Brazil’s president survives first vote on latest charges

October 18, 2017
Brazil's President Michel Temer speaks during a ceremony at the Planalto Presidential Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian President Michel Temer survived a first vote by lawmakers Wednesday in a case that holds the potential of suspending him from office.

A Chamber of Deputies committee voted 39-26 Wednesday against putting the president on trial on charges of obstruction of justice and leading a criminal organization.

The committee recommendation will be considered by all 513 deputies next week, Speaker Rodrigo Maia said.

If two-thirds of the deputies accepted the indictment, Temer would be suspended for up to six months, pending a trial in the country’s highest court.

The Chamber of Deputies already denied a request by Brazil’s top prosecutor in March to try Temer on a corruption charge.

Temer has denied any wrongdoing in the cases brought against him, which arose from a sprawling investigation in Brazil that has uncovered systemic graft in the halls of power.

Temer allies control appointments to the Chamber of Deputies committee, but have said they expect more difficulties in the full house now than in the first charges against the president.

Even if the embattled leader survives the full house vote, he can be put on trial after his term ends in 2019.

In a letter sent to lawmakers Tuesday, Temer said he is the victim of a conspiracy led by his political rivals and former top prosecutor Rodrigo Janot, who brought the charges against the president.

Janot was replaced at the end of his term in September by a Temer-appointed adversary, Raquel Dodge.

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