotesque and belongs to the dark ages. I don't believe it for one moment.

Your take on the prosecutor, Mignini, goes back to Preston and Spezi, and that is a matter of debate. I wasn't in that office with them, so I don't know, but I try to keep an open mind.

The one thing I know for sure is that Italian court officials would know much more about it than we do. With all respect, I would hope that any court pursue justice based on evidence and not heed internet sites and public opinion.

A Voice of Sanity said...

"I would hope that any court pursue justice based on evidence and not heed internet sites and public opinion."

You can hope for whatever you want. There's no guarantee you'll ever get it. Experience says you won't.

Victims of the State
Wrongly convicted innocents and other individuals abused by the Criminal Justice System.

Virgo said...

**I staked my reputation and career for Amanda Knox. I would still do it all over again if asked. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.**

This just makes you an attention seeking idiot media whore.

Anonymous said...

Virgo, you prove the point in the article....there are anonymous creepy Amanda Knox haters out there that spew their bile on the web. Sexist, creepy, menacing haters. She has been exonerated. Give her...and her supporters...some peace and dignity.

Harry Rag said...

The English translation of the Italian Supreme Court report which explains why Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito's acquittals were annulled can be downloaded from the Perugia Murder File website:

Harry Rag said...

If anybody wants to understand the reasons why Amanda Knox was convicted of murder, I recommend reading the translations of the official court documents and court testimony. They are available online at the Meredith Kercher wiki website:

A Voice of Sanity said...

"Harry Rag said...the Meredith Kercher wiki"

It's tripe. Whoever wrote it ignored the facts and invented their own nonsense. What the hell is wrong with people? How can they walk around with non-functioning brains?

Glenn Thigpen said...

I don't believe in magic. That is the only way that AK and RS could have selectively removed all traces of them being in the murder room yet leaving RG's DNA, foot prints, and finger prints all over the room.


Anonymous said...

Anne Bremner #amandaknox's lawyer @CNN legal analysis Drunk Driving National #USA Statistics http://t.CO/tXESLqYDWW

Wearing prison orange: Anne Bremner http://pbs.twimg.COM/media/BsGQvEeIAAAX-OU.jpg:medium