The court has canceled all trial days this week as it needs time to deal with the two challenges for alleged bias brought last Thursday.
More meritless challenges for alleged bias by the Wohlleben defense – and more vacuous and unbelievable statements by accused Zschäpe
Today the court had planned to hear the testimony of two federal police detectives and, above all, the answers of the Zschäpe defense to questions by the court.
However, parties had to wait quite a long time for the latter: The Wohlleben defense asked for a number of longer interruptions and finally brought a challenge for alleged bias against presiding judge Götzl – he had had words with defense counsel Nahrath earlier, which had ended with Nahrath, in a snit, stating that he would simply not say anything after all. The defense then brought another challenge against one of the other judges – this challenge, which is just as meritless as the first, is based on a claim that she had made faces when the first challenge was read out. Continue reading
On the importance of the Gerlach’s and Schultze’s statements
The trial day began with an announcement by presiding judge Götzl that judge Feistkorn had retired – one of the two remaining alternate judges, judge Kramer, has therefore been activated and joined the bench; he will take part in future decisions in this case, including the judgment.
The court only heard one witness today, a prosecutor who worked with the federal prosecution during the investigation. He was called to testify on the extent to which the statements by accused Gerlach and Schultze had helped the investigation. His answer was that they had helped quite a bit, above all that the arrest warrant against Ralf Wohlleben would not have been issued were it not for their statements, which were then confirmed by further investigations. Continue reading
German Angst – Ralf Wohlleben decides not to answer all questions after all.
The further questioning of Ralf Wohlleben began rather slowly – the presiding judge asked further questions concerning Wohlleben’s statement on 16 December 2015.
Wohlleben confirmed some of the main results of the evidence taken so far, which had massively incriminated him. Above all, he confirmed his knowledge of all relevant acts of support provided to Zschäpe, Böhnhardt and Mundlos – he knew when and in what amounts money was provided for them, he knew, who was in contact with them, he stated that he had believed that had lived in Chemnitz (as they in fact did). This again shows his important role in the support network – a role which his defense has tried to deny since the early days of the trial, only to be disproven by the evidence.
Wohllebens attempts to deny the charges leads him to a partial admission of guilt.
Today accused Wohlleben was questioned by the court. On 16 December 2015, Wohlleben had read out a prepared statement and announced that he would answer questions (see the report of [link] 16 December 2015). Presiding judge Götzl questioned Wohlleben until 2.30 pm, when the trial day was adjourned as counsel Klemke had announced that Wohlleben was suffering from back pain and headaches and was unable to concentrate. Klemke’s intervention came shortly after Wohlleben had seriously painted himself into a corner in answering questions concerning the Ceska murder weapon.
But back to the beginning: The presiding judge largely limited himself to asking questions to clear up issues in the statement read out by Wohlleben that remained unclear. In the morning, the main topic was the political vita of Wohlleben, the “Comradeship Jena”, the “Thuringia Home Guard” etc. Wohlleben was surprisingly restrained as far as propaganda statement were concerned, mostly tried to present the activities of the various Nazi groups as unspectacular and strictly non-violent. Continue reading
The Court does not question the accused today – instead it considers other pieces of evidence which will contribute to finding them guilty.
Those who had hoped that the court would question accused Zschäpe and Wohlleben today were due for a disappointment: Wohlleben’s questioning was pushed to tomorrow on request of his defense attorneys, and as for Zschäpe, who will only answer questions in writing anyway, her defense team still seems to have a need for further discussion concerning the rather few questions posed by the presiding judge. The court instead read out several documents, above all concerning identification of finger print, which will contribute to proving the guilt of these two as well as co-accused André Eminger.