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December 4th, 2009
06:17 PM ET

Guilty until proven guilty

Editor's Note: An Italian jury found American student Amanda Knox guilty in the knifing death of British student Meredith Kercher. Barbie Nadeau will be on AC360° tonight at 10 p.m. E.T. to discuss the case.

Amanda Knox is led into the court in Perugia Friday

Amanda Knox is led into the court in Perugia Friday

Barbie Nadeau
Newsweek Magazine

Amanda Knox is a household name in Italy, America, and the United Kingdom. Her face is immediately recognizable; her alleged crimes well known. (For those living under a rock for the last two years, she is the Seattle native standing trial in Perugia, Italy, for the sexual assault and murder of her British study-abroad roommate Meredith Kercher.) After a tedious trial that began last January, a verdict is expected sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning. If she is convicted, she will likely get a life sentence. If she is acquitted, she'll be on the first flight back to Seattle—along with every journalist who can get a seat.

But even if she escapes a prison term, "Foxy Knoxy" (as she called herself on social networking Web sites) has already lost the battle for her image. She still has defenders, in addition to her very vocal opponents, but she will never again be able to control how she is seen. In the press, Knox is portrayed either as an angel-faced devil or the clean-cut girl next door. Few follow her case without bordering on obsession. She is the darling of Italy's front pages and the vixen of the British tabloid press. Bloggers, at least six book authors, and a high-budget British Channel 4 documentary filmmaker are harvesting her cult following for big bucks. Rumors abound that her own high-dollar book deal is in the works. There is even talk of a movie about her life. She is 22.

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