Amanda Knox, the American exchange student who sparked an international firestorm after she was charged with the 2007 murder of her roommate in Italy, shot back at President Donald Trump, who is reportedly “very upset” that Knox, whom he publicly defended, voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
In an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Knox wrote that Trump’s demand for her support is “undemocratic and dangerous” — indicative of a politics based on loyalty, rather than merit.
Knox, who was outspoken in her criticism of Trump during the election, wrote that the president’s reasoning reminds her of the Italian court’s “bias in favour of the prosecution, which represented the Italian people and the Italian state, over the defence, which represented a foreigner.” (Knox was convicted in Italy in 2009, but the decision was later overturned by the country’s Supreme Court.)
“This is loyalty taken too far,” Knox writes. “Just as a person’s support of me should not be based upon my politics or identity, hinging instead on the fact of my innocence, so should my politics hinge on the merits of policy, not personal loyalty.”
Knox also pointed to what she considers Trump’s hypocrisy in calling for the death penalty for the five black and Latino teenage boys, know as the Central Park Five, who were accused of raping a woman in 1989. After years in prison, DNA evidence exonerated all of the boys, but years after their innocence was proven Trump continues to argue they are guilty.
Knox blames Trump’s contradictory approaches to the two parallel cases of false conviction on his racism.
“Trump recognised me as a fellow American who deserved to be assumed innocent until proven guilty,” she wrote, “but he condemned the Central Park Five as ‘other’ — guilty until proven innocent.”
She argues that while loyalty to principles, including “due process, equal protection under the law, the freedom to speak one’s mind and to vote according to one’s principles,” is commendable, “personal loyalty” should never trump “reason and justice.”
“What do I owe Trump? A thank you for his well-intentioned, if undiplomatic, support,” Knox concluded. “But the more important question is, what do I owe my country?”
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