Video: Knox lawyer: ‘End of a nightmare’

  1. Transcript of: Knox lawyer: ‘End of a nightmare’

    LAUER: All right, Lester , and Keith , thank you very much . Carlo Dalla Vedova is one of Amanda Knox 's attorneys. He joins us exclusively. Mr. Dalla Vedova , good morning. Thank you for joining us.

    Mr. DALLA VEDOVA: Good morning to all of you, and thank you much for the invitation.

    LAUER: I want to talk to you about the potential appeal here in a second, but first, I'd like to take you back to the moment you were standing in that courtroom with Amanda right by your side seeming very unstable. It looked as if she could pass out at any moment and then the verdict was read and she melted into you and broke down. Take me through the moment. What do you remember?

    Mr. DALLA VEDOVA: Well, as everybody has seen because it was a live registration, Amanda was extremely scared. She was scared about this decision. She knew that this decision would change her life. She was in between a request of life in jail and get dismissed. And entire week for her was extremely difficult because, first of all, we had hearings every day until 6:00 in the evening. So she was particularly stressed, but I would say she was mainly scared. When she heard that she was dismissed then of course she started to cry because for her this was the end of a nightmare, the end of a tunnel, and she almost collapsed. Yes, she is weak. She hasn't get so much sleep and this week has been extremely heavy on her, so for her the way of crying was just a relief.

    LAUER: What was the moment like for you, Mr. Dalla Vedova , personally?

    Mr. DALLA VEDOVA: I never make a personal issue when I'm working. I work for my clients and we knew we had good reason for having our appeal accepted, so we were waiting for this moment. This moment could have come almost at the first grade if we had a more complete analysis of all the evidence. So for us it's just a matter of work, and, of course, we were happy and satisfied that all our reasonable appeal were accepted, and we are extremely happy for the future of Amanda . Amanda is a very good girl and she deserved to go back to her life and freedom.

    LAUER: As you know, the prosecution has now said they will indeed appeal this verdict to the Italian Supreme Court . Do you think they will be able to meet the criteria to be granted that appeal ?

    Mr. DALLA VEDOVA: It's hard to say because we need to read the motivation. The motivation is going to be filed within 90 days, so we will know exactly what is the ground based in which the court has decided to dismiss the accusation. We are ready. If the prosecutor has, according to law, will file the opposition to the supreme court which is a special opposition, the opposition to the supreme court can only be filed for violation of law, so there will be no review of the evidence and we will not go into the merit. It will be only limited to a possible violation of principle of law. And if that happened we will be ready to defend and support our client's rights also in front of the supreme court . We're not worried. And this is quite standard. We have this procedure in Italy where you have a second grade and also a third grade and we are ready.

    LAUER: Let me ask you -- let me ask you about the prosecutor, Mr. Mignini . He went very far during this appeal process in characterizing Amanda Knox as evil. He said some very derogatory things about her. He's now decided to take this to the next level to the Italian Supreme Court . In your opinion, do you think that he has perhaps crossed a line from the professional to the personal here, that in some way he has a grudge or a vendetta against Amanda Knox ?

    Mr. DALLA VEDOVA: Well, I think first of all, we have to respect the prosecutor. The prosecutor of us, it's a neutral person, is not an individual. He works on behalf of the state and is acting in order to support the accusation in the interests of all the citizens. It's a very difficult job, so we -- everybody has to respect this position. It's not a personal issue. It's a big mistake to bring any evaluation on a personal level. Certainly the prosecutor has made a huge mistake and it's not Mr. Mignini , it's the office of the prosecutor that has made a huge mistake. The mistake was made at the beginning because they evaluate Amanda behave in a wrong way and the court of appeal has recognized this mistake. Then there's been a number of mistakes that has been confirmed; therefore, altogether the handling of the accusation, especially in the first investigation period...

    LAUER: Right.

    Mr. DALLA VEDOVA: ...it's a result of a big mistake . And thank God we have the appeal that has been rectifying this mistake.

    LAUER: Let me end on this question, Mr. Dalla Vedova . The reaction outside the courtroom yesterday evening was mixed. There were some people applauding the verdict, there were others cheer -- or yelling shame, shame. Do you get the sense right now that in Italy there is an appetite among the public for this to go further or do you think the Italian people would like to put this whole case behind them?

