- Associated Press - Thursday, March 15, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - Former exchange student Amanda Knox’s ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, will be the first to tell about the Italian murder case that made them famous worldwide.

Sollecito, 27, has a deal with Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books for a book scheduled to come out this fall. Knox’s memoir is due next year.

The publisher announced Thursday that “Presumed Guilty: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox” would cover his relationship with the American exchange student, their arrests and imprisonment in Italy over the 2007 death of Knox’s roommate, and their eventual release last fall after the convictions were overturned.

“Sollecito was an unwilling participant in a case that riveted the world. The Italian media convicted the young couple before any evidence had even been heard,” according to Gallery. “Over and over, Sollecito came under pressure to change his testimony and get himself off the hook, but he refused to betray Amanda and he refused to lie.

“In `Presumed Guilty,’ Sollecito will finally tell his side of the story _ from his first meeting with Amanda Knox, to his arrest, prison time, subsequent release, and current relationship with the woman he stood by through the worst ordeal of both their lives.”

Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Last month, Knox agreed to terms with HarperCollins on a deal worth $4 million. While numerous publishers bid on the Knox book, the deal for Sollecito’s memoir was reached after Gallery made a “pre-emptive” offer to literary agent Sharlene Martin.

Press attention has been focused on the 24-year-old Knox, who has said nothing to the media since a brief expression of thanks upon being freed from jail. Sollecito gave an interview to the Italian newspaper Oggi soon after his release, saying that he and Knox remained in touch and that he expected to visit her in the U.S.

Gallery spokeswoman Jennifer Robinson said Sollecito would collaborate on the book with Andrew Gumbel, an award-winning British journalist and author whose books include “Steal This Vote” and the upcoming “Oklahoma City,” about the 1995 bombing. Sollecito and Gumbel already have been working on “Presumed Guilty,” Robinson said.

Knox and Sollecito were originally found guilty for the murder of Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old British student who shared an apartment with Knox in the university town of Perugia. They were sentenced to 26 years and 25 years in prison, respectively. TV cameras showed footage of Knox and Sollecito hugging and kissing outside the crime scene in 2007 as police inspected the house.

But an appeals court ruled in October that the evidence didn’t hold up. Knox returned home to Seattle; Sollecito lives in Italy. In February, Italian prosecutors asked the country’s highest criminal court to reinstate the murder convictions.

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