Team Söring is doubtless in turbo mode taking in the fresh critical coverage of Söring’s innocence claims. They’re going to need a response. But what will it be?
I think I have enough insight to make a few predictions. This is just spit-balling, but sometimes the spitball hits the target.
Response A: Do Nothing
My first call: no official response from the Söring side. They ignore everything, and go about their business. That’s what they’ve done so far, and it will likely still work (somewhat), since there are still plenty of gullibles out there willing to swallow his story at face value. Soldier on, pretend the podcast and articles don’t exist.
Probability of this response, heck, 49%? Past behavior is usually the best guide to future behavior. Söring has much to lose from engaging with honest critique, and little to gain.
Response B: A Four-Pronged Celebrity Counterattack
If Team Söring does respond, I predict some mix of these four methods:
- Downplay the facts.That’s the go-to play, because the facts are too potent. Trying to rebut the claims in the podcast and articles only draws more attention. They’ll probably point out a few errors (maybe one or two real ones, pobody’s nerfect), just to perform caring about the facts. But they won’t engage on the substance, that is, they won’t put forward a detailed narrative defending Söring’s claims. Because the deeper you go into the case, the less convincing his story becomes. This is why, for example, Söring no longer claims
(1) he was threatened or kept isolated by the London detectives;
(2) Elizabeth killed her parents (now even saying there’s “no evidence” for this theory);
(3) the “drug dealer” Jim F. helped kill the Haysoms;
(4) Bedford County District Attorney Jim Updike made a deal with Elizabeth Haysom and withheld favorable evidence against him at trial.
I could extend the list indefinitely.
All of these allegations exploded in his face, either because they were disproven or because they aroused the people he was attacking to launch a defense of their reputations, much to Söring’s disadvantage.
- Discredit the critics, but gently.Team Söring likely understand that any attempt to discredit me, Terry Wright, or Annabel with “opposition research” makes them look desperate. Thus, they’ll use a gentler touch: something like “Hammel is a sincere guy and is who he says he is (which we previously disputed), but he’s obsessed with the case and already has a biased view of Söring. Terry Wright exists and wrote the report (which we previously disputed), but he’s trying to defend his reputation, and besides, his memories are decades-old. Annabel apparently began to feel alienated and turned against Söring for some reason nobody really knows, so she can’t be trusted either.”
They may decide to go for full-on mudslinging, but nah, they’re not fools. I have plenty of lawyer friends eager to file suit if the counter-attacks violate German law, which is reassuringly protective of personal honor — yes, honor, they still talk of it here.
- There’s nothing new in the podcast, it’s all been said before. Some Söring supporters are taking this line now. Of course, it all depends on how you define “new”. For people new to the case — which is most Germans — almost everything in the podcast will be “new”. Further, “new” is in the eye of the beholder.The fact that Detective Terry Wright thinks Söring is guilty is not new. But consider (for instance) the fact that Jens Söring was thinking about selling his story to the media in 1986, as a confessed double-murderer, hoping to make a buck. That’s new.
This desire to cash in, by the way, was expressed four years before he switched to the “Elizabeth did it” story.
That’s something new: Jens Söring is equally at home earning his keep by admitting murder as by denying it.
- What is reality, anyway?The final bastion for Team Söring to throw up their hands and squirt out an ink-jet of “he said, she said” relativizing and hand-waving: “Who can tell what really happened? There were no neutral eyewitnesses, there’s no conclusive physical evidence. Perspectives vary, people interpret facts differently, it all depends on your point of view. What is reality, anyway? Is it all a simulation?” This is the equivalent of Donald Trump’s famous “Some people are saying…” gambit. We have already seen the first elements of this strategy: Söring now has admitted he will never be able to prove his innocence, and expressed regret that there are now “two camps” concerning his case and his claims. Which indeed, there are. But one camp is growing every day, while the other one is shrinking.
Ideally, the counter-offensive would be come not from Söring, but from a prominent celebrity supporter willing to come forward and defend Söring’s story. But where are they? Since about mid-2020, we’ve heard barely a peep from John Grisham, Jason Flom, Amanda Knox, Martin Sheen, Karin Steinberger, Chip Harding, Chuck Reid, Markus Vetter, or anyone else. None of these folks showed up next to Jens Söring to help him promote his book. As far as I can tell, none of these persons has made any full-throated public defense of Jens Söring’s story since mid-2020. They may still like him and consider him a friend, but they don’t seem to be willing to put their own reputations on the line to defend his claims.
I judge the likelihood of this response at 50%.
Response C: Söring Does the Right Thing
Jens Söring issues a public statement in which he confesses to the murders, expresses remorse for them, apologizes to the people he’s defamed, and to his supporters for misleading them for decades. He then retires into a quiet private life and takes up his interrupted university studies, or finds work as an editor or translator or who knows, cook, truck driver, or barista.
I judge the likelihood of this response at 1%. But maybe I’m too cynical.