Brazil high court rejects bid to halt impeachment

AFP , Wednesday 11 May 2016

Dilma Rousseff
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (Photo: Reuters)

Brazil's Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a petition from President Dilma Rousseff's government lawyers to halt impeachment proceedings against her, as the Senate debated suspending her from office and putting her on trial.

Justice Teori Zavascki "denied the petition to issue a stay suspending the process," a court spokesman told AFP.

The decision all but erases the leftist leader's hopes of avoiding a six-month suspension and trial for manipulating the government's accounts.

It came down as the Senate held a marathon debate on impeachment, which was expected to end with a vote to suspend Rousseff for up to 180 days and put her on trial.

Rousseff, 68, had sought to halt the proceedings after the Supreme Court suspended the architect of the impeachment drive, lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, on grounds that he tried to obstruct an investigation into his own alleged corruption.

In court papers filed by the attorney general, Brazil's first woman president argued Cunha had used impeachment as a political weapon to wield against his opponents.

But the judge ruled the government's case lacked "legal plausibility."

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