Antonio Aiello's Testimony (English)

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This is an English language translation of the testimony. See Antonio Aiello's Testimony for the original Italian transcript.

Contents

Summary of Antonio Aiello's Testimony

Antonio Aiello is a lawyer of Albanian heritage living in Perugia at the time of the murder. His involvement in the trial is through Hekuran Kokomani, the Albanian witness, who testified that he saw Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede together outside of the cottage the night of the murder.

  • Antonio Aiello testified that he met Hekuran Kokomani through mutual friends when he was working on a farm and that he has known him for 15-20 years. In that time he has never known Hekuran Kokomani to lie or be dishonest.
  • Kokomani called Aiello in mid-November to discuss an undisclosed matter. As both were headed to the homeland for the holidays they agreed to meet after the holidays. Aiello states that they met mid-January and when asked if that was January 18 by prosecutor, Aiello agrees that it likely was.
  • At the January 18 meeting Kokomani asked Aiello if he knew about the murder and he said that he did not as he had not kept abreast of Perugia news while in Albania. Kokomani said that he saw the people who did it. It was a girl, a boy, and a black man.
  • Mignini asked about the number of knives. At the preliminary hearing Kokomani testified that both Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had knives. Aiello said that Kokomani mentioned Amanda Knox had a knife but did not mention Sollecito having one. Aiello said that as soon as he heard the beginning, he stopped Kokomani and insisted that he go to the prosecutor. Kokomani agreed that he would but only if Aiello came with him and kept his name private.
  • Aiello testified that at a dinner with some Albanians Kokomani had learned that someone was offering €100,000 to get the witness to not testify or for his name. At this point Kokomani's name was still secret. Aiello testified that Kokomani told him that he was threatened and his family in Albania was threatened a few days after his name was made public. The threats stated that Kokomani should not get involved and that he should not testify.
  • On cross-examination Aiello was asked if Kokomani had any issues with the law. Aiello said yes, he was advising Kokomani on an issue that fell under client privilege. When asked if he was aware of any other criminal proceedings against Kokomani, Aiello said yes, there was a charge for private violence.
  • Luca Maori attempted to ask about a leak of Kokomani's statement to a newspaper but this line of questioning was not allowed to proceed.
  • Giulia Bongiorno asked if Aiello had told Kokomani about a €10,000 offer from Porta Porta for an interview to which Aiello responded that he advised Kokomani to not give any interviews until after the preliminary hearing. Bongiorno asked about a interview Kokomani gave Channel 5. Aiello said Kokomani agreed to do that interview only if they kept his face concealed.

Antonio Aiello's Testimony

Thank you to Catnip from the PerugiaMurderfile.org community for this translation.


Key to abbreviations
GCM Giancarlo Massei Judge Presidente
GM Giuliano Mignini Prosecutor Pubblico Ministero
AA Antonio Aiello Witness being questioned Lawyer of Hekuran Kokomani
GB Giulia Bongiorno Sollecito defense lawyer Avvocato
LM Luca Maori Sollecito defense lawyer Avvocato
MC Manuela Comodi Prosecutor Pubblico Ministero
CDV Carlo Dalla Vedova Knox defense lawyer Avvocato


The witness, cautioned in accordance with article 497 of the Criminal Procedure Code, reads the oath.

General information: Aiello Antonio, born in Saronno on 6 June 1986, resident at Todi in corso Cavour 67.


GCM:
Mr Prosecutor.

