By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Less than two hours after starting, Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) decided yesterday to postpone the trial which could accept a request for the annulment of the Rousseff-Temer ticket. The decision upset both the rappourter of the case, Judge Herman Benjamin as well as President Michel Temer.
Before the trial began, Judge Benjamin had granted only a 48-hour extension for the defense. According to Benjamin the process has been in the TSE for almost two and a half years.
“We can not turn this process into an endless universe, we can not hear Adam and Eve and possibly the serpent,” Judge Benjamin said while defending only a 48-hour extension.
The other court justices, however, decided to accept the request by Rousseff’s lawyer, of an additional five days to present her defense. With the postponement the trial is expected to resume during the last week of April due to interruption of workdays because of Easter holiday and official travel scheduled by Court President, Gilmar Mendes.
President Temer’s attorney, Gustavo Guedes said that President Temer also preferred a ‘fast’ resolution of the trial.
According to local media, the President is concerned that with the postponement, the TSE may only resume the trial after the confidentiality clause on the 950 testimonies provided by 77 former Odebrecht officials are removed. The testimonies are expected to detail the scheme of illegal transfers to the 2014 Rousseff-Temer Presidential campaign.
The annulment request came from the PSDB party, which during the 2014 was running against Rousseff and Temer, and which claimed that the Rousseff-Temer ticket used illegal money to fund its 2014 campaign. If the seven judges in the Electoral Court accept the accusations, the TSE could annul the election results and force Temer from office.
Tuesday afternoon, after the postponement decision, Rousseff’s defense attorney said she would file petitions for other witnesses to be heard in the case.