Amanda Knox to return to Italy for 1st time since acquittal

ROME (AP) — Amanda Knox is returning to Italy for the first time since she was convicted and imprisoned, but ultimately acquitted, in the murder and sexual assault of her British roommate in the hilltop university town of Perugia.

The 31-year-old American was invited to attend a conference June 13-15 organized in Modena by the Criminal Chamber of the northern city and the Italy Innocence Project, which seeks to help people who have been convicted of crimes they did not commit.

Knox will be speaking on the role of the media in judicial errors on the last day of the conference.

“The Italy Innocence Project didn’t yet exist when I was wrongly convicted in Perugia. I’m honored to accept their invitation to speak to the Italian people at this historic event and return to Italy for the first time,” Knox, who is from Seattle, said Tuesday on Twitter.

Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were initially convicted in the slaying of student Meredith Kercher in 2007.

“We decided to invite her because we believe she is an icon of the mass media process,” said Guido Sola, president of the Criminal Chamber, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

The trials of Knox and Sollecito drew international media attention, with early allegations appearing in Italian media that apparently affected their initial verdicts.

Their convictions were annulled by the country’s highest court in 2015 after a series of flip-flop higher-court decisions over years. Judges in that final ruling cited flaws in the investigation and said there was a lack of evidence to prove the defendants’ wrongdoing beyond reasonable doubt, including a lack of “biological traces” connecting them to the crime.

Italy’s highest court did, however, confirm a conviction against Knox for falsely accusing a Congolese bar owner in the case.

An Ivorian immigrant, Rudy Guede, is serving a 16-year sentence for Kercher’s slaying.