What to Expect From Brazil's Top Electoral Court Ruling

Nick Sanchez
June 8, 2017

Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes, who presides over the electoral court, described the trial that could remove his old friend as "a great learning experience".

The scandals that have hit Brazil's politics at all levels had reduced the TSE almost to sideshow status, and observers expected that the court would expeditiously assign blame exclusively to Rousseff, who, like Temer, has much to lose. Officials held a news conference later at which they laid out allegations that Alves and Fred Queiroz, Natal's secretary of public works, received bribes from major construction companies.

Temer, who was the running mate of leftist President Dilma Rousseff and replaced her when she was impeached past year, has said his campaign accounts received no illegal money.

Alves served briefly in the government of President Michel Temer a year ago, but quit after a month after being implicated in a corruption scandal, as countless top Brazilian politicians have been. Alves left the post soon after Temer took power in May 2016. The current president has vowed to continue in office despite many calls for him to resign and approval ratings around 8 percent.

Prosecutors say there's "strong and very serious proof" that the Rousseff-Temer campaign did accept illegal funding, although a judge has suggested more time may be needed to review evidence.

Brazil's Superior Electoral Court has resumed a trial into allegations that the successful 2014 presidential election campaign that took Dilma Rousseff and Michel Temer to power was financed illegally.

Temer has been hanging by a thread since the revelation of a secretly made audio recording in which he is allegedly heard approving payment of hush money by a meatpacking tycoon to a top politician jailed for corruption.

Temer came under renewed pressure from Janot late Monday when he was ordered to answer more than questions in a written deposition by late Tuesday.

Cunha is already in prison serving a 15-year sentence for corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.

On Saturday, Temer's former aide Rodrigo Rocha Loures was arrested on bribery charges.

In final arguments, lawyers for the PSDB called for Rousseff to be condemned but that Temer be absolved. Police released video that apparently showed Loures carrying a suitcase filled with $154,000.

Temer's lawyers have argued that as the vice presidential candidate in 2014, he should not be held responsible for decisions of the overall ticket.

According to the G1 news portal, Temer's defence team was surprised to receive the questions, after the Supreme Court authorised the procedure last week. Adding to that threat is the possibility that further suspects in the corruption scandal will strike plea bargains with prosecutors and testify against Mr Temer.

If the court, known by its TSE Portuguese initials, invalidates the 2014 election, lower house Speaker Rodrigo Maia would take over from Temer and Congress would have 30 days to pick a caretaker to lead the country until elections in 2018.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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