Catching Up On Amanda Knox

Since Sarah had jury duty, we're making this a Wayback Wednesday.

On a typical Wednesday, this newsletter would be devoted to this week's episode of our flagship podcast, The Blotter Presents. But not this week, as podcast host Sarah D. Bunting was called in for jury duty, a programming disruption so on-brand that it seems like it must be a lie. (It's not.)

Instead, we've opted to take a walk back through our Amanda Knox archives, with the news hook of her return to Italy. Knox returned to the news in recent days, tweeting last week that she'd be making her first trip back to Italy since her murder conviction, imprisonment, and eventual acquittal.

According to the Associated Press, Knox will speak "on the role of the media in judicial errors" at a June 14-15 conference arranged by Modena's Criminal Chamber and and the Italy Innocence Project. Speaking of the media, she's also in the market for "paparazzi resistant clothing" for the trip, if you have any ideas.

Knox, who is now 31 years old, is currently serving as host of The Truth About True Crime, a two season (and counting) podcast that acts as a sort of accessory to a couple of Sundance docu-series on true crime topics. The pod's most recent season tackled Ministry of Evil: The Twisted Cult of Tony Alamo, a show we covered this past February in a Blotter Brief you can listen to here. (The entire series is also available to watch here, but it looks like it's getting pulled from streaming on Sunday so I'd act fast.)

The podcast's first season, which we covered in another Blotter Brief here, is devoted to the Jonestown massacre -- or, more specifically, the Sundance series Jonestown: Terror In The Jungle. We also covered that series with frequent guest (and Crime Writers On… co-host) Toby Ball last November, in an ep of The Blotter Presents you can listen to here.

In both seasons of the podcast, Knox does a serviceable job, but there's not much in the line of revelations in either case. Neither season is an investigation into the issues, any more than, say, The Talking Dead breaks down the science of reanimated corpses. Yeah, I said it -- it's basically just a Sundance aftershow. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Going further back into our Knox archives, Blotter contrib (and 1995 The Podcast co-host Karen Belz) reviewed Honor Bound: My Journey To Hell And Back With Amanda Knox, a memoir penned by Knox's then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. By Belz's reckoning, the tome is "one of the strongest books regarding the trial and the individuals involved," and that's even with "a flowery writing style which reads more like a fictional tale than a memoir regarding a high-profile murder trial." You can read her entire assessment of the book here.

Finally, we have Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy, a 2011 Lifetime film that stars Hayden Panettiere as Knox and Oscar and Tony winner (and Emmy nominee) Marcia Gay Harden (which, why? Did MGH get lost on her way to the Grammys?). In her review of the show, Sarah writes that "it's a passable way to spend 90 minutes while you do a puzzle or work on a craft," but "Do you need to pay for it? No." That last injunction rings truer than ever, as the film is now available on YouTube, and is embedded at the top of this missive for your viewing pleasure. -- EB

What is this thing? This should help.

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