Zschäpe’s statements shown to be implausible. And: is the court starting to conduct the trial speedily?
Today, the court first heard two more federal criminal police detectives concerning an aspect of Zschäpe’s in-court statement: Zschäpe had commented on a bet with Böhnhardt in 2005 in which she had wagered “200 cuts of video clips”, claiming that this did not mean work on the “Pink Panther” video with which the NSU claimed responsibility for its crimes, but rather the removal of advertisements from recordings of TV series.
Both detectives confirmed what their colleague had already stated on Tuesday: There was no evidence pointing to the presence in the NSU apartment of a device which could have facilitated the removal of ads in the way described by Zschäpe, above all not of a video recorder containing a hard drive – Zschäpe, however, had twice referred to “our hard drive recorder” and “the hard drive in our recorder”. Continue reading
More on the NSU scouting out the synagogue – Zschäpe defense „irritated“ by taking of evidence.
Today’s trial day lasted a bit longer than yesterday’s, namely 70 minutes. In these 70 minutes, the court again dealt with a police officer who had in 2000 guarded the synagogue in the Rykestraße in Berlin and who had reported having seen Beate Zschäpe and Uwe Mundlos sitting in a café directly next to the synagogue studying city maps. After both that officer (see the report of 26 October 2016) and the detective who had interviewed him in 2000 (see the report of 23 November 2016) had generally confirmed his 2000 statement, but had not remembered all the details, the court today questioned the officer again. As announced by the presiding judge yesterday, he proceeded to read out sections of the minutes of the 2000 interview “to aid the memory of the witness”. Continue reading
Another very short trial day
The trial today lasted all of one hour. The only witness was federal criminal police detective Pflug, who had already testified on her investigations a number of previous times and whose testimony today did not take up much time: she had looked at a music file found on Wohlleben’s computer containing a song by the band “Böhse Onkelz”. And as she had “kept close to the court’s instructions”, she could only report that this file was part of a bootleg and contained the song “Turks out!” in very bad sound quality. In order to confirm this, the song was played out in the courtroom. Continue reading
More on the NSU scouting out a synagogue in Berlin, and another propaganda motion by the Wohlleben defense
As expected, the 17 November 2016 defense challenge against the court was also rejected as unfounded, allowing the court to continue the trial today. The only witness today was a police detective who had, back in May 2000, questioned a police officer guarding the synagogue in the Rykestraße in Berlin, That officer had reported that he had seen Beate Zschäpe and Uwe Mundlos sitting in a café directly next to the synagogue and studying city maps (on the testimony of that witness in court, see the report of 26 October 2016). Today’s witness, too, did not remember all details, but confirmed the most important parts, above all that the guard had provided a coherent and believable report on what he had seen at the synagogue and had been very certain in his identification of Zschäpe and Böhnhardt.
The court has called the guard himself to continue his testimony next week, showing that it has further questions to ask him – it seems that the court is very interested in the evidence that Zschäpe was involved in the scouting out of potential targets for NSU attacks.
The court continued rejecting motions for evidence brought by victims‘ counsel, this time including a motion concerning shady secret service officer Temme. We have said all that is to be said about the court’s refusal to consider any of the motions brought by victims’ counsel (see, e.g., the report of 2 June 2016).
The Wohlleben defense provided a new high point – or rather a new low point: A few weeks ago, it had brought a motion for evidence aiming to prove the Nazi myth that Hitler deputy Hess had been called by his jailers in the Allied prison in Berlin-Spandau (see the report of 13 October 2016). Today, they topped this by also moving that historian Olaf Rose, member of the presidency of Nazi party NPD, be called as an expert witness. The motion proposes to prove details concerning Hess’ “peace flight” to England in 1941 as well as details concerning his conviction by the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. The Wohlleben defense thus once again shifts the focus of its activities towards Nazi propaganda in the courtroom.
The trial day tomorrow has been cancelled, the trial will continue Tuesday, 29 November.
