tighter ? ? without you i feel uneven ? this is "nightline." >> tonight, justice at last. she was wrongfully convicted of murder, spent four years in an italian prison. now amanda knox is speaking out. >> it was this attempt to project this like monster onto me. >> saying it could happen to anyone. help others. plus competitive pole dancing? the sensuous art has gone from strip to sport. hundreds of athletes training year round to do tricks that would make your head spin in an arms race for the championship. and waiting in the wings. who could dare keep the most powerful man in the world in a holding pattern? even air force one is only as fast as its slowest passenger. but first the "nightline 5."
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despite contradictory evidence. after four years in prison, her conviction overturned, she's using her notoriety to spread an important message. here's my "nightline" coanchor juju chang. >> either i'm a psychopath in sheep's clothing or i am you. >> reporter: her name is amanda knox. known for the notorious murder of her british roommate, meredith kercher, a crime she did not commit. knox spent italian prison, wrongly convicted, painted by prosecutors and the global tabloid media as a sexually obsessed killer. you were called satanic, demonic, a sex-crazed killer. how did it get so distorted? >> there was a prosecute history had tunnel vision, who had this idea that i was guilty and i was guilty no matter what, he just had to find a way to prove it. >> reporter: the world watched
by the italian supreme court, she's stepping back into the spotlight she says to shed light on how innocent people can be branded guilty. >> people were trying to find the answers in my eyes. it was this attempt to project this monster onto me. but really, we need to look at the objective evidence that's available to us. that has nothing to do with me. >> reporter: telling her story in the netflix documentary "amanda knox." >> wrongful convictions happen everywhere. it's not like we're we're here in the united states. there are systematic problems that exist that lead to wrongful convictions. >> reporter: her ordeal began almost nine years ago. the fresh-faced exchange student from seattle. 20 years old and just beginning a year studying abroad. >> are you excited to see david? the statue of david. >> oh. good one. >> reporter: knox was love-struck with a new italian
soleccito. it came crashing down when kercher was found stabbed to death in the house they shared with two roommates. it was a worldwide media frenzy. >> friends telling us amanda had been performing cartwheels, kissing each other, who behaves like that? >> reporter: the love birds seen kissing id just hours after the crime they immediately came under suspicion. >> the other sensationalized aspect of your trial was this idea you didn't act innocent. >> whether or not my wife was comforting me outside the house i found my roommate murdered, it's irrelevant, because the evidence of the case proved my innocence. >> reporter: knox believes their denials were pushed aside by the prosecutor, giuliano mignini, in favor of a salacious story --
drifter named rudy guede killed kercher in a sadistic sex game gone awry. >> from the beginning of the prosecutor saying, case closed, this perception that was created to justify a narrative that included my guilt. >> reporter: during 53 hours of withering interrogation, knox claims italian investigation broke her down. >> i was -- i was hit on the back of the head. i was yelled at. police were coming in and out of the room, telling me that i was a liar. >> reporter: she says interrogators made her doubt her own memories. >> in that moment, i thought it could have been true. >> the police told me that i had amnesia and that i better remember the truth. and so what they were forcing me to consider was that my memories that i had, that i had spent the night with rafael, were wrong
bring out the truth. >> reporter: knox insists she conjured up a false memory, confessing to being there and covering her ears to block out kercher's screams. >> that's the popular perception, like why in the world would anyone confess to something they didn't do? >> a lot of cases of someone who is wrongfully convicted include a false confession. where someone was put through coercive interrogation techniques that led them to break. >> reporter: knox's confession, al found on her boyfriend's kitchen knife -- evidence later determined to be contaminated -- were enough at the time to put the couple on trial for murder. they were found guilty and sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison respectively. >> when you heard the first guilty verdict in the courtroom, what went 30 your mind? >> i couldn't believe it. because i still believed that it was impossible to convict an
>> reporter: italians celebrated their convictions. rudy guede, blood had a history of break-ins, left fingerprints and dna all over the crime scene. he was tried separately and convicted, sentenced to just 16 years in prison. >> he may actually get out of prison this year. >> yeah. >> you just shuddered. >> i -- i don't know what to expect from him. >>ep prison. >> my hair was falling out. at a certain point i developed hives all over my body. >> how many sleepless nights did you spend behind bars? >> you know, i tried to force myself to sleep because it was difficult to be awake. >> reporter: meanwhile, her family never doubted her innocence. mortgaging their home and declaring bankruptcy to pay for her defense. >> it's difficult for them to talk about. they don't want me to feel bad, like it's somehow my fault that
through. >> reporter: and after a thorough review of evidence, almost two years after the initial guilty verdict their convictions were overturned on appeal. >> it feels as though all of perusia is attacking the street outside of the courthouse -- >> reporter: knox immediately returned to the united states, her arrival playing out on live tv. >> thank you to everyone who's believed in me. who's defended me. who's supported my family. >> reporter: but knox's ordeal was not over. in january of 2014, her acquittal was reversed, thanks to determined prosecutor giuliano mignini. >> what were your impressions of him? >> i got to see the prosecutor and his biases and prejudices and ideas. and, you know, human qualities, like wanting to bring justice to meredith kercher. he persisted in errors so long
i don't know. i'm a victim of his persist dance in error. >> reporter: even as the italian courts considered forcing her to return to italy, knox was defiant. >> i will never go willingly back to the place where i -- i'm going to fight this until the very end. >> reporter: finally, 7 1/2 years after meredith kercher was killed, the final verdict. a moment captured for the netflix documentary. the highest court blaming stunning flaws in the investigation. >> the italian supreme court said, no, this is over, she's innocent, done. i'm not being hunted anymore. that means that i can finally be proactive. that means i can finally look towards other people who still need defending. >> accusations can in fact come out of nowhere -- >> reporter: knox's new project,
been wrongly convicted. >> there's no way i can go back to being the person i was before this happened. i'm forever marked. not just by other people but marked by my experience. the important thing moving forward is acknowledging that. acknowledging i'm not the only one. there are plenty of exonerees who are going through worse than i have. what's important is, i'm going to take ownership of the fact that i'm an exoneree and share the fact that there is a to be heard with them. >> this isn't just about clearing your name or reputation? >> my name has been cleared. so i'm not concerned about that. >> there will always be doubters who say, now amanda knox is cashing in. >> well, you know, they already say that. and what matters to me is if i can make a difference to someone else. next -- the athletes who are putting a new spin on pole dancing?
