19 April 2016

Challenge for alleged bias rejected, Secret service reports introduced.

The trial began at 1pm today as the court needed additional time to deal with the challenge for alleged bias brought against the court by the Wohlleben defense last week. Unsurprisingly, that challenge was rejected as unfounded.

The presiding judge then posed further questions to accused Zschäpe, which will be answered by her counsel at some later time.

Topics include her contacts with attorney Eisenecker, brokered by Tino Brandt, Ralf Wohlleben and Carsten Schultze, the uses to which the money made during the robberies was put, a meeting during which Holger Gerlach was given money and in return provided a health insurance card for Zschäpe, a visit by Gerlach to the Zwickau apartment, as well as the question whether Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt had access to motorbikes.

Zschäpe will find it difficult to answer all these questions on topics she has already made statements on without giving away details of her everyday life with her “comrades”. Her defense attorneys will find it difficult to construct answers which conform to the facts known from the case files while still keeping up their representation of Zschäpe as having “done nothing and known nothing”.
The court also read out several reports from the federal domestic secret service and its Thuringian counterpart summarizing their knowledge of the activities, pre and post the NSU core members going underground, of Carsten Schultze and André Kapke. These summaries are based on reports of informers, above all Tino Brandt.
The court thus continues to formally introduce documents which have been discussed in the trial – a prerequisite to using them in the trial judgment. This will likely go on for a number of trial days.