IIn the small room 144 of the Cologne Higher Regional Court, the justification for the verdict had just begun on Tuesday morning when Heribert Schwan shook his head in disbelief for the first time, barely noticeable. For years, the ghostwriter of Helmut Kohl's memoirs and his widow Maike Kohl-Richter have been engaged in a bitter legal battle over a book written using unauthorized quotes from the former Chancellor.

Kohl-Richter has had to accept some bitter defeats in recent years. Certainly the most violent was that the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) decided at the end of 2021 that Kohl-Richter was not entitled to payment of one million euros in compensation – because her husband had died before a corresponding judgment had become legally binding and the claim was not is hereditary.