Prosecutor Mignini

GM:
Do you know Hekuran Kokomani?
AA:
Yes.
GM:
For how long?
AA:
Specifically 15-20 years.
GM:
Have you visited him, have you seen him?
AA:
Yes, I first met him in the agriturismo where he used to work before, then I had visited him because we've had lots of friends in common for some time.
GM:
What was the agriturismo?
AA:
The agriturismo was Torre Rosa.
GM:
Where is it?
AA:
San Marco, Perugia , above (..) let's say.
GM:
When the crime against Meredith had transpired, had you had occasion to speak with Kokomani?
AA:
Personally, in person no, he had phoned me, he had called me.
GM:
When was the phone call?
AA:
In the month of November, towards the middle of the month of November, the exact day I don't know because it was a habit with him, he used to phone me many times, he'd told me that he had to speak to me, I said 'Look, I'm not in Perugia, if it's urgent I'll organise myself, otherwise I'm expected in Perugia for the Christmas festivities', he at that point said to me "look, at this point, we'll meet up straight after Christmas because I'm back off to Albania'.
GM:
So you were both agreed that you would have met up straight after the Christmas holidays?
AA:
Yes.
GM:
You didn't hear anymore from him up until Christmas?
AA:
No, we spoke … we spoke to wish each other Merry Christmas also because on the phone he had hinted at absolutely nothing.
GM:
But he had told you that it was a delicate matter?
AA:
I'd said that if it was an urgent matter, in the sense whether he needed an immediate presence and he'd said to me that we would have met up straight after.
GM:
Then what happened?
AA:
What happened afterwards, around, if I'm not mistaken, the middle of the month of January, as soon as he got back from Albania he came to me in the office and said to me …
GM:
He had come back right from Albania?
AA:
Yes, on that I'm certain.
GM:
About that time?
AA:
No, the same day, he had just arrived. This is the only certain thing because had had told me that he had parked the car with the suitcases badly under the office, so on that I'm certain.
GM:
Was it afternoon?
AA:
It was in the afternoon around 18 30 - 18 00, when…
GM:
In mid January 2008?
AA:
It would have to have been around … the day before he was heard at the Prosecutor's Office. The evening before more than the day before.
GM:
Could it have been 18 January?
AA:
It's probable, it's very probable.
GM:
What did he say?
AA:
Initially he told me that he had to speak regarding the murder in Perugia. At the moment I hadn't well understood the facts, also because I had not been to Perugia and therefore had not followed the story, something which, let me say, I almost always do; he told me "I passed by and I saw those people."
GM:
Did he tell you when he had passed by?
AA:
He'd passed by in the evening, at that point I had asked him if he was sure and he said to me 'yes, I'm sure', I said "at this point, if you're sure, go to the Prosecutor's Office and make a statement. Also because - I said to him - it’s useless you pre-emptively telling the facts because on the facts I'm able to tell you absolutely nothing. The only thing that I can tell you is that if you're sure let's book an appointment and I can accompany you', he said to me 'the only thing I want from you is that you accompany me to the Prosecutor's Office, I don't want to go alone', I said to him 'this I can do, except obviously that then you have to make the statement on your own, I can't tell you anything'.
GM:
And did he tell you who he had seen specifically?
AA:
He told me, in his general way, he told me 'I saw the guys there out front', I said to him 'who did you see?','the guys, I saw them there in front of the house, I was passing by in the car because I was going back home'.
GM:
Did you ask him which guys?
AA:
Yes, yes, I asked him.
GM:
And he identified them?
AA:
He said that which later I recognised from the papers, he identified them.
GM:
Who were…
AA:
A boy, a girl and a boy of colour, although this…
GM:
How did he tell you, referring to the day on which he had seen them?
AA:
The day, the only thing that he said is that he was passing by there and he remembered that it was raining, the exact day although I… sincerely, neither did he say and neither did I insist inasmuch they're facts that don't relate to me.
GM:
So the only thing that he could remember with certainty was that it was raining?
AA:
That it was raining a bit, yes.
GM:
Did he tell you at what time he passed by?
AA:
No, he didn't tell me and I didn't ask because I know that he always goes around without a watch, appointments with him are…
GM:
And then you had gone, you had accompanied him then?
AA:
Yes. I accompanied him to the Prosecutor's Office, he made his statement.
GM:
Then he had, he sought you out again?
AA:
Yes, lots of times. Straight after his deposition at the Prosecutor's Office I had left this time for Catanzaro, this is a certain date because I remember that on the Saturday there was going to be an election of the Consiglio dell'Ordine and so I remember that I had gone to Catanzaro, then I sought him out some more times, I didn't enter into the merits of the deposition for obvious reasons because it was a position that was also classified and so I didn't ask anything and neither did he tell me anything. The only thing that he always told me was to not spread his name around, something which amongst other things I tried to do.
