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A German court will try a far-right politician next month over a second alleged use of a Nazi slogan

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BERLIN (AP) — A prominent member of the far-right Alternative for Germany party who was fined for knowingly using a Nazi slogan in a speech will go on trial again next month for allegedly using the slogan a second time, a court said Wednesday.

The state court in Halle scheduled the proceedings for June 24 and 26 against Björn Höcke, who plans to run for the governor’s job in the eastern state of Thuringia in a state election in September. The charge of using symbols of an unconstitutional organization can carry a fine or up to three years in prison.

On May 14, the same court convicted Höcke of that charge and imposed a fine of 13,000 euros ($14,100). The first case centered on a speech in Merseburg in May 2021 in which Höcke used the phrase “Everything for Germany!”

Judges agreed with prosecutors’ argument that he was aware of its origin as a slogan of the Nazis’ SA stormtroopers. Höcke, a former history teacher, has said that he’s innocent and argued that it was an “everyday saying.” His lawyers are appealing against the verdict.

The second count against Höcke was added to his first trial shortly before it opened, but judges then decided to try it separately because his defense team had recently changed.

Prosecutors have alleged that he repeated the offense at an Alternative for Germany, or AfD, event in Gera last December, “in certain knowledge” that using the slogan is a criminal offense.

They say that Höcke said “Everything for …” and encouraged the audience to shout “Germany!”

AfD has built a strong core of support, particularly in the formerly communist east. But it has had a turbulent few weeks, partly a result of scandals surrounding its lead candidate for next month’s European Parliament election.

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