25 April 2018

Closing statement of counsel Borchert continues

Today Zschäpe’s defense counsel Borchert continued his closing statement. Like yesterday, this mostly consisted of subdividing the prosecution’s consideration of evidence into tiny pieces, misinterpreting these in a classical strawman manner and “refuting” them with sophistries.

One example from the beginning of his statement which can serve as an example for the whole thing: contrary to the prosecution, Borchert claimed, the NSU cannot have considered the German state its enemy – after all, its goal had been to force “foreign people” to leave that state! To answer in Borchert’s own words: “Further comment on this argument is surely not needed.”

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24 April 2018

The Zschäpe defense begins its closing statement – and it it even more absurd than expected.

This morning the court first heard a witness who had been summoned directly by Eminger defense counsel Sprafke. According to the defense motion, he was to state that Eminger had met him for a breakfast meeting on 4 November 2011. This was meant to refute the finding presented in the prosecution closing statement, based on cell phone tower data, that Eminger had spent the morning of that day looking online for clues of the missing Uwes together with Zschäpe. Contrary to some press reports, this would not have been an “alibi” as these acts are not crimes which Eminger is accused of, but simply presented as one of several pieces of evidence showing his mens rea concerning the crimes he is charged with having abetted. Continue reading

17 April 2018

Defense closing statements postponed once more

The challenges for alleged bias brought by the Eminger defense last week all having been rejected, the court was once more prepared to hear the defense closing statements. However, this was not to be, not because of additional defense motions, but because Zschäpe defense counsel Borchert was absent due to a family emergency and Eminger’s new counsel was absent for health reasons.

The presiding judge tried to get the Gerlach defense to hold their closing statement today. However, the defense noted quite rightly that they were not only unprepared to do so, but that they had also always assumed that the defense teams would hold their statements in the order of the charges in the indictment – after all, Gerlach is charged as an aider and abettor of the crimes Zschäpe is charged to have perpetrated. Continue reading

11 April 2018

Trial day canceled – trial continues on Tuesday, 17 April

Today’s trial session was canceled as the Eminger defense had brought its challenges for alleged bias shortly before the beginning of the session. These challenges, too, are sure to be rejected, after which the trial will continue on Tuesday, 17 April.

10 April 2018

The court tries to speed up the proceedings. Nonetheless, defense closing statements will likely only start next week.

The closing statements of the Zschäpe defense will likely not be held before next week. Further delay was caused today by Attorney Daniel Sprafke from Karlsruhe, new counsel of accused Eminger – Eminger had apparently terminated the relationship to attorney Björn Clemens, formerly of the right-wing “Republican party”, after only a few days. Sprafke, who so far is not known for having defended members of the Nazi scene, had requested that he be appointed as additional assigned counsel and that the trial be interrupted for three weeks to give him time to become acquainted with the proceedings. Both requests were denied today, based mostly on the – very true – argument that there was no reason to doubt that Eminger was adequately defended by the two counsel already assigned to him.  Continue reading

22 March 2018

No defense closing statements today – next try after Easter

Today’s trial session has been canceled due to illness of the accused Zschäpe.

The trial continues after the Easter break on Tuesday, 10 April 2018.

21 March 2018

Defense closing statements to start tomorrow.

The trial day today began at 11:30 – rejecting the challenges for alleged bias brought by the Wohlleben defense took some time. The court then read into evidence some police reports on fake letter bombs sent out around New Year’s 1996/1997– by members of the “Comradeship Jena” according to the evidence. Our colleague Peer Stolle, in his closing statement, had referred to these and other crimes committed before 1998 to show that the accused and their “comrades” had already formed a criminal organization at that point, an organization which must be considered a precursor to the NSU.

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16 March 2018

No trial on Tuesday, 20 March.

The trial day set for next Tuesday has been canceled “as a second challenge for alleged bias has been brought.”

The trial is scheduled to continue on Wednesday, 21 March 2018.

14 March 2018

Wohlleben defense brings challenge for alleged bias – trial to continue Tuesday, 20 March 2018

As announced yesterday, the Wohlleben defense today brought a challenge against all members of the bench for alleged bias, based on the court’s decision rejecting their flimsy motion for evidence. This challenge will again be entirely unsuccessful, but as usual it will take some time for the court to deal with it. The presiding judge cancelled the trial day tomorrow and announced that the trial will continue next Tuesday, 20 March 2018. Whether this time will suffice, or whether additional trial days next week will also be canceled, remains to be seen.

Zschäpe defense counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm, whose motion for release as assigned counsel had also been rejected yesterday, made no further comments on the issue today.

13 March 2018

Defense motions rejected – defence announces challenge for alleged bias.

Today the court rejected all defense motion of last trial week. This includes the motion by Zschäpe defense counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm to be relieved as assigned counsel, as well as the motion for evidence brought by the Wohlleben defense. In rejecting the latter, the court did not mince its words, finding that it had been brought “without any factual or argumentative basis” and aimed only at delaying the trial. The court also rejected another motion by the Wohlleben defense, announced last week and brought today, to incorporate certain files of the parliamentary inquiry commission in Baden-Württemberg into the case file.

The Wohlleben defense reacted by announcing a challenge against all judges for alleged bias and were given until 11:30 AM tomorrow to formulate that challenge. Accordingly, Zschäpe defense counsel Grasel and Borchert will not begin their closing statements tomorrow, the court will instead interrupt the trial until next week in order to decide on the challenge.