Brazil court acquits President Temer in campaign fund case

The stand-off between Mr Temer and his accusers took another sharp twist when Veja, a weekly magazine known for sensational political scoops, claimed that the President was using the national spy agency to snoop on the Supreme Court justice in charge of the Car Wash cases.

According to Veja, Temer's team is looking for a way to discredit Fachin - and thus sink the investigation. Temer has denied the allegations and says the recording was doctored.

The trial was the first of its kind in Brazil. That decision was seen as giving Temer some breathing room, but the new accusations further constrain his ability to govern and reinvigorated calls for his resignation. There are early hints the judges may absolve the president and his 2014 campaign of illegal contributions.

That spared recession-ravaged Brazil being plunged into its second leadership crisis in 14 months, following the impeachment of leftist president Dilma Rousseff previous year and her replacement by her then-vice president Temer.

Benjamin, the coordinator of the case at the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), laid out a damning portrait of systemic undeclared donations and bribes that he said had fatally undermined the election result in Latin America's biggest country. If a guilty verdict had been reached, Temer would have been suspended from office, and Rousseff would have lost her political rights.

Temer is now in the center of another graft scandal.

"Common in dictatorships, these practices. are serious and, when carried out against a judge, are completely unacceptable in a democracy", Lúcia said in the statement.

Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot sent his own statement, saying he "vehemently repudiates" any attempt to gather embarrassing details on a judge.

The conservative leader is under investigation for obstruction of justice when he allegedly agreed to paying hush money to a senior politician jailed for corruption.

Last month, a recording emerged that prosecutors said captured Temer endorsing a plan to pay hush money to ex-House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, who is serving 15 years in prison for corruption and money laundering.

It also backed up Temer's strategy of arguing that corruption accusations against him are a risky distraction when he is needed to put Brazil back on the economic rails.

The problem is that there's little stability left to maintain 14 months after he helped engineer Ms Rousseff's impeachment and took her place. The accusations of corruption against Temer have called into question whether he can finish out his term.

The main parties in Temer's coalition have stuck with him so far, but several reports have reflected worry in the ranks that being associated with his government could be detrimental to re-election campaigns next year.

If the TSE had removed Temer, Congress would have had to pick a new interim president to serve the rest of his term to the end of 2018.

"Electoral justice can't be used as a third round of elections without violating the electoral order", said Maia, adding that a lack of moderation would "risk annihilating the sovereign will of the people".

  • Leroy Wright