The acquittal of Amanda Knox from her Italian jailers, reversing a conviction for murder on inconclusive and unsubstantiated evidence, has rocketed across the Internet like a legal shot heard ’round the Web.
Amanda, a person of what is obviously incredible courage and in heroic proportions, has suffered in an Italian prison for four years on what has been revealed to be unfounded charges, and was serving a 26 year prison sentence no one could prove she could have possibly committed.
Seattle supporters, fans, friends and followers were glued to their Web screens for news of the ruling which declared Amanda’s sentence vacated while simultaneously indicting the Italian judicial system as something so dysfunctional that it stands as few international legal cases in world history might, as a global embarrassment. The shocking illustration of a modern Italian judicial process run amok transcended mere “courtroom drama” to a new level of “courtroom opera.”
This Italian opera did not fail to impress upon the rational thinking world that the Italian judicial process had descended to a level of absurdity so backward, it might revert to the act of throwing Christians to lions. Indeed, state prosecutor Giancarlo Mignini— who was convicted last year of abuse of office and dereliction of duty in connection with another case he prosecuted — compared Knox to Nazi chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels. Such hyperbole should forever “lionize” Mignini as the social equivalent of Pagliacci, the operatic clown and the legal equivalent of far worse. As the lead government attorney for Italy, Mignini has done more to damage the international reputation of Italy in the eyes of the world as Benitto Mussolini did during World War II.
Arriverderci, Roma! Welcome home to Seattle, Amanda! [24×7]
Meanwhile, back on the other side of the real bright line of the law, three Seattle men have been federally indicted in a burglary ring that combined high-tech hacking with low-tech break-ins to victimize scores of Seattle businesses. Joshuah Allen Witt, 34, Brad Eugene Lowe, 36 and John Earl Griffin, 36 are accused of robbing 53 Seattle-area businesses of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and doing so with whatever means possible. In some cases, prosecutors said, the men stole computer equipment.
Sometimes, they allegedly introduced malicious software onto computers during break-ins. And other times, they used “war-driving,” a term referring to driving around looking for wireless networks with low or no security. “Very quickly, they were using that malware to steal credentials for the payroll account of the victim company,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Warma. Court records accuse the men of stealing employee identities and rerouting direct deposit paychecks to accounts they opened in the names of other victims. The incidents happened in late 2008 and early 2009. In some cases, the suspects even gave hacked employees raises in order to steal more, said prosecutors.
The defendants were so ingenious at masking their trail and destroying electronic evidence of their intrusions that sometimes employees of the victimized companies wound up being questioned as potential suspects, investigators said. And according to the indictment, they took over some companies’ networks in such a way that they were able “to monitor the victim business’s discovery and response to the network intrusion, to include eavesdropping on communications with law enforcement agents.”
The men used the money on items including a Rolex watch and car engines, prosecutors said. They’re also accused of buying a wealth of computer equipment _ including powerful antennas _ that could be used to further their hacking activities.
It wasn’t immediately clear how police first linked the three to the hacking, but documents filed in federal and state court said the investigation began by August 2008, and the three were identified as suspects by late 2010, when all three were initially arrested. Two _ Lowe and Witt _ were charged with various burglaries in King County Superior Court. Griffin was arrested at a local wine bar when police said he tried to use stolen gift cards, but that case was never referred for prosecution, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the county prosecutor’s office. [24×7]