Published on 4 Oct 2011 Sections , ,

Acquitted – but what next for Amanda Knox?

Amanda Knox is on her way back to the United States after her murder conviction was overturned. Now the race is on for the first interview – and a lucrative book deal.

Amanda Knox in court, hears the verdict (Reuters)

After four years in jail, and still facing the prospect of an appeal against her acquittal, Amanda Knox thanked supporters for believing in her innocence.

In a statement published this morning by the Italian news agency ANSA, Ms Knox said “I will always be grateful for their courageous commitment… (grateful) to those who wrote to me, to those who defended me.”

In her home town of Seattle, supporters who had crowded around a television screen to watch the verdict cheered and applauded. John Lange, who’d taught her drama class at Seattle Preparatory school said he’d always been convinced she was innocent.

“When I knew her she was kind, hard-working and a team player. There was not a mean bone in her body,” he said.

The case has always seemed like a bad novel. The Seattle Times

Media outlets across the United States also hailed the outcome: the Seattle Times calling the case against Knox “far-fetched”, and declaring: “The case always seemed like a bad novel and somewhat, somehow, overblown and distorted.”

Indeed, the US media has consistently questioned the fairness of the Italian justice system and the way Knox has been treated – now they feel their scepticism has been vindicated.

Race for first interview

Now the race begins for the real media prize: the first television interview with the newly released Knox, while a six figure book deal for her memoirs also beckons.

The case has, after all, already spawned a number of books and a Lifetime TV movie, soon to be updated: director Michael Winterbottom has already expressed interest in a feature film, starring Colin Firth as a journalist. As crisis management expert Gene Grabowski told MSNBC: “This is the United States of Entertainment. There’s always a market for entertainment.”

Read more: Knox and Sollecito acquitted

Coveted interview

There is huge speculation over which of America’s top anchors will get the coveted one-on-one interview, although it won’t be Oprah Winfrey, now that her talk show has ended.

This is the United States of Entertainment. There’s always a market for entertainment. Gene Grabowski, crisis management expert

Top prize for being quickest off the mark must, however, go to Seattle radio station KQMV which issued this statement immediately after the acquittal: “We’re glad you’re free Amanda and look forward to welcoming you home! We believed in you all along, so much so, that we would like to extend an offer of $10,000 to you to come host our morning show for one week with Brooke and Jubal in the morning!”

The Knox family might well welcome the money. Relatives have taken out second mortgages to help fund more than $1 million they’ve spent on her defence. An ad-hoc group, Friends of Amanda, has raised some $80,000 to help with her family’s travel costs to and from Italy, and counter what they see as the media distortion during the coverage of her trial.

Search for justice

But there is no sense of closure in this case: merely unanswered questions, and a lingering search for justice. For the family of the murdered student Meredith Kercher, more anguish, and a hope that “the truth will eventually emerge”.

For Amanda Knox and her family, an attempt to return to some kind of normal life – in a world where she’s been portrayed as everything from a scheming she-devil to an innocent ingenue trapped in the clutches of a medieval justice system. Beyond the flurry to be first to tell her story, the debate over what really happened in Perugia that night, back in 2007, is no nearer to an answer.