There is a naivety involved in this business in Italy of the judge who sentenced the Kercher pair to long stretches, Allessandro Nencini and I’d really like to be able to learn Italian overnight, fly over and have a word with him – how’s that for ego?
Because I want to tell him he simply can’t do as he did and hope people understand. People are simply not going to understand – they are going to try to take him down.
There are similarities between political blogging and bringing down 53.5 years of jail time on two people, however much it is or isn’t deserved. No doubt you’re already seeing how this post is shaping up and yes, it brings up a point about blogging – does one just re-report facts which anyone can get from the MSM or does one put some personal angle on it, writing about how it affects him personally.
I like bloggers who come out from behind their anonymous reporter face and actually say how they feel about an issue and give reasons why because it all becomes so much more real – we can see them there, doing that.
Coming back to Nencini, then yours truly, as a former head of a middle school, also knows what it’s like to have to make a call which is unpopular but you are duty-bound to make it. It’s not just the facts but you are representing people who are relying on you to do the right thing, not to fudge it, to call it straight. You may have your own personality but it cannot intrude here, otherwise you are giving other people fuel, unwitting ammunition.
It’s a lonely place to be and not for those for whom the approbation of his fellow man is the thing he craves most. Everyone wants to be loved but in some jobs you’re simply not going to get that. In subaltern training in the army, I had drummed into me the words “fair, firm and friendly” and to this day, I cannot see any better how to deal with other people you’re officially connected with.
Nencini, as even those who are sympathetic are writing, cannot come out of a courtroom where he has just done that and when some press vipers, out for a sensation or as part of an agenda, ambush him in the corridor and feed him enough rope to hang himself, he somehow mistakes them for friendly faces. He explains why this or that. By the strict letter of the law over there, apparently he can do that much, as long as he doesn’t touch on his motivation for the verdict, not before his report goes in. With his decades of service, fighting the mafiosi twisting everything to achieve an acquittal or innocence verdict, he really should have known.
He desperately wanted, having been harsh, to show his human side, that he was not some unfeeling monster on a vendetta. There was even a political reason to do it, to show the US authorities that this had been due process, that far from a kangaroo court, his was one which had spent months and months sifting through, deliberating, talking.
And in that space was also a malevolent presence. One of the keys in this whole sequence of trials was the way Knox can twist someone around her little finger – it was blatant in the first trial as she openly flirted with the guards and then, in prison, with the warders. She knows her looks, knows her charm, knows how her kooky innocent act works. The way the world media was drawn in by this and ignored the actual evidence was largely due to her drawing power. As with so many charismatic villains throughout history, one simply cannot see them as possibly guilty of such things.
Now what did Nencini think was going to happen? Bongiorno, the Sollecito defence, is already under investigation as one of Berlusconi’s acolytes, one of the mafiosi – she’s defended them before in court, she is accused of bribing a witness in the Kercher trial. Just what did Nencini think she was going to do? Roll over and accept the verdict?
The Supreme Court made it abundantly clear on the contamination rubbish, that she and the other defence attorney could not make broad statements about contamination and corruption – they had to address specific instances of it. They tried with the Knox-alleged slap on the head and it didn’t wash – every person who was there said it did not happen.
Now, because of Nencini’s few remarks in a corridor after a day of deliberation, Bongiorno is bestriding the world again, doing precisely what the Supreme Court told her not to do – using the “if he said this, then just how biased and obsessed was he throughout the entire process” line. And naturally, she summarily calls for the convictions to be overturned. Knox parrots her from Seattle on national television where a sympathetic anchorwoman holds her hand across a table when she tries to shed a tear. She’s had a style makeover for this, a haircut and makeup to soften her on TV.
Did Nencini not understand that this was going on all about him? And now those two counsel, with one of them herself under investigation, has managed to secure an investigation into Nencini, exactly as was done with Mignini in the Monster of Florence business. And if he thinks there’s nothing there for a conviction, then he does not understand how the other side lies and cheats and tells utter porkies to achieve their ends. This is no Sunday School picnic.
This thing is going to be drawn out by the Berlusconi forces, Nencini is going to be made to sweat as the self-perceived victims, e.g. Bongiorno, leak snippets to selected press, instantly syndicated to the Mail and Guardian – and in their sagely gravity, will deliberate over this judge and state that there are very grave issues of justice here.
No there aren’t – there were explanations of some points asked by a few reporters, unwise remarks straight after a trial but remarks all judges make after trials over there.
All the things I’m reading about – about how he’s a fine man with a family of his own, also with Mignini – sure he is, he’s a very decent man who felt as if he was supporting decency against some quite indecent people, so if he acknowledges that they and their entourage are indecent, then in the name of all that is logical, why are they going to suddenly stop playing by their lack of ethics and start being nice to him because he’s tried to be nice to them, tried to be fair and reasonable?
And every word he offers now to the press, to explain and mitigate, is more fuel for the process against him. His remarks were unwise, he knows it, he should simply say no comment now, you must wait for the report, he must suffer the investigation and leave it at that.
There is no other way. And that’s why I want to learn Italian overnight, fly over and have a word with him – to tell him not to engage any more because the more he engages, the more he plays into their hands and that agenda does not include calling him “friend”.
But he won’t listen because the very quality required of an Italian judge – that staunch, unflinching willingness to do the right thing in the face of personal danger ordered from on high – that very quality is going to make him impervious to influence, even from friends.