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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview With Parents of Amanda Knox

Aired December 7, 2009 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Amanda Knox' parents from Italy. Their exchange student daughter was called a drug-crazed killer, a she-devil who played sex games before slitting her roommate's throat. Did the jury convict that image of Amanda? Mom and dad say that the girl they raised could never have murdered anyone, and they'll tell us how they plan to get her out of prison, and why they'll never give up clearing her name and winning freedom, next on "Larry King Live."

Edda Mellas and Curt Knox are with us tonight. They're the parents of Amanda Knox. She's the 22-year-old American exchange student convicted of murdering roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. The guilty verdict against Amanda and her Italian ex-boyfriend was returned on Friday.

We thank you both for visiting us tonight from Italy. And even though this couple, they are divorced, they are totally united in their support of their daughter.

You've had an opportunity to see her, Edda, how is she?

EDDA MELLAS, AMANDA'S MOTHER: You know, the first time we saw her, she was completely crushed. Devastated, you know, in shock, as we all are. A second visit today and she's, you know, she's got her -- she's ready to go, ready to fight on.

KING: Chuck, what was your reaction after seeing her today? I'm sorry, Curt, what was your reaction?

CURT KNOX, AMANDA'S FATHER: You know, she -- that's fine. You know, she was actually kind of put me in a good frame of mind, because she was in a good place, as I'm going to be leaving here in the next day or so. But it made me feel good to see that she was ready to charge on, and she wanted to get back to studying at school and stuff like that. So we're going to work on getting that prepared for her.

KING: Is the prison there enough? Do you have open visitation, Edda?

MELLAS: No, you know, it's certainly limited. We get -- well, normally twice a week. But it's Christmas over here, so there's lots of holidays. Twice a week, an hour a day -- an hour each time. But we do get to sit and hold her hand and touch her and hug her. So that's nice.

KING: As we'll be discussing a lot of differences between the United States and the Italian legal system. For one thing, Amanda was allowed to speak out during closing arguments. She addressed the court in Italian. You'll hear a translation. Here's an excerpt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANDA KNOX (through translator): I have reflected in the past few days over what I wanted to say. It came to my mind and I wrote down a question that has left many people perplexed. And I wrote down a question that perhaps is still very perplexing to many people. And also, many people have asked me this question, and that is how do you manage to remain so calm?

Well, first of all, I am not calm. During these days, I wrote on paper in front of me that I'm afraid. I am not calm. I wrote down that I was afraid to lose myself. I fear being defined as someone I am not, and by actions that I did not commit. I am afraid of having an assassin's mask forced on my skin.

Regarding the decision to keep me in prison these past two years, I confess that I feel let down, sad, and frustrated, especially because these decisions to me seem to be saying, well, let's see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Curt, your said your reaction to that was shock over the verdict, and then anger. Want to elaborate?

KNOX: Well, what we were expecting, and especially since this trial has been gone on so long, which is almost 11 months -- during the last five or so days where we had closing arguments and there was really precise handling and review of the evidence and really a complete breakdown of what the prosecution was putting forth during these last few days, with the Italian judicial system having beyond a reasonable doubt, I was expecting a complete innocent verdict, you know, far beyond reasonable doubt. And with them to come up with guilty I think was a huge mistake, and it just angered me beyond all belief.

KING: And you, how did you react, Edda?

MELLAS: Well, I was also in shock. We had been told, you know, by everyone how there -- you know, because there was no physical evidence of her at the crime scene, because there was no motive -- in fact, the prosecution had changed the motive four times during the trial. And at the end, they finally had to say, well, we don't have a motive, but it doesn't matter. And you know, there's no physical evidence, there's no eyewitness, there's no murder weapon. You know, everybody was -- everybody in the press, the people in Perugia were all telling us, you know, it's going to be OK. She'll be let out. So we were shocked.

KING: Did you get to see her right after the verdict? Curt?

MELLAS: No.

KNOX: No. We were not allowed to. Usually they would allow us after each hearing, to go back behind the wall and hold her for 30 seconds. And in this case, they just took her away. KING: I understand, Edda, she's been moved to a different cell. Is that right?

MELLAS: That's true. She was in a cell, a five-person cell, and she's now been moved to a two-person cell with the only other American in the jail there as her roommate.

