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article imageBrazil's top court refuses to remove prosecutor from Temer probe

By AFP     Sep 13, 2017 in World

Brazil's Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by President Michel Temer to have the prosecutor leading a corruption probe against him removed from the case.

Temer's lawyers asked for Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot to be removed, arguing he is mounting an "obsessive persecution" and "greatly exceeding the constitutional and legal limits."

However, the justices voted 9-0 to maintain Janot in his role.

This came as Janot was expected to file new criminal charges against Temer before he leaves his post and hands over to a new chief prosecutor on Monday. Janot was expected to charge Temer with obstruction of justice.

That charge would depend in part on a secret recording made by meatpacking billionaire Joesley Batista in which Temer allegedly is heard calling for payments to a jailed politician to prevent him testifying.

Batista and his brother Wesley signed plea deals, turning witnesses for the prosecution, after admitting they had run a huge bribery network to benefit their company JBS.

However the leniency accord has been torn up after Joesley Batista was accused of withholding information from prosecutors.

The Supreme Court was also considering a motion from Temer's lawyers to throw out the Batista evidence.

Even if the court clears the way for Janot to charge Temer a second time and use the Batista plea deal, the president is expected to survive.

Congress has to approve any trial of the president and in August voted overwhelmingly to toss out a first charge, which accused Temer of taking bribes. Temer is also believed to retain sufficient support to ride out any second charge.

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