207th Hearing, Women’s Wing, Korydallos Prison, December 7th, 2017
I. Access to the Court
The courtroom remains open to the public upon presentation of a state ID card, which is retained by court authorities for the duration of the session, until all audience seats in the courtroom are filled. Few journalists and spectators showed up in court today.
II. Presence of defendants
There were no defendants present in the courtroom today.
III. Examination of witness Gogousakis by the civil action counsels continues
The witness responded to questions by civil action counsels Skarmeas, Zafeiriou, Malagaris, and Tobatzoglou. The witness was initially shown some photographs and was asked to identify persons and locations. The witness then stated that he was the one that requested to be transferred from ETHEL, where he had stable and permanent work. He also said that he was a candidate for Golden Dawn in 2014. Responding to another question, he stated that his duties at the entrance of the Golden Dawn offices was no different from that of a random Golden Dawn member. The witness stated that he is a supporter of Golden Dawn, that he frequented the Piraeus chapter, and that he lives in Vyronas.
IV. Examination of witness Gogousakis by the defense counsels
The witness was questioned by defense counsels Roussopoulos and Papadellis and said that the announcement of his temporary assignment mentioned that he would be doing clerical work, and went on to say that he has been working at ETHEL since 2002, that he is married, and that he has two children. The witness denied ever driving Kasidiaris to a scheduled meeting anywhere and also that he was never entrusted with parliamentary work. Responding to more questions, the witness stated that Zervas saved the girl and the police officer from an attack by anarchists.
V. Statements concerning the protected witnesses’ testimonies
A. Statements by the civil action counsels
At this point and right before civil action counsel Kabagiannis was about to commence his statements, defense counsel Papadellis wondered whether the civil action should be allowed to comment on the protected witness testimonies, since they chose not to participate in the examination of said witnesses, and so, as he said, they have belittled the process, something which is ethically unacceptable. Civil action counsel Kabagiannis said that the statement by the civil action counsels was very clear and that it contained no implicit contempt. The examination of the protected witnesses is over and now the civil action counsels can comment on the witnesses’ credibility, since the examination is a part of the evidence. The state prosecutor opined that the article invoked by defense counsel Papadellis [358 CCP] does not rule out statements, since the civil action could have chosen not to pose any questions, which is what defense counsel Zografos did.
Civil action counsel Kabagiannis then proceeded with his comments and mentioned that the protected witnesses’ testimonies were proved to be a wholly legitimate part of the hearing process, and that they are a part of the evidence of this trial. The court should not base its decision about the witnesses’ credibility on the ID of these witnesses, since that would invalidate the court’s decision. The evaluation of their credibility should be based on the evidence brought forth by these witnesses, which will be compared with the testimonies of eyewitnesses or victims, or with that of former Golden Dawn member Ilias Stavrou, or with other pieces of evidence brought to the attention of the court. According to civil action counsel Kabagiannis, the only thing certain is that the credibility of the witnesses will not be brought into question by people such as Gogousakis, who is grateful to Golden Dawn for letting him work three 6-hour shifts per week, compared to the very difficult job of a bus driver, and who has handed over his reputation to Golden Dawn to do with it as they please. The civil action counsel also said that Gogousakis has also given away the use of his signature, something which is shown by the fact that he has signed a document that declares that this trial is political, without first having read the trial files, he just signed because they told him to. Finally, the civil action counsel said that witness E used the word “expendable” to describe the members of Golden Dawn, by which she meant that at first when the members do some work for the organization, either as receptionists, paid clappers, or knifemen, they are useful, but when they leave the ranks then they are labelled as a rapist, a psychotic, a junky, a criminal, and a prostitute.
B. Statements by the defense counsels
Defense counsels Dimitrakopoulos, Tsagas, Kontovazenitis, Roussopoulos, Papadellis, Stavrianakis, Alexiadis, Michalolias G. made their statements.
Defense counsel Dimitrakopoulos stated that this particular statement procedure is suspect both in its legal and substantial aspects. The legal aspects were exhausted in the objections, while the substantial aspects deal with the fact that up to now we had witnesses that showed up in court, but now we couldn’t even see them and judge their reactions. The defense counsel said that none of them answered how they went to testify. Concerning witness A, he said that he had run-ins with the law, and despite the fact that he claimed he was part of the Golden Dawn cells, he didn’t even know where the Thermopylae event was held. Concerning witness B, she said she was in Golden Dawn but she didn’t know why the Meligalas event took place, which is a very charged commemoration event. According to the counsel, witness C didn’t even know the basics surrounding the locations and dates when the Golden Dawn conferences were held, and that he tried to implicate Germenis as a trainer, but Germenis has proven that he was abroad at the time. Concerning the gym, the defense counsel said that nothing the witness said has any validity, and that there isn’t a gym where he said there was. According to the counsel, the witness is a person with a history of mental health problems, a member of ONNED [:the ND party’s youth league], who came out of nowhere to say what he had been instructed to say. In conclusion, the counsel said that the witnesses fell into contradictions and exaggerations, brought nothing of value to the process, and their testimonies should be judged accordingly.
