22 September 2016

On Zschäpe’s claimed blood alcohol level on 4 November 2011. And: the trial will wrap up soon.

Today a medical expert gave his expert opinion on the blood alcohol level of accused Zschäpe on 4 November 2011, the day she set fire to the house in the Frühlingsstraße. The expert based his opinion on the amounts of alcohol that Zschäpe had claimed to have consumed – a statement that is far from believable and was obviously made in the hopes of a finding of diminished responsibility. Basing his calculations on these claims, the expert witness arrived at potentially very high levels of intoxication. On the other hand, Zschäpe had also stated that she did not feel any disturbed functions on that day, a statement confirmed by reports of neighbors who had seen her on that day. Accordingly, the expert witness came to a clear conclusion: “medically speaking, there were no relevant limitations of the physical or mental ability to function.” It is likely that, in her attempt to on the one hand claim to have done everything to preclude a danger to others from the fire, on the other hand invent an alcohol level which might diminish her responsibility, Zschäpe tripped herself up.

The presiding judge caused some irritation when he asked the defense whether they wished to bring more motions for evidence before psychiatric expert Prof. Sass provided his provisional written opinion on Zschäpe. Defense counsel Stahl asked whether this meant that the court was contemplating closing the taking of evidence shortly. The presiding judge quickly stressed that he was only talking about evidence directly relevant to Sass’ expert opinion. Accordingly, there is currently no reason to believe that the court will close the taking of evidence any time soon.
The court then asked for further statements on the letter written by Zschäpe (see the report of 14 September 2016). It still has not made its decision on the issue.

The last four hours of the trial were wasted on an entirely meritless challenge for alleged bias brought by the Wohlleben defense. The defense had challenged expert witness Prof. Leygraf – who had given an expert opinion not on Wohlleben, but on Schultze, and only on the narrow question of whether Schultze should be tried as a juvenile or an adult – because Leygraf had dared ask Schultze about xenophobic statements made in the Nazi scene. Today the court rejected this challenge as meritless – which of course led the Wohlleben defense to conclude that the judges must themselves be biased. The Wohlleben defense has thus gained the lead on the Zschäpe defense as far as totally meritless challenges for alleged bias are concerned. The challenge today forms part of a general tendency on their part, faced with catastrophic evidence against their client, to switch to meritless motions and statements straying far from the matter at hand.

At the end of the trial day, the presiding judge announced the cancellation of the trial days on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week so as to allow Zschäpe defense counsel Grasel to discuss the court’s questions with his client. The court then hopes to have the defense’s answers to these questions next Thursday.