26 April 2017

Wrangling over the defense expert

At the start of the trial day, the court heard the prosecution’s response to the defense motion for the court to hear their expert witness Prof. Faustmann. They asked that the motion be denied since the “critique of methodology” presented by Faustmann did not raise any doubts concerning the competence of expert witness Prof. Saß or concerning the reliability of his expert opinion.

This was followed by a lengthy discussion in which neither Zschäpe’s defense counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm nor the federal prosecution left a positive impression: defense counsel wanted a written copy of the prosecution response since they had not been able to follow it – as they had similarly been unable a number of times earlier, and in contrast to the court and other parties who had been able to follow the prosecution’s arguments. Continue reading

25 April 2017

“The accused could not have foreseen such a course of events”

Today the court first heard the prosecution’s response to the motions for evidence brought by the Wohlleben defence in the week before the Easter break. Also discussed was the announcement by victims’ counsel for the Yozgat family to summon an expert witness on what secret service officer Temme must have observed of the murder of Halit Yozgat (see the report of 5 April 2017). The federal prosecutors had stated their opinion that victims’ counsel generally did not have a right to summon expert witnesses themselves, victims’ counsel had replied in detail. The court has not yet made a determination on this issue.

The court rejected further motions for evidence brought by victims’ counsel, above all the motion concerning state responsibility for the “attack after the attack”, the investigations and publicly voiced suspicions against the victims of the NSU bombing attack in the Keupstraße in Cologne (see the report of 7 March 2017). Continue reading

6 April 2017

The program for today was limited to comments on earlier motions as well as two new motions for evidence brought by the Wohlleben defense. Accordingly, the trial day ended already at 11.20 A.M.

There will be a trial break over Easter, the next trial day is on Tuesday, 25 April 2017. 26 and 27 April will likely be spent hearing the expert witness summoned by Zschäpe defense counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm.

5 April 2017

Once more on secret service officer Temme

The challenge for alleged bias brought by the Wohlleben defense was rejected as unfounded, as was to be expected.

Psychiatrists Prof. Bauer and Prof. Saß, whom the court had planned to hear tomorrow (Bauer as a witness on what Zschäpe had told him in their conversations in detention, Saß as an expert witness on what this meant for her mental state), will not testify tomorrow after all: Zschäpe defense counsel Grasel had informed the court that his client will not waive doctor-patient privilege if Bauer is summoned as a witness and not as an expert witness. The defense has now summoned Bauer itself, rather than moving for the court to summon him, for 3 and 4 May – this procedural step likely means that the court will, under the code of criminal procedure, have no choice but to hear him as an expert witness. Continue reading

31. March 2017

Update – Next Tuesday canceled, Bauer and Saß to be heard in court

The trial date next Tuesday, 4 April. has been canceled to give the
court time to deal with the challenges for alleged bias brought on 30
March. The trial will continue on Wednesday, 5 April.

On 6 April, the court will hear psychiatrist Prof. Bauer – not as an
expert witness, but rather as a witness on what Zschäpe had told him in
their conversations (see the report of 30 March 2017). The court
will also hear expert witness Prof. Saß on what this means for his
expert opinion.

The court has also summoned Saß for the trial dates on 26 and 27 April –
i.e. those dates for which Zschäpe defense counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm
are planning to present their own “counter expert witness”.

30 March 2017

One marches over the cuckoo’s nest – psycho motion by the Zschäpe defense.

The high point – rather: the low point – of this trial day was marked by a motion of Zschäpe defense counsel Grasel, who moved that psychiatrist Prof. Bauer, who had visited Zschäpe on four days in detention, be heard as an expert witness to prove that due to a “severe dependent personality disorder”, Zschäpe suffered from diminished responsibility at all relevant times. Grasel added that Bauer was able to appear in court next Thursday.

This motion is the logical end point of Borchert’s and Grasel’s trial strategy, which tries to present Zschäpe as unknowing, passive – and now also: dependent – appendage to Böhnhardt and Mundlos. Continue reading

29 March 2017

The next round in the game of “challenge the judge”

The challenges for alleged bias brought on 8 and 9 March and in the following two weeks were all unsuccessful. The court noted that the challenges brought by the Zschäpe defense in the last two weeks had been withdrawn – based on an exchange of letters which shows that the short moment on cooperation within the Zschäpe defense is already over again. Zschäpe marked the beginning by writing to the presiding judge that she had not at all been asked before her counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm brought the additional challenges in her name and that she did not wish to pursue these challenges. Heer, Stahl and Sturm answered with a long letter detailing how counsel Borchert and Grasel had told them several times that Zschäpe had agreed to these challenges. Borchert and Grasel rejected these statements and accused Heer, Stahl and Sturm of having violated attorney-client privilege.  Continue reading

24 March 2017


The court apparently needs more time to deal with all challenges
for alleged bias. The trial date on Tuesday has therefore been canceled
as well, the trial will continue on Wednesday, 29 March 2017.

21 March 2017

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

9 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