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March 26th, 2013
08:12 AM ET

Lawyer: Amanda Knox charges 'simply unfounded,' says her presence in Italy isn't required for retrial

Ted Simon, attorney for Amanda Knox, on an Italian court's decision to hold a retrial for the death of her fmr. roommate.

Transcript available after the jump.


O'BRIEN: First and foremost your reaction to what has now come out of the courts that, in fact, she will face trial again?

THEODORE SIMON, AMANDA KNOX'S ATTORNEY: Well, I mean, I think Amanda has really captured it in her statement. You know, it was very painful for her to receive this news. She continues to feel, as we do, that the charges are wholly unfounded and unfair. It was very reasonable for us to believe that after his appellate court jury had very, in a searching inquiry, looked at all the evidence in the case, whether it was the prosecution witness testimony, whether it was physical evidence or forensic conclusions, and openly determined that the true facts were much different as found, and that the evidence as found by the trial court was really absent, nonexistent, inaccurate or just unreliable.

So there was good reasons to believe, after that very, very exhausting and searching opinion by the appellate court jury that her acquittal would be affirmed. But let's be clear. The Supreme Court of Italy didn't do that much. They determined on a procedural grounds, and we still await their ruling, to send it back for revision. The appellate court, again, may simply continue to affirm her acquittal. Her appearance is not required. And, in many ways, not much has changed. Yes, there's a lot of fanfare, but there never was any evidence, and there never will be any evidence.

O'BRIEN: Well, there was a lot of fanfare -


SIMON: These charges are -

O'BRIEN: Let me hop -


SIMON: These charges are simply unfounded, and the family who has demonstrated unparalleled grace and persistence and resilience and courage will continue to fight these unjustified allegations.

O'BRIEN: So let's say -

SIMON: I'm sorry, what were you saying?

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: So my question to you was, does she have to show up if this now goes to trial? And I know that it's a very long and slow process. Does she have to physically appear and would she physically appear? Will she go back to Italy in any way, shape or form?

SIMON: The - the sending back to the appellate court, and their revision that they may undertake, does not require her appearance. So, that court will proceed, Amanda Knox and her family have always abided by all rules and regulations under rule of law -

O'BRIEN: Is that the same thing - is that the same thing as being tried in absentia as we who are not lawyers think of it?

SIMON: Well, I think one has to look at this through the lens of the Italian justice system. And we have to await the directives of the Supreme Court, and when they send it back to the appellate court for revision then we'll know more precisely exactly what is required. But from what we know now, her appearance is simply not required, and that will proceed.

O'BRIEN: Let's say that were to change -

SIMON: - reason to believe - excuse me, Soledad. There's no reason to believe that any further review will result any differently. Keep in mind, there was no physical evidence against her.

And anything that was reviewed was considered unreliable, inaccurate, insubstantial so what I'm saying to you is, while, yes, we would have preferred the Supreme Court to simply affirm the acquittal, and it certainly was painful for Amanda to receive this news.

In the bigger picture, these charges still remain just as unfounded, just as unjust, as they were before.

O'BRIEN: Right, I hear you, Ted -

SIMON: - changed it on the substance of the case.

O'BRIEN: Except that but what has changed it though, as you well know, is that the Supreme Court did not confirm the acquittal. The Supreme Court did the opposite, which is now, why we're kind of where we are right now. So my question for you is, let me just ask you the question that I think everybody wants to know. Does Amanda Knox ever -

SIMON: They didn't do the opposite. They didn't do the opposite. All they did is sent it back for further clarification.

O'BRIEN: So, does - will she go back to Italy? As her attorney, would you ever advise her, go back, face the court, or would you say, there is no way that you should ever, ever go back to Italy, and in fact, extradition is so complex that it's better just to stay in the United States, or stay anywhere outside of Italy and not worry about it?

SIMON: I can understand why you might pose that question, but that's not within the legal landscape at this particular time. We have to await the directive of the supreme court of Italy and then we have to see what the appellate court does.

As I said before, you know, they - Amanda and her family will scrupulously abide by the rule of law, and they are not required to appear for those proceedings. So let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Let's just see what happens, and we fully expect because these charges are totally unfounded. They're totally unjust and we fully expect that she will be exonerated as she was before.

O'BRIEN: Right. And I hear you on that, Ted, but my question was if I were her attorney and you know -

SIMON: I think I answered -

O'BRIEN: No, you did -

SIMON: - I'm sorry but I think I did answer your question as best as I possibly can.

O'BRIEN: If I were her attorney, and I know about this much about the law, I would say, my client will never, ever go back to Italy because the extradition is so complex that I could just keep her out of that system. You're not - you're not willing to say that at this point?

SIMON: Well, I don't think that's what's in issue at this point. You're looking at it from the lens of someone in the United States. We have to look at it through the lens of the criminal justice system in Italy.

And because the Supreme Court has simply sent it back for further review, that review will be taken in the ordinary course and a decision will be made. Her presence is simply not required for that.

And we have every expectation that upon that review, the same decision will occur. She will be found not guilty of this charge.

O'BRIEN: We'll wait and see. It's always nice to talk to you. Ted Simon, of course, we appreciate your time in walking us through the really complicated international legal system. Thank you so much.

SIMON: You're welcome.

Filed under: Amanda Knox
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