29 September 2016

Zschäpe speaks – but does not have anything interesting to say. And: the court continues to refuse clearing up the facts.

Today the court heard the answers by the Zschäpe defense to the court’s most recent questions. Again not a job well-done by defense counsel Grasel and Borchert: their answers again added events which Zschäpe had not even mentioned in passing before even though they seem rather hard to forget (in this case a fight between Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, which Zschäpe “would rather not describe in detail”), and they again tried to explain away obvious inconsistencies by claiming that they had simply reported Zschäpe’s “suppositions” (in this case Zschäpe’s claiming earlier that Mundlos had made photos of the murders, while at the same time claiming that she had not known anything about the murders).

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22 September 2016

On Zschäpe’s claimed blood alcohol level on 4 November 2011. And: the trial will wrap up soon.

Today a medical expert gave his expert opinion on the blood alcohol level of accused Zschäpe on 4 November 2011, the day she set fire to the house in the Frühlingsstraße. The expert based his opinion on the amounts of alcohol that Zschäpe had claimed to have consumed – a statement that is far from believable and was obviously made in the hopes of a finding of diminished responsibility. Basing his calculations on these claims, the expert witness arrived at potentially very high levels of intoxication. On the other hand, Zschäpe had also stated that she did not feel any disturbed functions on that day, a statement confirmed by reports of neighbors who had seen her on that day. Accordingly, the expert witness came to a clear conclusion: “medically speaking, there were no relevant limitations of the physical or mental ability to function.” It is likely that, in her attempt to on the one hand claim to have done everything to preclude a danger to others from the fire, on the other hand invent an alcohol level which might diminish her responsibility, Zschäpe tripped herself up. Continue reading

21 September 2016

Many topics discussed, nothing of much relevance.

Today the court first heard a police officer who had conducted investigations concerning the mobile phone of André Eminger, which had been logged into cell towers close to the Frühlingsstraße apartment in the morning of 4 November 2011. However, his investigations did not disclose more than that fact, neither was he able to explain why it had only been reported into the case file now.

Zschäpes “old” counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm read out a long statement on the letter sent by Zschäpe to a Neonazi from Dortmund (see the report of 14 September 2016), arguing that it may not be considered as evidence as it had become part of the case file illegally. This statement was joined not only by Wohlleben defense attorney Klemke, but also by Zschäpe’s further counsel Grasel, showing once more that the disputes within the Zschäpe defense are mostly over. It remains to be seen how the court will decide. Continue reading

20 September 2016

Another witness with memory problems, more on the sensory problems of secret service officer Temme, and more questions for Zschäpe by the court.

Today the court first heard another witness concerning an attack on two victims committed by several Neonazis in Jena in the late 1990s – this attack had been reported on by accused Schultze (see the reports of 21 July 2016 and 1 September 2016). This witness, like those before him, did not remember the incident, but also did not exclude that it had taken place – there had simply been too many such attacks involving him, and he had also drunk a lot of alcohol back then. Thus Schultze’s statement has again been neither bolstered nor disproven, the attempt by the Wohlleben defense to present Schultze as unreliable has once again failed.

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14 September 2016

Zschäpe refuses to answer questions of victims counsel, and: a motion concerning a letter written by Zschäpe leads to hectic activities by the defense.

Today the court first finished the questioning of former Blood and Honour Thuringia head and secret service informer Marcel Degner (see, inter alia, the report of 20 July 2016). Again questions concerned whether he had been an informer, which he vehemently denied even in the face of a definite identification by his former contact officers. Degner today appeared with a new witness counsel, but remained true to his strategy of simply denying this fact. Victims counsel accordingly decided not to ask their prepared questions concerning his activities and reports as an informer. Degner could leave the courtroom rather early in the day and return home – there to prepare for the inevitable perjury trial, which had been put on ice for the duration of his testimony in Munich. Continue reading

13 September 2016

Another witness with a faulty memory, and: Zschäpe defense announces statement on victim counsel questions

Today the court first continued questioning the witness who, as publisher of a Nazi fanzine, had received a letter containing several hundred Euros from the NSU in the early 2000s (on his earlier testimony see the report of 26 July 2016). His further questioning did not lead to much new information, the witness still pretended not to remember anything, above all the ideological contents of his publication which had led to the NSU giving him the money.

Victims counsel Eberhard Reinicke brought a motion for evidence concerning the gas canister which Zschäpe had used to set fire to the house in the Frühlingsstraße. The motion aims to show once more that Zschäpe’s statements in court are untrue, this time as concerns her claim that the gas had been in the house for unrelated purposes, namely as fuel for a boat motor. To the contrary, the fact that the filler neck of the canister had been found unter Zschäpe’s bed tends to show that she had stored the gas earlier with the potential for arson in mind. Continue reading

1 September 2016

On the investigative methods of the federal criminal police, and once more on the attack in 1998/1999

The first witness today, a federal criminal police detective, once again provided a glimpse into the investigative methods of his office: Accused Carsten Schultze had reported that Wohlleben told him about a telephone conversation with Mundlos and Böhnhardt, who had claimed to have shot and injured someone. The federal criminal police were asked to investigate – after all this was a clue hinting at another crime which had not yet been linked to the NSU.

The witness simply asked the criminal police in the various Länder for reports on unsolved crimes involving guns and summarized their answers and then considered his job finished. He did not bother to anything else, e.g. to ask further questions of his colleagues or to do any investigations on his own – this in spite of the fact that his various colleagues had obviously not fully understood his request, with one office reporting on various robberies, another only reporting murders and a third reporting several attacks with air rifles. Continue reading

31 August 2016

Further reading of documents

On today’s first trial day after the summer break, the court read out several documents concerning various aspects of the trial.

Victims’ counsel Hardy Langer made a motion for evidence concerning an attack by Neonazis from Jena in 1998/1999 which accused Schultze had reported on his statement in court (see the report of 21 July 2016). Langer provided an article from a local newspaper discussing this crime.

Zschäpe defense attorneys Heer, Stahl and Sturm once again commented on the questions by victims’ counsel they had objected to (see the reports of 1 August and 2 August 2016), dropping some objections and maintaining others – again without given any detailed reasoning. Continue reading

2 August 2016

Once more on Ralf Wohlleben’s ideology.

Two former detectives from the political division of the Jena criminal police who had investigated members of the “Comradeship Jena” and the Thuringia Home Guard had been summoned as witnesses today. Only one of them testified, however, as the other one was ill.

His testimony again turned into a tiring show by defense attorney Klemke after the witness had not testified the way the defense expected him to. Instead of stating that Wohlleben had not committed any xenophobic political acts, the witness reported that Wohlleben had from 1996 on organized the activities of the Nazi party NPD and the “Comradeships” in a way allowing him to remain in the background, and also gave examples of xenophobic acts. Accordingly, Klemke once again had to try to present the witness as unbelievable. Continue reading

1 August 2016

More shenanigans from the Zschäpe defense, and on Wohlleben’s ideology.

Today the court had summoned a witness of the attack committed in Jena in the early 1990s which had already been subject of the testimony of several witnesses. The witness did not appear, however.

The court then planned to give the floor to Zschäpe’s counsel of choice Borchert, who planned to read out a statement on behalf of his client. Before he could begin, however, assigned counsel Heer took the microphone and began to read out a document objecting to several of the questions posed by victims’ counsel on 6 July. Borchert asked for a break, after which he allowed Heer to read out his objections and then stated that Zschäpe’s statement would only be read out after the court had made its decision. It seems that, even in the face of diverging strategies, the Zschäpe defense is united in trying to further delay the trial. Continue reading