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19 June 2018

Further tedious closing statement by counsel Sturm

Zschäpe defense counsel Sturm continued her closing statement today, but once more did not bring it to an end, announcing instead that she would wrap up tomorrow. After that, the court will also have to decide on the motions for evidence brought in the closing statement. Thus it will not be able to pronounce its judgment any earlier than the trial week of 3-5 July. 

Sturm tried once more to “evaluate” the evidence in order to show that Zschäpe was not an equal member of the NSU, but rather a friendly neighbor who loved kids and who more or less accidentally lived together with two men who happened to be murderers. Sturm frequently criticized the prosecution’s evaluation of the evidence, while at the same time massaging the facts at every opportunity.

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13 June 2018

Beginning of the closing statement of counsel Sturm.

Today saw the beginning of the closing statement of Zschäpe counsel Sturm on Zschäpe’s criminal liability for founding of, and membership in, a terrorist organization. The statement was interrupted in the early afternoon as Sturm, who had suffered from coughing fits in the morning, announced that she was not feeling well. When asked by the presiding judge whether she was able to continue on for a short while (i.e. probably 20 or 30 minutes), she reacted in a theatrically indignant manner. On the other hand, she seemed well up to talking to the press for almost half an hour after the trial session had ended.

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13 June 2018 

No trial session on 14 June 2018

The trial session scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, 14 June has been cancelled due to illness of defense counsel Sturm. The trial will continue next Tuesday.

12 June 2018

Closing statement of counsel Stahl on the question of co-perpetration

Today Zschäpe defense counsel Stahl gave his closing statement on Zschäpe’s criminal liability as a co-perpetrator of the murders, bombing attacks and robberies committed by the NSU. As announced by his colleague Heer last week, Stahl moved that Zschäpe be acquitted of all these charges.

Stahl began by announcing that the defense largely agreed with the prosecution as to which facts could be considered proven and only differed as to the legal characterization of these facts. In fact, however, his statement consisted of a mixture of attempts to attack the legal characterization of the facts as found by the prosecution – which, according to Stahl, did not establish Zschäpe’s liability as co-perpetrator – and attempts to attack these very facts and to defend Zschäpe’s self-presentation as someone who had only accompanied Böhnhardt and Mundlos underground more or less willingly and did not have anything to do with their crimes. Continue reading

7 June 2018

Counsel Heer concludes the closing statement on the Frühlingsstraße fire

Zschäpe defense counsel Heer today continued his long-winded statement on the criminal liability of his client for arson in the Frühlingsstraße house and for attempted murder of the old lady in the neighboring apartment and of two contractors working in the house. He spent the morning continuing to deal with the evidence in court, turning to legal questions in the afternoon.

It was already exhausting to follow his pseudo-exact and long-winded statements on the evidence, but this tendency became even worse for his statements on criminal liability. Heer spent several hours on detail questions of the law of arson, sounding like a law student wishing to show off his knowledge of all sorts of legal questions, even those that do not have any relevance to the case at hand. Continue reading

6 June 2018

Beginning of the closing statement on the Frühlingsstraße arson

Today defense counsel Heer began that part of his closing statement focusing on the arson in the Frühlingsstraße house. He did so in his usual pedantic and overcomplicated manner, which resulted in him being unable to finish his closing statement today. We will report in more detail tomorrow.

5 June 2018

Closing statement of counsel Heer: Why Beate Zschäpe is unable to make a valid statement in court.

The court began the trial day by reading out two short documents and viewing a propaganda video found on Wohlleben’s computer. It also denied two motions for evidence brought by the Wohlleben defense. Surprisingly, the defense reacted not with a motion for a trial break and a challenge for alleged bias, but rather not at all.

Accordingly, the closing statement of Zschäpe’s “old defense counsel” could begin before noon. Counsel Heer began and announced that the defense would need at least the entire trial week. He began with the concluding motions of the “old counsel”: conviction only for the arson in the Frühlingsstraße, acquittal concerning all other charges, a sentence amounting to time served or less, immediate release from detention. Continue reading

17 May 2018

Closing statement of counsel Nahrath: Breaking – Hitler not an anti-Semite after all?

After counsel Klemke had finished his closing statement today, Wohlleben defense counsel Wolfram Nahrath concluded the defense closing statements. Many had expected that Nahrath, who had inter alia been the last „leader” of the National Socialist “Viking Youth”, would conclude with a striking display of Nazi ideology. He himself warned before beginning the second part of his statement that the “faint of heart and the suffering are advised to contact their local do-gooder or political commissar.”

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16 May 2018

Further closing statement of the Wohlleben defense

There is not much to say about the continued closing statement of Wohlleben defense counsel Klemke that we have not already said yesterday. Klemke, like Schneiders before him, tried to defend the “death of the Volk” motion for evidence brought by the defense. However, apart from some attempts at humor such as the claim that he would have like to read out the motion again in order to see victims’ counsel “migrate” from the courtroom – it’s funny because that would make them migrants! –, this excursion too did not contain anything new.

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15 May 2018

Closing statement of the Wohlleben defense: agitating and whining

It can generally be said that the presentation of extreme right wing ideology usually consists of two core elements, namely agitating and whining (as described in detail in a German-language supplement to newspaper Analyse und Kritik). As far as the closing statement of the defense of Ralf Wohlleben is concerned, counsel Schneiders was responsible for the latter, counsel Klemke for the former.

In Schneiders’ eyes, her client is, above all, a victim: victim of the press which had massively pre-judged him, victim of some victims’ counsel engaging in “scene voyeurism”, victim of a biased court planning to convict him at all costs in order to satisfy the demands of “media and politics”. Her statement consisted of a confused mixture of criticism of the court, rehashing of defense motions for evidence on substantial issues, and crude conspiracy theories. Continue reading