GM:
He didn't say anything else? He came to see you a second time, do you remember?
AA:
Yes.
GM:
On the occasion of that second visit did he tell you other things? He sought you out afresh?
AA:
Always whether I could have accompanied to the Prosecutor's Office, because he was having to supply further particulars although…
GM:
But he hadn't said anything further to you about what he had seen about these young people?
AA:
About what he had seen, but he'd referred then to news had emerged then in the press, so…
GM:
But he had spoken to you about a knife?
AA:
Yes, he had spoken to me about a knife.
GM:
But the knife, was it one or were there several knives?
AA:
One for sure, he had spoken to me definitely about one knife.
GM:
You made a statement on 7 November 2008 that he told you that 'Amanda had raised up both her hands… and Sollecito had a knife in his hand a much shorter knife.' So they had them, according to what you had stated, both of them.
GB:
May I make an objection because there's a first part in which he says though that the knife was only in Amanda's hands.
GCM:
Advocate, closer to the microphone.
GB:
Since the witness is now saying 'initially only one knife and then two knives', the contestation regards the second leaf of the statement in which he talks about two knives. On the first leaf he instead refers to 'initially he had told me, about the knife, that only Amanda had it'.
GCM:
Perhaps for the contestation we might give a full reading of the parts.
GM:
All right, there's no problem.
GB:
In the middle of the first leaf he says, now I don't know whether he confirms it or not, 'at first Kokomani had told me that only Amanda had the knife', then there's what you say.
GCM:
Now then the statement is from?
GM:
From 7 November 2008, you stated that he at first said that only Amanda had the knife and then you…
GCM:
Perhaps if we may give a full reading of the part the object of the…
GM:
"At first Kokomani had told me, about the knife, that only Amanda had it, then he explained to me the dynamics of the episode'.
AA:
Yes.
GM:
Then going forward you say 'I remember the particular that Hekuran told me that Amanda had lifted up a long knife with both her hands and that Sollecito had a shorter knife in his hand', if you remember?
GB:
"Shorter"?
GM:
I go further forward ' that he had recognised from the photos in the newspapers'.
AA:
Yes.
GM:
Do you remember that he said this?
AA:
These facts that he had mentioned to me, now precisely whether he had mentioned them prior to the meeting at the Prosecutor's Office in May or straight after the preliminary hearing, when Kokomani was also heard, now this I don't recall clearly also because unfortunately even I have difficulty comprehending the reconstruction of facts that Kokomani had given to me. When I listen to him it's without an interpreter and so... although these particulars were mentioned by him without anything else.
GM:
And of these particulars he… what were the particulars of which he was absolutely certain?
AA:
To having seen the knife, this he mentioned to me.
GM:
The knife and the two boys.
AA:
Yes, yes, the two boys, he mentioned this. His words were 'I saw them and I heard them and I spoke with them'.
GM:
Try to remember, on the occasion of the second visit, do you recall what Kokomani had said to you?
AA:
The second visit in May, if I remember correctly.
GM:
Yes. Of having been present at a dinner with Albanians, with his co-nationals.
AA:
Ah yes.
GM:
Tell us.
AA:
He mentioned that during a dinner, in a general way various Albanian co-nationals, in his presence, but without knowing, I presume, without knowing that the presumed witness was Kokomani, had said that word was going round that someone could earn 100,000 euro to make him keep his mouth shut or to know who the witness was. If I'm not mistaken, this was the context of the phrase and this...
GM:
Did…
AA:
Obviously he didn't tell me who the people were at the dinner nor when he found out, he was generic about this.
GM:
Afterwards, after having been heard at the preliminary hearing, did you have further contacts with him?
AA:
Yes.
GM:
Did he confirm these particulars with you, add further ones or deny them?
AA:
No, he personally inasmuch as my statement could be useful, he has always confirmed what he had said, he had said 'I'm sure about what I saw'.
GM:
Did he have any reason, did he to your knowledge have reasons to invent a story like this, Kokomani?
AA:
I think not, as far as I know no.
GM:
Is Kokomani able to pinpoint these events exactly in time or does he have difficulty. He has difficulty, even though he says he knows Italian, in reality I actually believe that he doesn't know it, especially when the language…
AA:
Yes.
GM:
So it appears to you that he might have difficulty whether in the precise locating these events in time, or whether instead he knows how to do it?
AA:
I think that relatively he's able to locate them obviously he can't be precise because he's a boy who goes around almost always without a watch, he bases himself on the weather, or because he's working on the farm or I don't know for what reasons, but he bases everything... he's not very precise on the circumstances, although he usually guesses periods.
GM:
Is he currently under an investigation?
AA:
Yes, although on this item where I'm advising him I call on client privilege.
GM:
I have no further questions.
FM:
No questions.

