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Special Presentation: Amanda Knox, the Unanswered Questions

Aired May 7, 2013 - 22:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: The following is a CNN Special Report.

CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, Amanda Knox put to the test.

(on camera): Why would you say that if it didn't happen? Why are you the one who is strange? Why not check on your friend? Why didn't you check on your friend?

(voice-over): And she holds nothing back.

AMANDA KNOX, ACCUSED OF MURDER: I was screaming it to the prosecutor when they were screaming at me during my interrogation, and no one listened to me. It's like I'm having to prove my innocence instead of just saying it.

CUOMO: The terror of her time behind bars.

KNOX: I couldn't even defend myself the same way other prisoners could defend themselves. I'm not attacking you. Everyone please be my witness that I'm not attacking you.

CUOMO: The threats she believes she still faces.

KNOX: There are not normal people who are fixated on me. And I don't know what they're capable of.

CUOMO: And for the first time, Knox takes on those questions about her sexual behavior.

KNOX: I was not strapping on leather and bearing a whip.

CUOMO: Amanda Knox, her fight for freedom. The fight of her life. THE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS begins right now.

(on camera): Hello, everyone. I'm Chris Cuomo in New York. Tonight, we ask Amanda Knox the questions that go to the heart of why people doubt her so vehemently. She will reveal new information about her actions, about the investigation and what has happened to her since returning home after four years in an Italian prison.

To be sure, you will hear her strongest arguments to date for why she is not a killer. The debate about the case has been reignited by Knox's new book, "Waiting to be Heard." Her version of everything that happened. But with Italy preparing to retry Knox on murder chargers, her story is far from over. Nor is it over for her family, who sacrificed so much, or more importantly, for the family of murder victim Meredith Kercher. You will hear about them tonight, as well, and their fight for justice.

Amanda Knox will face the tough questions from us in just a moment. But, first, let's remember where this story begins. With two bright- eyed foreign exchange students anxious to start an adventure in Perugia, Italy.

(voice-over): It started with a murder. February 2, 2007, British exchange student Meredith Kercher is found dead in her bedroom in Perugia, Italy. Lurid details emerge. Kercher found half naked, her throat slashed, her bra clasp cut.

Police hone in on a suspect. Amanda Knox, 20 years old. An exchange student from America and Kercher's roommate. The media frenzy surrounding the case is almost immediate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: American Amanda Knox was back in court over the weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two others are still on trial in the high-profile murder of a British student in Italy.

CUOMO: Knox tells police when she returned from her Italian boyfriend that morning, she saw drops of blood in the sink and on a bath mat. But she couldn't find Meredith. But she went back to her boyfriend's instead of calling police.

The two are interrogated for days. Knox says she's unaware she's a suspect. She then admits to what she later calls a coerced statement, placing herself at the scene that night.

In July of 2008, Knox, her boyfriend and a third man, Rudy Guede, are charged with Kercher's murder. Guede had confessed to being there the night of the murder. Forensic scientists find his DNA all over the crime scene. He is quickly found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison. But later, reduced to 16 years.

But prosecutors believe Knox and Sollecito were complicit in the murder. The theory: it is all the result of a drug-fueled sex game gone horribly wrong. They rely heavily on Knox's confession and her tabloid image as Foxy Knoxy, a remorseless she-devil, sex and drug addict.

Knox and Sollecito are found guilty. She is sentenced to a total of 26 years in prison. Two years later, a new trial and a different outcome. The DNA linking Knox and Sollecito to the crime not even considered evidence by court-appointed experts.

October 3, 2011, after four years in prison, Amanda Knox is set free.

COOPER: The best news imaginable for the family of Amanda Knox.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN ANCHOR: The first thing she wants to do is just lie in a green field.

CUOMO: Free to fly back to America, but leaving so many wondering what really happened that night.

(on camera): Thank you very much for taking the opportunity.

KNOX: Oh, thank you for having me.

CUOMO: You laid out your story. You have told your truth. There is reaction; there are doubts. You know this. How do you explain it?

KNOX: It's hard. It's hard to prove that you're innocent, that you didn't do something. And I think that there -- there is yet to remain an openness to understanding my experience. And I hope that -- I hope that this -- me going through all these interviews will -- will help to at least encourage a reconsideration.

CUOMO: You're nervous.

KNOX: Yes.

CUOMO: You're worried.

KNOX: Yes, I mean, this is affecting my life. And I mean, I thought -- I thought this would be over by now. I really did.

CUOMO: It's not over. There are a lot of doubts. Are you ready to deal with what's out there?

KNOX: I have to be. I've had -- I've had to be this entire time. I -- I haven't ever really been ready for any of it. I mean, this is all so much bigger than me.

One of the more frustrating aspects of the doubts that have arisen is the fact that they're coming from the fact that the prosecution has not given a satisfactory answer to what happened, and I've been the one who's being held responsible for that.

CUOMO: Why are you?

KNOX: Why?

CUOMO: Why not some man? It's usually a man who does these bad things. Why you? Why do you think the prosecution is targeting you?

KNOX: Well, that's a really good question. I think it comes back to their decision to target me from the very beginning. I think -- I think from the very beginning, they wanted to think that what happened to Meredith was an inside job.


KNOX: I definitely acted a little differently than others. But what I think is important to understand about that and...

CUOMO: Give it to me. What's your answer? What's inside? Don't hold back. This is your chance. People aren't holding back when they criticize your story, when they say it's not believable, that you're not believable. So if there's a time to come with it, now is the time.