Defense counsel Tsagas stated that all the protected witnesses contradicted themselves more than any other witness up to this point. Witness A didn’t even know where the Piraeus local chapter was located at the beginning of 2012, and named some people such as Makis, but at the time it was Fratzeskos Vorihis who was secretary, a man who is no longer in Golden Dawn. Concerning the trainings, when he said that they took place in Malakasa, apart from the fact that civilians wouldn’t be able to get inside [the military facility], the defense counsel said that the lie is so blatant and provocative that they didn’t even took care to make their testimony halfway believable, because they came to the hearing in order to lie and hid behind the cover of anonymity so that they can be protected from the charge of perjury, among others. Specifically for witness C, the defense counsel stated that the defense has pointed out that this man was a member of ONNED, and at the time Papadopoulos, who the witness claims recruited him, was a prominent member of ONNED. The defense counsel repeated that the gym does not exist, that the video that the witness mentioned as the targeting of Fyssas was uploaded after the murder, and that what he says is a complete fabrication. The Golden Dawn conferences are not held every year, and the one year that the witness recalled, 2009, Golden Dawn did not hold a conference. Neither did they elect deputy commanders, whose names were then posted on the Golden Dawn webpage, so this was an invention of the witness. Concerning the training sessions in Vrahon Theater, which is open to public, the counsel said it would be impossible for anyone to shoot flares at that location. The shooting training sessions are likewise a product of the witness’s morbid imagination. Witness C described an attack at an immigrants’ house but there has been no record of such an incident, even from antiracist NGO’s, who record these incidents whether truthful or not, as the counsel said.
Defense counsel Kontovazenitis asked that the witness testimony records be sent to the state prosecutor.
Defense counsel Roussopoulos said that the examination of the protected witnesses proved once and for all the initial claim of his principal (Lagos), that this trial is political in nature. He added that if the trial records were sent to Hollywood, they would make a comedy that would make “everyone laugh”. The defense counsel stated that the testimony of witness C is consistent with one thing that she herself confessed – that Golden Dawn takes advantage of people like her, people suffering from depression, and that we all know the severity of this disorder, the drugs that are needed, and that the witness said that they control the world with computers. The defense counsel added that the witness claimed that they were submitted to a nationalist-socialist indoctrination, but, as the defense counsel noted, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion have been translated into every language, the Mein Kampf is sold in bookstores everywhere etc. The defense counsel went on to say that the girl that had her two arms and nose broken then went to a second-rate bar, specifically the one named “Alli fasi”. According to the defense counsel, we have this purportedly Nazi organization including in its ranks a transgender, a Jew, and an Egyptian that assaults his own countrymen. The defense counsel said that with his history of mental health problems, it is only expected that witness E would testify his own fancies. He also said that protected witness A had granted an interview to Vice and that B had granted an interview to Ethnos newspaper saying that they were assaulting Pakistanis and then Pakistanis bought clothes from Golden Dawn for the street markets. These lies are evident, but they were also uncovered by Gogousakis who said that nothing they said had any connection to reality. The counsel concluded his remarks by saying that the testimonies were fabricated and mendacious and that the process that was chosen, was followed so that a rising political party would have no future with the Greek people.
Defense counsel Papadellis stated that the defense’s grievance is that a witness appears before the investigator and the investigator who examines him, despite being obligated to judge the witness’s credibility, does not, since the witness had been hospitalized in the past and it has been shown that this person suffers from bipolar disorder. The defense counsel added that the rest of the judicial employees dealing with the case should have understood that the testimonies of these witnesses range from fabrications to tales of unrequited love. Also, he said that when the battle training ground in Malakasa was mentioned, the investigator should have phoned at once to ask whether there was a battle training ground in that facility. According to the counsel, the protected witnesses showed that they come here to hide, because if they were to speak publicly it would be proven that there isn’t one ounce of truth in their testimonies. They didn’t add not one small pebble to the edifice of truth. People have gone to jail based on claims such as that Michos slaughters lambs, that they are going to Hymettus, among other things, and nothing has been proven. According to the counsel it’s not an accident that witness E is guarded and escorted by police officers, since this shows that she isn’t a credible witness and that she is laboring under a mechanism that wants to pursue this case to completion. What is important is why should 25 MPs be prosecuted, and that the testimonies point to that direction.
