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Knox: 'I'm really overwhelmed right now'

NBC News

Amanda Knox makes a short statement at Sea-Tac Airport.

By msnbc.com's Kari Huus and Alex Johnson

Update 9 p.m. ET: As Amanda Knox and her family leave and the ladders are folded, supporters urge the media crowd to "give them some peace. ... Give them some time." 

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Update 8:51 p.m. ET: Amanda Knox's statement at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport: 

They're reminding me to speak in English, because I'm having problems with that. 

I'm really overwhelmed right now. I was looking down from the airplane, and it seemed everything wasn't real. 

What's important for me to say is just thank you to everyone who's believed in me, who's defended me and who's supported my family.

My family is the most important thing to me right now, and I just want to go be with them. So, thank you for being there for me.

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Update 8:41 p.m. ET: The news conference is over. Amanda Knox spoke briefly, saying, "I'm really overwhelmed right now."

She arrived in the briefing room to loud whoops from a crowd of supporters. She was crying, with her hand over her mouth.

• Full coverage of the Amanda Knox case on msnbc.com

She then sat with her family, still crying and clutching a relative's hand.

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Kari Huus / msnbc.com

A supporter of Amanda Knox at the Seattle airport Tuesday evening.

Update 8:32p.m. ET: Amanda Knox and her family have arrived for a news conference at the Seattle airport. A groan went up from journalists when it was announced that no questions would be taken.

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Update 8:16 p.m. ET: The first Italian press to show up were Manuela Moreno, an anchor for Rai TV in Italy, and a producer who arrived with a producer this morning from New York, where they had been for the previous month. 

For these veterans of the Amanda Knox drama — they've been covering it since the news of the murder — there's no surprise that even in relatively far-flung Seattle, press hunger for the story remains at a fever pitch. 

"I expected it, yes, because Amanda is young, beautiful and enigmatic. There are three young people, love, sex and a horrible murder in a small town. ... It has all the ingredients for a horrible story," said Moreno.

None of the same frenzy surrounds Knox's former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, whose conviction was also overturned. Moreno says she thinks this is because he is more "naive."  

"But she is like a sphinx," Moreno says of Knox. "No one knows what she thinks."  

Moreno sees no end to press interest in Italy for a long time, especially if she delays talking to Italian press.  

"It all depends on how long Amanda drags is out before talking ot the press. The sooner she does, the sooner she will get rid of us."

They hope to understand her better by seeing how she acts now that she is back in the United States. But if she is very elusive, they might end up camped in front of her house in West Seattle. 

"It could get quite obnoxious," says Morena.

— Kari Huus

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Update 8:09 p.m. ET: Amanda Knox's plane has landed safely at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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Update 7:40 p.m. ET: While there was a sense of relief and joy among supporters of Amanda Knox, she and her family face a host of challenges, NBC's Stephanie Gosk reports. The family has been nearly bankrupted by legal fees, and her grandmother says she's drowning in debt:

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Update 7:25 p.m. ET: While news crews make up most of the crowd at Sea-Tac airport waiting for Amanda Knox, a couple of civilians did make their way to the press area.

Kari Huus / msnbc.com

News crews jam Seattle-Tacoma International Airport ahead of Amanda Knox's arrival.

"I wondered why there weren't more people here," Rochelle Fitzgerald — who landed in Seattle on her way back to Port Angeles, Wash., from Los Angeles — said upon learning that Knox wasn't expected to land until after 5 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET).

Fitzgerald just happened by coincidence to be in the airport as the press was setting up and she was hoping to catch a glimpse of Knox, who she said got a raw deal.

"All I can say is it's a shame when our American people go into another country, and the things that happen," she said. "I think it's a sad situation to go through that, and [Knox] needs all the support she can get."

• Full details and background on the Amanda Knox case

By contrast, Thomas Bakker of Seattle has been following the case from day one, and with a day off work, he took Seattle's light rail to Sea-Tac expressly for Knox's homecoming.

In Bakker's opinion, "after all is said and done, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time." 

"She kept mixing up her story at the beginning," he said, "and so that probably triggered the prosecution, who was able to go after her." 

— Kari Huus

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Update 6:32 p.m. ET: Anne Bremner, a Seattle defense attorney who served as a spokeswoman for Friends of Amanda Knox, which raised money for her defense, tells Reuters that Knox is likely to make a brief statement thanking her supporters. 

NBC station KING-TV of Seattle reported that Friends of Amanda Knox would not be at the airport but would instead wait for Knox to decide when and where they would hold a celebration.
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Original post: Nearly a dozen TV satellite trucks are sitting outside the Seattle airport, part of a media maelstrom awaiting Amanda Knox's return home after she served four years in an Italian prison for a murder she was ultimately found not to have committed.

After four years in prison, Amanda Knox is a free woman after an Italian appeals court overturned her conviction for the murder of her roommate. NBC News' Keith Miller reports.

Knox's British Airways flight was on schedule for an estimated arrival at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport about 8:12 p.m. ET. When she lands, customs agents will meet her and her family, and then they will be whisked through a secure door for a news conference, said Perry Cooper, a spokesman for the Port of Seattle, which operates Sea-Tac.

Knox's parents and the family's legal adviser are expected to speak, but it isn't known whether Knox, 24, an exchange student at the University of Washington, herself plans to make any statement. They'll then be whisked away to depart privately.

Msnbc.com will stream the news conference live, probably beginning around 9 p.m. ET.

Knox was initially sentenced to 26 years in prison after she and her then-boyfriend were convicted in 2009 of sexually assaulting and killing her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2007. An Italian appeals court overturned the convictions Monday, setting off a media frenzy in Italy and the U.S. alike. The prosecutor said he would appeal the ruling, and Kercher's family was left without a resolution to her killing

Knox's case generated enormous interest and sympathy in the U.S., but NBC News' Claudio Lavanga reported from Perugia that as soon as the verdict became clear Monday, the air filled with  cries of "Shame, Shame." The Knox family, pelted with heady insults when they emerged from the court, had to be whisked away by security.

Full details and background on the Amanda Knox case

Carlo Dalla Vedova, one of Knox's Italian attorneys, said Knox is weak, stressed and scared after her ordeal.

"She hasn't got so much sleep, and this week has been extremely heavy on her," Dalla Vedova said in an interview with NBC's TODAY:

Carlo Dalla Vedova, one of Amanda Knox's attorneys, says his client's exoneration is the "end of a nightmare" for the American student.

— Alex Johnson