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Amanda Knox verdict: Is there hope for an appeal?

The American convicted of murder in Italy this weekend will have to wait at least three months before launching an appeal, but many say she stands a good chance of being acquitted.

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That would allow the Italians to have it both ways. The guilty verdict and heavy sentence will have upheld the professional honor of Italian police, prosecutors and judges, while demonstrating to Kercher's family, and to the British newspapers that showed such an avid interest in the case, that the Italian justice system is capable of punishing serious crimes.

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But overturning the verdict on appeal would appease the howls of outrage in the United States, where many people felt Knox and Sollecito were the victims of nothing short of a kangaroo court, and silence the many critics of the slipshod investigation, oddly-conducted trial, and media character assassination of Knox.

Strong words from a senator

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) of Washington, Knox's home state, issued a highly critical statement in which she said she had profound concerns that Knox had been failed by the Italian justice system.

"I am saddened by the verdict and I have serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted this trial," Senator Cantwell wrote in the statement, which was released through the Friends of Amanda Knox website, set up to campaign on her behalf. "The prosecution did not present enough evidence for an impartial jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Knox was guilty. Italian jurors were not sequestered and were allowed to view highly negative news coverage about Ms. Knox."

Cantwell said that flaws displayed by the Italian justice system included "the harsh treatment of Ms. Knox following her arrest; negligent handling of evidence by investigators; and pending charges of misconduct against one of the prosecutors stemming from another murder trial" - a reference to the chief prosecutor in the case, Giuliano Mignini.

She said she was in contact with the US ambassador in Italy and the Italian embassy in Washington and would also convey her concerns to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Sadness – and comfort – from Knox's jail cell

Depressed and profoundly upset by the verdict, Knox, a Jesuit-educated, former University of Washington student, cried herself to sleep and was comforted by her cell mates this weekend as she contemplated 26 years behind bars, according to her lawyers.

"Nobody believes me and I don't understand why," she told her lawyers after the guilty verdict. "I've always told the truth. It wasn't me who killed Meredith."

The Knox family visited Amanda in Capanne maximum security prison near Perugia on Saturday afternoon. It was the first time they had been able to talk to her since the verdict was handed down.

Her mother, Edda, told reporters outside the prison: "She got a lot of support when she got back to the jail. Everybody there, the inmates and the guards were all taking great care of her."


Related story:

Amanda Knox verdict: US student in Italy found guilty of murder in controversial trial