7 February 2017

Further questions to Prof. Saß – defense tries, but fails to gain access to his notes

The assigned counsel of accused Zschäpe today tried, but failed to have the handwritten notes of expert witness Prof. Saß introduced into the trial. The trial day began with some questions to the expert by the presiding judge. Counsel pronounced themselves surprised that Saß had not simply brought with him his notes – some 700 pages. Two weeks ago, after Saß had stated that he did not have his notes with him and the defense had answered that in that case they did not have any questions at the moment, the presiding judge had asked Saß some questions of his own and then asked him to come back to Munich this week – Heer, Stahl and Sturm had apparently believed that this included a statement that Saß was to bring his notes. Saß, however, had left them at home and stated that he had included all relevant observations of Zschäpe’s behavior in the courtroom in his expert opinion – indeed, he had made reported on these observations in some detail last time as well as today.

Assigned counsel seemed to be unable to confront Saß with potential gaps in his statements, leading to the impression that they simply had not noticed any such gaps. They thus showed themselves once more passive and focusing solely on formalities, bringing detailed motions asking for the court’s support in providing details that are beside the point – instead of actively taking up the fight concerning the contents of the expert opinion. In a political trial held at a court of appeals, this type of defense is destined to fail just as much as the attempts by Zschäpe’s new counsel to convince the court with make-believe stories.

At the end of the trial day, Zschäpe’s assigned counsel moved that the court instruct Saß to report on the contents of his work product. This motion will be rejected tomorrow morning and accordingly, the questioning of the expert witness may come to an end this week