26 June 2018

Last words of the accused next week, pronouncement of the verdict likely on 10/11/12 July

The most important result of today’s trial session is that, in the view of the court, all that needs to be done before it can begin its deliberations is to hear the last words of the accused.

The court will hear these last words next Tuesday, 3 July. With the exception of Eminger, all accused have stated that they will make short submissions of 5 minutes or less. The court has not explicitly stated when it is planning to pronounce its verdict, but it seems very likely that it will take a week for its deliberations, with a verdict being pronounced on 10/11/12 July.

Earlier today, the court had heard further evidence on the fire which Zschäpe had started in the Frühlingsstraße house. The appearance by an expert witness from the Bavarian criminal police was based on a motion for evidence brought by Zschäpe defense counsel Heer and Sturm, who again scored a clear own goal: the expert stated quite clearly that the fire could well have spread to the other half of the building, including the apartment of the elderly neighbor. He even showed based on photographs that the fire was only a few minutes from spreading – via the wooden roof overhang – when firefighters arrived. Heer and Sturm tried valiantly to derive something positive from his statements, even announced that they would bring another motion for evidence from an expert on fire safety measures – but the court did not seem to take these desperate attempts very seriously.

Interestingly, counsel Stahl openly refused to take part in these efforts by his colleagues. And Zschäpe herself also seemed to have enough: at one point, Heer announced that, if he were not granted a longer trial break in order to bring further motions, he would counsel Zschäpe to challenge the judges for bias. Zschäpe showed a dismissive reaction and then turned to her counsel of trust Borchert, who announced that “there will be no such challenge.” It seems that the rapprochement between Zschäpe and her „old counsel” perceived by some is over before it really began.