KNOX: Well, I find it incredible that, despite an absolute lack of evidence that connects me to this murder, I'm still being judged based upon unrealistic and unreasonable expectations about how a young woman would react to a horrible situation.

No one knows how they would react to a horrible situation until it happens to them. People were screaming in Italian, and I was trying to figure out what was happening. And so in the immediacy, I was shocked.

But I am the type of person who, to this day, people suggest that I'm cold or unfeeling. And first of all, it's untrue. I've definitely reacted to what happened to her. And I react to this day; I'm emotional to this day about what happened.

But I'm also the type of person who, when there is pressure on me, and expectation on me to react, to feel in front of people, I freeze. I -- I would much rather -- I'd much rather suppress my emotion than have it be determined as insincere and affected.

CUOMO: As a result, you seem flat, you seem cold, you seem indifferent. Not to be insulting, but those are the observations.

KNOX: The observations, I don't think, are fair to be quite honest, because I did react to what happened. And I continue to react. And I'm emotional. I -- I've cried. I've been angry. I've been scared. And these were all things that I've -- that I've shown, that have come out of me.

I mean, as I was going through all of this, when I cried, it was bad. When I didn't cry, it was bad. When I smiled it was bad. When I didn't smile, it was bad. It -- I have been paralyzed by this kind of scrutiny. And -- and I feel like it's unfair.

CUOMO: You have a behavior where you pause before you answer. And it looks like you're trying to figure out how to be. Or maybe it's just that you're afraid of what will come out of you. What is that pause?

KNOX: It's taken me a long time to be able to come out of my own head. That was the only place that I was ever safe. That was the only place that I could nurture myself through what I was going through.

CUOMO: When I ask you a question and you pause before you answer, and I'm sure in other interviews, a lot of that gets edited out. But maybe it's the most important point. What's the pause?

KNOX: I'm constantly afraid of being misconstrued. I'm not the best speaker. I write. This is the way that I -- I think and I'm able to understand what it is I actually want to say. I write it down. I'm not the type of person who is very good at finding the right words. And I know from experience that every word counts and that I'm being judged upon every single word that I say. And so I have to pause. I have to pause because I know that any -- any word -- can be construed and have the longest-lasting effect on my life.

CUOMO (voice-over): Coming up, Amanda Knox takes on the lurid sexual allegations that helped get her convicted.

(on camera): Did you have any type of experimental activities there you're embarrassed to talk about?

KNOX: I've never taken part in an orgy. Ever.

CUOMO: Plus, caught in a trap? Her struggle to prove her innocence.

KNOX: There was nothing I could do that was right. And I was scared. I just completely clammed up.

CUOMO: And trying to move on and living with the horrors she experienced.

KNOX: I sit in my hotel room and cry so loud until the security calls the room because the person next door has heard me crying.


CUOMO: People like to read headlines to you that call you a vixen, Foxy Knoxy, whatever it is. OK. The dancing. The real proposition here is prosecutors believe this happened because you were a sexual deviant, right? Right? Forget the headlines. That's what this is about, at its core. This is their theory. That you went in there for some kind of freaky sexual activity that went wrong and your roommate wound up dying. Fair?

KNOX: That's what they say.

CUOMO: That's what it is. Forget the headlines. That's the truth of the proposition, isn't it? Is there truth to that proposition? Were you into deviant sex? Insensitive question, but, hey, we've got to get to what it is. This fuels the doubt. Were you into that kind of experimentation?


CUOMO: Did Meredith suspect you were into these type of things and created a barrier between the two of you?


CUOMO: And therefore you resented her?


CUOMO: Because she was judging you. None of that?

KNOX: No, absolutely not. And there's no evidence. There's no evidence of that.

CUOMO: That's the theory. Knox is into some freaky sexual things. She tried to pull in Meredith, who was a stayed, buttoned-up Brit. She wasn't into it, and it went wrong. That's their theory. That was in the discussion of the judges, yes?

KNOX: Absolutely. And they -- I was there in the courtroom when they were calling me things like violent and whore and deviant, and it's all untrue.

CUOMO: Where are they getting it from? Did you have any type of experimental activities there you're embarrassed to talk about?


CUOMO: That they know about?

KNOX: Well, in the book, I talk about all of my sexual experiences, and I haven't needed to talk about the details of that, because they aren't deviant. I was not strapping on leather and bearing a whip. I've never done that.

CUOMO: No rope activities.

KNOX: I've never taken part in an orgy, ever.

CUOMO: And your roommates wouldn't have told prosecutors this? Could they have gotten this idea from somewhere else? Maybe you're not telling the truth, they heard it from somewhere else? Maybe you are telling the truth and they heard it from somewhere else.

KNOX: I mean, no one has ever claimed that I was ever taking part in any deviant sexual activity. None of my roommates, none of my friends, none of the people who knew me there. That is simply coming out of the prosecution. No witnesses have ever come out saying anything like that.

And the reason why they continued to perpetuate this idea is because they had this idea about me. They created this idea about me, because it would legitimize their -- their accusations against me. I would be the type of person, a deviant, who would do this.

And yet, this is them projecting their own idea about the kind of person who would be capable of doing what happened to Meredith on me. And they have nothing.

CUOMO: Where did they get it?

KNOX: They have nothing to sustain it. They didn't get it from me. They didn't get it from me, and they didn't get it from witnesses. It literally came from the prosecution.

