Mike Heavey is a close friend of the Knox family, and knew Amanda as a teenager. He is also a county judge and, last year he generated a great deal of publicity when he made use of his office in order to send letters to legal officials in Italy with a request that the the Knox and Sollecito trial be moved out of Perugia. This earned him an official admonishment from the Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct. According to the Commission’s order he agreed at that time to stop speaking publicly about the case. That episode shows, at best, poor judgement, and some might even describe his actions as rather stupid and arrogant.
His rebellious participation in the recent Friends of Amanda Knox event is a different matter, however. As can be seen in the video of the event, Heavey gives a fairly short but very competent performance. He spends much of it stressing the importance of the rule of law and due process, name-checking Martin Luther King and invoking the image of Lady Justice. He does a great job of setting the scene for the following presentations.
The most comment-worthy part of Heavey’s own presentation is his claim that he knew of 22 “lies” about the case which had been leaked for public consumption by the Italian police and prosecutors. As he points out, each of these leaks ought to constitute a criminal offence under Italian law. So, if Heavey is counting correctly and if the lies told are of any material importance to the case, then clearly that’s a big problem and the integrity of the process that convicted Knox and Sollecito is thrown into enormous doubt.
If Heavey were able to itemise these lies, then that alone might change a lot of people’s minds about the case. But the trouble is that he doesn’t do that. He goes on instead to mention Amanda’s “Foxy Knoxy” nickname. That’s something that, it might be argued, is prejudicial to her. But, very obviously, it didn’t originate in a leak from the prosecution.
He also mentions a leak from Knox’s prison diary about her sex life. That’s certainly a leak that shouldn’t have happened, and Knox subsequently won a privacy lawsuit against Corriere Della Sera, who printed the story. But it is not clear how the diary was leaked, and I haven’t personally seen anything to suggest that it was ever in the possession of the police or the prosecution team.
Lastly, though, he mentions a claim by the police that CCTV showed Knox entering the flat on the night of the murder. It’s actually true and documented that such a claim was made, a fortnight after the murder. So, one out of three’s not bad. Although it’s not clear that this is really a “leak” as such, since police do talk to journalists all the time about progress in their cases. It has to be said, however, that the low-key way it seems to have been done in this case does give the impression of something slightly underhand.
The footage itself was ruled to be too poor in quality to be admitted at trial, and prosecutors have suggested that it actually showed Kercher, rather than Knox. That doesn’t necessarily make the police statement a “lie” as such, but it certainly doesn’t reflect well on them that they appear to have sold a lemon to the press, particularly given the potentially prejudicial nature of the information imparted.
In all seriousness, if Heavey has confidence in his 22 lies, he could do worse by Amanda than release the list.