15 May 2018

Closing statement of the Wohlleben defense: agitating and whining

It can generally be said that the presentation of extreme right wing ideology usually consists of two core elements, namely agitating and whining (as described in detail in a German-language supplement to newspaper Analyse und Kritik). As far as the closing statement of the defense of Ralf Wohlleben is concerned, counsel Schneiders was responsible for the latter, counsel Klemke for the former.

In Schneiders’ eyes, her client is, above all, a victim: victim of the press which had massively pre-judged him, victim of some victims’ counsel engaging in “scene voyeurism”, victim of a biased court planning to convict him at all costs in order to satisfy the demands of “media and politics”. Her statement consisted of a confused mixture of criticism of the court, rehashing of defense motions for evidence on substantial issues, and crude conspiracy theories. Schneiders ended by calling for an acquittal and warning the judges that they will have to “account for their judgement” in front of the “judge’s bench of the Eternal” (Richterstuhl des Ewigen) – a clear homage to the closing statement of Hitler’s deputy Hess at the Nuremberg trial, which brought this Nazi statement to a fitting conclusion.

Klemke – the only Wohlleben counsel without an active past in Nazi organizations and thus apparently struggling to catch up – began his statement with a tirade which would be considered extreme even in the völkisch Höcke-wing of the AfD party. He driveled on about “red-green-laced media”, about a “lobby of so-called migrants” upholding a “cult of guilt” in order to convince the German Volk not only to go along with its “downfall as a community of ancestry, culture and fate”, but even to finance said downfall. Such theories of the “death of the volk” or of “re-volk-ing” can also be found in the videos produced by the NSU. (Apologies are due to our English-speaking readers at this point: it is almost impossible to adequately translate the hateful vocabulary of the völkisch right).

Klemke then mostly focuseed on attacking the prosecution’s consideration of the evidence on the chain of custody over the murder weapon Ceska. His closing statement was interrupted in the early afternoon as Wohlleben claimed to be suffering from headaches.

It is not surprising that the closing statement of the Wohlleben defense, despite containing a criticism of the prosecution’s consideration of the evidence and even some motions for further allegedly exculpatory evidence, is not addressed the court, but rather to the Nazi scene outside the courtroom. Accordingly, the defense is unfazed by the fact that its statement contradicted itself at many points – such as when Schneiders protested against the disgusted reactions to the defense’s “death of the Volk” motion for evidence and claimed that the motion had been mischaracterized – only for Klemke to repeat the claims contained in the motion a few hours later. Or when Schneiders, on the one hand, attacked the mean victims’ counsel who had politicized the trial, but on the other hand tried to hitch her wagon to motions for evidence (e.g. concerning the role of the secret service) brought by the very same victims’ counsel and even tried to present herself as an advocate of the legitimate interests of the victims for a full accounting of the role of state organs.

This closing statement will fulfill its goal of convincing those already yearning to be convinced that Wohlleben is an innocent victim of the “left-green scummy” media and judiciary. More need not be said about it. Klemke will continue the closing statement tomorrow, followed by counsel Nahrath.