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After Speech by Rapporteur, Herman Benjamin, Focus at the Federal Electoral Tribunal is on Gilmar Mendez, the President

06/08/2017 - 11h54

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MARCELO COELHO
FOLHA COLUMNIST

Around 11:30 on Wednesday (the 7th), the mood at the trial of the Dilma-Temer ticket at the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) began to change. At the beginning of the session, it seemed like the two sides were divided.

Along with Napoleão Maria and Tarcísio Vieira, Gilmar Mendes, the President of the TSE, gave the impression that he was sympathetic to the argument put forth by lawyers for Temer and ex-president Dilma.

The argument was that the facts highlighted by plea-bargain testimony of Marcelo Odebrecht and João Santana, regarding bribes and off-the-books financing for the 2014 campaign, couldn't be considered in the case because they went beyond the original scope of the legal action against the ticket.

After two and a half hours rapporteur Herman Benjamin unveiled the nuclear potential of his presentation. First, he showed a fax of the initial solicitation of the PSDB Party against Dilma Rousseff and Michel Temer. It contained a reference to possible irregularities by the Odebrecht Corporation in financing the campaign.

Immediately afterwards, he quoted phrases and cited decisions made by Gilmar Mendes in 2015, in the same case, defending a deepening of the investigation into Petrobras' activities based upon the so-called Car Wash Operation. At that time, Dilma was still president.

With so many references to Gilmar in 2015, the rapporteur seemed to destroy the argument that the case would have to throw out the testimony of Odebrecht and Santana.

After this, the TSE President's posture appeared to change. He stopped barbing Benjamin and took up broader political postulations. When the trial resumes on Thursday (the 8th), the focus of attention will be on Gilmar's attitude.

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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