Amanda Knox's Lawyers Threaten Lawsuit if Lifetime Doesn't Scrap Movie
Knox's family believes the film, which will star Hayden Panettiere, could affect the appeal process on her 26-year prison term for murder.
ROME – Lawyers representing both American student Amanda Knox, who is serving a 26-year jail term in connection with the murder of her British roommate, and those representing the deceased girl's family are seeing to block the airing of a television film about the case, the Italian media reported Monday.
The film, produced by television network Lifetime, stars actress Hayden Panettiere, best known for her role in the Heroes television series, as Knox. Amanda Knox: Murder on trial in Italy is scheduled for release Feb. 21, and the trailer from the Lifetime website is already making the rounds on Italian news and social media sites (watch below).
Italian newspapers said that lawyers for both Knox and for the family of Meredeth Kercher said they had separately written Lifetime to request the film not be aired, and they threatened legal action if it runs as scheduled.
The press reports said that Knox's lawyers feared the film could prejudice perception of the case just as the appeal process gets underway, while Kercher's family said they are struggling to put the tragedy behind them and feared that would be more difficult if the movie is aired.
"To air this at this time … with the memory of the events so fresh seems extremely inappropriate," Francesco Maresca, one of the Kercher family attorneys is quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency.
Reports also quote Jon Kercher, the victim's father, as referring to the re-enactment scenes of the slaying as "absolutely horrific."
Maria del Grosso, one of Knox's lawyers, said the notion of a film on the topic was inherently flawed at this point: "There is no clear-cut truth that can be reflected in the film," del Grosso told the Italian media.
Lawyers for Raffaele Sollecito, Knox's boyfriend at the time and another defendant in the case, have not requested the film be scrapped, media reports said.
A spokesman for Lifetime declined to comment when contacted by The Hollywood Reporter. As of Monday, the trailer was still available from the Lifetime web site.
The case has drawn headlines ever since Kercher's body was discovered half naked with her throat cut in the apartment she shared with Knox on Nov. 2, 2007. Both girls were students at the Foreigners' University in Perugia, in central Italy. The trials attracted worldwide media attention.
Reuters reported that the film's producers said they worked from court documents and media reports in order to tell the story, and that they "had been careful" to tell the story in an impartial way.