A USB stick that could have relieved Alexander Falk’s heirs was destroyed. Instead, the accused is now in solitary confinement.
Devastating reviews would be certain for a screenwriter for such a story. A wacky and confused act would be held up to him, an unbelievable staging. But what has been going on since August 2019 in the criminal case against the publishing heir Alexander Falk before the Frankfurt district court is real.
The point is to clarify whether the millionaire son and entrepreneur commissioned the attack on a Frankfurt lawyer ten years ago, which he vehemently denies. At that time, lawyer Wolfgang J. was working on an immense claim for damages against Falk and was seriously injured by a shot in the leg.
But the process finally took a few unusual turns: a tape was presented on which Falk’s joy at the shot can be heard, but which is now known to have been manipulated in countless places. A key witness who corrected his testimony in favor of Falk and who is said to have been offered millions of dollars from his surroundings.
And finally the remaining key witness Etem E. from the Hamburg criminal milieu, who was proven to be the only one to collect money for his incriminating testimony – 100,000 euros from Wolfgang J.’s law firm Clifford Chance.
But now the complex is even more bizarre: a USB stick that could have helped Falk’s relief, but was then chewed. A former defense attorney Falks reported on the witness stand today. He is no longer part of Falk’s lawyer team after he left the law firm of Falk’s main defender BjOrn Gercke at the turn of the year and went into business for himself.
Crown witnesses are said to have fooled the police
The story about the bitten USB stick goes like this: Some time ago, an informant contacted Gercke. The man said that there was another tape recording. On this it can be heard how the remaining key witness Etem E. spoke about the fact that he had fooled the police with his testimony and that Falk was innocent. The multiple convicted Etem E. is the man who only started the proceedings against Falk by stating that Falk had given the order to attack the lawyer.
The man wanted to know whether Falk’s defense lawyers wanted to hear this recording and what it was worth to them. Gercke was interested, suggested a meeting. At the beginning of March, Gercke met in the Cologne office premises – Gercke brought his ex-colleague as a witness for this interview. He was allowed to be in the room, but the band could only hear Gercke – through headphones.
Gercke told him that he didn’t understand much. Only a few scraps of conversation were heard in German, otherwise Turkish was spoken. He was only certain on one point: the voice heard there belonged to Etem E. The attorney knew his voice very well, but had testified seven times in the past few months.
What he heard on the tape was not enough for Gercke. He wanted to understand the entire content of the recording, so he needed an interpreter. And also have an expert check whether the tape is genuine or manipulated.
It was postponed, the informant, who had now expressed the clear asking price of four to five million euros for the tape, left the office. He didn’t get very far. Because not only Falk’s defense lawyer was interested in the admission, but also the court. Gercke had previously informed the presiding judge and the public prosecutor about the possible new turn in the procedure. And the judiciary ensured that the police stationed in front of the office building.
The officers took action. And the informant bit. He chewed the USB stick. The investigators only managed to prevent him from swallowing the memory card. It remains to be seen whether Gercke and the court will ever find out what was heard on the tape. As well as proof of whether the recording is genuine or manipulated. The State Criminal Police Office is currently trying to save the stick.
At least the identity of the man has been clarified. And it is no less interesting. Because A. should only officially play a role in the process just days later. It was Etem E. of all people, whom A. wanted to burden heavily with the now destroyed recording, who named him as a witness.
A. could confirm that the other leniency, Serhad Y., had been offered a sum of millions from Falk’s environment. And that he therefore changed his original, incriminating statement. In court, however, A., who, like the two key witnesses, is also part of the Hamburg criminal milieu, did not want to say anything more about this.
Against the background that E. and A. seem to know each other better, there is a suspicion for Falk’s defense: That E. and A. might have made a common cause when taking in, which would now burden E. heavily and relieve Falk . And that E., after already collecting money for his Falk incriminating statement through Wolfang J.’s law firm, now wanted to try a second time to cash in. This time, he takes care of Falk’s relief.
Falk in solitary confinement due to corona effects
It was only on Wednesday that Gercke once again appealed to the court to suspend the arrest warrant against Falk after failing with two formal applications in the past few months.
On the one hand, Gercke emphasized that essential parts of the original evidence have now been dropped. He also took up the current consequences of the corona pandemic. A possible escape abroad is hardly possible due to the global travel restrictions.
Falk himself said that he would never “flee” and was determined to bring this process to an end and clarify the case. He is also very concerned about his wife and children. In order to be able to leave the prison, he agreed to all the conditions that the court considered necessary.
The situation for Falk in custody has meanwhile worsened significantly as a result of the spread of coronavirus. After each trial appointment, Falk, although healthy himself, has to go into quarantine for two weeks as a protective measure.
In practice, this means quasi isolation. Only his lawyers can still meet him, private visits are not permitted. In addition, the daily courtyard walk is no longer necessary, and he can only do sports in his eight-square-meter cell.
Regardless of this, the court appears to want to continue the proceedings essentially as intended. Falk continued to be detained, the judge announced today, not justifying the danger of escaping, but darkening it.
Dates are still scheduled until mid-June. For the end of April, the testimony of the probably last decisive witness in this procedure is planned, who is to be flown in from Turkey for this purpose. In Corona times this can take place as planned, but seems rather unrealistic.
More: How the last day of the trial went against Alexander Falk.
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