Brasilia tribune starts trial that could unseat President Michel Temer

Judges on Brazil's top electoral court will start deciding on Wednesday whether President Michel Temer received illegal campaign funding in 2014, which could lead to his removal from office.

In four sessions scheduled through Friday, the seven-member electoral court will discuss whether to annul the 2014 re-election victory of then-President Dilma Rousseff and her running mate, Temer, who became president past year when Rousseff was impeached for breaking budget laws.

If at least four of the seven judges vote to allow the testimonies, Temer would be one step closer to being pushed out of office, following the path of Rousseff, who was impeached and removed a year ago for illegally managing the government's budget.

On Monday (the 5th), the Federal Police sent president Temer a questionnaire with 84 questions regarding the investigation of the inquiry in which the president is accused of corruption, obstruction of justice and conspiracy due to his relationship with JBS.

"The TSE will decide the fate of Temer and the reforms", said Rafael Cortez, a political and economic analyst with Tendencias consultancy in Sao Paulo. A judge on the TSE could also decide to adjourn the court hearings, scheduled to end Thursday, with the whole process potentially still dragging on for some time.

In final arguments, lawyers for the PSDB called for Rousseff to be condemned but that Temer be absolved.

Temer came under renewed pressure from Janot late Monday when he was ordered to answer more than questions in a written deposition by late Tuesday.

Rousseff and Temer are presenting separate and distinct defenses.

Globo News captured images of Alves being arrested by federal police.

The high-profile arrest comes Tuesday just hours before Brazil's top electoral court begins the judgment phase in a trial that could result in Temer's ouster. Alves left the post soon after Temer took power in May 2016.

Military Police stand gaurd outside the headquarters building of the Superior Electoral Court, in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

Temer has been hanging by a thread since the revelation of a secretly made audio recording in which he is allegedly heard approving payment of hush money by a meatpacking tycoon to a top politician jailed for corruption. The president is being investigated after allegations surfaced that he sanctioned bribes to disgraced former parliamentary speaker Eduardo Cunha-who was given a 15-year prison sentence in March for accepting some $40 million in kickbacks.

On Saturday, Temer's former aide Rodrigo Rocha Loures was arrested on bribery charges.

Loures was arrested over the weekend.

If the testimonies are kept, Temer will be one step closer to being pushed out of office over allegations that the Rousseff-Temer ticket in 2014 was backed by illegal campaign contributions.

Janot is also rumored to have more evidence compromising the president, and further suspects in the corruption scandal could strike plea bargains and testify against Temer.

  • Salvatore Jensen