And this is what I've been up against this entire time. This fact that the prosecution was projecting onto what happened, their own theories about young women and women who are -- I was sexually active. I was not sexually deviant. And because I was sexually active, that turned in, for them, to sexual deviancy.

CUOMO: Did you ever tell Meredith to participate in something that she may have told people she was uncomfortable with?


CUOMO: The theory is you went there to do something deviant. . She didn't want to. It went wrong. She wound up getting killed. You agree that that is the theory, right?

KNOX: Yes. That's really what I'm up against. This idea of sexual deviancy, this femme -- this notion of femme fatale that is completely unrealistic.

CUOMO: So if that is not true, what is true? What kind of person are you? Who are you?

KNOX: I mean, I really don't feel different from other people. I think that -- I mean, I wrote my book to show what kind of person I am. And I painstakingly sought out to be honest, to not hide. And I mean, even my parents were telling me, like, "Are you sure you really want to talk about this?" Because, like, I'm putting it -- I'm putting myself out there, because I'm tired of being judged on wrong information.

Like I -- I am being judged, and there's nothing I can do about that. But I am so tired of having to confront wrong information. Just this trying to prove what I'm not. And trying to prove what I didn't do. It's absurd.

And I'm -- I'm having to continue doing this to this day. And these -- these are fantasies. These are notions. Honestly, like I was discussing this with my boyfriend yesterday. Just trying to imagine, like, where is this idea of me coming from? And I mean...

CUOMO: That's the right question.

KNOX: There have been police officers who would -- who said that I reeked of sex all of the time. I would just come into the police office reeking of sex and just constantly thinking, like, what was on their mind when they looked at me was sex. And I just do not understand it, except for the fact that I am a young woman and this was...

CUOMO: There are a lot of young women. Why do you think people have this impression of you?

KNOX: I'm not, for instance, Meredith's friends. Or...

CUOMO: That's right. Or Meredith. Or her roommates. It's you. It's a big question.

KNOX: Why me?

CUOMO: Big question. The prosecution bases most of its theory on this in terms of motive. We'll get to the other parts. Motive, you're a freak. You went in there to do something freaky with Meredith. It went wrong, and it cost her her life. Period.

KNOX: Yes. And I was no different than the other women in my house. I wasn't.

CUOMO: So then that means, in your mind, you spent four years of your life in jail because of a perverted prosecutor?

KNOX: Yes, that's what I think.

CUOMO: How do you handle that? That's got to make you angry.

KNOX: I am angry.

CUOMO: That's what you believe. That's got to be tough to live with.

KNOX: I mean, it truly is incredible to have to come to terms with that. I any that's one of the reasons why it took me so long to understand what was happening to me. Because I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe the kinds of accusations that were being thrust upon me. And the kind of explanations that the prosecution was putting towards me. They just made no sense and were coming out of nowhere.

And I felt like for months and months and months, I just did not -- there was nothing I could do to anticipate what was coming at me, and I was helpless to defend myself against it. It was -- it was a bombardment of falsehood and fantasy.

CUOMO (voice-over): Coming up, what happened the night Meredith Kercher died? And what was behind that strange behavior?

(on camera): Your roommates, your boyfriend, the cops, they all say the same thing. They thought you were responding weird. Odd. Strange.

KNOX: Yes.


(voice-over): Plus, the trauma behind bars.

KNOX: I'm not attacking you. Everyone, please be my witness. I'm not attacking you.


CUOMO: We'll get right back to the Amanda Knox interview in just a moment. But we want to go quickly to Anderson Cooper, who's on the ground in Cleveland, following the extraordinary developments there. The headline, three women found alive years after being kidnapped.

Anderson, what's the latest now?

COOPER: Well, yes, Chris, it's still very much a crime scene. You can see the house, the white porch light is still on. The FBI, which is in charge of this crime scene, is still inside there. They've been photographing, removing evidence. They have been there all day, all of last night and no doubt will be here all tonight, as well. This entire area, it has been cordoned off.

The suspects, three suspects are in custody. They have to be charged within 48 hours, by tomorrow evening. Those charges have not yet been filed or announced.

I did talk to the Cleveland Police Department. They said they hope to speak to the suspects, interview the suspects tomorrow. That has not yet been done. It's not clear if those suspects are going to be cooperative, of course, or not.

And as of the three women who have been reunited with their families, in all cases, the authorities have begun to interview them throughout the day today. Early this morning, they said that last night, they were trying to take it very easy, allow the women time to be with their families. But they are still very actively trying to figure out what happened inside that house over the last ten years or so with these three women.

I did have chance to talk to Charles Ramsey, the man who's made headlines around the world for helping Amanda Berry get out of that house. Here's some of what he told me earlier today.


CHARLES RAMSEY, HELPED RESCUE AMANDA BERRY: She's like "I've been trapped in here, and he won't let me out. It's me and my baby."

I said, "I'm on top of it. Open up." I'm trying to get the door open and I can't. He done torture chambered it in some kind of way and locked it up, right? So I did what I had to do and kicked the bottom of the door, and she crawled out of it.


COOPER: Charles Ramsey, another neighbor, Chris, as you know, helped her get out. He's lived in this neighborhood for about a year and had no idea, obviously, what was going on inside that house. Though, he did know one of the suspects, Ariel Castro called him a normal guy, a guy he would barbecue with from time to time. But he is just stunned and angry at what authorities say has gone on inside that house, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, I love when Mr. Ramsey said to you, I had to put cowardice aside and help someone in need.

