ABC News' Ann Wise reports:
Amanda Knox’s request to have her preliminary hearing on slander charges heard by a different judge was turned down by the Appeals Court in Perugia, Italy, today.
Knox’s lawyers had requested that judge Claudia Matteini step aside because she had already made a judgment about Knox when she confirmed her arrest for murder in November 2007, days after the body of Knox’s roomate Meredith Kercher was found in a pool of blood in the apartment the girls shared. Knox has been in a Italian jail ever since.
Matteini did not step aside, and last week Knox’s lawyers filed a formal to have her replaced.
Knox appeared briefly in court for the June 17 hearing, and made a quick statement. Her lawyers told the ANSA news agency that, in reference to the slander accusation, Knox said “I only wanted to defend myself. I am sorry it has come to this.”
Knox faces slander charges in response to statements she made during her murder trial last year in which she accused the police of hitting her on the back of her head during one of her interrogations in the police station in the days after the murder. During Knox’s trial police testified that they had treated Knox well, and denied hitting her.
Knox’s lawyers told ANSA that they are debating whether to take today’s decision to Italy’s top Cassation Court.
In December of last year Knox was convicted to 26 years in prison for Kercher’s death along with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, who is serving 25 years. A third person, Rudy Guede, was also convicted of the crime in a separate trial. His 30-year sentence was reduced to 16 on appeal.
Knox has appealed her conviction for murder and a judge and the date for the Appeals trial is expected to be announced soon. The preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin on Oct. 1.
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