Lula ap­peals against graft rul­ing

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

LAWYERS for for­mer Brazil­ian pres­i­dent Luis Ina­cio Lula da Silva have filed their first ap­peal against the rul­ing handed down last Wed­nes­day by Judge Ser­gio Moro.

Moro, who has been spear­head­ing Brazil’s sprawl­ing cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion known as Op­er­a­tion Car Wash, found Lula guilty of ac­cept­ing bribes from the en­gi­neer­ing firm OAS in the form of a beach­front apart­ment in Guaruja.

The de­fence cites a se­ries of “omis­sions in the case files” which need to be con­sid­ered.

The judge said the apart­ment was worth a to­tal of $691 000, and that this in­cluded a very ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tion un­der­taken on the in­struc­tions of Lula and his late wife Marisa Leti­cia.

Lula’s le­gal team said the doc­u­ments which were pre­sented to the court and dis­re­garded by the judge, in­cluded quotes from wit­ness state­ments re­gard­ing cer­tifi­cates which would prove that the real owner of the prop­erty is still the con­struc­tion com­pany.

Af­ter Moro an­swers these ques­tions, Lula’s lawyers say they will ap­peal to a court of sec­ond in­stance.

Speak­ing at a Work­ers’ Party meet­ing in Sao Paulo, the for­mer Brazil­ian pres­i­dent has con­tin­ued to in­sist that there is no ev­i­dence to jus­tify his con­vic­tion and main­tained that the con­vic­tion is po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

He said: “As long as (pros­e­cu­tors and judges) have not proven any­thing against me, I’m go­ing to be criss-cross­ing the coun­try for you.”

His sup­port­ers en­thu­si­as­ti­cally chanted “Lula, War­rior of the Brazil­ian peo­ple!”

The lat­est sur­vey con­ducted ahead of Brazil’s 2018 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions puts the for­mer pres­i­dent as the top choice for vot­ers in the coun­try, de­spite his sen­tenc­ing ear­lier this week to al­most 10 years in prison.

The for­mer pres­i­dent is fol­lowed by the So­cial-Chris­tian Party’s Jair Bol­sonaro at 21%, then the Brazil­ian So­cial Democ­racy Party’s João Do­ria at 13%, and fi­nally, Sao Paulo’s Gov­er­nor Ger­aldo Al­ck­min at 10%.

Last month, the polling firm Datafohla also pegged the Work­ers’ Party’s can­di­date as the lead­ing choice for Brazil’s ci­ti­zens.

It found that Lula would win at least 14 per­cent­age points more than any other can­di­date. teleSUR

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