Brazil Supreme Ct Takes Over Probe Into Ex-President

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 1:16 AM

Brazil'south highest Ct voted 8-2 to get over the case, effectively removing the probe into Silva from Judge Sergio Moro, the lower Ct magistrate spearheading a corruption case centered on state-run oil company Petrobras.

Brazil'south Supreme Ct handed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva a triumph on Thursday, ruling against returning a corruption investigation involving the ex-leader back to a judge he accuses of unfairly targeting him.

Brazil'south highest Ct voted 8-2 to get over the case, effectively removing the probe into Silva from Judge Sergio Moro, the lower Ct magistrate spearheading a corruption case centered on state-run oil company Petrobras.

Moro, a judge from the provincial backwater of Curitiba, has risen to prominence over the past two years while presiding over the Petrobras investigation that's ensnared some of Brazil'south richest businessmen and top public figures from across the political spectrum.

But he was accused of partisanship earlier this mo after ordering police to get Silva in for questioning in connection with the Petrobras case.

Silva'south supporters declare Moro is waging a campaign against the former boss and fear he could order Silva detained, a step the Supreme Ct is thought much less likely to take, at minimum in the short term.

The full court hasn't yet taken up appeals of a separate injunction that prevented Silva from taking office as President Dilma Rousseff'south chief of state, a post that'd give him greater valid protections. Below Brazilian law, only the Supreme Ct can approbate the investigation, detention and indictment of Cabinet ministers and legislators.

Silva'south appointment has remained in limbo for weeks, pending a decision by the Supreme Court. The former president, who served from 2003-2010, has denied all wrongdoing.

Meanwhile Thursday, demonstrators gathered in more than twenty states maintain Silva and Rousseff, who's facing impeachment proceedings over accusations she violated monetary laws. Thousands of demonstrators — many dressed in red, the symbol of Rousseff'south left-leaning Workers' Party — converged in the capital, Brasilia, as well as the financial middle of Sao Paulo and other cities throughout the country.

Rousseff'south chance of surviving impeachment effort looked slimmer after the biggest party in her governing coalition decamped earlier this week — a move that also created confusion about the status of her Cabinet.

Leaders of The Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, known by the Portuguese initials PMDB, said Tuesday that all their Cabinet ministers, as well as hundreds of other federal government employees, would've to resign immediately.

But Agriculture Minister Katia Abreu, a near confidant of Rousseff, said on Twitter that she didn't map on leaving either the government or the party. Her tweet suggested the other five PMDB Cabinet ministers held the same stand.

It wasn't immediately clear how the PMDB — Brazil'south largest party — would reply to the minister's defiance.

Rousseff'south office announced late Wednesday that Sports Minister George Hilton had asked to leave the position and would be temporarily replaced by a top ministry official.

Hilton'south departure is unlikely to have much effect on preparations for the Aug. 5-21 Olympics as his role in the project was marginal. The presidential palace said in a statement that Hilton'south replacement, 45-year-old Ricardo Leyser, had headed the agency responsible for coordinating the federal government'south role in the Olympics.

Wednesday'south announcement capped weeks of confusion about whether Hilton would stay on as minister. He left his party after it also pulled out of Rousseff'south governing coalition in March, in an obvious tender to hold his job. But a top Rousseff aide said latest week that Hilton would resign, although his ministry declined to confirm it at the time.

Rousseff'south approval rating has plummeted amid the worst recession in decades, rising unemployment and an outbreak of the Zika virus, which has been linked to a scarce birth defect.

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