By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff’s legal team handed in the defense for her impeachment trial on Wednesday, reiterating that she did nothing wrong and adding that the latest set of leaked recordings link the impeachment trial to attempts to halt the mega-corruption Lava Jato scandal from reaching other politicians.
“We continue to argue the lack of a crime of fiscal responsibility (committed by Rousseff),” said former Attorney General Jose Eduardo Cardozo, who now is the lead defense attorney for the suspended president.
According to Cardozo the recordings made by former Transpetro president Sergio Machado and handed over to federal prosecutors as part of a plea bargain agreement “show that the intention of the impeachment (proceeding) was not because there was crime, but because, there was a concern by several segments of the political class in the investigation of the Lava Jato”.
For Cardozo, the impeachment of the President would make it easier to halt the investigations. “The impeachment has no basis, no foundation, (it) was not done to punish wrongdoing but to politically alienate a government that did not serve those who wanted the investigations not advance,” Cardozo told reporters on Wednesday.
Rousseff’s defense team has asked that a special Senate commission analyze the recordings which have so far led to the resignation of two recently appointed cabinet ministers and the president of the Senate. In all three recordings, presumably made by Machado in March, the officials speak about ways to slowdown investigations and give advice on how to handle prosecutors looking into the mega-corruption scheme.
Rousseff was suspended on May 12th, after both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate voted to accept charges that she had mismanagement funds to hide budget deficits. After her suspension the Senate began an impeachment trial against Rousseff. The Upper House has until mid-November to decide whether or not to permanently remove Rousseff from office.