    Mr. DALLA VEDOVA: First of all, I don't agree with your statement. There was no critics outside. I was outside, and Deanna , Amanda's sister, made a statement and there was no comments when we made a statement. And the comments were made made in a different occasion. I was standing outside with thousands of people in the main road of Perugia , and I think I gave something like 20 interviews last night and there was no comments when I was talking. So I think you have to refer to somebody else. But what concerned the public opinion there's been a complete change in the last months, and so despite the fact that the media have certainly have a role in this, especially at the beginning in the investigation phase, we also have to acknowledge that the media have changed the public opinion in the sense that they're moving to a possibility of being innocent in the last year. And this was certainly something that was not done by us, but it was given only by the fact that many observers have clearly identified that there was no evidence to support the accusation.

    LAUER: Carlo ...

    Mr. DALLA VEDOVA: So we actually are satisfied also in how the media have handled this.

    LAUER: Carlo Dalla Vedova , the defense attorney , or one of the defense attorneys for Amanda Knox . Mr. Dalla Vedova , thank you for your time this morning. I appreciate it.

By
updated 10/4/2011 7:59:02 AM ET 2011-10-04T11:59:02

Once it was clear that Amanda Knox's Italian murder conviction had been overturned, her supporters in Seattle burst into cheers, threw their hands in the air and began to cry in joy.

"She's free," Tom Rochelle repeated as the translation of the Italian judge's words came across TV Monday.

Surrounded by news cameras, the dozen or so supporters began hugging each other at a downtown hotel suite. The celebration marked four years of uncertainty for friends and supporters of Knox's family.

Story: Knox heads home from Italy; prosecutor to appeal verdict

In its ruling, the Italian appeals court also cleared Knox's co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, of murder in British student Meredith Kercher's death. Kercher, 21, shared an apartment with Knox when they were both studying in Perugia. She was stabbed to death in her bedroom.

Knox and Sollecito, her former boyfriend from Italy, were convicted of murdering Kercher in 2009. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison, Sollecito to 25. Also convicted in separate proceedings was Rudy Hermann Guede, a drifter and native of the Ivory Coast.

Knox and Sollecito denied wrongdoing and the appeals court ultimately agreed .

Supporters also expressed sympathy for the Kercher family.

Slideshow: Amanda Knox: Her long legal saga

"This is primarily a sad occasion," said Tom Wright, one of the main organizers of the Friends of Amanda group, after the verdict. "They lost their daughter. We'll keep them in our prayers."

Knox grew up in Seattle, attending a private Jesuit high school before going to the University of Washington.

Friends of Amanda formed shortly after Knox was arrested for murder in 2007. With Italy nine hours ahead of Seattle, the group rented a suite and waited through the night for the court's ruling.

Friends of Amanda is made up of parents of her high school classmates, her friends from college and high school, and sympathizers from around the country. Some never met the young Seattle woman, including Rochelle, who joined the group two years ago after learning about Knox in the news.

From trips to Italy to sending Knox books, the group has been a pillar of support for the family.

Kellanne Henry is friends with Edda Mellas, Knox's mother, and has visited the family in Italy.

Story: Slain Kercher forgotten during Knox appeal, family says

"It's the first night in four years that (Edda) is going to know her daughter is safe," said Henry, holding crumpled tissues in her hand. "That was a really overwhelming thought for me."

Some of the people gathered for Knox wore T-shirts that said "Free Amanda and Raffaele." Photographs of Knox, Sollecito and Kercher, illuminated by candles, were set up in the suite.

"It's unreal," John Lange, Knox's former teacher, kept repeating after the verdict was read.

What's next for Amanda Knox? Interview requests

Lange remembers Knox as the modest drama student who played an orphan in the high school's production of the musical "Annie."

"There's the person you know and there's the widely varying depictions of her character largely wrong, and upsetting to those of us who know her," Lange said earlier in the day.

Wright spent the last minutes leading to the verdict writing a speech, pending a verdict. When asked, he said his words didn't anticipate that the conviction would not be overturned.

"It was inconceivable for me that she wasn't coming home," Wright said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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