The People vs. Lula
Crusading Judge Sergio Moro sentenced former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to nine and a half years in prisonfor taking 3.7 million reals ($1.1 million) worth of benefits from a construction company in exchange for favors.
Investors hailed the move – which will keep the populist leader out of the 2018 presidential elections. But opposition from Lula’s millions of supporters may result in political turmoil, Bloomberg reported.
Until now Moro’s anti-corruption crusade has enjoyed broad support. But Lula inspires fervent loyalty among the country’s poor, thanks to anti-poverty measures he took as president during Brazil’s rapid economic rise amid a boom in commodities prices.
Lula’s Workers’ Party, or PT, issued a statement calling the verdict an “attack on democracy” and demonstrators had already begun gathering to protest or celebrate the decision in Brazil’s main citiesnight.
For his part, Lula will appeal the judgment, even as President Michel Temer faces a congressional vote on a corruption charge filed by the nation’s top prosecutor.