16 June 2015

Bad vibrations within the Zschäpe defense, and on Zschäpe’s involvement in producing the NSU video.

At today’s trial day, Zschäpe’s motion to relive her counsel Sturm of her duties (see the report of 10 June 2015) was not mentioned at all. However, Zschäpe’s signs of rejection towards not only Sturm, but also her other counsel Heer and Stahl. Anja Sturm had told the court last week that Zschäpe’s allegations against her were untrue. Stahl and Heer also weighed in, also claiming that Zschäpe’s claims were untrue. Zschäpe has asked the court to allow her to give her answer on Wednesday, allowing her to retain counsel before doing so. A decision on Zschäpe’s motion, in which she has asked for Sturm to be relieved, but has not yet named a new counsel, is to be expected next week at the earliest.

The first witness was a detective of the federal criminal police who testified on the robberies committed by the NSU, this time concerning a bank robbery in Zwickau in September of 2002, and on evidence that this robbery had been committed by Mundlos and Böhnhardt: Inter alia, weapons and items of clothing used in the robbery were very similar to those found in the Frühlingsstraße apartment and the mobile home in Eisenach, and part of the loot, such as blank savings books, was also found in the Frühlingsstraße apartment.

Next came another witness from the former Nazi scene in Chemnitz. At his police interview, he had made statements concerning the ideology of Mundlos, who had stated at a Nazi concert that such concerts were above all political activities and who had called for “much tougher programs against Jews”. Today, the witness tried – like so many before him – to downplay his earlier statements and/or to feign memory problems – accordingly the presiding judge quite forcefully told him to tell the truth. Nonetheless, his testimony did not lead to many new findings.

The final witness was a detective of the federal criminal police who had dealt with the computers found in the Frühlingsstraße apartment. One of these computers contained a file with a “bet” in which Zschäpe wagered cleaning the apartment and “200x cutting video clips”. The detective testified that there was exactly one video file on all of the computers in the apartment which cut have required that many video cuts – the “Pink Panther” video in which the NSU claimed responsibility for its crimes. This is a forceful piece of evidence that Zschäpe not only worked on that video, but also that it was a topic that was talked about just as much as cleaning the apartment – another very strong piece of evidence for Zschäpe’s equal role within the organization. Another piece of evidence in this regard was also found in the Frühlingsstraße – 49 pages of handwritten “script” for the “Pink Panther” video. Work on that video began roughly six months after the file containing the bet was stored.

The defense tried to call into question these conclusions and offered the alternative hypothesis that Zschäpe had cut the commercial breaks from recorded TV shows.