Brazil's Attorney General charges President Temer with corruption

Brazil’s Attorney General charges President Temer with corruption

Brazil’s president is set to face further tests to his power
Brazil Politics

As Michel Temer enters another week that may test his staying power as president of Brazil, Attorney General Rodrigo Janot has hinted at some of the charges Temer may face.

In an official note, Janot has said that without a doubt, Brazil’s president Michel Temer has committed crimes of corruption. In a statement he sent to reinforce the need for his former assistant Rodrigo Rocha Loures’s imprisonment, Janot additionally condemned Temer.

“Rodrigo Loures represented Temer’s interests on every occasion that he was with J&F Group representatives,” reads the judge’s statement. “Through him, Temer operated the receipt of undue advantages in exchange for public favors.”

According to Janot, Temer’s position as the clear beneficiary of transactions with JBS is obvious from the leaked audio tapes. Furthermore, he argues that Temer and Rocha Loures’s interactions in recent years demonstrate a cozy relationship. Janot, therefore, concludes that Loures “was acting as Temer’s interlocutor” in the tapes.

Next stages

But Janot’s note is not yet a formal accusation unless he delivers it to the Supreme Court (STF). He must provide sufficient evidence that Temer has committed corruption and obstruction of justice if the STF agrees to prosecute.

Before the STF can examine allegations, however, the Brazil’s House will first have to allow the Supreme Court to pursue. This means two-third of Brazil’s 513 representatives will have to vote in favor of Temer’s investigation.

If the House approves, the STF will examine the case. As magistrates then accept the request, Temer will face requirements to step down from the presidency for 180 days. Temer could also face additional charges, based on ongoing inquiries made by the Federal Police.

Although Temer has always denied the allegations, evidence supplied by the leaked JBS tapes appear incriminating.

Doubts over House vote

Temer had a strong support base in the Chamber of Deputies one year ago, but since assuming the presidency has fallen out of favor. Unlike on other occasions, parties that have typically been Temer’s allies have asked deputies to vote with their consciences.

In recent history, the PSDB and DEM parties largely supported Temer. Now even his own party, the PMDB, has not offered a broad consensus in his favor. Additionally, Temer may not be able to reject the request for trial if evidence against him is strong enough.