Thank for the update from there, Anderson.


CUOMO: We are going to get back now to Amanda Knox and the case that captivated the world.

One thing Knox is certainly guilty of is acting in ways that most would find strange after the grisly murder of her roommate. We will get to her response in just a moment. But, first, the litany of odd behavior that condemned her in the eyes of so many.


CUOMO (voice-over): Who kisses in front of a murder scene? Who does gymnastics in front of investigators, giggles when their girlfriend lay murdered? Amanda Knox did. Behavior that led many to suspect her as cold, unemotional, downright bizarre.

When she arrived at the scene of Kercher's murder, there were things that seemed strange. Things Amanda, all but ignored like the front door being flung open, speckles of blood in the bathroom sink. But she still took a shower there, stepping out onto a bath mat with a bloody footprint.

Unsettling the prosecutors, Knox removed the mop from the scene and brought it back to her boyfriend's house. Later that day, moments after police found Meredith's body, Amanda and Raffaele share an embrace while standing outside the crime scene. Their kisses fuel headlines portraying her as a sex-obsessed femme fatale.

More on what the Knox behavior, the police station, Amanda and Raffaele cuddling, making faces at each other. Knox doing a split in between interrogations. Her character already in question, Knox was spotted at a boutique kissing Sollecito and purchasing underwear the press dubbed saucy. Her image as Foxy Knox is now solidified.

However, the prosecution's smoking gun was the incriminating statement Knox made to police placing herself at the scene of Meredith's murder and naming her boss, Patrick Lumumba as the killer. Knox would later say the statement was coerced. Lumumba was cleared of any involvement and Knox was found guilty of defaming him. Another piece to the puzzle of Knox's odd behavior.

CUOMO: Every piece of a puzzle looks strange until you put them all together, right, to the prosecutions' perspective. We know how this part goes, right? You see a couple of drops of blood here or footprint over there, it doesn't really register as unusual to you.

AMANDA KNOX, SUSPECT IN THE MEREDITH KERCHER MURDER CASE: It did register as unusual to me. And I never said that it didn't register.

CUOMO: But not frightening, not panic?

KNOX: I felt strange. I almost felt like someone over your shoulder feeling. So I got out of there in a hurry.

CUOMO: And then something that haunts me whenever I think about this back then. You panicked. You want to go. You're in too much of a rush. You kind of maybe Meredith is here, maybe she's not, but I'm not going to deal with that right now so, I want to go.

KNOX: I did think Meredith was there.

CUOMO: You are going to call. So you're going to get out. You are going to call your mom. You want to get away. You're worried. You grab a mop. What's up with the mop? Why would you grab a mop if you're in a panic to get out of the house? Who does that?

KNOX: I mean, I grabbed it very quickly on the way out.

CUOMO: Why? You're in a panic? Get up. Who thinks to grab a mop if you are in a panic?

KNOX: I promised Raffaele that I would bring it.

CUOMO: Now, the way on doing this is the things that sparked out. You call your mom. Mom, I don't know, it's the middle of the night. I know, I'm sorry to wake you up. But, what do you think of this? She's worried. Oh, you better call the authorities.

KNOX: She said to talk to Raffaele and talk to my roommates which is what I did.

CUOMO: So you get there, but you don't talk to him right away.

KNOX: He was in the bathroom.

CUOMO: So, you are sitting down. You haven't breakfast. You are got a call from your other roommate. She is panicking.

KNOX: Well, because, I told her.

CUOMO: Right. But she's much more panicky than you were.

KNOX: She is.

CUOMO: Call Meredith. Call Meredith.

KNOX: And I told her that I was. So I called Filamena and I told her what I saw and I wanted to know what she thought about it.

CUOMO: So Filamena says get back to the house. Let's figure out what's going on. Raffaele goes with you. You all rushed back, what do you bring with you?

KNOX: I bring Raffaele and the mop.

CUOMO: Again, with the mop. Why the mop?

KNOX: It's my house's mop. I brought it to Raffaele's, like I promised I would. We picked up the water that had remained and I brought it back because it belongs to the house.

CUOMO: Seems unusual because a mop is what you use to clean. And we are now going to deal with the prosecutors who think that you cleaned your DNA out of a crime scene.

KNOX: Well, to suggest that I used that mop to clean up the crime scene is absurd.

CUOMO: The mop is weird, but when they search the mop, they test the mop, it's clean. We move on. You find out the most horrible truth of what was going on in that house. Now you know. Now you're outside. And now begins another box to check. You don't react the right way. You don't react if right way. You were kissing your boyfriend. Your friend is dead inside. You are not supposed to do that.

KNOX: I supposed to. Well, I think people forget that I did not see into Meredith's room. It was inexplicable, the idea she had been murdered. How? Why? Who? All of these things were things I was struggling to even confront emotionally, but, also, just understanding.

CUOMO: But you're kissing your boyfriend.

KNOX: Well, he kissed me because I was outside in that courtyard. And I was standing there looking lost and he felt bad for me. He kept close to me. He was just trying to comfort me. And there was nothing he could say to tell me that it was going to be all right. He just did what we normally did which was kissing.

CUOMO: Your roommates, your boyfriend, the cops, they all say the same thing. They thought you were responding weird. Odd. Strange.

KNOX: Yes.

CUOMO: Why? Why are you the one who is strange? What makes you strange?

