Brazil: Witnesses try to make case for Rousseff at trial
Former economy minister says Brazilian president did nothing Illegal.
Senabri Silvestre - SANTO DOMINGO, Dom. Rep. (AA) – Witnesses on Saturday attempted to acquit Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on the third session of her impeachment trial, local media said Saturday.
Former Economy Minister Nelson Barbosa said there was nothing illegal in the actions of the suspended president, according to the DW newspaper.
Rousseff is accused of violating fiscal rules to hide a budget deficit ahead of the 2014 presidential elections, leading the country into a deep economy crisis.
One irregularity attributed to the president is that she issued various credit decrees without the congressional authorization.
But Barbosa said her actions were in accordance with the law approved by a federal court years ago and a new interpretation of the law cannot be applied retroactively to condemn Rousseff.
Rousseff is also accused of delaying public payments in 2014 and 2015 in order to use the funds to support the government’s social program, in violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Law.
Rousseff is expected to make her personal case next week to convince lawmakers of her innocence.
The trial that began Thursday has been marred by verbal confrontations between senators to the point of being qualified as a "madhouse" by Senate President Renan Calheiros.
The charges against Rousseff are “crimes of responsibility” and not criminal but administrative sanctions that could strip her from her post if 54 senators of a total of 81 vote in favor of her removal.
Her dismissal appears imminent, however, considering 51 senators indicated in a poll on the eve of the start of the trial that they would vote in favor of her removal.
If the actions pass, interim President Michel Temer would remain in his position until elections are held in 2018 -- the end of Rousseff’s term.
If she survives, Rousseff would retain her position and Temer would go back to his post as vice president.
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