Italian Appeals Court To Decide Amanda Knox's Fate

American Amanda Knox has a chance at freedom after spending four years behind bars in Italy. An Italian appeals court will decide Monday whether she killed her British roommate. Knox, who says she's innocent, was convicted in 2009 along with Raffaele Sollecito in the death of fellow student Meredith Kercher. David Greene talks about the trial with Barbie Nadeau, a reporter for Newsweek, who has written a book about the trial.

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DAVID GREENE, host: It's a salacious story involving exchange students, accusations of sex games and also a murder. It's also a very sad and unresolved story of young people's lives torn apart.

The appeal of an American exchange student in Italy, Amanda Knox, of her conviction of the murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher is set to conclude this week. Knox and her co-defendant were convicted of murder in 2009, but they're back on the stand this week denying any wrongdoing.

We're joined now by Barbie Nadeau, a reporter for Newsweek who wrote a book about Amanda Knox. And she joins us from outside the courtroom in Perugia.

Barbie, good morning.

BARBIE NADEAU: Good morning.

GREENE: So this appeal has really been a long time coming. Tell us what we heard today from Amanda Knox herself.

NADEAU: This was really the epitome of this appellate trial, Amanda Knox pleading with the jury for her life, asking them to free her. She said, I am innocent. I didn't do the things you said I did. She said, I am not the person that this prosecution has painted me to be. She cried at times. She lost her composure. She gained her composure. She spoke in perfect, fluent Italian to an Italian jury. And I think that they were watching everything she said.

Her co-accused or co-convicted, Raffaele Sollecito, also addressed the jury and did a less, I would say, a less convincing job than Amanda. We haven't heard much about Raffaele Sollecito. He really is the forgotten figure of this story, but he's also been convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher.

GREENE: So, Amada Knox, an American exchange student accused of murder, already spent some jail time in Italy. It sounds like this was her final plea to the court. I mean, when is the judge expected to actually render a verdict?

NADEAU: Well, the judge said - before he left, he said two things. He warned the media that this is not a ballgame. Remember that this is about the death of a beautiful young woman and about the future of two lives, basically, and sort of told the media, which is ever-present, to treat it as such. Then he said that the jury will take until at least 8 o'clock tonight local time to reach their decision.

GREENE: And Knox's - Amanda Knox's lawyers have really built their appeal around this idea of, you know, the need to reexamine the DNA evidence in the case. Lay out their argument for us.

NADEAU: They tried in the original trial to get an independent review of two key elements of forensic evidence, one being a knife with Amanda's DNA on the handle and Meredith Kercher's on the blade, and one being the bra clasp that was cut from Meredith Kercher's body the night of the murder after she was dead that had Raffaele Sollecito's DNA on the tiny metal clasp.

In the original trial, the defense really, really tried hard to get an independent review of that evidence and they were denied. In the appellate process, they decided to take another look at those items. And I think that was the big game-changer. If Amanda Knox goes free tonight, it will be because of that independent review.

GREENE: And briefly, Barbie, are you getting a sense from lawyers about the possibility of Amanda Knox going free?

NADEAU: Well, I think everyone is optimistic that she will go free. But I think everyone is also realistic that this court may make a decision the other way. There are many things they could do. They can completely acquit her of all the crimes. They can let her go without acquitting her of all the crimes, like reconvicting her of lesser crimes. They can actually add to her sentence, because the prosecution asked for life sentences instead of the 26 and 25 years that they were given.

You know, the sense on the street, of course, is that she's going to walk. But I think that's because it's the media basically making these predictions. And that's what we're prepared for. The feeling on the street is that she's going to go, but it's sort of false - probably a false prediction, because I don't think anyone really knows. Her lawyers are less optimistic than the press. I would say they're very cautious. They understand that these appellate trials can go either way.

GREENE: That's Barbie Nadeau. She's the author of "Angel Face: The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox."

Barbie, thank you.

NADEAU: Thank you.

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