Still no closing statements
Today, the court again held only a short trial session. The closing statements by victims and their counsel could still not begin. The court first denied the motion for evidence concerning the landlord of the garage in Jena (see the report of 25 October 2017) as it held that the facts mentioned therein, if found, would not have an influence on its decision.
The trial was then again concerned with the information given to Zschäpe by the court a few weeks ago concerning the legal qualification of the charges. This concerned inter alia the question whether each case of Zschäpe’s involvement in the NSU’s individual crimes of murder and robbery also constituted one charge of membership in a terrorist organization, or whether they formed, in that regard, one continuous crime of membership – a rather formal question which will not influence the sentence passed out in the end. The defense is now using this aspect also to delay the trial – Zschäpe defense counsel had moved for further information on these issues during the last trial week, when given that information today, they stated that they wished to “react”, but were unable to do so before next week. The presiding judge ended the trial session shortly after 11 am.
The trial will continue next Wednesday, 15 November 2017.
The defense continues with its challenges – no trial tomorrow
As was to be feared, the defense continues its program of challenges against judges for alleged bias – this time they wish to challenge two of the judges who declared their last challenge to be meritless. The challenge will be issued in writing this evening.
As the code of criminal procedure does not allow the court to continue with the closing statements while there is an open challenge for alleged bias, the trial day tomorrow has been canceled. The trial will continue on Thursday, 9 November 2017. Continue reading
The trial day began at 1 pm today as the presiding judge had a doctor’s appointment in the morning. The trial session began with an announcement that the last remaining challenges for alleges bias by the Eminger defense had been rejected in the meantime. The defense reacted surprised and somewhat indignant and made several motions for breaks in the session – these including a motion for the trial to be interrupted “until tomorrow morning” so that accused Eminger could read today’s decisions on the challenges in prison, claiming that he was unable to do so in the court building. The presiding judge finally closed the trial for today around 4 pm.
Trial days on Wednesday, 20 September and Thursday, 21 September canceled
The Court has notified the parties that the trial days on 20 and 21 September 2017 have been canceled in order to be able to deal with additional challenges for alleged bias.
The trial will continue on Tuesday, 26 September 2017. It remains to be seen whether victims and their counsel will be able to begin their closing statements then
Eminger defense brings challenge for alleged bias – trial to continue Wednesday, 29 September.
As could be expected, the Eminger defense today brought a challenge for alleged bias against all five judges. It did so before the start of the trial day, which therefore did not even begin.
The trial can only continue after a decision on this challenge has been reached. The court is currently planning to continue the trial next Wednesday – however, further delays may arise, e.g. if the Wohlleben defense brings its own challenge in the next few days. It is therefore not unlikely that the closing statements of victims and their counsel will be postponed to the week of 25 September.
On this first trial day after accused Eminger was detained, several family members visited the trial –his wife Susnan (who is herself accused of supporting the NSU) and two family members were among the members of the public watching the trial from the public gallery.
Detention order against Eminger leads to previously unseen bursts of activity from his counsel.
As expected, the court issued a detention order against Eminger as requested. Eminger will thus remain in Stadelheim prison.
The court thus held that Eminger is “strongly suspected” of all crimes he is charged with and that the expected sentence leads to a danger of absconding. In other words: the court will in all likelihood find Eminger guilty of all charges, including of aiding and abetting attempted murder for his involvement in the Probsteigasse bombing attack, and it will sentence him to a prison term that is at least in the vicinity of the twelve years requested by the prosecution.
Final day of the prosecution’s closing statement: lengthy prison sentence for Eminger. And: betrayal pays off.
This morning, the presiding judge gave notice to accused Eminger that the two counts of aiding and abetting robbery contained in the indictment could also be considered as aiding and abetting armed robbery in the judgment.
Prosecutor Dr. Diemer than concluded the closing statement with the concrete motions for sentences. The details will be available in the minutes which we will publish (in the German language) in a few days. Here, we will limit ourselves to the sentences the prosecution is asking for:
Prosecution’s closing statement almost concluded.
Today the federal prosecution concluded the main part of its closing statement – the only part remaining concerns the formal motions as well as the statements on the sentences, which prosecutor Dr. Diemer will bring on the next trial on 12 September.
Today his colleagues Greger and Weingarten summarized which crimes the accused are to be convicted of. The prosecution asked that they be convicted according to the indictment, with two slight changes in the legal characterization of the charges: as to Zschäpe, this mainy concerned the arson of the house containing the NSU apartment in the Frühlingsstraße, which according to the prosecution also fulfills the requirements for the crime of “inducing an explosion”. As to accused Eminger, the provision of two motor vehicles used in bank robberies constitutes not only aiding and abetting robbery, but aiding and abetting armed robbery, which carries a much higher sentence. The court will have to decide whether it will make a formal announcement to the accused that the charges could be thus re-characterized. Continue reading
Activists protest in the courtroom. And: closing argument concerning Eminger and Gerlach: the federal prosecution discovers the importance of ideology
The trial day began with a protest in the courtroom: before prosecutor Weingarten could continue the prosecution’s closing statement, activists of the tribunal “dissolving the NSU complex” began reading out parts of the tribunal’s own indictment concerning the federal prosecution and throwing down tiny leaflets with the names of those indicted before the tribunal. The presiding judge interrupted the trial session and the court left the courtroom, there were no sanctions against the activists, who continued their protest in front of the court building for the rest of the day.
Concluding statement of the federal prosecution, day 5: more on the Ceska and on Wohlleben and Schultze
Prosecutor Weingarten concluded his statement on accused Wohlleben and Schultze today. He showed that Wohlleben was the one responsible for coordinating the activities of all supporters, not only in general, but also with regard to the Ceska pistol, and that Schultze, as he himself had admitted, was also directly involved in the procurement of the pistol.
Weingarten then turned to the mens rea, i.e. to proving that Wohlleben and Schultze realized that there was at least a distinct possibility that Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe would commit murders with the pistol. With respect to Wohlleben, this is proved by the fact that he knew of the National Socialist ideology and propensity for violence of the NSU core trio, inter alia from debates in their group “Comradeship Jena” concerning “armed struggle”, as well as by the fact that he himself – contrary to his attempts to present himself as an “ethnopluralist” pacifist – had shared that National Socialist ideology. Continue reading