The appeal of Amanda Knox, the American exchange student convicted of a gruesome murder of her roommate in Italy, is near its end. Court observers say the trial will end Monday, with a verdict expected the same day. Those who feel the case against Knox has been tainted from the very start are full of optimism. CBS News correspondent Peter Van Sant told the Early Show on Saturday that the case was "looking very positive" for Knox:
"Among the Italian journalists covering this, there is a feeling that she will be found not guilty, which is quite an accomplishment when you realize there was this tsunami of tabloid coverage for years, calling her a she-level, promiscuous, drug-using, manipulator, (saying) she held the knife that killed Meredith Kercher, and on and on.
"That entire case is false. That entire case has crumbled around the prosecutor's ankles. So, it's looking good for Amanda."
Doubts about the prosecution go back years. Back in 2009, The New York Times' Timothy Egan wrote that the case against Knox "has so many holes in it, and is so tied to the career of a powerful Italian prosecutor who is under indictment for professional misconduct, that any fair-minded jury would have thrown it out months ago." That was during Knox' original trial for murder. She was convicted anyway.
Knox received a 26-year prison sentence, and her boyfriend and co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, received 25 years. His family is also hopeful that he will be cleared on Monday. They are also sick of the focus on the pretty American girl to the detriment of the other ostensibly wrongly convicted defendant. The coverage of the appeal has been "Amanda-centric," a lawyer for Sollecito told Reuters.
Another figure has received insufficient attention in the publicity surrounding the case: Meredith Kircher. The 21-year-old British exchange student was the murder victim in the Knox case, the one who was found bruised and stabbed more than 40 times in the apartment she shared with Knox. Her memory has been lost in a "fog" surrounding Knox and the campaign to get her dubious prosecution overturned, Kircher's family told Reuters this weekend. Kercher's family is struggling just to afford to travel to Perugia, where the verdict will be delivered Monday.
"They are a modest, middle-class family without huge amounts of money to spend and so can't afford to stay in Perugia for weeks and weeks in a hotel to follow the trial, which is what the families of the accused have done," their lawyer told Reuters.
Meanwhile, the case is so transfixing public opinion and the Italian media that it is altering the language. New slang:
So polarizing is the topic that reporters covering the case have been dubbed as either "innocentisti" or "colpevolisti" based on whether they believe Knox is innocent or guilty.