Witness in Demjanjuk case concedes incriminating documents could be fakes but appear genuine

By Andrea M. Jarach, AP
Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Demjanjuk expert: D.ocuments could be faked

MUNICH — A former U.S. Secret Service forensics testified Wednesday that a counterfeiter with the right materials could have forged documents being used by the prosecution against accused Nazi guard John Demjanjuk.

Larry Stewart, who analyzed 22 documents being used in the case in 2000 by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Investigations, told the Munich state court that the paper and ink dated to the 1940s.

But, he conceded, “it is possible that an expert counterfeiter who had access to real paper and ink of the time” could have forged them.

Still, he added, “I have cautiously looked for that and I did not find any evidence of that.”

Demjanjuk, who turned 90 in April, has been standing trial since November on some 28,000 counts of accessory to murder on allegations he was a guard at the Nazis’ Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland.

Though the Ukrainian-born retired Ohio auto worker denies ever serving as a camp guard, the prosecution has presented a Nazi-issued identity card as evidence that they say has Demjanjuk’s picture on it and indicates he was a guard at Sobibor.

Demjanjuk’s defense team maintains the card, which was originally in Russian hands, is a fake made by the KGB.

In Stewart’s first day of testimony on Tuesday, he told the court the card and other documents examined by him “appear to be original.”

Stewart testified over the objections of Demjanjuk’s defense team, who had argued that he should not be used as an expert witness because of his association with the OSI, which investigated Demjanjuk in the United States.

Attorney Ulrich Busch had also argued Stewart’s qualifications as an expert were tainted because he had been charged in the U.S. for perjury — though acquitted by a jury.

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