Te­mer presses to sus­pend his ac­cuser

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

LAWYERS for the Brazil­ian pres­i­dent, Michel Te­mer, have asked the Supreme Court to sus­pend the at­tor­ney gen­eral, Ro­drigo Janot, who filed cor­rup­tion charges against the head of state.

Last week the Lower House of Brazil’s Congress voted by 263 to 227 to block those charges. But Janot has promised to bring two more sets of charges against the pres­i­dent, for crim­i­nal as­so­ci­a­tion and ob­struc­tion of jus­tice, be­fore his term as at­tor­ney gen­eral ends in mid Septem­ber.

In his writ­ten re­quest to the Supreme Court, Te­mer’s lawyer, Antonio Clau­dio Mariz, wrote: “It is ob­vi­ous that the at­tor­ney gen­eral, in cases in­volv­ing the pres­i­dent, has far ex­ceeded the le­gal and con­sti­tu­tional lim­its of his post.” He ar­gued that Janot’s mo­tives are “per­sonal”, say­ing: “We are wit­ness­ing acts of ob­ses­sive per­se­cu­tion.”

Ro­drigo Janot brought the first set of cor­rup­tion charges against Te­mer in June, based on plea bar­gains by seven ex­ec­u­tives of JBS, the world’s largest meat pack­ing com­pany.

The owner of JBS made a se­cret au­dio record­ing of the pres­i­dent ap­par­ently ap­prov­ing the pay­ment of bribes. A former close aide of the pres­i­dent’s was also filmed re­ceiv­ing a suit­case full of money.

The charges of crim­i­nal as­so­ci­a­tion against Te­mer, which Janot is ex­pected to file shortly, re­late to an ear­lier phase of Brazil’s sprawl­ing cor­rup­tion scan­dal known as Lava Jato or Car Wash. In this case, Te­mer is ac­cused of act­ing with fel­low mem­bers of his PMDB party as a “crim­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion” to em­bez­zle funds from the state-con­trolled oil com­pany, Petro­bras, and a state bank, the Caixa Eco­nom­ica.

If the at­tor­ney gen­eral does present any new charges against the pres­i­dent, th­ese will again have to be dis­cussed and ap­proved by the Lower House of Congress be­fore the Supreme Court can open a trial.

If that does hap­pen, Te­mer would have to step down as pres­i­dent for up to 180 days, un­til a ver­dict is reached.

Last Au­gust, Te­mer’s pre­de­ces­sor, Dilma Rous­eff was im­peached af­ter be­ing ac­cused of mis­han­dling the pub­lic bud­get. teleSUR

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