KNOX: I reacted differently than the way people expected a young woman to react. But to hold me to a stereotype of how people react to certain things is unreasonable. And it's unreasonable to assume guilt based upon a reaction. I mean, my reaction was more stunned than anything else.

CUOMO: But it's not just one-on-one thing, right? There's the kissing. There's the split. You know, there's the repeated nonchalance or what they see as non-grief.

KNOX: I went into Perugia very young, not just 20, but just young. Young and sheltered and inexperienced. And, you know, when I first heard and understood that Meredith had been murdered. My immediate reaction was oh my God, I could be dead.

And, you know, that was selfish of me to think, oh my God, I could be dead like and not think oh my God, Meredith is dead. I thought oh hi God, I could be dead right now. I was simply reacting to what was happening. And it never occurred to me that someone would view my behavior as suspicious. It was simply me reacting to what was happening.

CUOMO: The next thing that happens is the big ticket. You said you were there. You said you knew who did it.

KNOX: What I said didn't make sense. What I said, I mean, if you look at what the police wrote up as what I had said, it says that Patrick Lumumba did it, that I was scared, that I didn't understand and it has nothing to do with what actually ended up being found objectively from evidence what happened. I had no idea what happened that night. CUOMO: So why did you say it?

KNOX: The police told me that I knew who the murderer was. They told me that I had to know. That I wasn't telling them the truth. That I had amnesia and that I had to remember.

CUOMO: So what. They're wrong. Why didn't you just say you're wrong. I'm going to leave now. I don't know.

KNOX: First of all, I didn't know that I could leave. I was told that I couldn't. They are telling me that the only way to explain it is trauma and induced amnesia.

CUOMO: And that's why you gave the statement?

KNOX: Because I believed them. I believed them that I must have been wrong. I couldn't think straight when they were screaming at me the entire time. I just couldn't think straight. I started being able to remember what I did do that night because they had asked me so many times. And I signed to it just to make it stop.

CUOMO: Coming up, the retrial that could throw Knox back in prison. Why is the victim's family still going after her?

Have you reached out to her family yet.

KNOX: Not directly.

CUOMO: Why not? You know who reaches out? Somebody who has nothing to hide.

Plus, a new fear. And how Knox is fighting back.

KNOX: There are not normal people who are fixated on me. And I don't know what they are capable of.



CUOMO: Welcome back to "Amanda Knox: the unanswered questions." I'm Chris Cuomo in New York.

First guilty and then freed on appeal. But now the Italian legal system is taking one last shot at Amanda Knox. A Supreme Court ordered retrial. Knox now faces the uncertainty of possible extradition, the terror she might be thrown back behind bars and the pain of who pushed for that retrial in the first place.

The looming question, will Amanda Knox voluntarily return to Italy to clear her name?


CUOMO: You're shocked that there's going to be a retrial, yes?

KNOX: Yes.


KNOX: Because there's no evidence against me. Because the physical evidence that the prosecution was putting forth and damning against me was proven to be wrong. And for all of their theories about my personality and my behavior, there is nothing that links me to this murder. I am not present at the crime scene. I am just not.

And the idea that I could have participated in a murder and yet be not present at the crime scene is ludicrous. So people can talk about my behavior and talk about my active sexual life all they want, but it's irrelevant to the fact that there is no evidence that places me at the murder scene.

CUOMO: Do you think you come off to I can't prove it and not enough I didn't do it. Do you understand the distinction between those two? Ask me if I killed somebody, the answer is no, I didn't do it. I didn't do it. I didn't do it. Not you can't prove it. Not you can't place me at the scene. Do you understand how you can't place me at the scene sounds cagey?

KNOX: Yes, I mean, I have professed from the very beginning that I didn't do it and no one believed me. I was screaming it to the prosecutor when they were screaming at me during my interrogation telling me that I had amnesia, telling me that I had to know what I told them I didn't know and I do it and I wasn't there and no one listened to me. It's like I'm having to prove my innocence instead of just saying it.

CUOMO: The retrial, the Kercher family wants it. Are you aware of that?

KNOX: Yes.

CUOMO: What does that mean to you?

KNOX: I know that they are getting their information about what happened to Meredith through their lawyer who -- whose process has been completely married to the prosecution.

CUOMO: But at the bottom line, if they want a retrial, what does it mean about what think they about you?

KNOX: That means that they think I'm guilty. And I know this. And -- I mean, they are grieving the loss of their family member. And they deserve to have every answer. The idea that someone knows what happened and isn't saying anything and isn't being held responsible is maddening. I understand that. But it's not -- I'm not responsible for what happened. I didn't do it. I wasn't there. I don't know anything more about it.

CUOMO: You didn't go to the vigil for Meredith.

KNOX: Yes.

CUOMO: Should you have?

KNOX: I mean, I found out about it almost right before it happened. And I mean, I wish I would have asked Raffaele to kind put his plans for that evening aside and let me go. It was simply a matter of we had spent hours and hours and hours in the police office and it was an overwhelming situation. I wish I would have gone to that. I didn't know that Meredith's family was going to be there yet. That is something that I regret.

CUOMO: Have you reached out to her family yet?

KNOX: Not directly.

CUOMO: Why not?

KNOX: Well, I know that they think that I'm guilty.

CUOMO: You think it helps that they haven't heard from you? Even if they say they don't want to?

KNOX: You know, I wish I had gotten a-hold of them much earlier at the very beginning.

