1. I am not a brilliantly informed expert on the Amanda Knox case
2. I have, however, read this book about the same prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, investigating a previous set of murders:
I only have a limited amount of time in my life, and I have to use a lot of it working out what constitutes a species of fish or tree, and finding out about American Footballers who write thrillers, so I had to make judgements about who in the book was telling the truth. This is what GCSEs were about people. It's important. What I decided was: Douglas Preston is a New Yorker journalist, and the New Yorker is rigorous. This predisposes me to believe him. Then I looked at the kind of evidence he presented about the prosecutor, and the kind of evidence that the prosecutor presented.
'Wow!' I thought. Preston's main tool is Occam's Razor. He assumed a series of brutal murders were committed by a murderous brute. He focused on who had access to crucial things, like the murder weapon. And who had motives and opportunities. The prosecutor, on the other hand, constructed an enormously complex story whereby a group of village idiots (the very best description in one case), drunks and disenchanted loners developed a sub-career as well-coached but still contradictory professional witnesses claiming they had evidence of a large satanist ring of doctors and professors paying people to commit murders and steal body parts for them. He quoted an internet soothsayer in evidence, almost verbatim. Reading the book, you are terrified that justice could be so crazy.
Then the post-script about the Amanda Knox case, and suddenly you see how the stories the police fed the Italian papers were uncritically reported to us, and there is no physical evidence of sex games or satanist activity. The latter have been dropped from the trial dossier, but they were fed by the press by Mignini, and they are part of what Italians think of Knox. Similarly, the famous bloody man by the fountain: he was shouting, 'I'll kill the bitch' into a mobile phone. He wasn't shouting, 'I killed her' to a helpful (and again well-coached and late-arriving) witness. Magnini's makes for a great story, but the world is not a Thomas Harris novel.
And so I thought, somehow, that it would be crazy for her to be convicted, since Italy is a proper country. But no, in spite of the operatic lunacy, she's found guilty, and it makes me literally think that, since I can go on holiday to lots of places, why would I risk going somewhere where something like this can happen?
(One other problem for Amanda Knox: she is stridently defended by Americans, and anti-Americanism is an easy button for Mignini to press. Utterly unmetaphorically, the whole thing makes me feel sick.)
Of course I might be wrong about Knox, but I really, really, really doubt it.