One witness per trial day
The most interesting question today was whether the trial would in fact take place as there had not been a decision on the defense challenges of 16 and 17 November. The decision rejecting the first of these challenges was issued just in time this morning, allowing the court to continue the trial today. A decision on the other challenge will probably be issued by tomorrow morning.
The court then heard another witness concerning the attack at the tram stop in Jena. Today’s witness was the owner of a nearby business selling building supplies. He stated that his company had also sold little wooden huts for playgrounds, which his suppliers had provided to him pre-assembled. He was unable to say whether such huts had been placed on his lot near the tram stop, which had not been fenced-in. Of course, given the detailed and believable statement of the attack’s victim (see the report of 8 November 2016), none of these details matter anyway.
The court then read out several documents concerning files on the computers and hard disks found in accused Wohlleben’s apartment. Inter alia, these contained several audio files of the most disgusting type of Nazi music.
After this rather modest amount of evidence, the presiding judge ended the trial at 12.20 noon.
Further theatrics from the Wohlleben defense
Today the Wohlleben defense again paralyzed the proceedings, again by bringing a totally baseless challenge for alleged bias against the judges: the court had decided to continue the trial today instead of waiting until a decision on yesterday’s challenge had been reached – a totally unremarkable decision clearly foreseen in the code of criminal procedure. The defense now claims that the reasoning for that decision contains statements casting doubts on the impartiality of the judges. This claim is exactly as laughable as it sounds – today’s challenge, just like yesterday’s, is entirely without merit and will be rejected.
Another senseless challenge for alleged bias by the Wohlleben defense. And: did secret service officer „Görlitz“ lie in court in Munich?
Victims’ counsel brought an interesting motion for evidence concerning the minutes of a meeting between Brandenburg secret service officer Görlitz and his informer Carsten Szczepanski on 25 August 1998. The motion raises the possibility that Görlitz has perjured himself in his testimony in Munich (on which see our reports of 16 June 2016, 2 March 2016, 29 July 2015 and 1 July 2015).
Defense continues to block the proceedings, and another witness without any depth.
The entire trial day was taken up by a witness from Jena who had been friends with Wohlleben as well as with Zschäpe, Mundlos, Böhnhardt before they went underground. The witness had started his drive to Munich late and had also gotten lost on the way, which lead to his testimony not starting until after the lunch break. The time until then could have been used to read out some documents the court intended to introduce into evidence, but the Wohlleben defense objected and the court found itself unable to decide on that objection immediately.
The presiding judge then asked whether expert witness Prof. Saß could give his oral expert opinion on Beate Zschäpe next week. This again was objected to by Zschäpe’s assigned counsel, who stated that they needed additional time to consult Saß’ written opinion, without giving any indication as to when they expect to be finished. Thus the a.m. court session was once again entirely wasted. Continue reading
Tram stop attack cleared up – victim testifies
Today the court heard the witness testimony of the young man who had fallen victim to an attack by Neonazis at a tram stop in Jena – his identity could only be established based on research by victims’ counsel (see the reports of 21 July 2016, 12 October 2016 and 26 October 2016).
The witness reported that he and a man accompanying him were attacked by sechs Nazis at the tram stop, who threw bottles at them and then beat them up. For him, the attack resulted in a broken nose requiring surgery, facial hematoma as well as several contusions. He reported on the attack without any tendency to exaggeration. He also noted that the police treated the attack as a “scuffle” and that he never heard from them again until he was recently contacted by the federal criminal police. Being confronted with the attack again had been significant stress for him. Continue reading
Another wasted trial day
The first witness today was the CEO of the Jena Local Mass Transit company, who once again reported that there was no small wooden hut at the tram stop in Jena-Winzerla. Of course, his statement will be without relevance as the victim of the attack has now reported that he had indeed been pushed into a wooden hut, but in a nearby allotment to which he had fled from the tram stop (see the report of yesterday). The Wohlleben defense pretended like nothing had changed, asking the witness for the names of tram drivers who had frequented the tram stop in 1998 to 2000. The victim and his friend, who had managed to flee and call the police, will testify in the week of 7 November.