Wilders hate speech trial defense plans leaked

Geert Wilders wanted to question a number of top politicians in the hate speech trial against him. Among them are Prime Minster Mark Rutte and Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher, according to a legal brief Dutch newspaper AD manged to get its hands on.

The PVV leader is facing charges of deliberately insulting a group of people because of their race and inciting hatred or discrimination against these people. This is because of statements he made dring an election campaign in The Hague in 2014 - he asked a cafe full of his supporters whether they want more or fewer Moroccans in the city, to which they chanted "fewer, fewer, fewer". Wilders will appear in court for a pre-trial hearing on Friday.

The legal brief was set up by Wilders' lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops. It shows that the court rejected the PVV leader's request to question Rutte and Asscher. The court also rejected his request to question former Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten, Home Affairs Minister Ronald Plasterk, European Commissioner Frans Timmermans and counterterrorism coordinator Dick Schoof.

The document shows that two of the expert witnesses Wilders wanted to call on decided to withdraw because they are afraid of being "framed". "In the sense that he, as an expert, will be placed in the 'Wilders camp' Knoops writes. Another withdrew because he "fears for the safety of his family".

Wilders wants to argue that the statements were made in "context" and that they were actually te same as things he previously said in parliament. He also claims that they were based on "facts".

Both Wilders and his lawyer are furious about the leaked document. "Fraud with false charges - negligent Public Prosecutor - lawyer's legal brief + defense strategy on the street. What a huge mess. Process is already a farce."

Knoops believes the brief ended up on the street through a hack and he is demanding a full investigation, performed by a independent IT expert or the Rijksrecherche. "Wilders is stripped and severely shaken. In me years as a lawyer this never happened to me", he said to broadcaster NOS. He wonders how he will communicate with Wilders from now on. "A discussion with him is already very difficult, but if I cannot even email him..."

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