Another concrete statement by Zschäpe shown to be untrue.
The only witness today was a federal criminal police detective and expert witness for “identification of persons based on photographs”. She had compared a photograph of a man accompanying Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt during their 2006 summer vacation with pictures of accused Holger Gerlach. In painstaking detail, she explained that “with a probability bordering on certainty” the two pictures showed the same man.
Her testimony is relevant as it shows another answer of Zschäpe’s to the court’s questions to be untrue: Zschäpe had claimed not to have met Gerlach after 2004, in particular not to have been on vacation with him. This statement – one of very few factual statements amenable to a factual check-up – has thus also proven to be untrue. The court has accordingly made another step on the way to a judgment of conviction. Continue reading
More on the „NSU letter“
Today the court questioned another editor of a Nazi fanzine – the “Standard Bearer” (Fahnenträger) from Saxony-Anhalt. The witness stated that in the summer of 2002, he had received the “NSU letter” and a 500€-bill via mail. Other than that, he claimed not to remember anything – the only thing he was sure of was that his zine had been called “Standard Bearer” and not “The Standard Bearer”.
The “memory gaps” presented by this witness proved too brazen even for the federal prosecution, who began to question him quite extensively. This culminated in a successful motion to exclude his witness counsel from the trial – counsel had “coached” the witness, who obviously did not want to answer a certain question, to falsely claim not to remember anything. Of course, the energy put into this display by the prosecution would have been better placed into the questioning of several earlier Nazi witnesses feigning memory gaps. The witness was sent home for today and will have to appear again in September, accompanied by a different counsel. Continue reading
On assaults by neo-Nazis from Jena in the 1990s and on the believability of accused Schultze.
Today the court heard too witnesses to check a statement by accused Schultze. He had reported on an assault committed by several neo-Nazis from Jena on two people in the late 1990s. According to Schultze, among those involved in the assault was Ralf Wohlleben, who had later told him that he had “jumped on one guy’s head.” (see the report of [link] 11 June 2013). The court has now summoned as witnesses the others whom Schultze had named as having been involved. Continue reading
Marcel Degner and his witness counsel
The trial day today was another short one. The only witness was – once again – the former chief of Blood and Honour Thuringia, Marcel Degner. He was again questioned about his activities as an informer for the Thuringia domestic secret service, which contact officers had clearly confirmed, but Degner had denied until the end (see the report of 29 June 2016).
Today Degner stated that he wanted to “revise” his earlier statement concerning his working as an informer and refuse to answer, relying on the privilege against self-incrimination. He was told several times that it was either one – revise the earlier statement and make a different one (e.g. “I was an informer after all”) or refuse to answer the question –, but that both at once was not possible. His witness counsel was similarly informed, without however doing anything to change this strategy – leading to a motion brought by the defense and joined in by the federal prosecution that the witness counsel be exchanged for a colleague more versed in this legal field. Continue reading
The taking and consideration of evidence clearly show that the trial is headed towards a conviction
Today the court heard one witness, a computer expert with the federal criminal police who had inter alia printed out the photos of Zschäpe’s, Böhnhardt’s and Mundlos’ summer vacation in 2004, contained on a CD-ROM found in the Frühlingsstraße apartment. These pictures, taken shortly after the nail bomb attack in the Keupstraße in Cologne, show a merry Zschäpe in harmony with the two men – refuting her claim that after the men had told her of the Cologne attack, there had been icy silence between her and them (see the report of 11 May 2016). The fact that the court takes such care to investigate technical details concerning these photos shows that it is planning to use them in its judgment – as an incriminating piece of evidence disproving Zschäpe’s statement in court. Continue reading
Zschäpe’s fingerprints on the NSU archive, and: the Wohlleben defense also wants to clear up the facts.
After the long trial day yesterday, the court only heard one expert witness today, a fingerprint expert with the federal criminal police. He reported how he had found out that finger prints found on two newspaper articles in the NSU’s archive of articles on their crimes were Beate Zschäpe’s. These prints could only have gotten there by Zschäpe touching the articles. As to the defense claim that the prints might have been transferred from another piece of paper, the expert stated that this was already very unlikely and that in any event such transfer would lead to a mirror image of the original prints, which is not what he found here. Thus the totality of the evidence shows that Zschäpe touched these articles in the newspaper archive.
