Still no exculpatory evidence for Wohlleben.
And: the Zschäpe defense tries to get rid of a victim’s counsel
The trial day began with the report of a member of the Jugendgerichtshilfe, a division of the agency responsible for children and youths tasked with reporting to the court on the development of young offenders, in Düsseldorf. He reported on his conversations with accused Schultze. He could not tell the court and the parties much news since Schultze himself had made quite extensive statements in court. In one of the following trial weeks, an expert witness will present his report on whether Schultze, who was a young adult (between 18 and 20) at the time, should be treated as an adult or as a youthful offender.
Next was the questioning of Andreas Graupner, one of the more important members of “Blood & Honour” Saxony. The Wohlleben defense had requested that he be questioned, stating that he would testify inter alia that Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt were present at a “B&H” meeting in the town of Wilsdruff on 8 October 1998 during which “B&H” Saxony decided to provide assistance to the NSU.
Graupner, who has been living in the state of Baden-Württemberg since 2001, is well-known all over Germany as a member of the band “Noie Werte” (“New Values”), which is closely connected to “B&H”. Two earlier versions of the NSU video found on a computer in the NSU’s Frühlingsstraße apartment were scored with “Noie Werte” songs. Another band member, by the way, is an attorney and formerly member of the same law office as Wohlleben defense attorney Schneiders.
However, Graupner did not even try to exonerate Wohlleben, but rather behaved like many Nazi witnesses before: brash, feigning memory gaps, lying. Having twice been clearly caught perjuring himself, he nonetheless continued in the same vein. Presiding judge Götzl rather quickly gave up his attempts to question Graupner. The Wohlleben defense was just as unsuccessful. Victims’ counsel Edith Lunnebach was the only one who was able to get to the witness somewhat when she caught him lying and openly discussed his Nazi worldview. The Wohlleben defense strategy of trying to push the responsibility of “radicalizing the Three” to “B&H” Saxony once again proved unsuccessful.
At the end of the trial day, the Zschäpe defense, as announced last week, presented its motion to rescind the right of Alexander Hoffmann, one of the two authors of this blog, and of his client to take part in the proceedings as part of the private accessory prosecution. This motion is without any legal merit.
The right of a victim to take part in proceedings can be rescinded when it turns out that the victim was, from the outset, not entitled to take part, e.g. because the victim did not press charges and a prosecution is thus barred. The Zschäpe defense, on the other hand, claims that the evidence of the last weeks showed that Hoffmann’s client was not a victim of assault and attempted murder in the context of the bomb which exploded roughly 22 meters from her apartment.
However, this claim cannot lead to the rescission of her right to take part already for the simple reasons that the factual question of the extent to which she was endangered by the bomb, of how her concrete injuries relate to the bomb etc. is a question to be answered in the final judgment. And the legal question concerning her admission has already been answered in the court’s decision allowing the indictment to proceed to trial, in which it has characterized the bombing attack as attempted murder also of several persons who were not bodily injured, but who were present in the Keupstraße.
Victims’ counsel Edith Lunnebach made a statement on the defence motion in which she criticized that the defense would do well to focus on trying to find exculpatory material for their client instead of attacking victims’ counsel.