12 January 2017

Instructing, recording, handing out copies – expert opinion on Zschäpe delayed once more

The entire trial day was wasted on the attempts by Zschäpe’s assigned counsel to further delay the oral expert opinion by psychiatrist Prof. Saß.

Defense counsel first replied to the federal prosecution’s comments of yesterday on their motions. The presiding judge then proceeded to give very general instructions to the expert witness – e.g. instructing him to differentiate clearly between subjective opinions and objective facts. Faced with a motion to hand out a paper copy of his instructions, he refused, but offered to read them out more slowly – a rather peculiar handling of the situation in a case in which every last note to parties is handed out in paper form.  Continue reading

11 January 2017

Another failed attempt by the Wohlleben defense. And: Oral expert opinion by Prof. Saß delayed once more.

Today the court once again heard expert witness Prof. Leygraf, who had submitted an opinion on accused Carsten Schultze. Leygraf’s previous opinion had concerned the question whether Schultze, who was 19-20 years old at the time of his crimes, should be tried as a minor or as an adult. Today, the court had questions on another issue: the Wohlleben defense, trying to call into question Schultze’s statements which massively incriminate Wohlleben, had claimed that Schultze suffered from various mental illnesses. As Leygraf had conducted an in-depth exploration of Schultze, he was questioned concerning those issues. Leygraf saw no indication at all that Schultze was suffering from a mental illness and did not waver in the face of somewhat inept questions by the Wohlleben defense.  Continue reading

10 January 2017

Oral expert opinion further delayed. And: Zschäpe reacts to the written expert opinion

On today’s first trial day after the Christmas break, the court had planned, after the rather short testimony of a police officer, to hear the oral expert opinion of psychiatrist Prof. Saß. However, the Zschäpe defense continued its fight against his opinion, on different levels: assigned counsel Stahl, Sturm and Heer brought voluminous motions asking the court to produce audio recordings of the opinion and to guide the expert extensively as to methods and to the facts used as basis for his opinion. Counsel Borchert and Grasel meanwhile read out another statement of Zschäpe’s, apparently attempting to counter some aspects contained in Saß’ preliminary written opinion. Continue reading

21 December 2016

Still no expert opinion, but instead a senseless challenge for bias.

Those who had hoped that expert witness Prof. Dr. Saß would finally present his expert opinion today were in a for a disappointment: The court rejected yesterday’s motion of defense counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm as there was no reason to doubt Saß’ qualifications. Heer, Stahl and Sturm reacted by challenging all judges for alleged bias.

That challenge showed once more that it is problematic when members of the defense team don’t speak to each other: Heer, Stahl and Sturm presented their challenge without previously having talked to Zschäpe. However, a challenge for alleged bias may only be brought by the accused herself. Accordingly Zschäpe’s counsel of choice Borchert, having discussed the issue with Zschäpe during another break in the proceedings, announced that Zschäpe herself was challenging all judges, basing her challenge on the reasons given by Heer, Stahl and Sturm. The federal prosecutor reacted immediately by noting that this challenge was presented out of time, not having been brought immediately after the court’s decision.

The court did not decide on the question today, instead ending this farce and closing the trial for today some time after 3 pm. The trial will continue on 10 January.

20 December 2016

Defense tries to block psychiatric expert opinion on Zschäpe

Many in Munich, above all members of the press, were anxiously awaiting the opinion of psychiatric expert Prof. Dr. Saß on the accused Zschäpe. However, that opinion was not – yet – presented today.

Saß had, already in 2013, been tasked with an expert opinion on whether Zschäpe fulfilled the preconditions for preventive detention. Zschäpe had refused all cooperation with the expert, who had in turn spent the majority of trial days in the courtroom watching the proceedings. This had lead discussions with Zschäpe’s counsel several times, inter alia when they protested that Saß was not to be allowed to watch Zschäpe during breaks in the trial.

Continue reading

14 December 2016

The federal criminal police again fail to contribute to clearing up the facts

Today the trial again lasted less than two hours, ending shortly after 11 am.

The first witness was a woman who had been seen with Blood and Honour activist Jan Werner in Berlin in June 2000 when the Sexan domestic secret service trailed Werner and who, based on her appearance, could have been the woman accompanying Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt when they scouted out the synagogue in Berlin in May 2000 (see the report of 30 November 2016).

She denied any knowledge of that episode, and even if her denials did not come across as very convincing, there was no way to effectively challenge it: the secret service had only given very few details, and the federal criminal police had not even interviewed her as a witness. Thus another hint towards a possible contact person or supporter of the NSU is likely to come to naught.  Continue reading

13 December 2016

Federal criminal police confirm research by victim’s counsel

Accused Carsten Schultze had reported in his in-court statement on 11 June 2013 that accused Wohlleben had told him after a telephone conversation with Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos that “the idiots shot somebody”. Victim’s counsel Hardy Langer had done extensive research, inter alia in a newspaper archive, and had found an article concerning a construction worker who was shot with an airgun in the Wolgograder Allee in Chemnitz in June 2000. From April 1999 to July/August 2000, Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos and Beate Zschäpe lived in an apartment at 76 Wolgograder Allee.

Upon Langer’s motion, the federal criminal police had been tasked with checking his results. Once again it became clear that the department is not only very slow, but also everything but effective: a detective testifying today stated that his agency could not do anything more than confirm what Langer had already found out: while the worker who had been shot had not been found out, the police had found two people who recalled the incident. Continue reading

8 December 2016

Again, Beate Zschäpe does not have anything to do with anything. And: Defense tries to delay expert opinion on Zschäpe.

Today Zschäpe defense counsel Borchert read out the defense’s statement on the Peggy K. case and on images containing child and youth pornography found on a computer in the Frühlingsstraße apartment (see the report of 26 October 2016): Zschäpe had no information on Peggy K., the computer had been used by all three persons, and she did not know anything about these images – they had probably gotten there via a used hard disk purchased by Uwe Mundlos and built into the computer. This last statement above all is transparent nonsense – a sentiment shared even by assigned counsel Heer and Stahl, according to their facial expressions when listening to Borchert’s statement.

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1 December 2016

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

30 November 2016

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