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Brazil president presents graft defense, denies bribery

AFP
Published : Jul 6, 2017, 10:28 am IST
Updated : Jul 6, 2017, 10:27 am IST

"He committed no crime," said his lawyer Antonio Claudio Mariz de Oliveira after filing the written defense.

Brazilian President Michel Temer, seen at Alvorado Palace in 2016. (Photo: AFP)
 Brazilian President Michel Temer, seen at Alvorado Palace in 2016. (Photo: AFP)

Brasilia: Lawyers for Brazil's President Michel Temer presented their defense Wednesday against corruption charges that threaten to drive him from office, denying allegations that he took a $150,000 bribe.

They filed a written defense to a committee in Congress tasked with drawing up a recommendation on whether he should face trial over the allegations.

Temer faces a series of hearings before lawmakers vote on whether he should face a criminal trial over claims he accepted the bribe from a meatpacking firm.

He has denied the accusation, which has made him the first sitting Brazilian president to face formal criminal charges.

"He committed no crime," said his lawyer Antonio Claudio Mariz de Oliveira after filing the written defense.

"This accusation is not against an ordinary citizen. It is against the president of the republic and against Brazil."

Police arrested an adviser of Temer's with a suitcase full of money, which prosecutors allege was destined for Temer as a bribe.

A video has also emerged of Temer apparently approving the payment of hush money to a jailed ally. Temer's lawyer said Wednesday that video was "technically doubtful."

Former vice-president Temer took over as president last year after his leftist predecessor Dilma Rousseff was impeached on charges of budgetary wrongdoing which she branded a "coup."

Temer is trying to push through reforms to save Brazil from recession. But his time in office has been blighted by the resignations of ministers and corruption claims creeping ever closer to his door.

Left-wing deputy Alessandro Molon told reporters Wednesday the government wanted to hurry up the procedures in congress. But he estimated that the full final vote may not take place until August.

The charges come against the backdrop of a sweeping graft investigation which has uncovered systemic corruption in the political and business elite in Latin America's biggest country.

Tags: michel temer, brazil president, corruption charges, congress
Location: Brazil, Distrito Federal, Brasília