By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Federal deputy José Genoino, one of the eleven politicians and businessmen who recently began serving prison sentences after their conviction in the mensalão trial, fell ill on the afternoon of Thursday, November 21st and was transferred from Papuda Penitentiary in Brasília to a nearby hospital.
The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies postponed the opening of impeachment proceedings against him until next week in response to his deteriorating health.
Genoino’s lawyer, Luiz Fernando Pacheco, initially explained that the transfer was made after Genoino, who underwent heart surgery this past July, suffered a heart attack in the penitentiary. However, according to O Globo, Genoino’s first medical tests did not confirm a heart attack had caused his symptoms on Thursday.
The Cardiology Institute of the Federal District (ICDF) in the Armed Forces Hospital, where Genoino was taken, issued a statement promising to send information about Genoino’s health to the pertinent authorities.
“The patient who has a surgical history of aortic dissection and stroke underwent a battery of laboratory tests and imaging (echocardiography and CT) in the ICDF. As per judicial determination, the test results will be forwarded to the judiciary,” the statement read.
The federal deputy and former president of the Workers’ Party (PT) was held overnight and is expected to undergo further exams today.
Genoino was only six days into his six year and eleven month prison sentence for conspiracy and bribery. He and other high-profile mensaleiros had been transferred to the Papuda complex on Saturday, November 16th.
Shortly after Genoino was hospitalized on Thursday, minister Joaquim Barbosa, president of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), authorized Genoino to remain at home or at a hospital temporarily until a complete review of his health condition is completed.
Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies is currently reviewing a request to grant Genoine early retirement benefits due to disability. This would give Genoine the right to retire with full pay.
Deputy Ronaldo Caiado, PSDB leader, and Roberto Freire, PPS leader, both told the press that giving those benefits to Genoino tarnishes the legislative body’s image.
“The PT’s request is an attempt to delay the enforcement of a judgment of the STF, which includes the immediate loss of office. This exposes the Chamber negatively in front of public opinion,” Caiado said. “The Chamber already has a deputy in prison (Natan Donadon) and now it wants to further worsen its image with an imprisoned deputy receiving retirement,” Freire added.
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