KING: Curt, how would you describe generally the conditions where she is?

KNOX: Well, we only get to see the visitation room, and we don't get to actually see where she stays within her cell. But I can tell you it is very cold. It is concrete. There is, you know, nothing nice about it at all. It's a maximum-security prison. And it's -- it's not where you want to have your child for two years for something that she didn't do. And hopefully, it will be shorter than a year before we can get to the appeals level.

KING: And, Edda, is that where she's scheduled to be if she were to do 26 years? She'd be in that place where you visit her?

MELLAS: Well, we have no idea. Where you're kept is really dependent on the prison system, and it can change on a whim. I know that there are -- you know, Raffaele, when he was here at this jail, he was here one day, and the next day he was just gone. And so it really depends on the prison system.

KING: We'll take a break. When we come back, we'll ask about the appeals system.

Our, audience, what do you think about the verdict? Go to CNN.com/larryking. Click on blog, let us know, and we'll be back with Amanda Knox's parents after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Edda Mellas and Curt Knox, the parents of Amanda Knox. Here's another excerpt from her comments during the closing arguments of her murder trial. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANDA KNOX (through translator): Many people tell me that if they were in my shoes, they would have pulled their hair out by now, tearing their cell apart. And I say that I do not do these things. I don't let myself be beaten down. In these situations, I take a deep breath. I try and I try to look for the positives. I try to find the positives in important moments. And I know that this moment is one of those moments. Because in this moment, unlike the previous moment, a true decision must be taken on an action.

I feel more in contact with you, more vulnerable in front of you. But I am trusting and confident of my knowledge. And for this, I thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Curt, one of our legal eagles, Lisa Bloom, says the appeal system in Italy is actually fairer for the defendant than in the United States. You don't just have to rule on constitutional grounds. They consider the whole matter, and if they deem someone didn't do it, even if the jury said they did and there was no malfeasance of justice, they could throw the case out. Have you heard the same thing?

KNOX: Yes. That's absolutely true. We've also heard that there is a slightly different phase where they could actually open it up for further evaluation of evidence that can even provide new information to the hearing as a whole. So there is very different scenarios than what happens in the United States.

KING: Edda, does that encourage you?

MELLAS: Oh, absolutely. You know, there's many Italians who have told us that, you know, worst-case scenario, the first level rarely works correctly. But they'll get it right in appeals. She will get out of there. They will not, you know, put away this innocent young girl for a crime that she didn't commit.

KING: It could take up to a year before it's even heard, right, Curt, how -- is that going to be hard to deal with?

KNOX: Well, absolutely. I mean, that would now make three years that Amanda has spent in a maximum-security prison for something that she had no part of.

And, you know, it's frustrating all around. And what really bothers me is that it's such a big mistake that took place inside this particular court. And I actually hope they push it up, recognizing that it was such a failure in this case.

KING: Her attorney said she seemed depressed, Edda. Did you find her that way?

MELLAS: Yes, you know, the last -- she was very, very strong at the beginning, but the last few months have just been devastating for her. She, you know, she couldn't stay strong forever. And you could really tell that she was suffering. I mean, it was just horrible for her.

Today was better. She's ready to fight on. Her lawyers have told her to have courage. She knows that she's getting support from all over the world, which is just amazing, and that helps.

KING: Curt, you said you're going home, what, in the next day or so? Are you going to be able to be in touch by phone?

KNOX: You know, we actually are able to have a 10-minute phone call each week. And that's one of the extremely nice things, to at least be able to hear her voice. And then, you know, Edda will be staying during the rest of the month of December and then I'll come back in January. So we'll just kind of keep having a person over here at all times like we have for the last two years. KING: So there'll always, Edda, be someone there. What about letters? Can you mail every day something?

MELLAS: Yes. Oh, absolutely. And she does get a lot of mail. And she loves the mail that she gets. You know, I think she told me she got one letter that was addressed to her that all it said on the envelope was "Amanda Knox, Italy," and it got to her, which is just amazing. Yes, she gets lots of letters of support.

KING: Frankly, Curt, are you surprised by all of the attention by people and the media?

