27/06/2017 | 10AM
Brazil's Prosecutor-General Rodrigo Janot pressed corruption charges against President Michel Temer on Monday (June 26). The president's indictment was the outcome of an investigation prompted by the plea bargain testimony of Joesley Batista, owner of JBS meatpacking company. Batista recorded a conversation he had with Temer at the president's official residence, Jaburu palace, and the tape was admitted as evidence in the case. The presidency did not respond to requests for comment.
Former lower house member Rodrigo Rocha Loures was also indicted on the same charges. He was arrested on June 3 by order of Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin. In April, Loures was caught receiving a suitcase with R$500,000 ($150,000) allegedly sent by Batista. According to the Prosecutor-General, Temer used Loures to receive kickbacks.
Lower house approval
The case was submitted to Fachin, the justice overseeing the investigation. He may give the defense 15 days to answer before submitting it to the lower house of Congress for approval. The formal submission must be carried out by Chief Justice Cármen Lúcia.
However, the Supreme Court will not be able to examine the case unless the house authorizes Temer's formal prosecution. Under the Constitution, the charges filed against the president need to be upheld by a two-third majority of the house members, i.e. 342 deputies, to be prosecuted. If accepted, the case will return to the Supreme Court for trial. In that case, President Temer will be suspended from office for up to 180 days to stand trial. If the charges are rejected by the house, the case will be dropped and the Supreme Court will not be able to examine it.
During the investigation, Temer's defense raised doubts about the authenticity of the recording and criticized the benefits granted to Joesley Batista in exchange for his cooperation with prosecutors. Loures's lawyers say he was illegally arrested and will not sign a court deal.
Source: Agencia Brasil