Federal prosecutors say the defendant, recognized solely as 1st Lt. Franco A. attributable to German privateness guidelines, acted out of far-right extremist motives. The case has raised considerations about extremism within the nation’s army.
Earlier than his trial in Frankfurt’s regional court docket, the 32-year-old defendant denied that he had deliberate to hold out any assaults, the dpa information company reported.
His lawyer, Moritz Schmitt-Fricke, claimed that his consumer was the sufferer of a smear marketing campaign and denied that he had far-right leanings, citing his curiosity in punk music as proof.
Franco A. got here to the eye of authorities after he was arrested in February 2017 whereas going to retrieve a pistol he had stashed in a Vienna airport lavatory. He was freed, however Austrian authorities knowledgeable Germany. When the soldier’s fingerprint matched the one he’d given to register as an asylum-seeker, it triggered the investigation.
Prosecutors alleged that the defendant’s targets included then-Justice Minister Heiko Maas and the Jewish head of an anti-racism group. He had stockpiled 4 firearms together with an assault rifle, greater than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and greater than 50 explosive units, some stolen from army shops, they mentioned.