Defense Counsel Maori

LM:
Advocate Aiello, you said earlier that you've known Kokomani for 15-20 years.
AA:
Yes.
LM:
And you also said before that you're counselling him in a proceeding in which you, under Article 200, do not intend to speak about. Do you know if Kokomani is involved in other proceedings?
AA:
As far as…
LM:
Besides the one for which you earlier said about not wishing to speak.
AA:
As far as I know, yes, there's another proceeding.
LM:
Criminal proceeding?
AA:
Another criminal proceeding, it would have to be private violence, but I'm not advising him though.
LM:
You said before that you had accompanied Kokomani to the Prosecutor's Office, and remained outside, and you hadn't spoken to anyone about the fact that Kokomani was going to testify, do you confirm that?
AA:
Yes, yes.
LM:
Had you during the month of January 2008 spoken to some journalist about the contents of Kokomani's deposition?
AA:
January 2008 no.
LM:
Are you certain of this?
AA:
Yes.
LM:
I would like to produce two copies of the Corriere della Sera 24 January 2008 and of the Corriere dell'Umbria of 25 January 2008, in particular the 24 January 2008 by-lined Fiorenza Sarzanini had reported fully the contents of the statement made a few days earlier to the Public Prosecutor.
MC:
And what has this got to do with the witness?
LG:
Everything!
LM:
This is very important.
MC:
Do you take it as given that it had been…
GCM:
Excuse me! The defence is requesting the production of these documents.
LM:
There are documents.
GCM:
If there is an objection let's hear it…
GM:
There's objection! We're doing another trial here!
LM:
But I don't…
GCM:
Excuse me! Please!
LM:
But we aren't trying anyone!
GCM:
Excuse me! Let's maintain that order that we ought to maintain in the exposition and submissions and in the indication of probable objections, then at the end try to make a determination.
MC:
More than an objection, the Public Prosecutor is making an amendment. There is no objection to the production of this document also because the newspapers are in the public domain, although for the Court, I would prefer that Advocate Maori would be specific, seeing that this article had been pulled out at this moment and during the testimony of Advocate Aiello, I would like to understand if its production had been requested at this moment because in the ambit of this article it's written that the news that Sarzanini gives has been sourced to Advocate Aiello, because this is what it is that has happened.
LM:
Absolutely not! On our part, on my part there is no intention of saying that it was Advocate Aiello or of showing it.
MC:
Yes, it was what I was thinking.
GCM:
Agreed. Therefore there are no other conclusions on these that will be acquired, ex Article 234, as documentation. Please continue the prosecution of the examination by the Raffaele Sollecito defence.

