Thursday, October 26, 2017

Brazil's lower house votes again to reject Temer corruption case

President Michel Temer
Brazil's lower house on Wednesday voted not to pursue corruption charges against President Michel Temer. It's the second time lawmakers have voted to absolve the president of wrongdoing.

By a vote of 251 to 233, the Chamber of Deputies voted to drop the charges, which included bribery and obstruction of justice, meaning the case no longer goes to Brazil's Federal Supreme Court (STF) for further investigation.

The charges stem from plea bargains struck with prosecutors investigating graft, with high-profile suspects claiming they schemed with Temer to buy the silence of other corrupt officials.

Brazil's former prosecutor general Rodrigo Janot presented these more serious charges to the STF in September. Earlier in June, he accused Temer of "passive corruption," but the Chamber of Deputies rejected that charge at a session in early August.

While lawmakers voted, Temer was taken to an army hospital after complaining of pain and discomfort. Doctors found a "urological obstruction," but the president was out shortly.

The announcement of Temer's health issue at the lower house disturbed the session. Particularly agitated were members of the opposition, who requested the vote to be interrupted.

Two of Temer's closest aides, his Chief of Staff Eliseu Padilha and General Secretary of the presidency Moreira Franco, were also implicated in a corruption scheme that allegedly garnered them some 180 million US dollars.

Temer, a vice president who became president after Dilma Rousseff was impeached, is now set to complete his term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2018.

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