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U.S. student testifies Italian police pressured her

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: U.S. student Amanda Knox says questioners badgered, slapped, confused her
  • Knox, ex-boyfriend on trial in death of Knox's British housemate, Meredith Kercher
  • Knox contends she was at boyfriend's house the night Kercher was killed
  • Ivory Coast native Rudy Guede sentenced to 30 years for Kercher's murder
From Hada Messia
CNN Rome Bureau
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PERUGIA, Italy (CNN) -- American student Amanda Knox, accused of killing her housemate two years ago, testified in her murder trial Saturday that she was intimidated by Italian police during questioning.

Knox's British roommate, Meredith Kercher, was found dead  in November 2007.

American college student Amanda Knox, 21, testifies Friday at her murder trial in Perugia, Italy.

Knox, 21, is charged in the death of British student Meredith Kercher, who was her housemate in Perugia, a university town north of Rome.

Kercher, 20, died in what prosecutors say was a "drug-fueled sex game" after suffering a sexual assault. She was found half-naked, with a stab wound to her neck, in her bed November 2, 2007.

Saturday was the second day of testimony for Knox, who is from Seattle, Washington.

The public prosecutor, her defense lawyer, the attorney for her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, and the judge asked her about what happened the night of Kercher's death and the following day.

Both Knox and Sollecito, 25, are charged with murder and sexual assault.

Knox tried to explain Saturday why she gave conflicting answers to police when they interrogated her on November 6. She said it was a combination of police pressure, their suggestions, and her confused and frightened state of mind.

"When I would say that I was with Raffaele, they would say, 'You are a liar,' and they repeated this," she said, testifying in fluent Italian.

"You will go to prison for 30 years. ... You must remember," Knox recalled the police as saying.

Knox said the police were standing behind her and officers were going in and out of the interrogation room. A policewoman next to her was constantly pressing her to give them a name, and an interpreter on her right said people under trauma tend to forget things, she said.

"I was confused. ... I had so much fear," Knox said. She testified that she thought, "Hell, perhaps they're right and I have forgotten."

Knox repeated Saturday that police slapped her on the back of her head while questioning her. As she spoke, she hit her head a few times with her right hand and gestured broadly.

Knox testified Friday that she was not at the women's villa the night Kercher died, which authorities believe was the evening of November 1. She said she was at Sollecito's house. Video Watch Knox take the stand »

Knox testified Friday that the couple had dinner, watched a movie, smoked marijuana, had sex and went to bed on the night of November 1. She said she returned to her and Kercher's villa the next morning to take a shower.

That's when she said she noticed "strange things" such as the front door being left open, dried blood in the bathroom sink and on a bath mat, feces in the toilet, and the door to Kercher's room locked. Video Watch Knox in court »

When Knox returned to Sollecito's house, she said, he suggested they call police in case the house had been burglarized. Police then found Kercher's body.

All cameras were barred from the courtroom Saturday because the public prosecutor said he wanted to avoid "sensationalism." Cameras were allowed at the beginning of the session Friday but then ordered out.

Knox's father, Curt, defended his daughter Saturday.

"What we've seen over the past five months is a character assassination, and now, hopefully .... a different point of view of who she is is coming out," he told reporters.

People are beginning to see that "she is not this dark angel she's been portrayed as," he added.

"Amanda did a great job" on the stand, Curt Knox said. "She was very articulate in her answers. She answered all of the questions truthfully. She was not quivering in her voice. She was looking the judge in the eyes."

Her attorney, Carlo della Vedova, described his client as "very confident."

"She has repeated exactly what happened that night, on the fifth and sixth, when she was arrested. She gave all the information that was requested" during her testimony, he said.

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The trial is to resume next Friday, but Knox isn't expected to testify again.

A third person, Ivory Coast native Rudy Hermann Guede, was convicted of murder in a fast-track trial in October and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He is appealing the verdict.

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