13 October 2016

Wohlleben defense: Nazi propaganda in the courtroom

The evidence considered today was again rather slight, nonetheless the trial day lasted until after 4 pm.

An expert witness with the Bavarian criminal police needed less than fifteen minutes to explain convincingly that Marcel Degner’s signature on the undertaking to work as an informer for the Thuringia secret service was “highly likely” put there by Degner himself, that there were absolutely no indications of a forgery. Why the court had even called the expert will remain its secret – after all, Degner had not really said much of relevance in his testimony, accordingly today’s expert opinion seems relevant only for the perjury proceedings instituted against Degner (on Degner’s steadfast denials of having worked for the secret service, see the report of 14 September 2016).

The court then again gave the Zschäpe defense an opportunity to make submissions concerning the seizure of Zschäpe’s letter (see the report of 14 September 2016) – instead of finally deciding on this issue and allowing victims’ counsel to bring their motion for evidence.
The Wohlleben defense brought several motions for evidence, one of which can only be explained as an attempt to spread Nazi propaganda in the courtroom: A few weeks ago, the court had considered as evidence several stickers found in Wohlleben’s apartment, including a sticker claiming that Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess had been murdered by the Allies. The defense now aims to “prove” that Hess was indeed murdered by calling as a witness Hess’ former nurse at the Allied prison in Berlin-Spandau. The nurse had published his “theory” that Hess had been murdered in a book a few years ago, his book was translated into German by Nazi party “historian” Rose, and he presents that book at one Nazi event after the other. This motion shows the defense ceasing to focus on an actual defense of Wohlleben against the charges – likely due to the devastating amount of evidence against him – and instead presenting propaganda motions to please the “comrades” outside of the courtroom.

Shortly before noon, the court issued a decision rejecting a motion by the Wohlleben defense for access to the case files of the other investigations being conducted in the context of the NSU.

In the afternoon, the trial turned into a bit of farce. The Wohlleben defense announced that it was planning to challenge the judges for bias, as allegedly shown in the decision on their motion. However, at that point accused Eminger was defended only by an attorney substituting for her assigned colleague, the other attorney was already on the way to the airport. Instead of simply closing the trial for the day, presiding judge Götzl ordered that the absent counsel return from the airport and that the trial continue at 4 pm. More than two hours later, all parties were again present in the courtroom, the Wohlleben defense read out its challenge for alleged bias, and the trial day was over.

There will be no trial days next week, the trial continues on Tuesday, 25 October 2016 – enough time for the other judges of the Munich court to reject this defense challenge as unfounded, as they have all the other unfounded challenges brought before.