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.
The presiding judge concluded his questions shortly after the lunch break. To nobody’s surprise, the federal prosecution had no questions for Wohlleben, the other defense teams only very few.
Before victims‘ counsel began asking question, Wohlleben defense attorney Klemke announced that Wohlleben would not answer questions by victim’s counsel Alexander Hoffmann, claiming that Hoffmann’s client was not in fact a victim allowed to join the proceedings. This “argument” is a clear pretext as the court has last year issued a clear and convincing decision denying the defense motion to revoke her right to join the proceedings as she is in fact a victim allowed to join the proceedings. Klemke and/or Wohlleben seem to have been afraid that Wohlleben would prove unable to make it through a tough line of questioning. Wohlleben had already on 16 December 2015 refused to answer Hoffmann’s request to give out the password for an encrypted hard drive found in his computer.
Counsel Hoffmann asked a number of questions concerning that password, the passwords for further encrypted files found on his computer as well as concerning a further NSU supporter. Wohlleben refused to answer these questions by simply remaining silent. Wohlleben also refused to give out the password when asked by another victim’s counsel – at first, he tried out the old explanation that the documents on that drive where identical to those found on a non-encrypted hard drive, then he contradicted himself when he stated that he was afraid his personal documents would be leaked to the press, after all, the encrypted drive contained additional photos of his family. This answer once more showed that the picture, painted by the Wohlleben defense, of an open statement during which all questions are answered is pure propaganda.
After Wohlleben’s questioning was concluded, several victims’ counsel made short statements showing that Wohlleben’s entire statement was fabricated to fit the evidence heard so far – Wohlleben had even provided references to the parts of the case file his statement was answering to. As far as his statement is to exculpate him, it consists simply of denial of the mens rea, with no provable or disprovable factual basis. Victims’ counsel announced, however, that they would bring motions for evidence disproving his statements concerning ideology etc.
Wohlleben’s desperate attempt to change the course of the trial after the clearly damning evidence presented so far has thus failed entirely: he has admitted to the actus reus of aiding and abetting murder that he is accused of, the court will not follow him in his denial of mens rea. What’s more, during his questioning, he has disavowed parts of his prepared statement – thus he stated that he had not taken a good look at the gun brought by Schultze while in his statement, he had claimed that that gun had looked totally different from the Ceska murder weapon.
Victims’ counsel also gave clear statements on Wohlleben’s claims regarding ideology, above all on the attempt to present himself and the Nazi scene as absolutely non-violent and simply victim of violence by the left-wing scene. Counsel Alexander Hoffmann: “The demagogy presenting an ‘angel of peace’ Ralf Wohlleben in court is the same demagogy presented when Nazis marched for ‘pilot of peace’ Rudolf Hess.”