CUOMO: You know who reaches out?

KNOX: Who?

CUOMO: Somebody who has nothing to hide. That's who reaches out.

KNOX: It's true. I guess my lawyers were afraid that if I said anything or reached out in any way, it would just be picked up by the police and misconstrued into something horrible and it was this horrible paranoia that we were all feeling. And I feel like since then, there have only been years and years of a wall built between us that I am unsure of how to climb and I am unsure of whether it's the right thing to climb it yet. I've always thought that I wanted to approach them when this was all over.

CUOMO: Will you go face the trial? Will you go back?

KNOX: I don't know yet. It's a really complicated question. I mean, I'm afraid to go back there. I don't want to go back into prison. I don't want them, all of the sudden, to do a court order when I'm there just respecting the court in going there and the prosecution be asked that I'm put in preventative detention again. I mean, I was there for four years.

CUOMO: Could you do more time?

KNOX: Me? Could I do more time?

CUOMO: Could you do it? Could you handle it?

KNOX: I'm having to handle things. I've not really been given a choice. And I think people have sort of underestimate what that means and what effect that has had on me and my life. I have no choice but face this. And I constantly ask myself why? Why me? I have no choice but to confront this. And I don't know. I'm afraid. I am so afraid.

CUOMO: If you go back, you might not wind upcoming back to America for a very long time.

KNOX: Yes, and I'm afraid of that.

CUOMO: Coming up, caught in a nightmare. Knox's raw and terrifying life behind bars.

KNOX: I would have to throw up my arms and tell them that -- and scream out that I am not attacking you.

CUOMO: Plus, the potential retrial. Could Amanda Knox wind up back behind bars?

Is there any chance that the prosecutors have developed DNA evidence that they didn't see before that puts you at the crime scene?




CUOMO (voice-over): Knox spent 1,427 days of her life behind bars, eight months on complete lockdown, entirely alone in a small cell for 23 hours a day. It was within these walls that Knox says a guard leered at her, groped her, invaded her privacy.

In a cruel twist, Knox says a prison doctor told her she was HIV positive, perhaps in an effort to make her list all of her sexual partners, a list officials later leaked to the media. The diagnosis was false.

One of the things that kept her alive, Knox says, twice weekly visits from her family at only an hour each. But Amanda would look forward to everyone of those visits.

Over the course of years behind bars, Knox says she became numb. And as the verdict drew near, she suffered from anxiety attacks, the spontaneous crime, struggling to breath, loss of hair, all began to take its toll. Knox says she even contemplated suicide.

You wind up in prison. What is prison like every day?

KNOX: Your entire life is according to the prison's schedule at that point. I mean, there are designated times for eating. There are designated times for socializing, there are designated times for being allowed to be outside and breathing fresh air. And most of the time you spend it in your cell. When you are alone, all you have is what the guards are telling you. All you have is what they are not telling you, also.

CUOMO: The HIV test had to be horrible to deal with that. It was couple of months before you found out that it was a false positive. Do you think it was a pressure tactic?

KNOX: My lawyers think so.

CUOMO: Strategy aside, those months when you're living with this distinct possibility that you have HIV, what does it do you emotionally?

KNOX: I mean, it was on top of everything else that was happening. It was -- I felt like, all of the sudden, my entire life was this train wreck. I couldn't explain any of it. All of it seemed impossible. And I was just helpless. I felt like it must all be a mistake, but I am still living it. It is just complete shock and helplessness.

I'll give you an example of the kind of pressure that I was under. Other prisoners can be very cruel to each other. It's just when you're desperate and you're in a bad situation, some people's reaction is just to be very cruel to the people around them. And some people are very violent. And I was locked in a cell with these people.

And the way the prison works, if something happens, if some sort of confrontation happens between prisoners, it's everyone's fault. No matter who started it. No matter how it happened. It's everyone's fault. And I was terrified that I was going to be attacked. Not because I was afraid of being hurt. There was something more at stake than me being hurt. I was afraid of being branded a violent person while I was in prison because someone else attacked me. And I was very conscious and very aware that if someone attacked me, I would have to throw up my arms and tell them that -- and scream out that I am not attacking you. Everyone, please be my witness that I'm not attacking you. Because I can't -- I couldn't everyone defend myself the same way other prisoners would defend themselves. Other prisoners would throw up their arms and push the person away and I couldn't even that because everything in the prison was under the control of these people who were only out to show that I was a terrible person.

The prosecution looked at everything I did as terrible and horrible and evidence of my deviancy and my pervert ion. They went on my My Space page and they interpreted the way that they wanted to. They talked about me in the courtroom and the fact that I wouldn't look at the pictures of Meredith's corpse and said it was because I didn't care.

CUOMO: Were they right?

KNOX: No. I just didn't want to see my friend as a corpse. I didn't want to see that in the middle of a courtroom. I didn't want to see her as this thing. I just didn't want to see it. And that means that I just don't care.

Everything that I did was being interpreted as me being a murder. I never had a chance. I was just constantly afraid. That I would do -- I was afraid to move. I was afraid. I was afraid to talk to people. I was just afraid all of the time that anything I did would be used against me in this horrible and inexplicable way because that was what was happening to me. There was nothing I can do that was good. There was nothing I can do that was right. And I was scared. I completely clamped up. I completely went into myself and I became the type of person who today that just holds still.

CUOMO: Coming up, living in the aftermath of a four-year nightmare and trying to move on.