KNOX: Well, there's two different perspectives on that, Larry. The first one is the impact that it had on the actual case itself, which really started with a case closed by the prosecution, you know, literally just days after Meredith's death, without looking at physical evidence, and the whole snowballing effect that that had of continuous mistakes being made. And the impact that I personally believe it had on the verdict in this scenario.

The other side of the coin is, as Edda said, the amount of support that has come out on her behalf and on our family's behalf has been extraordinary, and we're very thankful for it.

KING: And we'll be back with Edda Mellas and Curt Knox right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. We've got the final excerpt from Amanda's courtroom remarks during closing arguments. You'll hear the translator. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANDA KNOX (through translator): Because you've stood with me not only directly but indirectly through my lawyers, my defense, my family, and my friends are the reason. They are the ones who are saving my life every day, day after day, that I manage to stand this.

And I also have to thank the prosecution, because for sure they are sincerely trying to do their job, even though they don't understand. They don't understand. Even though they haven't been able to understand, because they are trying to bring justice to an act that has taken a person from this world. And therefore, I thank them for this, for what I am doing, for what they are doing.

The important thing now is that I thank you because now it is your turn, and therefore I thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Edda, how has all of this changed your daughter?

MELLAS: Oh, you know, none of us will be the same. And Amanda most of all. She went to Italy this care-free, trusting, naive, just wanting to see the world, happy young woman. And she's really become -- she had to grow up. She's much more serious, she's much more cautious. Yes, it's been hard.

KING: Curt, naturally you weren't there. Is there ever a moment when you have doubt about her innocence?

KNOX: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. It's never even crossed my mind. The way that she was raised, the way that she goes about her life, the way that she makes her friends, and truly the friends that she has are close friends, they are not kind of just superficial friends. And nothing in her background would ever lead you to believe that she would be associated to something like this.

KING: Edda, in the immediate aftermath of the murder, your family in Germany suggested that Amanda come and stay with them. She didn't. Do you think that would've changed things?

MELLAS: Oh, you know, I kick myself every day that I didn't make her leave the country. And so does my cousin in Germany. Because had she left and -- none of this would've happened. She wouldn't be where she's at. But, you know, we can't go back and fix that. We just need to go forward.

KING: You don't think they would have extradited?

MELLAS: No, there was no -- there's no evidence against her. You know, none of that interrogation that they bullied her into that the supreme court found illegal, none of that would've happened. There's no physical evidence of her at the crime scene. They would have had no reason to, you know, extradite her or even attempt to arrest her. And they even admit to the fact that they really have no physical evidence, that it's just sort of some bizarre circumstantial stuff that they have.

KING: We'll take a break and come right back and ask the parents why they think she was found guilty. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Edda Mellas and Curt Knox. You mentioned no evidence. Didn't the prosecution assert that Amanda's DNA was on the handle of the kitchen knife used to kill Meredith? And Meredith's DNA was on the blade? Isn't that true, Edda?

MELLAS: You know, well, no, they found a knife in Raffaele's house. It's kind of yes and no. And there was Amanda's DNA on the handle, and that's because she -- she actually, you know, cooked meals there.

The speck of DNA that was about a human cell that they found on the blade is highly controversial. It's what they call low copy number DNA. And in, you know, the FBI won't even use it in the United States because it is so unreliable, that you can't -- you can't prove anything with it. And that's all they think they have.

KING: Curt, why did she -- why was she found not guilty? Found guilty, rather. Why did she lose this case?

KNOX: Well, frankly, what I believe happened in this particular courtroom was a huge character assassination that literally took place for two years. And the extreme exposure that this case got, and the misreporting, leaks of false information, and all of that just snowballed. And during the closing arguments, the defense teams for both Amanda and Raffaele did an extraordinary job of breaking down all of the physical evidence and literally having the prosecution change to a fourth motive of, you know, we don't need a motive.

I believe this court didn't have the courage to say not guilty and just push it off to the appeals level, which is completely unacceptable to me.

KING: Edda, what do you know about that night? What do you know about the stories of drugs and sex games and the like? What do you really know?

MELLAS: Well, you know, we know -- we don't know what happened at Amanda's house, because she wasn't there. You know, what we do know for sure and what has been proven by evidence, for instance, is that Amanda and Raffaele were seen at Raffaele's house. It shows computer activity at his house. They were there. They cooked dinner. They watched a movie. They hung out. All of that is proven through computer records, all the way up until at least, I think, 9:15.

