Lula’s Ex-Chief of Staff, Vows He Won’t Resign from Brazilian Congress

    Brazilian Federal deputy José Dirceu (PT-São Paulo state) presented the Ethics Council of the Chamber a 20-page defense in which he requested that the case against him be retired.

    According to the lawyers of the former Chief of Staff of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, 7 pages of the defense are devoted to showing that the PTB’s (Brazilian Labor Party) charges against him have to do with alleged acts committed while he was minister, that is, outside the exercise of his parliamentary mandate and, therefore, beyond the jurisdiction of the Ethics Council.


    One of his six lawyers, José Luiz de Oliveira Lima, says that Dirceu is willing to testify in any forum of the National Congress. But this does not rule out the possibility of appealing to the Federal Supreme Court (STF) to challenge the jurisdiction of the Ethics Council to judge the crimes he is supposed to have committed while exercising the office of Presidential Chief of Staff.


    “The case is extremely complex. But we shall seek out every sphere to guarantee a fair trial,” affirms Lima.


    In his defense, the deputy refutes the opinion issued by the Chamber’s legislative adviser, José Theodoro Menck. This opinion holds that Dirceu is liable to a trial in the Council, just as were ex-deputies Hildebrando Pascoal, Talvane Albuquerque, and Feres Nader.


    “In the three cases mentioned, the discussion was confined to the admissibility of holding a legislator responsible, in one parliamentary mandate, for misconduct identified with an act committed during the exercise of a previous mandate – a situation completely different from the one now at hand,” Dirceu contends in his defense.


    In the document delivered to the Council, the ex-minister repeated portions of the deposition he gave as witness during the trial to deprive deputy Roberto Jefferson of his mandate. Dirceu says that he “never participated in any plot to raise funds to pay legislators to vote for projects desired by the government.”


    As for the fact that advertising executive Marcus Valério named him as someone aware of the loans made by Valério to the PT, the ex-minister classifies this as an attempt by Valério to defend himself.


    In the final part of the text, entitled “relief and concern,” Dirceu once again avows that he will not renounce his mandate and says he does not know whether he is being judged for what he did or what he represents.


    Agência Brasil

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