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Tidying Up – An Inquiry into the Prosecution of Wulff

After former German President Christian Wulff was removed from office, the Alliance for Democracy filed a complaint against the actions of the state prosecutor, and now Bonn lawyer Gernot Fritz has done the same.
Like we did, Fritz filed the complaint against the prosecutor, who had never removed a head of state in this manner before and did not hesitate to feed the press details from the individual proceedings, which the media then published. All of this being illegal. Justice Minister Antje Niewisch-Lennartz (Green Party) ultimately approved a review of the inquiries for any errors and legal violations, leaving open the possibility of criminal prosecution.
The review primarily concerns Frank Lüttig, who was attorney general in Celle while Wulff was being investigated. Lüttig is supervisor of state prosecutor Clemens Eimterbäumer, who was in charge in Hanover. As Eimterbäumer followed leads and was pursued by public officials, his boss Lüttig took aim at Wulff in the press again and again. To what extent this is ethical is a personal judgment, but it is not punishable by law. The question was who has the opportunity to reveal confidential information from the proceedings. Since Lüttig had access to all of the files, he became the target of the review. However, targeting Frank Lüttig alone is questionable. After all, there are several people who could have revealed confidential information from the inquiries, above all Eimterbäumer himself, along with two other prosecutors besides Lüttig. Then there are 24 public officials of the LKA (state office of criminal investigation). The question is what evidence is there that information was leaked to the press, who leaked it and what impact this information has.
The amazing thing here is that the investigation against Lüttig came to light, while details from the preliminary proceedings during the trial of Sebastian Edathy (SPD) became public when they should have remained behind closed doors until all the evidence was in. Edathy was punished for possessing child pornography, according to the press, and the question was whether his victim compensation payment of €5,000 would go to a good cause. Meanwhile, an association ready to accept Edathy’s money was found.
The actions and documentation procedures followed by investigators and defendants during the Edathy trial are also regrettable. The results of the Lüttig inquiry are pending. Until a verdict is reached, Frank Lüttig should be presumed innocent.
With all due caution (due to this presumption of innocence), we allow ourselves to consider what the outcome might be, because the review of the state prosecutor‘s actions is significant.
An action against a state prosecutor for disclosing confidential information is something new from a legal perspective. It is first in the history of German law.
Politically, Lüttig is close to former Justice Minister Bernd Busemann (CDU). Under Busemann, Lüttig headed the Justice Ministry’s criminal law unit. Then he was promoted to Attorney General at the High Court in Celle by Busemann and has held that office since early 2013.
In contrast to judges, state prosecutors take orders from above. The Minister of Justice is the top boss. Because of the close relationship between Busemann and Lüttig it is inconceivable that the excessive investigations, with all of their side effects – the leaking of secrets and an aggressive media presence by the state prosecutor’s office – took place without the knowledge and backing of those at the top – i.e. the political support of the Justice Minister.
The state prosecutor's office is not investigating Busemann. But Busemann was under suspicion in the past, and could also have been the author of the indiscretions. As justice minister, he showed unusual interest in the investigation of Wulff and regularly submitted records. At one time, Busemann wanted to be prime minister of Lower Saxony. Wulff prevailed against him within the party. Since then, Wulff and Busemann have been considered enemies. In his book, Ganz oben Ganz unten , Wulff expresses a suspicion that Busemann and Lüttig were colluding.
That is a familiar tactic. Wulff’s immunity was lifted by a resolution of CDU party executives, and Lüttig appears to have been sacrificed as a pawn with the charges against him. The resolution of party executives includes the approval of the chancellor, of course. The current reviews must therefore be linked to leaders who have a significant interest in undermining Wulff. Wulff’s refusal to sign the ESM would have led to the initiation of insolvency proceedings for the Eurozone, a measure that has been avoided since introduction of the euro. Germany would have had to acknowledge its bankruptcy, along with the rest of the Eurozone. The so-called bailout, with a tremendous accumulation of debt from the cost of delaying a declaration of insolvency, and with aid for German and other states like Greece, would not have been carried out to the same extent that it was, rubber stamped with resolutions or support from Berlin – debt that cannot be repaid.

The coming trial will not be about whether the proceedings against Wulff were part of a personal vendetta by Justice Minister Busemann against his party rival. Nor will it be about whether the conflict between Busemann and Wulff was used by higher ups to remove Wulff from his post.
What is clear is that Wulff rocked the boat in Berlin and Brussels by refusing to sign the ESM. That is how he became an enemy of the Merkel administration, which perhaps used the hostility between Busemann-Wulff to get rid of the insubordinate German president.
It is also clear that this has nothing to do with the rule of law and democratic principles, rather it is an anti-democratic manoeuver of politicians obsessed with power who are not interested in the well- being of the people they are supposed to serve but in preserving their own power. Anyone who refuses to play along is out. Regardless of what the results of the review of state prosecutor Lüttig are, we should not expect changes in the behaviour of politicians.
Meanwhile, while Lüttig is being investigated, the Regional Court of Audit has been asked to determined how much money these additional inquiries are costing the taxpayers. In 2014, the Court of Audit was asked to review the costs of the Wulff case as well. Inexplicably, the request was denied. The state prosecutor’s office now also faces the charge of budgetary fraud. This could result in prison sentences of up to five years.
These inquiries could determine who took what actions, and those responsible apparently didn’t care how high the burden on the taxpayers was as long as the result was Wulff’s removal from office. The role played by regional parliamentarians will have to be clarified. After all, the state of Lower Saxony does not have money to give away and very little in the treasury to cover excessive costs. Proof of such expenditures would have to be approved by those in positions of responsibility and an explanation provided to taxpayers.
It should be noted that if there were no inquiry of Lüttig, then the Wulff affair, with its excessive cost to the taxpayer, would be swept under the rug and the injustice of the matter would not be investigated, nor the political intentions or the repercussions for the taxpayer and the Lower Saxony budget. This case is hardly about respect for democratic principles. We can still hope that all inquiries investigate criminal activities and bring those responsible to justice.
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