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Amanda Knox Takes Stand for Second Day

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FOX News: An American student charged with murdering her British roommate in 2007 told an Italian court Saturday that a "crescendo" of police pressure led her to finger an innocent man in the case.

Amanda Knox of Seattle, cross-examined by prosecutors on her second day in the witness stand, said a policewoman had hit her twice on the head during interrogation after 21-year-old Meredith Kercher was found dead.

Knox, 21, and Italian co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito, her ex-boyfriend, are accused of murder and sexual violence in the slaying of Kercher, who was found in a pool of blood Nov. 2, 2007 in the apartment she shared with the American in this central Italian town.

Knox had taken the stand for the first time Friday to answer questions from lawyers, saying she spent the night of the killing at Sollecito's apartment. Prosecutors believe Knox, Sollecito and a third suspect convicted in a separate trial went to Kercher's home the night of the murder and killed the Briton in what began as a sex game.

Knox also claimed police pressure caused her initially to accuse Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, a Congolese man who owns a pub in Perugia, of being the culprit. Lumumba was jailed briefly in the case, but was later cleared and is seeking defamation damages from Knox.

Police have denied any improper behavior, but Knox repeated her claim Saturday when questioned by lead prosecutor Giuliano Mignini.

"It was always a crescendo," she said recalling her early questioning sessions. "When I said I was with Raffaele all the time they told me I was a liar. I was scared, I thought: maybe they are right."

Knox answered questions confidently and in a steady voice, sitting at the witness stand with a prison guard behind her. Though she had an interpreter next to her, the American spoke in fluent Italian, which she mostly learned in the year and a half she has spent in jail.

Knox said that interrogators "wanted a name" and that a policewoman hit her twice on the head.

"Do you remember? Do you remember? And then boom! On the head," Knox said, mimicking the slap in court. "I went: mamma mia! And then again, another boom!"

It was that pressure that made her come up with Lumumba's name, she said.

"It didn't hurt, but it frightened me," she said.

Knox and Sollecito have been jailed since shortly after the slaying. Sollecito, 25, has said he was at his own apartment the entire night of Nov. 1, mainly working at his computer. He said he does not remember if Knox spent the whole night with him or just part of it. The two have said they could not remember events clearly because they had taken drugs.

Prosecutors say Kercher came home after an evening with friends on Nov. 1, and soon after opened the door to Knox, Sollecito and Rudy Hermann Guede, who was convicted of murder last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Guede, who denies wrongdoing, was given a fast-track trial at his request.

According to the prosecutors, Sollecito held Kercher by the shoulders from behind while Knox touched her with the point of a knife. They say Guede, an Ivory Coast national, tried to sexually assault Kercher and then Knox fatally stabbed her in the throat.

Prosecutors maintain a kitchen knife found at Sollecito's apartment is compatible with Kercher's wounds, and has the Briton's DNA on the blade and Knox's on the handle.

The trial began in January and a verdict is expected after a summer break. Knox and Sollecito could face Italy's stiffest punishment, life imprisonment, if convicted of murder.

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