Closing statement of Carsten Schultze’s defense tries to present him as non-political, unwitting supporter.
The closing statement of Carsten Schultze’s defense counsel had been awaited with some interest – after all, he is the only accused who had fully and believably tried to help clear up the NSU’s crimes. On the one hand, this led to attacks by the defense of Ralf Wohlleben, whom his testimony has massively incriminated. On the other hand, several victims have announced, directly or via their counsel, that they accepted his apology and that they would not be opposed to his being giving a suspended sentence.
The latter development was thwarted by the closing statement presented by his counsel, who declared that Schultze carried a “moral guilt” for providing the silenced Ceska pistol, but that he was not guilty of the legal charges against him. Continue reading
Summary of the Zschäpe defense closing statement: “I am the true victim”
Today Zschäpe defense counsel Grasel continued the defense closing statement. He announced that he would turn to the legal characterization of facts, but in fact often returned to the consideration of evidence, thus repeating nearly all of the arguments which had already been brought by his colleague Borchert. According to Grasel, his client’s acts did not make her a co-perpetrator of the murders and attempted murders committed by the NSU. Above all, he stated, the only reason she had helped camouflage the underground life of herself, Böhnhardt and Mundlos was to avoid arrest, not to facilitate other crimes. Grasel referred to several of Zschäpe’s acts in the years between 1998 and 2011, as proven by the evidence in court, and tried to show why none of them had necessarily “enabled” individual acts of murder. Continue reading
Closing statement of counsel Borchert continues
Today Zschäpe’s defense counsel Borchert continued his closing statement. Like yesterday, this mostly consisted of subdividing the prosecution’s consideration of evidence into tiny pieces, misinterpreting these in a classical strawman manner and “refuting” them with sophistries.
One example from the beginning of his statement which can serve as an example for the whole thing: contrary to the prosecution, Borchert claimed, the NSU cannot have considered the German state its enemy – after all, its goal had been to force “foreign people” to leave that state! To answer in Borchert’s own words: “Further comment on this argument is surely not needed.”
The Zschäpe defense begins its closing statement – and it it even more absurd than expected.
This morning the court first heard a witness who had been summoned directly by Eminger defense counsel Sprafke. According to the defense motion, he was to state that Eminger had met him for a breakfast meeting on 4 November 2011. This was meant to refute the finding presented in the prosecution closing statement, based on cell phone tower data, that Eminger had spent the morning of that day looking online for clues of the missing Uwes together with Zschäpe. Contrary to some press reports, this would not have been an “alibi” as these acts are not crimes which Eminger is accused of, but simply presented as one of several pieces of evidence showing his mens rea concerning the crimes he is charged with having abetted. Continue reading
Defense closing statements postponed once more
The challenges for alleged bias brought by the Eminger defense last week all having been rejected, the court was once more prepared to hear the defense closing statements. However, this was not to be, not because of additional defense motions, but because Zschäpe defense counsel Borchert was absent due to a family emergency and Eminger’s new counsel was absent for health reasons.
The presiding judge tried to get the Gerlach defense to hold their closing statement today. However, the defense noted quite rightly that they were not only unprepared to do so, but that they had also always assumed that the defense teams would hold their statements in the order of the charges in the indictment – after all, Gerlach is charged as an aider and abettor of the crimes Zschäpe is charged to have perpetrated. Continue reading
Trial day canceled – trial continues on Tuesday, 17 April
Today’s trial session was canceled as the Eminger defense had brought its challenges for alleged bias shortly before the beginning of the session. These challenges, too, are sure to be rejected, after which the trial will continue on Tuesday, 17 April.
The court tries to speed up the proceedings. Nonetheless, defense closing statements will likely only start next week.
The closing statements of the Zschäpe defense will likely not be held before next week. Further delay was caused today by Attorney Daniel Sprafke from Karlsruhe, new counsel of accused Eminger – Eminger had apparently terminated the relationship to attorney Björn Clemens, formerly of the right-wing “Republican party”, after only a few days. Sprafke, who so far is not known for having defended members of the Nazi scene, had requested that he be appointed as additional assigned counsel and that the trial be interrupted for three weeks to give him time to become acquainted with the proceedings. Both requests were denied today, based mostly on the – very true – argument that there was no reason to doubt that Eminger was adequately defended by the two counsel already assigned to him. Continue reading
No defense closing statements today – next try after Easter
Today’s trial session has been canceled due to illness of the accused Zschäpe.
The trial continues after the Easter break on Tuesday, 10 April 2018.
Defense closing statements to start tomorrow.
The trial day today began at 11:30 – rejecting the challenges for alleged bias brought by the Wohlleben defense took some time. The court then read into evidence some police reports on fake letter bombs sent out around New Year’s 1996/1997– by members of the “Comradeship Jena” according to the evidence. Our colleague Peer Stolle, in his closing statement, had referred to these and other crimes committed before 1998 to show that the accused and their “comrades” had already formed a criminal organization at that point, an organization which must be considered a precursor to the NSU.
No trial on Tuesday, 20 March.
The trial day set for next Tuesday has been canceled “as a second challenge for alleged bias has been brought.”
The trial is scheduled to continue on Wednesday, 21 March 2018.