Luciano Aviello, a key defence witness for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito during their trial for aggravated murder, has been cleared last week by an Italian court of the Italian equivalent of ‘Obstruction of Justice’ for allegedly giving the courts false information in order to deliberately sabotage the trial of Knox and Sollecito. In his defence, the transgender 49-year-old claimed he had been bribed to throw the case into chaos by Sollecito’s attorney, Giulia Bongiorno. He made submissions to the Appeal court during the Kercher trial he had been offered €30,000 towards his gender change operation to disrupt it with phony testimony.

Aviello had numerous convictions and was a 'prison informer'

Aviello had numerous convictions for mafia activities and was a notorious ‘informer’ according to Sollecito in his book, Honor Bound, whom he claims had to be kept in isolation, protected from other prisoners.

'Aviello was a police plant', Sollecito claims

Sollecito claims in his book, ~, that the Squadra Mobile (Flying Squad) in Perugia had set him up to become friends with Aviello in the hope he would confess to the crime. Aviello claimed that Sollecito allegedly confessed that Amanda had killed Meredith in an adult game. Sollecito claims in his book that when he realised what Aviello had been saying about him, he cut him off as a friend and Aviello was moved away from Terni prison, shortly after.

Aviello was a star defence witness for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Strangely, Aviello was introduced to the trial court by Knox' and Sollecito’s defences to testify that the real killers were Antonio, his brother, and a mysterious Albanian. Given Aviello’s long record of being an unreliable witness and having numerous convictions for slander, many consider it remarkable Knox’ attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova called Aviello as a key witness, together with a notorious child killer, Mario Alessi as the other, in collaboration with Sollecito’s attorney, Luca Maori.

The lower courts dismissed Aviello's claims

The testimony of Aviello, unsurprisingly, was completely dismissed and Aviello told he would be prosecuted for criminal slander ('calunnia' or, obstruction of justice in an investigation). He had written five letters to the Prosecutor Manuela Comodi setting out his wild claims.

After the trial in which Knox and Sollecito were found guilty of aggravated murder, the case went to automatic appeal.

The Appeal Court judge, Pratillo Hellmann, refused to allow Aviello the stand to claim he had only made his unfounded allegations because of a bribe by Sollecito’s defence.

In the next stage of the automatic appeal process to the Supreme Court, Judge Severo Chieffi ruled Hellmann had erred in not allowing Aviello’s testimony, namely, he was now claiming he had been bribed by Bongiorno to make the false claims in order to bring chaos and confusion to the case.

Bongiorno threatened to sue Aviello for his claims of bribery

Advocate Bongiorno is quoted in UMBRIA24 as saying she would take legal measures to defend her reputation. To date, there are no reports she has ever sued Aviello for his accusations.

Judge Chieffi sent the case back down to the Appeal Court, this time presided by Judge Alessandro Nencini.

One of the edicts of the Cheiffi Supreme Court was that Aviello must be heard for his bribery claims. The date for Aviello’s testimony was set for Day 2 of the Appeal, 4th Oct 2013. This time, Aviello appeared in female clothing and was undergoing gender reassignment surgery, asking to be called ‘Lucy’.

Aviello reverts to his original claims at the new Appeal Court

Once again, Aviello changed his story and was back again claiming that his brother and an Albanian were responsible for the savage murder of the young student.

Judge Nencini was dismissive of Aviello’s testimony, remarking on Aviello’s “three versions” of his story.

Knox’s lawyer, Dalla Vedova, objected to this comment, on the grounds that there had only been two versions. Nencini smiled and said: “Don’t forget the next!

To complete the farce, two of Aviello’s fellow inmates at Terni came forward to inform investigators that whilst in prison with Sollecito, Aviello had supposedly bragged that Solllecito said his father Fransesco would give him €70,000 to disrupt the trial.

The upshot of all of this nonsense is that Aviello stood trial recently on the charges of obstruction and slander, related to the above shenanigans, and CLEARED of wrongdoing, by fact that ‘the act does not exist’.

Confused? You won’t be!

The legal implications are one or more of the following:

  • Aviello made the allegations his brother and an Albanian committed the crimes in good faith.
  • Aviello was indeed bribed to cause chaos in court.
  • Aviello was called by the defence lawyers for Knox and Sollecito to disrupt proceedings.
  • The court deemed the matter of Luciano Aviello, Star Witness, was too trivial to prosecute, as the police themselves did not bother to investigate Aviello’s obvious tall story.
  • The Squadra Mobile did set Aviello up to inform on Sollecito. He then made up a story about his brother instead, being a compulsive liar.
  • The defence were happy to have a compulsive liar and criminal with eight convictions for slander and others for Mafia activity appear as the star witness for their clients.

Convictions Annulled

Amanda Knox and Sollecito's Convictions were annulled in 2015 due to 'insufficient evidence'.

Both are appearing as 'guest speakers' and touring the country to promote their books.

Sollecito showed his gratitude to Aviello

In his book, co-written with Andrew Gumbel, 2012, Sollecito claims Aviello was transferred away from the same prison as his because, “I can only assume this was because his presence there no longer served any useful purpose to the authorities.’

He adds, ‘Much later, I sent him a present, an embroided handkerchief, to express my gratitude.’