The Costa Corcordia's captain's quarters on the ship contained items belonging to Ms. Domnica Cemortan and on Thursday she confirmed her feelings for Schettino as well as what she witnessed on the day the shipwreck occurred.
Media on both sides of the Atlantic are reporting that Cemortan, a dancer who holds dual citizenship in Modovan and Romania, spent hours being questioned in Italy trying to set the record straight about her activities that fateful day.
The UK Telegraph carried the story and sourced quotes of Ms. Cemortan. "I love him, and it's not right to destroy his reputation," Ms Cemortan allegedly told investigators. "Everyone is hammering him."
The lovestruck blonde had already refuted rumors of an affair with the married man, but did confirm that she was on the bridge of the ship that night, at the invitation of Capt. Schettino.
"I was on the bridge," she said and added that she was a guest of the captain. In statements made after the shipwreck Schettino denied that anyone who wasn't among authorized staff members was with him at the time it all went wrong in the water off the coast of the Italian island, Giglio.
Capt. Schettino wanted his guest to observe what he called a "salute" to Giglio when the ship came too close to the shoreline, hitting a rocky shoal that put a hole in the side of the vessel.
Previous statements from some of the ship's passengers put Ms. Cemortan at the captain's table the night of the incident as they enjoyed dinner and beverages.
The Italian lead prosecutor on the case had already heard from ship officers that Schettino seemed distracted that evening and Ms. Cemortan's statement will now be folded into the rest of what has been gathered.
As previously reported, Capt. Schettino was arrested and held, then released on a house arrest basis. He was charged with manslaughter and abandoning ship.
The N.Y. Post reported on a new probe underway in Paris. Of the thousands on board the Costa Concordia, 462 were French citizens. Four of them died and two others are still missing.
A preliminary criminal investigation has just commenced and it is expected that many of the French passengers will be questioned about the night in question.
Image: Wikimedia Commons/Cazery p