Markus Bayerbach: acquittal for former AfD MPs – Bavaria

It’s about the accusation of false suspicion, which is why Markus Bayerbach, member of the state parliament – until March 2022 AfD, today non-attached – is in the dock in the Augsburg district court on Friday morning. Later, the man and ex-party friend enters the hall, whom he is said to have suspected: Andreas Jurca, Swabian AfD district official, employee of the parliamentary group in the state parliament and 2020 Augsburg mayoral candidate. The two got along well, Jurca was Bayerbach’s personal advisor. Now there is demonstratively no eye contact. The two politicians don’t even glance at each other for a moment.

Indirectly, this day is also about something else, about the apparently erased hard drive of a laptop. And what came up when the data was restored: an “AfD jokes” folder. Of course, its humor is not revealed – racist images, Nazi symbolism, insults against Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A Kripo officer recalled in court that there were 38 image files in all that could be “criminal relevant”. After two hours of negotiation, Bayerbach was acquitted of the accusation that his ex-employee was falsely accused. The court assumes that the deputy did not knowingly accuse Jurca of being the author of the said images during a police interrogation. Then where do they come from? The taking of evidence provides a new turning point, but in the end the case remains nebulous in all details.

The matter has dragged on for years. The background is that Bayerbach’s speaker resigned in 2019 in order to work for the AfD parliamentary group, which was then dominated by the ethnic “wing”. Bayerbach belonged to the more moderate group in the directional dispute. Finally, the deputy filed a complaint because Jurca had deleted important data from the service computer before returning it. Around this time, Bayerbach asked an acquaintance who was also involved in the Augsburg AfD for help; he himself was “technically the complete idiot”. And after the data recovery, the folder called “AfD jokes” was found. At the time, Bayerbach told the police that the files belonged to Jurca. In court, he said that Jurca had already noticed “rough things”, so that gave him a “round picture”. He himself, on the other hand, is “known” for his fight “that we don’t become radicalized”.

A “huge tangle” – including baiting pictures

The suspicion was incorrect, investigations against Jurca have long been stopped. Jurca said in court that he “didn’t irretrievably delete any data,” just put the password back. The procedure at that time, including the house search, put a heavy strain on his family and harmed him in the mayoral election campaign. Bayerbach’s technology-savvy acquaintance then says, partly in contradiction to earlier statements to the police: During his action, he played a collection folder from the AfD Augsburg, in which everything possible has been archived since 2014. “Total garbage” below, a “giant mess”. Including the baiting picture, “I screwed up there”. When he noticed that it didn’t come from Jurca, he informed Bayerbach, who then corrected the “mix-up” with the police.

Where exactly the pictures came from and what the chronological sequence was like at the time can hardly be clarified in the end. In any case, says judge Silke Knigge at the verdict, there are great doubts that Bayerbach knew when he testified that the data did not come from Jurca – acquittal. The public prosecutor’s office had previously denied the allegations during the trial. It came to a hearing because Bayerbach did not accept a penalty order of 20,000 euros.

Bayerbach has never clearly stated the reasons for leaving the AfD. It was speculated that the remedial teacher was worried about his return to work because of the threat of surveillance by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Before leaving, Bayerbach had been dismissed by the other parliamentary groups as chairman of the education committee in the state parliament. The occasion was the affair surrounding an AfD chat group in which fantasies about a revolution were expressed. Bayerbach initially claimed not to have been in the Telegram group, but found himself on the list – at least as an inactive participant.

It is possible that the picture collection from Augsburg is a collection of posts from former chats, of which there were and are many in the AfD. The case thus highlights the ideas that are circulating in parts of the party. And, see folder name, is considered funny.

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