Now, they believe that Meredith was killed about 9:30. And somehow the prosecution claims that in 15 minutes, Amanda and Raffaele got totally wasted, ran off, found a guy that they didn't know, committed this murder, in about 15 minutes. It's ludicrous. Amanda was at Raffaele's house. They stayed there all evening. That's what we know for sure.

KING: Do you buy any of the anti-Americanism idea, Curt?

KNOX: You know, I would like to believe that there isn't any of that. But after listening to what took place in the court of law, and, you know, the huge mistake that was made in the result of this, you know, I frankly don't know what to believe. And I -- I'll leave it there at this point.

KING: We have a third person, the Ivory Coast immigrant named Rudy Guede, who was convicted of Meredith's murder earlier in the year in a separate trial. Although police say he implicated Amanda, he declined to testify. After he declined to testify, the prosecution tried to have transcripts of his interrogation introduced. The motion was denied. What do you make of his involvement in all of this?

MELLAS: You know, it's interesting. Because we do know what was admitted of his. We know that his DNA is all over the room, in the victim's blood, on the victim's body. His footprints are in her blood all over the room. His DNA is in her purse. After the crime, he all of a sudden had money that he didn't have earlier in the day. He went out partying, and then he fled the country. And we know also -- and what was admitted in Amanda's trial -- the only thing that really was admitted -- was that when he was on the run and the police were secretly wiretapping him and he was talking to a friend of his, the friend said, you know, they think Amanda was there. And he goes, oh, I know who Amanda is and she was absolutely not there.

KING: Curiouser and curiouser. Back with more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: One curious aspect about your daughter. She falsely implicated a man named Patrick Lumumba. He was cleared. Why would she do that? In fact, she was sentenced to pay 40,000 euros to Patrick Lumumba for defamation. Do you know, Curt, why -- where he came in?

KNOX: Well, there -- during the time frame in which Meredith lost her life and when Amanda was actually arrested, it was about a 90-hour time frame. During that 90 hours, Amanda was actually questioned and interrogated for over 41 hours, and it culminated in a 14-hour overnight, very aggressive interrogation.

She told us it's -- she has never been more scared in her entire life. She was asked to visualize a number of things. They prompted her towards Patrick Lumumba, and literally she described even in her testimony six to eight people circling her, shouting at her, questioning at her, hitting her in the back of the head.

And at that stage of the game, you're virtually willing to sign anything in order to get out of that situation. And that's a circumstance that if you take a look at it, across the world, you're going to find that a number of people do a number of things. And I believe that's exactly what happened in this case.

And one thing to point out here is that both of the statements that she made during that interrogation were actually thrown out by the Italian supreme court. So in this particular circumstance, yes, he was part of the trial, and yes, he was awarded something. But I believe in the appeal process, we're going to be able to show that she was essentially coerced into it, and therefore the civil settlement will go away.

KING: The Kercher family, the victim in this, is suing for $36 million in civil damages from your daughter, her former boyfriend, and the man previously convicted. What do you say to them? Edda, what do you say to that family?

MELLAS: You know, I understand -- you know, we've always said that we can only imagine the pain that they're going through. They lost their child. There's nothing that compares to that.

You know, I don't know about the civil penalties. I know that Amanda has nothing. And so, I think it's mostly a symbolic type of a thing. But again, I can't imagine the pain that they're going through for the loss of their child.

KING: Curt, Senator Maria Cantwell, who represents your daughter's home state of Washington, says she's complained to the Italian embassy about this case and plans to raise the issue with Secretary of State Clinton. Secretary Clinton said she's willing to meet with the senator or anyone who has a concern, but the State Department said today it has not received any indications that Italian law was not followed in this case. So the State Department seems to be backing away. What do you make of that, Curt?

KNOX: Well, first of all, I'd like to say thank you to Maria Cantwell. Because she's really standing out, you know, front and forward on Amanda's behalf. And we appreciate any support that will allow us to bring our daughter home, because she is in a prison now that she does not belong in. And she's been there too long for something that she hasn't done.

