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Amanda Knox mulls return to Italy as book launched


Amanda Knox may return to Italy for a murder retrial, she said as she launched a memoir Tuesday about her nightmare, including frank details about sex, drugs and her harrowing time behind bars.

In interviews to promote the book -- which also recounts how she considered suicide in jail -- she said she hoped her slain former roommate Meredith Kercher's family would read it, although she has had no contact with them.

"It matters to me what Meredith's family thinks ... I really hope that the Kerchers read my book. And they don't have to believe me. I have no right to demand anything of anyone. But I hope they try," she told USA Today.

"I want them to know, their grief has my every respect, has the respect of my family," she added to ABC television, in her first broadcast interview since her release two years ago.

The American student and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were sentenced to 26 years and 25 years in prison for the killing of Kercher six years ago, allegedly in a drug-fuelled sex attack.

She was acquitted on appeal and released in 2011, returning to her native Seattle. But in March Italian authorities overturned that judgment, and ordered the 25-year-old to stand trial again.

Although most legal analysts expect Knox to be tried again in absentia following the decision, the former student told USA Today in an interview she was "considering" returning to Italy.

"My lawyers have said that I don't have to and that I don't need to. I'm still considering it, to be honest," she was quoted as saying when asked if she planned to return to Italy.

"It's scary, the thought. But it's also important for me to say, 'This is not just happening far away from and doesn't matter to me.'

"So, somehow, I feel it's important for me to convey that. And if my presence is what is necessary to convey that, then I'll go."

Knox has launched a publicity blitz in the United States to promote her autobiography "Waiting to be Heard" for which she was reportedly paid a $3.8-million advance.

In the 480-page book, she describes her early life in Seattle and her decision to take a year out to live in the small Italian city of Perugia to learn Italian language and culture.

She is open about her attitude to sex, and how it was changing as she headed overseas. She had had sex with four men before her departure.

"I left for Italy having decided I needed to change that. For me, sex was emotional, and I didn't want it to be anymore.

"I hated feeling dependent on anyone else. I wanted sex to be about empowerment and pleasure, not about 'Does this person like me? Will he still like me tomorrow?'," she said.

She moved in with two Italian girls and Kercher, who was also a foreign student, and led an easy-going life with a group of boys who lived downstairs in the same house.

"Around our house, marijuana was as common as pasta," she wrote, while describing in detail a number of sexual encounters before she met Sollecito, a week before the murder.

She also recounted the day Kercher's body was found, how police rapidly became suspicious. In one early interrogation she reported being slapped around the head while being told "Stop lying!"

Knox was eventually charged, tried and sent to jail -- where she described repeated sexual harassment and detailed thoughts of suicide, for example in the shower, where "steam would fog up the guard's viewing window."

"I imagined cutting both my wrists and sinking into oblivion in a calm, quiet, hot mist," she writes.

In an interview with ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, Knox -- wearing a sleeveless dress, small pearl earrings and barely any makeup -- said she wanted to clear her name, both in terms of her public reputation as well as legally.

"I want the truth to come out. I'd like to be reconsidered as a person," she told ABC. "What happened to me was surreal, but it could've happened to anyone."

"I can't be afraid right now. I have to be ready to fight," Knox said in reference to her retrial.

Occasionally pausing with emotion and blinking back tears, Knox said her family was there to support her "100 percent of the time" adding she felt guilty for what they had to sacrifice for her.

Thinking back to her time in Italian custody, she recalled how at one point a doctor told her, mistakenly, that she had tested positive for HIV.

And, on a lighter note, how she sang the "Star Spangled Banner" every morning with a US cellmate.

Knox apparently also found solace with the prison chaplain.

"I didn't have that same faith. But he convince me that it wouldn't hurt to pray ... because we're all helpless," she said.

And, returning to the victim and her family, she added: "It bothers me when people suggest that (Kercher) wasn't my friend. I was stunned by her death," saying she hoped "that eventually I can have their permission to pay respects at her grave."