Germany’s Weatherman Rape Trial Ends With Not Guilty Verdict

Country’s best-known TV weatherman Jorg Kachelmann cleared of all charges.

COLOGNE, Germany – The year-long trial of Germany’s star weather man Jorg Kachelmann on charges of rape ended Tuesday with a not guilty verdict.

The Kachelmann trial has obsessed Germany’s tabloids and news channels since the amiable, bearded weatherman was arrested last March and charged with raping his ex-girlfriend and threatening her with a knife. From the beginning, there were doubts about the validity of the rape claims and the prosecution could produce no definitive evidence that an assault had taken place.

German trials rarely reach the fevered pitch of their U.S. counterparts but the Kachelmann trial was the exception.  From day one, claims and counter-claims were played out in the media. Kachelmann’s star lawyer Johann Schwenn accused the alleged victim of making her story up. Famed feminist Alice Schwarzer took her side in a series of polemic articles for tabloid Das Bild. The circus atmosphere was complete when German comedian Oliver Pocher turned up at the courthouse disguised as Kachelmann and gave live TV interviews protesting his innocence.

The media storm is unlikely to let up just yet. Kachelmann’s old employer, public broadcaster ARD, is devoting two hours of primetime to the case and Tuesday's verdict. The prosecution has suggested they may appeal. Kachelmann, who lost his job at ARD after his arrest, spent 132 days in prison awaiting trial. He will now be compensated for his time.