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Amanda Knox Counting On Appeal To Clear Her Name

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ROME — Amanda Knox is counting on an appeals trial to regain her freedom after a court sentenced her to 26 years in prison for murdering her British roommate, an Italian lawmaker who visited the American student said Wednesday.

A jury in Perugia last week convicted Knox of murdering Meredith Kercher in the house they shared in that university town. Knox maintains she did not commit the crime.

Walter Verini, an opposition lawmaker in the Chamber of Deputies, spoke with Knox Tuesday as part of his monitoring of conditions in Italian prisons.

Verini said in a telephone interview from Perugia that the 22-year-old Knox still has faith in the Italian justice system, including the appeal her lawyers are preparing.

"She looked tranquil and confident that her arguments will be heard, sooner or later," Verini said. "Her eyes are the eyes of a young person who just got sentenced to 26 years, but also of someone who has not given up."

Verini said he spoke to Knox for only a few minutes as he visited the Capanne prison on the outskirts of Perugia.

He said Knox was writing when he arrived and welcomed him "with a kind smile."

Books were on Knox's bed in the cell she is sharing with a 53-year-old woman from New Orleans who is serving a four-year sentence for drug dealing, the lawmaker said.

Knox has asked for permission to work in the prison laundry, and she seems to have a good relationship with the other inmates, he said.

"She is able to socialize and I think she's treated well," Verini said, adding that he was not allowed to discuss details of the legal case with Knox.

The yearlong trial attracted intense media interest. After the verdict was announced following 13 hours of deliberations, Knox burst into tears. The jury also convicted Knox's co-defendant and former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, of murder and gave him a 25-year prison sentence.

It will be months before an appeals trial can begin.

Knox and Sollecito have been jailed since their arrest a few days after the Nov. 1, 2007 slaying of Kercher.

Knox has alternately been depicted as a cold-blooded "she-devil" or an innocent foreigner who fell victim of a much-criticized Italian justice system. In the United States, the coverage has been largely favorable to the American and critical of the Italian handling of the case.

The U.S. Embassy in Rome and Knox's lawyers said that a meeting with consular officials is scheduled for Friday. Embassy officials and the lawyers declined to say why the meeting was sought.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Knox's home state of Washington, has questioned the fairness of the trial, while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she had not looked into the case but would meet with anybody who had concerns.

Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has said Knox's conviction has not damaged U.S.-Italian relations.

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Knox 'ready to fight on,' parents say - CNN.com

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