FBI: Demjanjuk's Nazi ID Likely a Soviet Fake

25-year-old report up-ends war crimes trial
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2011 8:44 AM CDT
FBI: Demjanjuk's Nazi ID Likely a Soviet Fake
The FBI believed the Soviets "quite likely fabricated" evidence central to the prosecution of Demjanjuk.   (AP Photo/Department of Justice)

(Newser) – In the midst of closing arguments in John Demjanjuk's Nazi war crimes trial in Munich, a shocking revelation: AP yesterday reported on the existence of a newly declassified FBI report that claims Demjanjuk's Nazi ID card was "quite likely fabricated" by the Soviet Union. Throughout three decades of hearings and trials, the arguments have relied heavily on the photo ID—ostensibly captured by the Soviet Union and provided to American, Israeli, and now German authorities—as no known eyewitnesses can place Demjanjuk at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland.

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Demjanjuk's defense attorneys have repeatedly called the card a fake, though it has been scrutinized and validated by courts in the US, Israel, and Germany. But the 1985 report by FBI's Cleveland field office called the evidence and allegations "quite likely fabricated by the KGB." Its investigation "strongly indicated" a Soviet scheme to discredit "prominent emigre dissidents speaking out publicly in opposition to the Soviet leadership in the USSR." But a former DoJ director said Demjanjuk was not an "outspoken dissident," but rather kept a low profile. Demjanjuk's attorney have asked that the trial be suspended; the judges made no immediate ruling. (Read more Nazi stories.)

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