Trial cancelled this week also
On Sunday, the Zschäpe defense has brought two additional challenges for alleged bias – one directed against one of the judges as he had prepared the decision of the presiding judge setting time limits (see the report of 7 March 2017), one against the presiding judge based on his written statement in the proceedings concerning the earlier challenge against him. In order to be able to deal with these challenges, the court has cancelled the trial date set for this Thursday, the trial will continue on Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Challenge for alleged bias by the Zschäpe defense, and: court cancels trial days, trial to continue on 23 March 2017
After the Wohlleben defense had challenged all judges for alleged bias yesterday, Zschäpe’s defense counsel Heer today read out his client’s challenge against the presiding judge. This challenge too is based largely on the deadline for further motions, seen against the background of the not very speedy way the trial was conducted in recent months.
The rest of the trial day consisted mostly of one break after another – 30 minutes for “internal consultations” of the defense teams, 25 minutes for the court to draft a decision denying a 20 minute break, and so on.
What remains: to gain time for all challenges to be considered, the court canceled the trial days on 14 to 16 March and 21/22 March 2017, the trial will continue on 23 March 2017. Continue reading
Challenges for alleged bias: Wohlleben today, Zschäpe tomorrow.
Today accused Wohlleben challenged all judges for alleged bias based on their decisions rejecting two defense motions for evidence, as well as the presiding judge alone based on the time limit fixed yesterday.
Zschäpe defense counsel announced – apparently after having actually communicated with his client first – that Zschäpe will also challenge the judges, but that the defense needed more time to prepare the challenge. The trial will therefore continue tomorrow at 11 am.
Whether these challenges will need to some or all trial days of next being canceled remains to be seen. The presiding judge has already announced that the time limit set tomorrow will be extended, without giving more details.
The court ups the pressure to finish the trial. And: motion for evidence on the “attack after the attack” in the Keupstraße in Cologne.
Today the court first introduced into evidence some documents: on the one hand, based on a motion by the Wohlleben defense, it read out a Nazi party press release penned by Wohlleben containing ethnopluralist rhetoric. On the other hand, and more relevant for the judgment, the court considered a list of “clips” to be extracted from the “Pink Panther” TV series and thorough instructions for doing so. Everything points to these “clips” being the one Zschäpe offered to cut in a bet and therefore to Zschäpe being involved in the production of the video with which the NSU claimed responsibility for its crimes.
Questioning of expert witness Prof. Saß finished
The head of the detention unit in Munich-Stadelheim had one interesting aspect to report regarding Beate Zschäpe: she regularly receives money transfers from a man in Munich. That same man is very active in social media, where he spreads propaganda against the “show trial” against Zschäpe, but also spreads hate speech against refugees and “foreigners” and other racist and Nazi content. Zschäpe has told the court that she does not wish to receive visits from that man, but seems to feel no compunction at all about accepting his money.
Other than that, the witness described Zschäpe as polite and unremarkable and stated that she did not have anything negative to say. Expert witness Prof. Saß confirmed that this does not change his expert opinion, but rather confirms it – he had already talked at length about Zschäpe’s “camouflage” abilities gained in the years in the underground. Continue reading
Wohlleben defense tries to force further arguments concerning ideology
The only witness today was a former officer of the Thuringian secret service who was to testify on the ideological character of a meeting in Hetendorf on the property of Neonazi and attorney Jürgen Rieger from Hamburg. According to police reports, Zschäpe had visited that meeting in 1997 – unaccompanied by Mundlos or Böhnhardt. However, the witness stopped working at the secret service long ago and did not remember anything relevant.
The Wohlleben defense again brought several motions for evidence with which they wish to prove that Wohlleben was not “xenophobic” and had had no knowledge of Mundlos’ and Böhnhardt’s racism. Inter alia, defense counsel Nahrath quoted at length from a flyer authored by Wohlleben in which his client propounds “ethnopluralist” ideology. Continue reading
Questioning of Prof. Saß still not fully finished
The questioning of expert witness Prof. Saß by Zschäpe’s various defense attorneys took up all day on Tuesday. Counsel Stahl tried and failed to attack the expert’s methodology as non-scientific. Counsel Sturm asked Saß why had failed to ask questions to Zschäpe using the court as an intermediary – a quite presumptuous question given that Zschäpe had refused to talk to Saß in person or to answer any of his questions. Saß accordingly stated that having his questions answered in writing by counsel, as was done with regard to the court’s questions, was without any value for his expert opinion.
Groundhog Day – continued questioning of Prof. Saß
The questioning of expert witness Prof. Saß by the various defense counsel of Beate Zschäpe continued today. Some of their questions seemed to hurt rather than help their client’s cause.
The questioning will continue tomorrow (but not on Thursday as Saß will be unavailable). We will report on both days in more detail tomorrow.
The Zschäpe defense finally begins its questioning of the expert witness – and gets nowhere
Today the court rejected the motion for reconsideration brought yesterday by the Zschäpe defense. Defense counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm – after a trial break for internal consultations – moved for a further 2 ½ hour interruption in order to prepare a challenge against the judges for alleged bias. However, such a challenge can only be brought by the accused herself, not by counsel against her – and when asked by the presiding judge whether she had been informed of the planned challenge by her counsel, Zschäpe answered that she had not. Continue reading
More discussions about the expert’s handwritten notes
Today the court first heard a federal police detective on further investigations concerning a builder who had been fired at in Chemnitz (see the report of 13 December 2016). These investigations did not uncover anything new – then again, it seems that they had not been conducted very intensively either, as shown by the fact that the witness was unable to state the precise location of the construction site.
The court then rejected the motion by the Zschäpe defense concerning expert witness Saß’ handwritten notes (see yesterday’s report). The rest of the trial day mostly consisted of breaks – one so the defense could discuss its reaction to the decision, one so it could draft a motion for reconsideration, and one so that other partys could take cognizance of the motion and comment on it.
The court will decide on the motion for reconsideration tomorrow. The trial tomorrow will begin at 10.30.