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'Prove That I Am Corrupt and I Will Walk to Jail,' Says Lula

09/16/2016 - 10h53

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CATIA SEABRA
FROM SÃO PAULO

In a statement made on Thursday, September 15, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said he was outraged with the decision of the task force of the Brazilian Federal Police's Lava Jato operation to accuse him.

He challenged the team: "Prove that I am corrupt and I will walk to jail."

During his statement, Lula cried and also brought tears to the eyes of PT supporters, among them, the president of the party, Rui Falcão.

Lula said the presentation made by public prosecutors on the previous day was a "pyrotechnic display" as they accused him of being the leader of the corruption scheme in Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned oil giant.

"The prosecutors, as well as the sheriff and the ministers, are probably thinking today: 'What happened? Why are we putting on this show? To try to sell a product that cannot be delivered?'" said Lula.

Lula's speech lasted more than one hour and he followed his lawyers' advice not to attack the Public Attorney's Office, but those who accused him. He demanded respect for himself and his wife, Marisa Letícia, several times.

The former president repeated that his life is the most investigated in the country: "My public life is well known by everyone. I think that only Jesus Christ's life receives more attention than mine. You won't find anyone whose life has been more scrutinized."

Lula cried three times when he spoke of his background. He also wept as he talked about the Federal Police's operation in his house.

Lula cried when he said that his children cannot work.

"They even lifted the mattress off my bed as they thought that I was hiding gold or perhaps a Petrobras refinery under it. I had to call a specialist to check if they had not left a wiretapping device. They went into my children's houses, they even broke the door – they acted as if my children were criminals."

Lula said that he knows "a lot of people who try to get five minutes of glory by appearing on TV," but did not name anyone specifically.

On Thursday, former president Lula filed a request at the National Council of the Public Attorney's Office for measures against the prosecutors of the Lava Jato task force in Paraná.

The council is presided by Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot and inspects and judges the conduct of members of the Public Attorney's Office.

The document signed by Lula's lawyers says that prosecutors Deltan Dallagnol, Julio Noronha and Roberson Pozzobon held "a major show intended to destroy Lula's image."

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

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