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April 30th, 2013
06:00 PM ET

What Amanda Knox left out of her book

Amanda Knox, the American student who was tried and convicted of the murder of her roommate in Italy in 2009, is out with a new book, "Waiting to be Heard." Knox served four years in prison before her murder conviction was overturned in 2011.

In the case of any memoir, there is a lot of selective memory and internal editing, said Barbie Latza Nadeau, author of "Angel Face: Sex, Murder and the Inside Story of Amanda Knox." Nadeau is the Rome bureau chief for "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast," and followed the Knox case from the very beginning.

"She really glossed over the night of the murder. For example, she's got an alibi that she had together with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito," said Nadeau. "What she failed to do ... in the book, was to really explain to the readers why they didn't have an alibi that was congruent the night they were interrogated."

"Their stories changed several times in the course of the initial interrogations, but she chose to stick to the alibi that they settled on," said Nadeau.

Knox and her family waged an aggressive publicity campaign in the U.S., giving Americans the impression that Knox was an innocent young woman who was the victim of a ravenous Italian media system.

Nadeau covered the trial extensively, attending hearings, and reading the legal documents in Italian.

"I felt that there was a lot of information that was lost in translation," said Nadeau.

Knox' public relations firm capitalized on that information gap, and were "very willing" to do the translations for the American media, leaving out some of the details, said Nadeau.

"When Amanda Knox was convicted the first time around, people were shocked in the United States," said Nadeau. "People in Italy understood that that was probably what was going to happen, because they understood the case as it was happening."

The Italian legal system is very complex, said Nadeau. There are three levels each case has to pass through, there is an automatic appeal, and cases are basically heard three different times by three different panels of judges.

"In the United States we assume if it's not the way we do it, it must be wrong," said Nadeau.

The Italian system is slow, sometimes Knox' trials took place twice a week, and then there would be breaks for six weeks.

"I think people thought that that meant the Italians were inept or incompetent," said Nadeau. But many serious cases, involving, for example, organized crime and terrorism, have been successfully tried in Italy, said Nadeau.

"You can't just write off the system because it's in a different language and because the structure is different from ours," says Nadeau.

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