Still no expert opinion, but instead a senseless challenge for bias.
Those who had hoped that expert witness Prof. Dr. Saß would finally present his expert opinion today were in a for a disappointment: The court rejected yesterday’s motion of defense counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm as there was no reason to doubt Saß’ qualifications. Heer, Stahl and Sturm reacted by challenging all judges for alleged bias.
That challenge showed once more that it is problematic when members of the defense team don’t speak to each other: Heer, Stahl and Sturm presented their challenge without previously having talked to Zschäpe. However, a challenge for alleged bias may only be brought by the accused herself. Accordingly Zschäpe’s counsel of choice Borchert, having discussed the issue with Zschäpe during another break in the proceedings, announced that Zschäpe herself was challenging all judges, basing her challenge on the reasons given by Heer, Stahl and Sturm. The federal prosecutor reacted immediately by noting that this challenge was presented out of time, not having been brought immediately after the court’s decision.
The court did not decide on the question today, instead ending this farce and closing the trial for today some time after 3 pm. The trial will continue on 10 January.
Defense tries to block psychiatric expert opinion on Zschäpe
Many in Munich, above all members of the press, were anxiously awaiting the opinion of psychiatric expert Prof. Dr. Saß on the accused Zschäpe. However, that opinion was not – yet – presented today.
Saß had, already in 2013, been tasked with an expert opinion on whether Zschäpe fulfilled the preconditions for preventive detention. Zschäpe had refused all cooperation with the expert, who had in turn spent the majority of trial days in the courtroom watching the proceedings. This had lead discussions with Zschäpe’s counsel several times, inter alia when they protested that Saß was not to be allowed to watch Zschäpe during breaks in the trial.
The federal criminal police again fail to contribute to clearing up the facts
Today the trial again lasted less than two hours, ending shortly after 11 am.
The first witness was a woman who had been seen with Blood and Honour activist Jan Werner in Berlin in June 2000 when the Sexan domestic secret service trailed Werner and who, based on her appearance, could have been the woman accompanying Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt when they scouted out the synagogue in Berlin in May 2000 (see the report of 30 November 2016).
She denied any knowledge of that episode, and even if her denials did not come across as very convincing, there was no way to effectively challenge it: the secret service had only given very few details, and the federal criminal police had not even interviewed her as a witness. Thus another hint towards a possible contact person or supporter of the NSU is likely to come to naught. Continue reading
Zschäpe defense continues to stall – court helps them along
The first topic today was the motion for evidence, announced several times by the Zschäpe defense, concerning her behavior in detention. Counsel Grasel surprised everyone by announcing that the motion was still not finished and pronouncing himself unable to promise whether it would be finished this week. Now, the court has summoned expert witness Prof. Saß for tomorrow and Thursday so that he can comment on the testimony of the witness (likely stating that it does not change his conclusion in any way, see the report of 14/15 February 2017).
Again, Beate Zschäpe does not have anything to do with anything. And: Defense tries to delay expert opinion on Zschäpe.
Today Zschäpe defense counsel Borchert read out the defense’s statement on the Peggy K. case and on images containing child and youth pornography found on a computer in the Frühlingsstraße apartment (see the report of 26 October 2016): Zschäpe had no information on Peggy K., the computer had been used by all three persons, and she did not know anything about these images – they had probably gotten there via a used hard disk purchased by Uwe Mundlos and built into the computer. This last statement above all is transparent nonsense – a sentiment shared even by assigned counsel Heer and Stahl, according to their facial expressions when listening to Borchert’s statement.
Zschäpe’s statements shown to be implausible. And: is the court starting to conduct the trial speedily?
Today, the court first heard two more federal criminal police detectives concerning an aspect of Zschäpe’s in-court statement: Zschäpe had commented on a bet with Böhnhardt in 2005 in which she had wagered “200 cuts of video clips”, claiming that this did not mean work on the “Pink Panther” video with which the NSU claimed responsibility for its crimes, but rather the removal of advertisements from recordings of TV series.
Both detectives confirmed what their colleague had already stated on Tuesday: There was no evidence pointing to the presence in the NSU apartment of a device which could have facilitated the removal of ads in the way described by Zschäpe, above all not of a video recorder containing a hard drive – Zschäpe, however, had twice referred to “our hard drive recorder” and “the hard drive in our recorder”. Continue reading