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Knox scared but insists on innocence, Italian lawmaker says

Amanda Knox looks out of a prisoner transport vehicle in Perugia, Italy, on December 5.
Amanda Knox looks out of a prisoner transport vehicle in Perugia, Italy, on December 5.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Delegation from Italy USA Foundation visited Amanda Knox in Italian prison
  • Knox seemed "serene," denies guilt in roommate's murder, one visitor says
  • Delegation took her English-language books as Christmas gift
  • Knox's father has said he believes she'll be freed on appeal

(CNN) -- Serving a 26-year prison sentence for the murder of her roommate, American Amanda Knox said Sunday she is scared, but determined to prove she is innocent, according to an Italian lawmaker who visited her cell.

Knox, 22, seemed very pleased by the visit, which included members of the Italy USA Foundation, said Catia Polidori, a member of the foundation and a member of the Italian Parliament. Knox is also grateful for the foundation's interest in her case, Polidori said.

"In my opinion, in spite of the imprisonment, she seemed to be serene," Polidori told CNN. While Knox is aware of the seriousness of her situation, Polidori said, she is "resolute" about proving her innocence.

Knox was convicted earlier this month of murdering British exchange student Meredith Kercher while the two roomed together in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007. During her trial, Knox read a statement to jurors, insisting she is not a killer. She is appealing her conviction, although her case might not reach a court docket for at least a year.

Knox told the visitors she trusts in the Italian justice system to resolve her case, Polidori said. However, she said she was scared, and that "she is often afraid to open [the] newspaper or watch TV," because media reports tend to undermine her confidence, Polidori said.

The Italy USA Foundation "was established to honor the friendship between Italians and Americans," according to its Web site. "The Foundation is an independent institution that intends to play a bipartisan role on both sides of the Atlantic and whose sole purpose is to promote friendship between Italy and the United States of America."

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The foundation's president, Rocco Girlanda, said in a statement on the Web site the delegation visited Knox in her cell in Perugia to check on her condition because of the intense U.S. interest in her case. The delegation brought Knox some English-language books as a Christmas gift, which made her "really happy," Polidori told CNN.

Prosecutors said Kercher died during a sex game in which Knox taunted Kercher while Knox's then-boyfriend, Raffale Sollecito, and another man, Rudy Guede, sexually assaulted her. Among the evidence against Knox was a knife found in Sollecito's house with Knox's DNA on the handle and Kercher's on the blade.

Knox's attorneys attempted to cast doubt on those findings, saying the knife did not match Kercher's wounds or a knife imprint left on a bedsheet. They also claimed the DNA sample was too small to be conclusive.

Sollecito was also convicted in Kercher's death and sentenced to 25 years. Guede was convicted earlier in a separate fast-track trial and is appealing his conviction.

The verdict against Knox drew criticism from some who questioned the process. Kercher's family, however, has said they were satisfied with the jurors' decision.

Knox said she misses her family, Polidori said. Her mother, Edda Mellas, told CNN's Larry King earlier this month that her daughter was "completely crushed, devastated" by the verdict against her, but she is ready to fight her conviction.

Kurt Knox, Amanda Knox's father, told CNN she had been a victim of "character assassination." But he said the Italian appeals process is more flexible than in the American courts, noting the appeals court could open the case for a further evaluation of evidence and new information.

"There are many Italians who have told us that, you know, worst-case scenario, the first level rarely works correctly," Mellas told CNN, referring to the jury trial. "'They'll get it right in appeals, she will get out of there.' They will not, you know, put away this innocent young girl for a crime she didn't commit."

 
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