Brazil’s federal police seek charges against President Temer
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s federal police filed a report Wednesday seeking to have corruption charges brought against unpopular President Michel Temer, which could lead to his suspension from office.
The report said an investigation had obtained evidence that Temer pocketed about $300,000 in bribes from construction giant Odebrecht, which is at the heart of a regional corruption scandal.
Temer has survived two previous attempts to charge him. He has already denied any wrongdoing in the case.
Brazil’s top court said it received the report, which will be sent to Attorney General Raquel Dodge, who will decide whether Temer should be charged for the third time since taking office in 2016.
Dodge was appointed by Temer. The two previous charges were made by one of her adversaries, former Attorney General Rodrigo Janot.
If Dodge chooses to proceed, two-thirds of the Chamber of Deputies would have to vote to suspend Temer and put him on trial. The body twice rejected previous charges against him.
Temer’s term ends Dec. 31, filling the term of Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached for alleged mishandling of federal finances.
The popularity rating for Temer has been in the single digits since last year and he decided against seeking a new term in October’s national elections.
On Tuesday, Brazilian prosecutors asked a judge to approve charges against conservative presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin. They accuse the former governor of Sao Paulo state of receiving illegal campaign contributions from Odebrecht amounting to $2.5 million in his 2014 election.
Alckmin, who has struggled in the polls, denies any wrongdoing. His lawyers called the accusation “noise from a prosecutor” before the presidential election.
Investigators at Sao Paulo state prosecutors’ office said Alckmin’s political rights should be suspended, but that would be unlikely to happen before the elections.
The same prosecutors’ office is also seeking charges against another likely presidential candidate, Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party.
Haddad is expected to take over as the party’s presidential candidate for jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was barred from running by Brazil’s top electoral court Saturday.
Da Silva has held a strong lead in opinion polls despite his corruption and money laundering conviction. He denies any wrongdoing.
Haddad, who is currently the Workers’ party vice presidential candidate, said during a campaign event in Sao Paulo that the party will appeal electoral court’s decision to Brazil’s Supreme Court. The party has only until Tuesday to replace da Silva as its presidential candidate.
Associated Press journalist Victor Caivano in Sao Paulo contributed to this report.