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Super-lawyer drafted in for Knox's appeal

Amanda Knox's parents have hired a superstar lawyer to help free their daughter from jail.

American Knox (22) was sentenced last month to 26 years in jail for the sexual assault and murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

But she continues to protest her innocence and Philadelphia-based criminal defence lawyer Theodore "Ted" Simon has now joined her legal team as her US consultant, the Knox family said.

He will work with Knox's Italian lawyers and will recommend legal strategies that Knox could apply when launching her appeal against the verdict.

The appeal process is expected to begin in March and is thought to be unlikely to come to court before the autumn.


Mr Simon said: "Amanda's conviction stands as a tragic example of a wrongful conviction which requires meaningful review.

"I look forward to working with Amanda and her family and with her Italian legal team, as we approach an appellate process that is designed, capable and empowered to 'right this wrong' which hopefully will result in her deserved release."

Knox has just spent her third Christmas behind bars in Perugia, Italy, were she spent almost a year on trial for stabbing the Leeds University student to death after what prosecutors said started as an extreme sex game. Knox's father, Curt Knox, said Mr Simon would be a "tremendous asset" for his daughter.

He said: "Our entire family, parents and step-parents, are looking forward to working with someone of Ted's experience and capabilities."

Mr Simon is secretary of America's National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers and is described as a "leading authority" on the representation of Americans abroad.

The semi-naked body of Miss Kercher (21) from Surrey, was found with her throat slit in the house she shared with Knox in November 2007. Prosecutors said Knox's Italian former lover, Raffaele Sollecito, held her down while Knox stabbed her to death with a six-inch kitchen knife.

Sollecito (25) was jailed for 25 years for the murder and sexual assault.

Small-time drug dealer Rudy Guede (22) from the Ivory Coast, was jailed last October for 30 years for the murder and sexual violence.

His sentence was reduced to 16 years at an appeal hearing last month.