By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The first day of the impeachment trial of suspended Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, lasted more than fifteen hours with many tense moments between senators pro and against the suspended leader. Rousseff’s defense attorney, former Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo was one of the emphatic speakers in a room full of emotion and confrontation.
“The first day is always tense, turbulent, with both sides getting into conflicts due to differing points of view,” Senate President, Renan Calheiros, told journalists almost at the end of the session.
Calheiros said that this ‘confrontation’ and back-and-forth shouting matches between the two sides is counterproductive. “It merely turns the session into a political confrontation which will not help the process. It (trial process) needs more objectivity, both of those asking the questions as well as those respond in. The senators will have an entire day to debate; each will have ten minutes to speak (at the tribune),” added the senator.
During the first day of the trial, presided by Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricardo Lewandowski, an auditor for the Federal Accounts Court and a Federal Courts’ prosecutor spoke against Rousseff, both stating that the first woman president of Brazil had infringed the Fiscal Responsibility Law by borrowing a significant volume of resources from public banks and not including the ‘loans’ in the government’s accounting records.
The original schedule also included two witnesses for the defense, but due to the volume of questions asked by Senators to the two accusation witnesses and the temporary suspension of the session because of shouting matches between the senators, defense witnesses will only give their statements on Friday.
The defense announced it plans to call five witnesses, including former Finance Minister, Nelson Barbosa, to the stand. On Monday, Rousseff herself is expected to address the Senate to justify her actions. According to officials, the trial should end next week, with a vote by the Senate plenary on whether or not to remove Rousseff permanently from office.