Defendant in German neo-Nazi murder trial wants to fire lawyers

MUNICH Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:43pm EDT

Beate Zschaepe, accused of being at the heart of neo-Nazi killer cell NSU, arrives for another session of her trial at the regional courthouse in Munich, June 13, 2013. Beate Zschaepe, 38, alleged member of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), is charged with complicity in the murders of eight ethnic Turks, a Greek immigrant and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007. REUTERS/Christof Stache/Pool (GERMANY  - Tags: CRIME LAW)

Beate Zschaepe, accused of being at the heart of neo-Nazi killer cell NSU, arrives for another session of her trial at the regional courthouse in Munich, June 13, 2013. Beate Zschaepe, 38, alleged member of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), is charged with complicity in the murders of eight ethnic Turks, a Greek immigrant and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Christof Stache/Pool (GERMANY - Tags: CRIME LAW)

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MUNICH (Reuters) - A suspected neo-Nazi charged with complicity in a series of racist murders that scandalized Germany wants to fire her lawyers in a move that could delay her trial which has already dragged on for more than a year.

Beate Zschaepe, 39, told the Munich court on Wednesday she no longer had confidence in her three lawyers, her spokeswoman said.

Zschaepe is accused of helping found a neo-Nazi cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), and of complicity in the murders of 10 people, mostly ethnic Turks, from 2000 to 2007.

The murders went undetected for more than a decade and came to light only by chance in late 2011, shocking Germans and triggering criticism of the country's intelligence service.

The judge said Zschaepe needed to give reasons for her loss of confidence in the lawyers by Thursday morning, a court official said.

Defendants were usually only allowed to drop their lawyers in extraordinary cases, and had to show that confidence had been completely shattered, court spokeswoman Andrea Titz said.

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday. Such hearings can only be held up for a maximum of 30 days under Germany's code of criminal procedure.

(Reporting by Joern Poltz; Writing by Michelle Martin)

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