Federal prosecutor opposes further elucidation
Today’s trial day was characterized by arguments between the federal prosecutors and the Zschäpe defence on the one hand and victims’ counsel on the other. The witness testimony today did not bring the trial forward otherwise.
The occasion for the first dispute was the motion by victims’ counsel of 8 January 2014 regarding a witness, currently incarcerated in Poland, who states that in 2004, he provided accused Ralf Wohlleben with a tool to overcome anti-theft devices for VW vans and in exchange received a gun. This could throw a new light on the role of Wohlleben, who so far is only accused of providing the Ceska pistol in 1999/2000.
The federal prosecution moved that this motion be denied as inadmissible as well as without merit. It is obvious that the prosecution is trying with all its might to defend the picture of the NSU as consisting of only three persons against all new developments. It would seem obvious that if Wohlleben tried, in 2004, to procure tools for the theft of vehicles often used by the NSU in its crimes, this can only mean that he was more deeply involved than assumed by the indictment. Since taking over the investigation, the federal prosecution has tried to keep the number of NSU members as low as possible by all means possible, trying to stay as close as possible to the traditional “lone wolf” theory. The decision on this motion will be a political decision, asking presiding judge Götzl and his senate to decide whether they are interested in an actual elucidation of the facts or whether they only want to work off the indictment.
The second dispute arose from a statement by several victims’ counsel concerning the testimony of Alexander Scheidemantel, who on 8 January 2014 testified on the provision of his wife’s health insurance card to accused Gerlach. The statement showed in detail that both the Scheidemantels and accused Gerlach had a reason to lie regarding this matter – Scheidemantel because he, and maybe his wife, knew whom the card was meant for. As far as Gerlach had a motive to lie, it was to protect his friends – which means that a lie on this issue does not render the rest of his statement untrustworthy.
This statement was interrupted by the Zschäpe defence, claiming that it was too comprehensive for a statement by victims’ counsel. The Zschäpe defence had claimed last week that Gerlach’s entire statement – which after all incriminates Zschäpe – was unbelievable because he had lied on this issue. Now this argument was proven false. The court decided to allow the statement in its entirety.