Judge Rejects Demjanjuk Plea to Suspend Trial Over New FBI File

Newly revealed FBI file shows agency believed Nazi ID card purportedly showing Demjanjuk served as death camp guard was fake; Holocaust survivor appeals to court to release Demjanjuk after convicting him.

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A German court has rejected a defense request to suspend John Demjanjuk's trial over a declassified FBI report that cast doubt on the authenticity of key evidence.

The 1985 FBI file shows the agency believed a Nazi ID card purportedly showing Demjanjuk served as a death camp guard was fake. A defense attorney sought a postponement so he could examine the new material. Judge Ralph Alt said Thursday that a story by The Associated Press on the file does not offer any grounds for a suspension.

Accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk being wheeled into Munich court last June.Credit: AP

Demjanjuk is accused of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder. He rejects the charges.

Throughout three decades of U.S. hearings, an extradition, a death sentence followed by acquittal in Israel, a deportation and now a trial in Munich, the prosecutions' arguments have relied heavily on a photo ID from an SS training camp that indicates Demjanjuk was sent to Sobibor.

Claims that the card and other evidence against Demjanjuk are Soviet forgeries have repeatedly been made by Demjanjuk's defense attorneys.

However, the FBI report provides the first known confirmation that American investigators had similar doubts.

"Justice is ill-served in the prosecution of an American citizen on evidence which is not only normally inadmissible in a court of law, but based on evidence and allegations quite likely fabricated by the KGB," the FBI's Cleveland field office said in the 1985 report, four years after the Soviets had shown U.S. investigators the card.

On Wednesday, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor appealed to the Munich court where Demjanjuk is charged to release him after convicting him.

"Out of respect for my humanist parents, I ask the court to enter a finding of guilt against this aged man, who has already spent nine years in jail, but not to punish him," said Jules Schelvis, who is a Dutch Jew.

Schelvis' wife, Rachel, was killed in 1943 in Sobibor death camp while Demjanjuk allegedly worked there.



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