KNOX: It's really hard for me to talk to people about it. It is like as soon as I allow myself to cry, I can't stop.

CUOMO: Plus, the drastic steps Knox is taking to make sure no one can hurt her again.

What happened to your hand? Your right hand?



CUOMO: So far tonight, you have heard Amanda Knox fight to clear her name against a murder charge and against headlines all too willing to paint her as a she-devil. But if Knox is telling the truth, think about what she has suffered. What that must do to a young person's life. What it will do to the rest of her life. Even if she never returns to Italy, the fallout remains, damage. She details in her new book. And you're about to hear just how bad she says it got.


CUOMO (voice-over): For instance, the fear that can strike her now at any time.

KNOX: I sit in the hotel room and cry so loud until the security calls the room because the person next door has heard me crying.

CUOMO: The fear that someone is after her.

KNOX: There are not normal people who are fixated on me. And I don't know what they're capable of.

CUOMO: And a huge financial and emotional toll on her family.

Those questions are answered now.

How many nightmares where you wake up in prison? How many nightmares where you get the phone call, United States has decided you have to be sent back? It's not double jeopardy.

KNOX: I mean, I had a panic attack on Saturday. Two days ago, I had a panic attack.

CUOMO: When you say panic attack, you don't mean a moment of doubt, right?

KNOX: No. I sit in my hotel room and cry so loud until the security calls the room because the person next door has heard me crying.

CUOMO: Are you getting help for that?

KNOX: No. I don't know -- it's really hard for me to talk to people about it. It is like as soon as I allow myself to cry, I can't stop.

CUOMO: You have to get help for it. They told you that in prison.

KNOX: I didn't trust people in prison.

CUOMO: You're not in prison now. You can't go having random panic attacks for something that may not be over for a very long time. you got to find a way to deal with it. You got a find a way and get yourself out.

KNOX: You know, it's funny. I keep thinking I'm dealing with it. And I'm dealing with it really well. I keep thinking that. I keep thinking that I'm going on with my life. I'm going to school. I'm there with my family. I'm able to open up with my family and then this kind of stuff happens where I just can't -- it makes me think about all of the people who don't have any sort of answer for the kind of things that they're having to go through. I mean, if I were different, this could be so much worse.

CUOMO: What happened to your hand? Your right hand?

KNOX: Oh, these are -- I'm taking self defense classes right now.

CUOMO: Self defense classes?

KNOX: I mean --

CUOMO: So they're like punch calluses? What's that about?

KNOX: If I learned when I was in prison that in a bad situation, I turn into a deer in the head lightings. I just -- I can't move. I can't breathe. And there were -- I mean, I've received death threats since I've been home. And I don't ever want to be caught in a situation that Meredith was caught in where someone is able to overpower me because I just don't know what to do.

So, and right now I'm taking self defense classes where the first thing they teach you is to scream and to not stop screaming. And then they teach you how to get out of someone's grip. So, for instance, the last time I was in self defense class, we were practicing what happens if someone comes up behind you and starts strangling you. And --

CUOMO: Are you worried that somebody is going to attack you?

KNOX: I don't know what's going to happen. All I know is there are people out there -- I mean, so you asked me recently if I feel like a normal person. And I do. But there are not normal people who are fixated on me. And I don't know what they are capable of. I don't.

CUOMO: Your hands are pretty beat up.

KNOX: Yes, I'm taking it seriously. CUOMO: A lot of what you carry from prison is in your head. But there is one thing you carry from prison is almost literally on your heart. Where did you get the bird?

KNOX: This is from Don Salo (ph). He gave it to me on the day of my -- the verdict of my appeal. And it was the symbol of his church which Espiritu Santo, the Holy Spirit that he hoped for me. It will reminds me of how of our conversations about how one is free. And that I was free, no matter what happened.

Someone's asked me who had it worse, Meredith or me. And they have put forth the a argument that why don't you think that you've had it worse because you've had to go through all of this years and years of all of this. Why don't you think that you had it worse? And it's, like, I still have the chance to live. And as much as my identity has been taken away from me and my freedom has been taken away from me, that and more was taken away from Meredith.

CUOMO: Regrets? Take back? Do again?

KNOX: I would take back my interrogation. When I think back on it, and, God, especially right afterwards, right after all of that happened, I wished, I wished so much that I had stood up to them. That I understood what was going on enough to understand that they were putting pressure on me. That they were trying to get what they wanted out of me and I would have told them to just leave me alone and walk out. I wish --

CUOMO: You hate yourself for that?

KNOX: It's pretty hard to live with.

CUOMO: Because it's in a big way would put you where you are.

KNOX: I feel so bad for my younger self sometimes. When I think about it, I mean, there were times when I thought lives going crazy in prison and it was literally just talking to my younger self when I was alone. I would be alone in myself thinking about the past and thinking about all of my regrets and the older sister in me was trying to comfort my younger self because I'm sorry I couldn't have done better. I wish I could have been stronger.

CUOMO: Coming up, living her life after prison. How much has Amanda Knox changed?

Still smoke weed?

Plus, her final plea.

Believe me because. Believe me because.



(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CUOMO (voice-over): It's been 19 months since Amanda Knox's emotional return to her hometown of Seattle.

KNOX: What's important for me to say is just thank you to everyone who has believed in me.