You know, I think as people -- and literally, this happens over here in Italy, as well. As people look closer and closer at this case and in this individual court, they're seeing that, wait a minute, this is the wrong verdict for the evidence that was presented in the court of law. And I think it needs to be looked at more and more. And I truly appreciate the efforts that she's putting forth in trying to bring that to a conclusion.

KING: No comment on what the State Department said?

KNOX: You know, I don't -- I don't know specifically. I -- we're kind of running a little bit in the dark since we're so far away.

KING: Yes.

KNOX: You know, I think if they look into it further, they're going to find that they're going to want to pursue it a little bit more.

MELLAS: And we already know. I mean, even the Italian supreme court has ruled that her rights were repeatedly violated. So, you know, this has not all gone, you know, hunky-dory. Even on Italian standards, they've made huge mistakes, and her rights were repeatedly violated.

KING: We have some Twitter questions for Edda and Curt right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The family of Meredith Kercher was present when the verdict against Amanda Knox was announced afterward. Meredith's brother Lyle had this reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYLE KERCHER, MEREDITH KERCHER'S BROTHER: We're pleased with the decision, pleased that we've got a decision. But it's not a time, you know, it's not a time for celebration at the end of the day. You know, it's not a moment of triumph. And as we've said before, at the end of the day, we're all gathered here, because, you know, our sister was brutally murdered and taken away from us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We have some Twitter questions for our guests. One person asks, Edda, has your child ever shown any signs of drug or sexual addiction?

MELLAS: Never. You know, Amanda was an honor student all the way through high school and college. She was a normal girl, just like all college students who maybe try things that their parents really don't want them to. But she was a great kid, who was getting great grades and working jobs, and, no, she was not doing anything extreme.

KING: Curt, are you surprised -- another Twitter -- are you surprised at all the sex references with regard to your daughter? Are you shocked at that?

KNOX: Actually, yes. I mean, Amanda was what I might refer to as a late bloomer when it came to boys. But one of the things that she was very focused on was her school work. And it's one that she never let go. And with that, you know, I think any time that you have young individuals, they're going to experiment, you know, in sexual encounters with other males and so forth. But, you know, to try to portray her as being sexually deviant or something like that is absolutely incorrect, and she's just a normal college kid. And it's unfortunate that people would even consider something like that.

KING: Edda, anther Twitter question. Why did she go to Perugia?

MELLAS: You know, Amanda wanted to see the world. And she really is gifted in languages. And she wanted to see a really ancient culture. She wanted to come here and immerse herself in the language and the history and the people. And Perugia is not what people consider a tourist town. She wanted to go someplace that was more just normal Italy. And that is why she came here.

KING: Curt, what has the defense team come up with? What's their theory of the crime?

KNOX: Well, I think it's actually a fairly simple one when you really look at it and look at the evidence that has taken place. Number one, you've got Rudy Guede, who has a prior history of breaking and entering through second-story windows with a knife.

MELLAS: And a rock.

KNOX: Yes, and definitely throwing rocks. But the other thing about that is -- I think in this circumstance, he broke in intending to steal rent money, because it was at the very beginning of the month. He got surprised by Meredith coming home, and I think he took some steps to potentially have an encounter with her. And it got out of hand, and he basically killed her, and then essentially took off for Germany. And it's literally that simple.

KING: We'll be back with some remaining moments with Edda Mellas and Curt Knox. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Edda Mellas and Curt Knox. Edda, what would you say to the family of the deceased?

MELLAS: You know, again, we said it so many times. We can't even imagine their loss, and the pain that they must feel. But we would also tell them that we know that absolutely, that Amanda had nothing to do with this. And Meredith was her friend. And this is -- you know, there's a couple new victims in this whole mess, and that's Amanda and Raffaele.

KING: Curt, did the prosecution ever present a theory of a motive?

KNOX: You know, they actually went through four of them. The first one was a Satanic rite. The second one was a sex-drug orgy. The third one was a hatred for Meredith. And they could not prove any of those. So they just moved on to we don't have a motive during the closing argument phase.

And at least in the United States, you need to have a motive in order to, you know, convict somebody. And it just shows the entire weakness of the case. And having the defense literally break down all of the physical evidence during closing arguments, it was so crystal clear to me that she was innocent and should have been found that way. But there's been a huge mistake in this particular courtroom, and it needs to get fixed and fixed soon.

