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Knox 'crucified' in media - lawyer

Amanda Knox was an innocent girl "crucified" in the media, a defence lawyer argued as a judge said the verdict in her appeal against her murder conviction would come on Monday.

Carlo Dalla Vedova told the appeals court in Italy in his closing arguments that Knox has been the victim of a "tragic judicial case" and has spent more than 1,000 days behind bars as a result.

Knox was convicted of murdering British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, and sentenced to 26 years in prison, while co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years. They deny the charges and have appealed against the 2009 verdicts.

Hundreds of reporters, cameramen and photographers have descended on the central Italian town of Perugia in anticipation of the verdict.

Knox was arrested on November 6, 2007 - four days after Miss Kercher's body was found in the apartment they shared in Perugia. Her case quickly became a media sensation and she was depicted either as a manipulative girl-gone-wild or as a naive young woman caught in a judicial nightmare.

The role of the media in the four-year-long case has been a theme of closing arguments of all parties.

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini has lamented what he said was media interference and an increasingly strong campaign in support of Knox. Defence lawyers said Knox had been unfairly portrayed.

"Knox has been crucified in a public square, subjected to the most sinister of speculations," Dalla Vedova said. "All, regardless of their nationalities, have offended Amanda Knox."

Kercher, 21, was brutally stabbed to death in what prosecutors say had begun as a sexual assault. Prosecutors say that a fourth person was present the night of the murder, Rudy Hermann Guede from Ivory Coast, who has also been convicted.

Italy's highest criminal court has upheld Guede's conviction and his 16-year prison sentence. Guede also denies wrongdoing. Knox and Sollecito, who was the American's boyfriend at the time of the crime, insist they spent the night of the murder at his house.

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