CUOMO: Her mother, Edda, a math teacher and father, Kurt, a financial executive says they paid over $2.1 million in legal fees and expenses, taking out three mortgages, maxing out credit cards and draining both retirement funds to pay for the yet-to-be-concluded trial.

EDDA MELLAS, AMANDA KNOX'S MOTHER: Every day, we are just going to fight for her and not stop and push her down.

CUOMO: Between 22 family members, more than one hundred trips to Italy, coordinating time off work, vacation and sick time so that one relative was always close to Amanda, never leaving her alone.

Even after she was finally home, her family's debt was only the beginning of her anxiety-ridden reality. Knox says she was suffering from nightmares and panic attacks. Her family worried she might have post-traumatic stress disorder. Through it all, Knox is struggling for a sense of normal. She is back in school here at the University of Washington taking creative writing classes.

And still playing guitar. It's an instrument she discovered as a child. It became her prison past time. And there is someone new in her life. A boyfriend, James Toronto. An old friend who sent her letters while she was in jail. But with a retrial looming, what she calls the night mare isn't over yet.

Life now. What does normal mean?

KNOX: I think I'm very fortunate that most people treat me just like anybody else.

CUOMO: You get that vibe with everyone you meet? Do they think I'm a killer? Do they think I'm a killer?

KNOX: Fortunately, I'm not living in that mental place. That would be something that's unlivable. But at the same time, I mean, I still am living through this.

CUOMO: Can you still have fun?

KNOX: I mean, it's not like I'm -- my sister says that I don't have fun. I do what's important to me. And when I'm with people that I trust, I have a good time. I laugh. I dance.

CUOMO: Do you party.

KNOX: No, I don't go to parties.

CUOMO: Why not? It's not part of normal life. How old are you now?

KNOX: I'm 25. CUOMO: You're just a baby.

KNOX: Don Salo (ph) said I aged 40 years in four. I'm not interested in partying.

CUOMO: Still smoke weed?

KNOX: Actually, no.

CUOMO: Why not?

KNOX: After being in prison, and seeing how drugs destroyed the lives of so many people around me, I can't get near it.

CUOMO: Your family mortgaged, like, their entire life for you. Yes?

KNOX: Yes.

CUOMO: It took a lot of heart, also took a lot of financial strain, right? This is part of payback, right? Tell me about that.

KNOX: Well, houses were mortgage, retirement was dug into, credit card limits were maxed.

CUOMO: Lawyers aren't cheap.

KNOX: Lawyers aren't cheap. And I often had to pay for the elements of the prosecutor's investigation. I had to pay for translations. I just -- people don't often realize the financial toll this took on my family and our lives were never going to be able to move forward and that we weren't going to be able to afford to defend me. In the future, if something didn't happen, and I've been very fortunate that value has been identified in what I went through.

CUOMO: This wasn't about Amanda getting to live dolce vita, right? This is about paying back your family's debts for a large part?

KNOX: A large part of it is that. Another part of it is that I simply -- I wanted to reclaim who I was. And at the same time, I felt like I had something to give people through my experience. I truly, truly feel like this is more than just about me. This is about how people -- how people take advantage of others. How authority figures go unchecked. How identities are re-appropriated. How certain people aren't given a chance. And this continues to happen to more than just me. And I'm incredibly fortunate that I came out of it. That so many people don't. And what I really hope will happen is that some people will read this and get comfort for anything that they're suffering from in their life.

Other people will read it and think oh, my God, this really does happen. And other people will read it and go OK, at least I understand where she was coming from when she did this. I know that so many people are confronting my book with very different intentions. And I hope what comes through is the fact that I'm not afraid to be honest.

CUOMO: Coming up, the next chapter. What's in store for Amanda Knox.

KNOX: I don't know how long I can hold it together. I don't know how long I can defend myself.




CUOMO: Is there any chance that prosecutors come up with a witness that can place you at the scene?


CUOMO: Is there any chance that the prosecutors develop DNA evidence that puts you at the crime scene?


CUOMO: Is there a witness who can put you with Guede?


CUOMO: In the days before?


CUOMO: There's no chance?

KNOX: No chance. I mean, what they did, I mean, the prosecution claimed that it was Meredith's DNA on the knife, and it wasn't. That it was Raffaele's DNA on the bra clasp because he was there and that wasn't true. They claimed that it was Raffaele's footprints and it turned out to be Rudy Guede's.

They are going to claim things and I don't know what they're going to do because it always sounds like it's coming out of nowhere. But as far as I'm concerned, there is no evidence against me and there never will be any evidence against me. I just wasn't there.

CUOMO: Believe me because?

KNOX: Believe me because I'm telling the truth.

CUOMO: Five years from today, what do you want? In your life?

KNOX: I hope that I will be definitively found innocent. I hope that I can reconcile myself with Patrick and Meredith's family. I hope to be finished with school and to be always close to my family. But I really want this to be behind me. I need this.

I don't know how long I can hold it together. I don't know how long I can defend myself. And I've -- the idea that I'm going to have to be defending myself against accusations of murder for the rest of my life, it is impossible. CUOMO: Thank you for taking the opportunity. I know this wasn't easy.

KNOX: Thanks for listening.


CUOMO: We may never know exactly what happened in the villa on the night of November 1st, 2007. Remember, in court, we can only know what prosecutors show. And to date the proof has not matched their persistence in this case. Despite this, Amanda Knox's behavior and her incriminating words remain around her neck, like a noose. Will she ever truly be free?

I'm Chris Cuomo in New York. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts right now.