10.26.11

Amanda Knox’s Former Lover Speaks

Breaking his silence for the first time since he was acquitted of murdering Meredith Kercher, Raffaele Sollecito hints that he wants to rekindle his relationship with Amanda Knox.

It has been nearly one month since Seattle native Amanda Knox and her erstwhile lover Raffaele Sollecito were sensationally acquitted of the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. Knox has not yet given an interview, but paparazzi shots of her walking and driving in Seattle with her family and friends have kept the Knox-obsessed satisfied with an occasional fix. She’s got ample interview requests to consider, and there are rumors about lucrative offers from publishers for her memoirs of life in an Italian prison. There is even a $1 million movie offer from Verdi Productions in East Greenwich, R.I.

While Knox sifts through her offers with her American lawyers and public-relations team, Sollecito’s lawyer, Luca Maori, has been busy peddling the first exclusive interview with his client, even suggesting to one American network that Sollecito would travel to Seattle to do it if the price was right. Sollecito is the forgotten character in this epic saga, even calling himself “Mr. Nobody” during his final appeal, whining that he was always in Knox’s shadow during the “Amanda-centric” trial coverage. It’s not surprising that the American media passed on the Sollecito bait, and instead the exclusive went to Italian glossy Oggi, which didn’t even use it as a cover story. Instead, the popular weekly ran a three-page spread with a simple photo of the forgotten Italian in this week’s edition. Oggi editor Giangavino Sulas has long been a staunch advocate of Knox and Sollecito’s quest for freedom; the magazine published several advocacy pieces during the original trial and appeal, often ridiculing the Italian police and prosecutors. The prosecutor even mentioned Sulas by name during his closing arguments, making a point that the local media had infiltrated the case and become part of the story. Curiously, and in inarguably bad taste, Oggi’s marketing and editorial departments were obviously not in sync the week of the appellate verdict. The magazine gave away a set of knives and a pizza cutter with the edition that touted the dynamic duo’s acquittal on the cover.

In the photo taken for the Oggi piece this week, Sollecito is wearing the same gray jacket that he lent to Knox the morning after the murder. Oggi dedicated a sidebar with a photo from that morning and pointed to the fact that he wore it for the interview because it reminded him of her. He looks much the same as the day he was acquitted. His cropped hair is growing out. He has new glasses and a light stubbly beard. Sulas describes Raffaele’s eyes as “lighting up” when he talks about Knox. “I want to see Amanda again,” he tells Oggi, and then he lays out his plans to visit her in Seattle. “She invited me to come for Christmas and I might go before that,” he says. “We talk and write every day. We have so much to say to each other. We need to understand what happened.”

'We talk and write every day. We have so much to say to each other. We need to understand what happened.'

The interview doesn’t touch on many details of the case, but instead explains that because the prosecution is appealing the acquittal to Italy’s high court, Sollecito has to wait until that decision is made before he can talk specifics. In fact, there are scant quotes from Sollecito, and instead the interview focuses onquestions answered by his father, Francesco.  Raffaele does imply, however, that he wants to rekindle the relationship he and Knox had just begun when the two were arrested for Kercher’s murder. “We need each other,” he tells Oggi. “We spent four years in a circle of hell, we suffered unspeakably, and it ruined our lives.”

The same could be said for the Kerchers, who remain convinced of Knox and Sollecito’s guilt, even though Sollecito’s father has recently promised that they will help the Kerchers find justice. The Sollecito family had even organized a Catholic mass in Kercher’s honor this Friday night but canceled it after what they said was too much media interest.

The Kerchers will mark the fourth anniversary of their daughter’s death on Nov. 1 with less certainty than ever about what happened to their daughter. “She has left such a big hole in our lives,” Meredith Kercher’s sister Stephanie told Newsweek the day after the verdict. “We can never get over her loss.”