The expert contradicts Ofarim: no anti-Semitic shouts


November 16, 2023, 4.26pm

On the fifth day of the trial against singer Gil Ofarims, computer forensics expert Dirk Labudde testified again. The Mittweida University professor contradicted Ofarim’s claim that he had been insulted in an anti-Semitic manner. The expert analyzed the videos down to the smallest details. Ofarim’s then-manager and a television producer had previously testified in court. You have no doubts about the portrayal of Ofarim.

In the trial of Jewish musician Gil Ofarim for defamation and false suspicion, forensic expert Dirk Labudde contradicted another important representation of the artist. There was no evidence in surveillance camera videos of a communication between Ofarim and a person queuing in the hotel lobby behind him, Labudde said in the Leipzig Regional Court on Thursday.

In interviews, Ofarim claimed that someone behind him said, “Put the star away.” This cannot be completely ruled out because everyone had their backs to the camera, expert Labudde said. But there was no gesture from Ofarim that suggested communication.

Digital forensics expert Dirk Labudde contradicts Ofarim’s statements. The expert analyzed video recordings from the hotel.
Photo rights: MDR/Benjamin Jakob

The chain with the Star of David only came out in front of the hotel

Labudde also showed in court sequences of images which suggested that the musician had simply pulled out his silver chain with the Star of David from under his shirt in front of the hotel. The highly magnified still images showed two seconds of Ofarim touching his neck with his left hand, according to Labudde. From this point on the chain is always clearly visible. Labudde had already denied Ofarim’s statement on Wednesday that he had visibly worn the necklace in the hotel.

But the expert admitted: “If I don’t see an object, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.” Furthermore, a reflection was detected after Ofarim left the hotel and the musician was sitting on the sidewalk. According to Labudde this could be the Star of David.

Singer Gil Ofarim faces charges of defamation and false suspicion in the Leipzig regional court.
Image rights: Picture Alliance/dpa | Hendrik Schmidt

The former manager and TV producer supports Ofarim

Two witnesses had previously testified in court. They are Ofarim’s former manager, Yvonne P., and television producer Nadine S. The former manager said in court on Thursday that in a phone call shortly after the controversial incident, Ofarim was very upset because he could not register. But she couldn’t remember exactly whether he had told her about the necklace incident during that first phone call or she hadn’t heard about it until later.

Ofarim told her on the phone that he had been insulted in an anti-Semitic way, P. said in court. He asked her to arrange another hotel for him. “I knew something bad had happened to him,” the former coach said. There had never been any incidents with Ofarim before. He wasn’t the airs and graces type. Ofarim was always friendly and kept doors open, “the old school guy,” the 45-year-old said.

Gil Ofarim (center) talks to his lawyers. The singer claimed in an Internet video that he had been insulted in an anti-Semitic manner.
Image rights: IMAGO / Christian Grube

The manager advised that the incident should be resolved internally

When Ofarim called her from the hotel, Yvonne P. advised him not to make the situation public and to “clarify it internally.” According to her own statement, the former manager advised Ofarim not to publish the video. “But artists have to decide for themselves what to do,” she said, adding: “When I saw the video, I knew something was going to happen to us. I was shocked.”

When I saw the video, I knew something was going to happen to us. I was shocked.

Yvonne P. | former manager of Gil Ofarim

She told him he wasn’t allowed to make anything up about what happened. “I kept asking him if it was all true,” said Yvonne P. He always said yes. He has no doubts about Ofarim’s statements.

Yvonne P pointed out that she often wears the Star of David necklace and also wore it on October 4, 2021. Yvonne P said that she had received photos of the recorded television production in which the star is seen and that she had never seen Ofarim take off the necklace during the day.

Ofarim says he had to remove the Star of David to check into the hotel more quickly. The hotel employee objects. It’s one word against another.
Image rights: Picture Alliance/dpa | Hendrik Schmidt

Artist Management: The order situation was very good

Unlike many other artists, Gil Ofarim’s order situation was very good even during the Corona period and before the accident, the former manager said. “We did a lot of TV shows, the calendar was full, we were busy,” he stressed. Furthermore, his autobiography, published a few months earlier, was on the bestseller list. After the accident the order situation “practically reached zero,” the former manager said.

TV producer: There is no reason to doubt Ofarim

TV producer Nadine S. also exonerated Ofarim. She previously had a show with him on MDR on the day of the accident. The producer confirmed that Ofarim was wearing the Star of David necklace that day. Nadine S. also remembers exactly what you told her on the phone about her. She told her that he had been insulted with anti-Semitic insults and that he should have taken away his star and that for this reason he did not want to check into the hotel. “I had no reason to doubt what Mr. Ofarim told me,” Nadine S. said in court.

I had no reason to doubt what Mr. Ofarim had told me.

Nadine S. | worked as a television producer with Ofarim

Verdict expected in December

Gil Ofarim claimed in an Instagram video in October 2021 that he was subjected to anti-Semitic insults in the lobby of the “Westin” hotel. The prosecutor’s office initially investigated the hotel manager, but later discontinued the investigation. Ofarim will now have to answer in a trial for alleged defamation, false suspicion and fraud. Sentencing is not expected before December 7.

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