Defense Counsel Bongiorno

GB:
A little while ago, the Public Prosecutor had already read it out, if need be I'll do it again, at first Kokomani had spoken to you about only one knife.
AA:
Yes.
GB:
And you have then wanted to make a note of this. Can you explain to me, that is what does "at first Kokomani spoke to me about one knife"?
AA:
In the immediacy of the facts, when he had asked to me accompany him to the Prosecutor's Office he spoke to me of a knife, therefore I think that the reconstruction is to be understood in this sense "I saw a girl with a knife". I at that point had interrupted him and I had said to him if whether he felt like going because the only thing to do was to go to the Prosecutor's Office, also because I didn't want to be informed of the rest of it if he didn't feel like following the usual course.
GB:
In the ambit of this statement you though then describe a series of circumstances that Kokomani told you. I'm not contesting them with you, but rather asking for a clarification, all these circumstances that you are describing are they circumstances that you refer to having learned after Kokomani's deposition?
AA:
Yes.
GB:
When Kokomani told you "I've seen this person", did he tell you specifically that Knox and Sollecito, he had already seen them during the preceding summer together with an uncle of Amanda's?
AA:
No, in the immediacy this he had said to me.
GB:
You do know that afterwards it had been mentioned?
AA:
Yes, I found out afterwards, I learned about it because obviously for obvious reasons, after the preliminary hearing even I had read the newspapers and even I had asked for clarification on various particulars even from him.
GB:
Had you ever spoken with Kokomani about a proposal of 10,000 euro to go on "Porta a Porta"?
AA:
No, never. Not only had I never spoken with him about it, but I had also said that before the preliminary hearing he was not going on any broadcast, he was not to make any statement and he was in agreement with this also because the only obligation that he had taken up in dealings with me was where he was going to testify although he did not want his name to come out, did want that his name would appear in the press, on that he had asked for my help.
GB:
Yet he gave an interview to Channel 5, do you know?
AA:
He gave a interview to Channel 5 straight after the deposition of the documents.
GB:
But before the preliminary hearing?
AA:
Yes.
GB:
How come were you telling me there was an agreement to not speak…
GCM:
Advocate, straight after the deposition of what thing?
AA:
Of the closing of the investigations, straight after the closure of the investigations and deposition of the documents on the part of the Prosecutor's Office.
GB:
Because with you you both it must have been that until… he knew, he had been informed by you that he had an important role as witness?
AA:
Yes, yes, I had told him.
GB:
And so you had said to him "don't give interviews".
AA:
To not give any interview, this interview at the end, he had consented to do this interview on Channel 5 on the condition that his face would not appear.
GB:
I have no further questions.

Defense Counsel Dalla Vedova

CDV:
Turning back again to your previous statements, already gone over in part this morning, you mention that Kokomani asked you for advice concerning some presumed threats. Can you be more specific on this circumstance?
AA:
Yes, he told me that one day, straight after, when his name had emerged in the press, he had been pressured, he had experienced some… threats directed intentionally towards him I don't think, although logically everybody wanted to know, including in the Albanian sphere, which is his sphere of life because he's a young man, an Albanian citizen, and there were pressures that wanted to know who he was, they wanted information about him and in tones, I think, that were not friendly, but I think that it refers only to this. He hadn't given me though any specific circumstances, he had not told me particular details, it had been rather generic, he'd said "there's word going around against me".
CDV:
This before he was to go to the Prosecutor's Office?
AA:
No, before he was to go to the preliminary hearing.
CDV:
And had he also recounted to you the threats in Albania?
AA:
Yes.
CDV:
That his family had received, his wife in particular?
AA:
Yes, he had also told me of threats in Albania.
CDV:
Can you be more specific?
AA:
On this point he had also told me in Albania he had been told not to interest himself in it, to not testify further in this case, although I had thought little of it, I hadn't given it much weight, I don't know if I had been wrong or not, but I had not given it much weight.
CDV:
Do you remember what car Kokomani had in the period November 2007?
AA:
He told me a Golf.
CDV:
Do you remember the colour?
AA:
Dark, he had told me dark, I remember because he had told me.
CDV:
Do you remember also if it was new, a recent model or a used car?
AA:
I presume used, knowing Kokomani I presume a used car, I definitely can exclude a new car.
CDV:
Thank you.

Prosecutor Mignini

GM:
You've said that you've known Kokomani for about 15 years, right?
AA:
Yes.
GM:
What were your relations like? Were there ever moments of disagreement, had you reproved him on some occasion for something?
AA:
I haven't always had optimal relations with him, I can say also that he has invited me to his home in Albania, I know his wife, I know his children, he has also helped me with specific election campaigns putting up posters, he's always been friendly with me.
GM:
Do you recall whether he had lied to you in certain situations?
AA:
To me personally, no.
GM:
To people of your acquaintance?
AA:
As far as I know, no.
GM:
I have no further questions.
GCM:
You may go.