The defense lawyer leaves the courtroom in pain

Singer Gil Ofarim is supported by a team of four defense lawyers in the court case.Image: imago images / Christian Grube


Dario Rimkus

The Gil Ofarim case entered the fourth round in Leipzig on Wednesday. The 41-year-old musician is accused of defamation, false suspicion and false declaration before the Leipzig Regional Court.

So far the process has been characterized by some oddities. At the start of the trial, Ofarim’s testimony had to be postponed due to a lack of documents. There were also several delays due to technical failures. Witness hearings have also been postponed.

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Now the series of failures, misfortunes and misadventures of the Ofarim trial is enriched with another episode. Videos from the evening of the argument over Ofarim were shown in the courtroom on Wednesday. His four defense lawyers then interviewed some witnesses to obtain details about the recordings. And then one of them suddenly complained of pain.

Ofarim’s defense lawyer must leave the courtroom

Ofarim’s defense lawyers complained first about the police’s investigative work and then about his own back pain. Because one of the defenders wasn’t feeling well. The judge – evidently mindful of the already long delay – suggested: “Would it help you to walk up and down while the video is playing?”

The defense lawyer with back problems, however, preferred to leave the courtroom and miss the video playing. The trial took its normal course and the Ofarim field was briefly reduced to three players.

Unplanned delays also occurred late in the afternoon. First, the judge was denounced for bias over a lecture he gave earlier this year on the topic of extremism. The hearing was then interrupted again for “discussion on the status of the investigation”.

Third day of trial against Gil Ofarim Gil Doron Reichstadt before the Leipzig regional court for defamation.  The singer produced a video in front of the Westin Hotel in Leipzig in 2021 in which he stated ...

Gil Ofarim faces a fine or even a prison sentence in the trial.Image: imago images / christian grube

Ofarim famous through Instagram video

Gil Ofarim, who is Jewish, posted a well-received video on Instagram in October 2021 after a hotel visit in which he accused a hotel employee of calling him an anti-Semitic slur. The employee is said to have asked Ofarim to remove his Star of David necklace. Ofarim also described being at a disadvantage when he waited in line.

After the prosecutor’s office started the investigation and Ofarim himself filed a complaint, the case took a surprising turn. The same hotel employee sued Ofarim for defamation and the Prosecutor’s Office also filed a complaint against the singer after a long investigation. However, he dropped the case against the hotel employee.

Witnesses contradict Ofarim in court

The singer has therefore had to answer for false suspicion and public defamation in the Leipzig District Court since last week. If convicted, he faces a fine or even a prison sentence of up to five years.

In the days leading up to the trial, several witnesses present at the incident in the hotel lobby contradicted Ofarim’s account. They heard nothing about the employee who asked Ofarim to pack the star.

One witness described Ofarim as “irascible and aggressive” at the time. After his testimony, defense lawyers accused this witness of making an inappropriate comparison to the Holocaust during the hotel’s internal investigation, which he rejected.

Ofarim's Instagram screenshot

Gil Ofarim posted this screenshot on his Instagram story.image: Instagram/gilofarim

A witness reports unusual measures by the hotel

Another witness, however, described Ofarim as distressed when she encountered him that evening while he was sitting on the sidewalk outside the hotel. She also reported that she was unable to order Prosecco at the hotel bar.

The bartender explained to her that they could only choose German sparkling wine. She also couldn’t give her a martini, only German vermouth. Ofarim then posted an Instagram story Tuesday evening with the caption #nurdeutschersekt.

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