KING: Edda, one of the twitterers wants to know, in what way the embassy or consulate in Italy will help them or maybe has helped them?

MELLAS: You know, unfortunately, they -- everybody is, quote, keeping an eye on this case. We're in a foreign country. We have to abide by the laws in this country. You know, they're watching closely. We're not sure yet. I'm actually meeting -- I'm going to the embassy on Friday to have another meeting. And so, really, we don't know how they can help or if they can help.

KING: We're going to ask Edda Mellas and Curt Knox to sit by. Two -- we have two segments left. Two prominent American attorneys, John Q. Kelly, who supports them completely. He has been on with us before. And defense attorney Mark Geragos. They will comment on this case and then we'll get to hear what Edda and Curt think about what they say right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Edda Mellas and Curt Knox are with us in Perugia, Italy. We're now joined by the prominent defense attorney here in Los Angeles, Mark Geragos. And in New York, John Q. Kelly, former prosecutor, now a civil litigator. Among his clients, the estate of Nicole Brown Simpson and the parents of Natalee Holloway.

Mark Geragos, what's your read on this?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think Amanda's parents have got a real beef here. It's I think every parent's worst nightmare, to send your child overseas and then have them get ensnared in something like this. And by all accounts, the evidence was anything but overwhelming, and certainly not convincing. And this -- I don't know who said it, whether it was them or one of the other relatives, somebody had a great statement that I heard, which was they weren't trying Amanda, they were trying some fictional character. And it sure sounds like that's exactly what happened.

KING: Edda, is that what you feel?

MELLAS: Oh, absolutely. You know, it's amazing. Everything that was said in court about Amanda, we're all looking at each other going, who are they talking about? And it didn't even follow the evidence of the people that knew her and testified about her. It was just weird fantasy, bizarre.

KING: John, you've really been involved in this. You've been on with us before about it. Would this have been different if this were the United States?

JOHN Q. KELLY, ATTORNEY: Well, I think so. I mean, there's been injustice here, there's been justice in other countries. But this is just beyond the pale, Larry. The manipulation of evidence, the unfavorable inferences drawn from most common of circumstances and conduct was just a gross injustice here. I mean, what the prosecution did was take normal negatives and create evidence out of them. If there were no fingerprints in the room, it's because Amanda cleaned them up. If there were no footprints there, she must have cleaned them. When her hard drive was destroyed by the police, she must have done it. When the murder weapon did not fit the wounds on the victim and the outline on the bed, the bloody outline, they said there must have been at least two knives involved then.

So what they did was just explain their lack of evidence by creating this elaborate cover-up and conspiracy that Amanda and Raffaele were involved in.

KING: Curt, were you happy with the defense?

KNOX: I thought our defense team, and for that matter, Raffaele's defense team, did a great job in breaking down and breaking up any physical evidence in the court of law. But I think as both of the attorneys that are on here with us have stated, there was something much bigger going into this thing, and literally the character assassination that Amanda experienced upfront just continued to snowball. And they made a person that they needed in order to fit their fantasy story that they put together.

KING: Mark, we have already heard that the appeal system in Italy is more favorable to the defendant than it is in the United States. For example, they don't just have to rule on whether the Constitution was violated or not. They look at the whole case.

GERAGOS: It's almost a de novo procedure, which you don't here.

KING: Meaning?

GERAGOS: De novo meaning you get to start fresh. You get to start new.

KING: They look at the whole thing?

GERAGOS: They look at the whole thing from start to finish. It's not limited to just legal questions. It's not limited to evidentiary questions or anything of that...

KING: That seems incongruous to the way a trial is held.

GERAGOS: Well, it basically gets you two bites at the apple. The problem is, as they've indicated, is she sits there in a prison for something that by all accounts, she didn't do.

And, you know, as John says, the injustice here is something that is shared in America. I mean, there are many cases in America where you have this similar prosecutorial technique of character assassination. It's the -- he doesn't act right or she doesn't act right evidence. Or you get any rumor or anybody with an ax to grind to get up there and say anything they want. That inflames juries and tends to get jurors to focus on things that are not evidence, and instead to get passionate or prejudicial.

KING: Why do you think, John, that the prosecution was so heavy- handed? Why were they apparently out after her?