The Wohlleben defense brought several motions: for one, they moved that the case files of the investigations against several suspected supporters of the NSU be made part of the case file – this was based on the fact that minutes of police interviews with witnesses conducted in 2013 had only been sent to the court in Munich by the prosecution last week.
They also moved that reports on tapped phones from the investigation against Nazi rock band “Landser” be made part of the case file and that two witnesses be called to testify in order to show that (Blood and Honour Chemnitz) and Ralf Marschner (Blood and Honour Zwickau and informer to the federal domestic secret service) were tasked with providing guns to Böhnhardt and Mundlos. Finally, the secret service case file on Marschner is to show that the secret service knew the whereabouts of the three who had gone underground, but had not given that information to the police.
Several of these motions have already been brought, in a different context, by victims’ counsel, who had moved for access to the other case files in order to find out more about the size of the NSU’s networks and its crimes and for an investigation of the role of Marschner and the secret service since the victims and families of murder victims have a right to know what role the state played in the NSU’s crimes. It remains to be seen whether the court will follow these motions now that the Wohlleben defense has latched on to them.
Lies and Trivialization, Part 16 – David Petereit, member of parliament, The White Wolf, the NSU letter and 2.500 €, but no recollection.
Today’s only witness was David Petereit, member of the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern for the Nazi party NPD. His testimony lasted from 9.30 am to 8.45 pm. The basis for his questioning was quite clear: From at least 2002 to 2004, Petereit was involved in publishing the Nazi fanzine “The White Wolf”. Issue 1/2002 of that zine contained not only articles on militant neo-Nazi organization Combat 18, but also a preface, signed with Petereit’s pseudonym “Eihwaz”, stating that “as the times become together, so must our struggle – support the comrades in detention, in the legal fight, in the streets, form networks – listening to music and partying alone will not bring about the change we need”, followed by the following statement in bold type: “Many thanks to the NSU, it has borne fruit :) The struggle goes on…”
A report of the domestic secret service of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern of 9 April 2002 summarizes the statement of an informer on this issue: “The publication “The White Wolf” is said to have received an anonymous donation of 2,500 € and a letter stating that ‘Keep on doing what you’re doing, you deserve the money!’” Continue reading
Ambition to convict: high; ambition to clear up the facts: low; ambition to protect the secret service: 100 %.
Today the court first read out several documents, including documents concerning a search of the apartment of David Petereit, member of parliament in the Land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern for the Nazi party NPD and former editor of the Nazi zine “The White Wolf”. During the search, police found a copy of the “NSU letter” which the organization had send out, together with sums of money, to several neo-Nazi organizations. In the next issue in 2002, “The White Wolf” had published a Thank you-Note to the NSU, adding that “it has been fruitful:) The Fight goes on…” Petereit has been summoned to testify tomorrow.
After the obligatory lunch break, the court read out further decisions rejecting motions for evidence, this time motions made in February and April of 2014 (!) concerning the attempts by the Hessian secret service to hinder the police investigation of the NSU’s murder of Halit Yozgat in Kassel and to protect its officer Temme, who had been present at the crime scene but who claimed not to have noticed anything. Continue reading
Questions for accused Zschäpe.
Today the court first heard a federal criminal police detective who again testified on video recordings of TV broadcasts concerning the nail bomb attack in the Keupstraße in Cologne, recordings which had been made on the day of the attack. The result of her investigations is still that it was possible for these recordings to have been made in the Frühlingsstraße apartment – in which case they must have been made by Beate Zschäpe since Böhnhardt and Mundlos could not have made it back to Zwickau from Cologne in time to start the recordings. Of course, it is also possible that a supporter in Cologne or the surrounding area made these recordings.
The detective had also had another look at the videos with which the NSU claimed responsibility for its crimes and had found out that this video made use inter alia of a newspaper clipping on which Zschäpe’s fingerprints were found. Continue reading
On jail cell talks of witness and former informer Tino Brandt
First (expert) witness today was a gun export with the federal criminal police who had reconstructed the serial number of the Ceska murder weapon, which had been scratched out.
Next up was a man who had had prison conversations with “Thuringia Home Guard” leader Tino Brandt after Brandt had appeared in court as a witness, and who had reported on these conversations to the court.
According to the witness, Brandt had told him that he had feigned an illness in order to avoid having to testify, and had made fun of the trial and the court – in fact, the trial days on 12 and 12 February 2014, when he had first been scheduled to testify, had been canceled due to Brandt’s alleged illness. Continue reading