John Demjanjuk‘s legal struggles continued Tuesday when a federal judge rejected his claims that prosecutors withheld a FBI document from him.
U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster ruled that a 1985 FBI memo that questioned the legitimacy of an identity card linked to Demjanjuk was immaterial. Mr. Demjanjuk can appeal.
In May, the ninety-one-year-old former Ohio man was convicted in Germany of being an accessory in the deaths of 28,000 people for his role as a guard at a death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Judges say the key pass places Demjanjuk in Nazi service.
Mr. Demjanjuk’s attorneys wanted him returned from Germany because they say prosecutors withheld documents that could have helped his defense when he was tried in U.S. District Court in Cleveland in 2001. A year later, a judge stripped Mr. Demjanjuk of his citizenship, a move that led to his 2009 deportation to Germany and his trial. Mr. Demjanjuk remains in Germany, where he’s free on appeal.
Mr. Demjanjuk’s attorneys cited the FBI memo that said the Nazi card “was quite likely fabricated by the KGB.” The report was not turned over to the defense.
Federal prosecutors said in court documents in October that they had no idea that FBI agents in Cleveland ever looked into Demjanjuk. They said the report was based on conjecture and misinformed impressions, not evidence.
Judge Polster agreed. He said that because the internal FBI documents are speculative, they did not need to be turned over to the defense. He also appeared to lash out at Mr. Demjanjuk, whom federal judges have said spent time as a guard at several Nazi concentration camps. Mr. Demjanjuk has denied those claims.
“Despite numerous opportunities, Demjanjuk has never provided a single, consistent accounting of his whereabouts during the war years 1942 to 1945,” Judge Polster said.
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