KELLY: Well, first of all, there's a lot of pressure on them to solve this case quickly. I mean, Perugia is a small college town. It's very sedate there. And all of a sudden, they had this salacious, you know, sexually deviant, senseless killing here of a beautiful young woman, by all accounts a wonderful woman. And you know, they needed suspects. They needed to make an arrest. And they arrested these two individuals based on groundless speculation before they even examined the forensic and physical evidence. They didn't want to back down from it.

Larry, one other thing I wanted to point out that's never really brought up is they talk about Amanda's inconsistent statements. That last four and a half hours, she was considered a suspect then. And under Italian law, they were required to videotape that last four and a half hours, and that's where all the controversy comes in about what she was abused and was she harangued, was she asked, you know, hypothetical questions. Italians say no. Amanda is absolutely adamant about how she was questioned...

KING: They don't have the tape?

KELLY: ... and coerced, and there's no tape there. So the hard drive on her computer that would have shown her friendship with Meredith and the videotape that would have been required, and I'm sure was taken, of her interrogation, both miraculously disappeared.

KING: And we'll have more moments right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Mark, what would be the key aspect of your appeal and how -- would you be encouraging for Edda and Curt?

GERAGOS: Well, yes, if the reports I read are correct, they've mortgaged and bankrupted themselves basically to fund the defense. But obviously, they're not going to give up hope. They'll do whatever they have to do. It's their daughter.

KING: Would this be a good appeal?

GERAGOS: Well, I think so. I mean, it would be a great appeal if you were someplace where you could trust the justice system. I don't know how much trust at this point they have in the Italian justice system that basically, as they've said and I parroted, erected and built a fictional character, convicted that fictional character, invoked almost class warfare in order to do it. And, as John said, went to great lengths to take what are normal negative exonerating inferences and create bad evidence, if you will, out of them.

KING: John, do you think they'll get a fair appeal?

KELLY: I certainly hope so. I think with the pressure brought on for scrutiny right now, I think they will. The goal is to get the case out of Perugia, get two new judges, get six new lay jurors, a little more open minded and not infected by the media of the first month after this case broke. And you know, the parents, Curt and Edda, have incredible resolve right now, more resolve than ever to bring Amanda home, and I know they're going to.

KING: Edda, are you optimistic?

MELLAS: You know, I have to be. I mean, if I wasn't, I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning. And I have to keep fighting for Amanda. There's no way that we'll stop fighting for Amanda.

KING: Curt, what about you?

KNOX: Same thing. I mean, she is not going to be left in a foreign prison 6,000 miles away from us for something that she didn't do. And it's so crystal clear to me that there is such a huge mistake in this courtroom that that has to be fixed, and it has to be fixed soon.

KING: And I know both of you give many thanks to the thousands of people writing to you, right, from all over the world? Edda?

MELLAS: Oh, huge. The support, Larry, has been unbelievable, and thank you for allowing us to take a second here to truly thank the letters and the outpouring from -- starting in Italy, all through Europe, all over the world. You know, lots of people in Seattle obviously, but everywhere. And we want to thank them for their support.

KNOX: And it's been extraordinary. I mean, just, you know, literally everywhere you can think of, there's been support for not only Amanda but for us as a family, and it's great to see. And we truly appreciate it.

KING: Mark, are you surprised at this support from everywhere that this case has generated?

GERAGOS: No, it's interesting. If these same things had gone on in America, people have kind of a naive faith in the American justice system. I think that when you place it and say, well, this happens in Italy and people don't have that prism of faith in the American justice system, and they then say, well, look, but for the grace of God walk I or my kids, I think people are more rational about it and understand what a horrific situation this is.

KING: John, are you surprised?

KELLY: No, not at all. I mean, it's an extraordinarily unjust situation. It's from a very good family. And it's every parent's worst nightmare. You know, that their son or daughter could be overseas studying, which so many strive for, and get swept up by circumstances, and you known, their lives are destroyed.

KING: Edda Mellas, Curt Knox, we'll continue to keep in touch. Thank you for being with us. Mark Geragos, John Kelly, as always.

The Jacksons are here tomorrow night. Jermaine, Marlon, Tito and Jackie. "AC 360" is here right now.