Knox prosecutor convicted in unrelated case

ROME — The Perugia magistrate who prosecuted University of Washington student Amanda Knox for murder was convicted Friday of abusing his office in an unrelated case, officials said.

A Florence court convicted Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini and an Italian police investigator of abusing their positions in a 1985 probe into the death of a doctor thought to be involved in a Satanic group.

Mignini’s lawyer, Marco Rocchi, said his client will appeal the conviction and 16-month suspended jail sentence, and will be able to continue as prosecutor.

Mignini told reporters he was bewildered by the verdict. He dismissed reporters’ questions about whether the ruling might throw any shadows on his work in the trial of Knox for the 2007 murder in Perugia of her British roommate Meredith Kercher.

“There were jurors who gave a verdict in the Meredith case,” the Italian news agency ANSA quoted Mignini as saying in Florence. “Today’s verdict, instead, involves me.”

Knox and her former Italian boyfriend were convicted last month of Kercher’s murder in the Umbrian university town of Perugia, where all three were studying.

The Seattle woman was sentenced to 26 years in jail, while her co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, received a 25-year sentence. Both have insisted they are innocent.

Mignini’s lawyer said he is innocent of the accusations by a Florence prosecutor — that he tried to influence officials investigating the 1985 death of an Italian doctor.

At one point, the doctor was believed to have been killed, possibly as part of a cover-up for purported masterminds of the so-called “Monster of Florence” serial killings from 1968 to 1985 of young couples in the Tuscan countryside.

But a Perugia judge ruled later that the doctor’s death was not murder. The serial killings were eventually attributed to a farmhand and two accomplices.

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