According to the defense counsel, the goal is to merge some facts into a structure in order to get at politicians and parties. Concerning the ideological indoctrination by Kasidiaris in 2006, the defense counsel said that at the time Kasidiaris was in Cyprus, and no one can honestly believe that an army cadet could leave Cyprus for a weekend, and go to the Golden Dawn offices to indoctrinate the witness with the values of Nationalism-Socialism. The defense counsel claimed that they want to prove at all costs that there was an organization, and so there is a cog that turns the structure of every testimony, while every testimony is a joke, as he said, since not only there was no fear, but anyone who wanted could leave and enter Golden Dawn as they pleased. Nikaia is the target and this has been made blatantly obvious. Also, if we could see the witnesses according to the defense counsel we could have discerned that the witness is depressive or that he has bipolar disorder. The defense counsel ended his statements by saying that, apart from their lack of credibility and the fact that they have been instructed, it should be examined whether it could be possible to apply to these protected witnesses the rules that stand for the rest of the witnesses, so that they can receive their just desserts for their crime of perjury.
Defense counsel Stavrianakis commented that their credibility is judged right now and that these people must be the fabrications of a single moment, when charges had to be devised out of thin air. When someone gives a written testimony everything is easy, but during the hearing process the witnesses were unable to answer to more specialized questions. According to the counsel, none of them testified about collective decisions that led to specific crimes. The reason why they wouldn’t testify under their own names is because they were ashamed for what they were doing, for the way they were doing it, and for the things they said. According to the defense counsel, in these people untruth found its fullest expression.
Defense counsel Alexiadis said in his remarks that if the court accepts the testimony of witness E, then there is going to be a problem, because concerning the guns that Michos was selling to various members of the organization, the witness answered that he tried to sell a gun to her, too, and after a discussion with the investigators they decided to change the testimony to hide her personal information, so an investigator invalidated a whole process. It stands to reason, according to the counsel, that if we accept her testimony as truthful, then Mr. Georgouleas and Mr. Papakostas abused their authority and invalidated a process and since both of them are very competent investigators, the defense counsel believes that her testimony is totally fabricated, and a slander to both investigators.
The defense counsel said that in all his years as a criminal lawyer it’s the first time that he has seen so many lies in the testimony of a single witness (witness C), lying to the state prosecutor, the presiding judge, the defense, lying and making fun of every participant of this trial. There are MPs implicated without the witnesses having any knowledge of the things they testified about, but also by making stories out of thin air. These testimonies were the beginning of the indictment, so that we would be trapped for all these years in this trial in order to prove that these witnesses are not of sound mind.
The defense counsel went on to say that lies have “short feet” because when someone has included a multitude of lies then this shows that they are people that have been hurt. C was hurt because Patelis threw him out because he was taking drugs for his mental health problems, E because of her relationship with a 73-year-old. If, according to the defense counsel, these five witnesses are the most crucial because they have been members and they have inside knowledge, he believes that the indictment that is based on these five witnesses has been totally invalidated. It is so flimsy that the five witnesses managed, instead of shoring it up, to destroy even these flimsy supports. The defense counsel said that half of the witnesses have serious mental health problems, and so there are matters arising concerning their participation in this trial.
Defense counsel Michalolias Giorgos stated that he doesn’t know whether the real reason for the witnesses’ anonymous testimonies is because they were afraid that they would be threatened or because their names would be made known and they would be ridiculed -something that he believes happened during the hearing process- at least the fact that their testimonies had absolutely no basis in truth. The counsel also said that it was shown that the witness was made to known to investigator Vourliotis after he gave an interview to a newspaper which has been proven to be hostile to Golden Dawn, so the witness did not go and testify of his own free will, but was singled out by a pair of journalists. Because of these witnesses’ lies, people went to jail for 18 months.
The most dangerous thing, according to the defense counsel, is that people are testifying about things that have never been recorded anywhere. Concerning the bipolar disorder of witness C, they aren’t trying to prove it to make a social comment or to place a stigma on the disorder, but because bipolar people suffer symptoms that influence the clarity of the things they are testifying about, because they tend to exaggerate, and finally this influences their ability to testify.
(Defense counsel Michalolias will continue with his statements on Wednesday, December 13th)