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when you think of sports you probably don't think of pole dancing. that's exactly what it's become. the competition is fierce. here's abc's sunny who is t nny >> i just want to put on an amazing show. >> reporter: for these athletes thousands of hours of training have boiled down to this night. >> nervous. >> reporter: as they prepare to
wild world of competitive pole dancing. much of ashley fox's year centers around prepping for the pole classic in las vegas. she even dropped out of school to pursue her passion for pole dancing full-time. how intense is the competition? >> it's very intense. so there's a lot of pressure to do well. >> the next 24, even the in exthree hours, are >> reporter: fonia organizes pole expo, drawing competitors from all over the world vying for recognition and a prize. renowned instructor fonia's list of students includes britney spears, who pulled out moves during her "slave for you" routine at this year's billboard music awards. ? i'm a slave for you ? >> climbing the pole with britney. we did the basic climb.
individual pole tricks. >> reporter: for the elite pole dancers taking the stage here tomorrow, their intricate routines comprise of hundreds of complex moves. >> i can imagine the athletes are going think their music, picturing themselves winning. >> reporter: ashley doesn't need to remember running, two years ago she scored first overall. we met at her studio in new york city. >> i get asked if i'm a gymnas i'm always like, something like that. you don't want anyone to get the wrong idea. >> there's a lot of misconception about pole dancing, isn't that right? most people think you're a stripper? >> oftentimes, oftentimes. not to say there aren't poehlers who do strip. i'm completely artistic, athletic, and focus on fitness and the artistry. >> reporter: ashley offered to give me a lesson. >> you want to support yourself. you're going to kind of swivel on your foot.
and try to land. >> i can't do that. >> oh, you're going to do this. >> reporter: and believe me, when i say she makes it look much easier than it is. >> you're going to pull down and forward. yep. yes. good, that wasn't so bad. i absolutely think it could, should, and will be an olympic sport. it's an extreme sport, in my opinion. >> reporter: extreme, she says, because one small mistake can spell disaster. the day of the competition, she's rehearsing every move. the stakes are perhaps even higher for newcomer chris saez. he traveled here from his home country, chile. >> i just want to do a good job on the stage, you know? i think when i fiwin, that is going to be amazing. >> reporter: his commitment is clear. >> pole is a way of moving, travel around the world, competing. >> reporter: minutes before
get the dance in order. >> it's freaking-out time. >> reporter: the drama heats up. >> everyone wants their space. it's really not time for making new friends. >> i'm feeling super-ready now that i have my makeup starting to come together. once i put my outfit on, i'll be even more ready. >> welcome to the fifth annual pole expo. >> reporter: ladies first. ? ? the women break out i their inspiration ranging from sultry to classical. ? ? >> ready! >> reporter: ashley packs a punch with her superhero routine.
favorite. >> i feel excited. i felt amazing. >> reporter: now it's time for the gentlemen to take the stage. ? ? some play the audience for laughs. but cris is more modern dancer than magic mike. ? ? graceful and refined. >> they were screaming a lot. it was amazing. >> reporter: for cris, his dedication pays off in hisst >> and in second place we've got -- christopher saez! >> reporter: he scores second in men's. and ashley? >> ashley fox! >> reporter: falls just short of a repeat. also taking second in her division. fuel, she says, to train even harder for the next round. >> my main goal is to get first, first and first. that's still my goal. it just motivates me.
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finally tonight, even president obama has to wait at the airport. few people can keep the most powerful man in the world waiting. watch as an impatient president obama shouts, claps, t bill clinton, that is. the former most powerful man in the world. the current president clearly in a hurry after attending the funeral of former israeli prime minister simon peres. the former president and renowned schmoozer taking his time saying his good-byes. twitter users saying, feeling like you want to leave but your
lingering good-byes are a staple in good hollywood airport scenes. whitney houston stopping the plane in "the bodyguard." ? i will always love you ? >> reporter: travel is mostly an exercise in patience. unlike ben stiller's experience in "meet the parents." >> we're only boarding rows 9 and above, you'll have to wait. >> reporter: back on the presidential runway, president clinton finally makes his way onto air force one. a reminder even the most powerful friends sim bill clinton, a chatty kathy. it was the legendary football coach vince lombardi who said, if you're early, you're on time. if you're on time, you're late. thank you for watching abc news. as always we're online at abcnews.com and our "nightline" facebook page. good night, america.
it. plus, lupita nyong'o shows she's more an just an actress. the 33-year-old shows she's a pretty good rapper, too. big stars, big hollywood. "celebrity page tv" starts now. welcome, i'm sonia isabel coming to you from the celebrity page studio bringing you all of your entertainment news including the dish about the hit show's new season. we're kicking it off with the hollywood rap. the wild west meets hollywood at the star-packed west world premie premiere. >> i think there may be something wrong. >> evan rachel wood stunning on the carpet in this full-length sleeveless black dress with a thigh-high slit. wood's co-star james marsden also attending the premiere.