Brazil’s president faces mounting case against his presidency

World Today

The trial in Brazil’s Electoral Court did not begin well for president Michel Temer.

The leading judge in the case, Herman Benjamin, wrapped up Tuesday’s initial session, presenting his report to his six peers with indications he will recommend conviction when it’s time to cast his vote.

CGTN’s Paulo Cabral reports the day’s proceedings focused on defense attempts to limit evidence in the case.

The defense strategy Wednesday shifted to trying to remove from the report any evidence collected in recent months from the far reaching Car Wash Corruption probe, arguing plea bargain testimony is unreliable and was inserted into the case after the process was well underway.

“If the court accepts our demand to remain with the initial charges and drop allegations that came later, like those made by executives of the construction company Odebrecht, than there very little left in the case against the president. So, if our demand is accepted I think there is a good possibility that the case will be dismissed,” Gustavo Guedes Bonini the lawyer for Michel Temer said.

The defense request to drop evidence will be examined by the court at the opening of Thursday’s session before the judges begin voting on merit, for conviction or acquittal. The trial could also be delayed indefinitely if any of the judges request more time to examine the case.

If impeached former president Dilma Rousseff and her then vice president Michel Temer are found guilty of financing their 2014 re-election through illegal donations, the court could annul the election altogether. This would strip Rousseff of any remaining political rights and oust Temer from office.

The trial in the Superior Electoral Court is supposed to rely solely on legal and technical procedures, and not be influenced by political agendas but many in Brazil doubt this is possible in a trial that can end a government, amid the worst political crisis the country has seen in decades.

“We cannot forget that the decision will be taken by seven judges who are human beings. They have their families and they read newspapers, magazines and on-line news. They know all the problems Brazil is going through now… So, it’s well possible that when they make a decision they will think, for example, to what will happen to the country if they end the government of Michel Temer,” said Alberto Rollo, an Electoral Law Professor at Mackenzie University said.

The eagerly awaited result, the judgment of Michel Temer in Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court remains wide open ,but no outcome is certain to put an end to Brazil’s continued political crisis.