In the AfD’s dispute against the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Administrative Court (OVG) rejected around 470 of the party’s applications for evidence in the appeal process. The presiding judge Gerald Buck stated on Monday that some of the applications were irrelevant and did not provide any evidence. Other applications should be understood as pure research requests against the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and should therefore be rejected.

The party had already failed in its attempt to have the motions for evidence read out that morning. The 5th Senate rejected this and had the requests for evidence recorded in writing. Among other topics, this involved errors in the lower court at the Cologne Administrative Court, the thesis that the observation by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution was politically motivated and that the party was anti-Semitic. The OVG interrupted the meeting on Monday until the next meeting on May 6th. The AfD’s lawyers announced further steps in protest. It is currently impossible to predict when there will be a verdict. The OVG has scheduled further appointments until July.

In the previous oral negotiations, the AfD had been playing for time since the start in March. Their lawyers had repeatedly submitted requests for bias to the OVG and in some cases submitted or announced requests for evidence. The presiding judge Buck did not spare any clear words when rejecting the approximately 470 applications for evidence. Some of the applications are “insignificant” and do not provide any tangible evidence for allegations.

Buck: Enough clues

After deliberating for several hours, the 5th Senate rejected other requests for evidence on the grounds that they were purely requests for research to the detriment of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. In other cases, the facts to be determined would contribute nothing to the subject matter of the dispute. Or: “The factual allegations made in the applications are made out of thin air.” Buck made it clear in several places that there was enough evidence that would point to efforts by the AfD against the free democratic basic order.

At the start of the fifth day of negotiations on Monday, the issue surrounding an employee of AfD MEP Maximilian Krah, who was arrested for suspected spying for China, was a topic of discussion. Lawyers for the AfD accused the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution at state level of having previously used the man in custody as a human source with influence on the party’s top candidate. The dispute is about the classification of the entire party as a suspected extremist case.

The Federal Office’s lawyer, Wolfgang Roth, rejected the allegations as absurd. He said that he could not comment on the suspect for understandable reasons. But since the person in question was never a member of a state or federal executive committee of the party, it is irrelevant according to the standards of the Federal Constitutional Court whether the Office for the Protection of the Constitution used the man to obtain information.

In the proceedings, the AfD is defending itself against the fact that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution lists the entire party as a suspected extremist case. In the first instance, the Cologne Administrative Court ruled in favor of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution: the judges saw sufficient evidence of anti-constitutional efforts within the AfD. Because the Federal Office is based in Cologne, the courts in North Rhine-Westphalia are responsible. A verdict is currently not foreseeable. Appointments are scheduled until July.