Rousseff impeachment trial resumes in Brazil after courtroom quarrels | News | DW | 27.08.2016
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Rousseff impeachment trial resumes in Brazil after courtroom quarrels

The impeachment trial against suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff continued into a third day. Former Brazilian Economy Minister Nelson Barbosa said Rousseff did "nothing remotely illegal."

The final defense witnesses in the impeachment trial against suspended Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff testified on Saturday, the third day of court proceedings. Rousseff is accused of mishandling public funds for her 2014 electoral campaign.

Rio State University law professor Ricardo Lodi testified on Saturday that Rousseff did not break the law or harm the country's economy, which is now in deep recession.

Former Brazilian Economy Minister Nelson Barbosa said there was "nothing remotely illegal" in Rousseff's actions.

"You cannot act retroactively with a new interpretation of the law," he added.

Tempers suspend impeachment trial

The second day of Rousseff's Senate trial in the capital, Brasilia, began on Friday with heated shouting matches, eventually forcing the session to be temporarily suspended until the Senate had calmed down.

One Rousseff ally reportedly questioned the moral authority of the Senate, prompting the row which Senate President Renan Calheiros called "a demonstration of infinite stupidity."

According to the corruption watchdog Transparencia Brasil, around two-thirds of Brazil's senators have had brushes with the law either currently or in the past.

Corruption charges against Lula

Rousseff's key ally, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was brought up on his own batch of corruption charges on Friday.

Police recommended graft and money laundering charges against the ex-president and founder of the Workers' Party relating to his reported ownership of a luxury seaside apartment and a country house.

The charges were a blow to Rousseff, as Lula was planning to go to Brasilia on Monday in order to support the suspended president, who stands accused of taking unauthorized state bank loans in order to cover budget shortfalls during her 2014 re-election.

She rejects her political opponents' claims and views the impeachment process as a "coup" against her.

Rousseff is set to testify on Monday in a final chance to save herself before the senators vote. Two thirds of Brazil's Senate must back the impeachment drive in order to remove Rousseff from office.

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Webvideo: Impeachment process: What happens next in Brasilia?

ksb, rs/jlw (AFP, Reuters)

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