The former afd federal chairwoman frauke petry has been sentenced to a fine of 6000 euros for negligent driving.
The dresden regional court considered it proven that in 2015 she negligently made false statements under oath to the election review committee of the state parliament about loan agreements of the afd candidates. The presiding judge said that although the company had breached its duty of care, it could not be proven that it had acted with malice aforethought. He thus rejected the original accusation of perjury and followed the arguments of the public prosecutor’s office.
The defense had requested that the 43-year-old be acquitted. The ruling is not yet legally binding. Petry’s husband, marcus pretzell, announced after the announcement that he would appeal the decision. The defense had repeatedly emphasized during the trial that the committee had deliberately let petry slide into the open, and that there was talk of a "perjury trap.
With the court decision, the politician, who is currently pregnant with her sixth child, can retain her mandates in the bundestag and state parliament. In the event of a conviction for perjury, she had been threatened with the loss of her electoral eligibility and thus her political office.
Petry left the afd after the 2017 federal election and is currently a non-factional member of the federal and saxon state parliaments and chairwoman of the blue party.
She is now also not considered to have a criminal record. She was sentenced to 60 days’ pay at 100 euros each, which is below the mab of 90 days’ pay.
The proceedings go back four years. The core of the case concerns loans made by afd candidates to their party before the state elections – and the modalities of repayment. Petry had made false statements about this, the judge said. The loan agreements had stated something quite different. However, after eight days of taking evidence with more than 30 witnesses and numerous documents and sound recordings, the court did not see any evidence of intentional perjury. Nevertheless, petry had acted negligently. The judge accused her of having only skimmed over the contract, which was less than two pages long, during a break and not having examined it in detail. But she would have been obliged to refresh her memory, the judge said.
At the same time, the chamber criticized the election review committee, as the prosecution had already done in its plea. This had been overlaid by political interest. The judge accused the committee of having violated its duty of care. The committee had to read petry the contract in question in order to clarify the contradictions. This was taken into account in the verdict "in the lower range of the penal scale. However, the court could not recognize any criminal conduct on the part of the committee.
Petry’s husband marcus pretzell, a lawyer by training, has since filed a lawsuit against six of the seven committee members for perverting the course of justice and inducing false testimony – including against the current minister of education christian piwarz (CDU) and left-wing politician andre schollbach.
After the verdict, the defense spoke of a first step, as the accusation of perjury was "off the table". "The goal is to have this verdict overturned," says lawyer carsten brunzel. Petry’s husband, who accompanied his wife to court as counsel, was sharply critical: "if this verdict stands, then the judge has declared that even in the case of gross procedural violations, the government can put the opposition under pressure and prosecute it in an election review committee."Petry, who remained silent throughout the entire trial, shook her head repeatedly during the testimony and mostly kept her eyes down.
The politician is embroiled in further legal disputes: at the end of april, she will have to stand trial in leipzig on charges of tax evasion and subsidy fraud. In addition, petry had announced last week that she would sue the saxon state parliament. In this way, she wants to obtain parliamentary party status for herself and her non-factional comrades-in-arms of the blue party.