Brazil court sentences former Lula aide to prison
Brazil’s Supreme Court sentenced Jose Dirceu, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s chief of staff, to 10 years and 10 months in prison on Monday after finding him guilty of a vote-buying scheme. Dirceu served under Lula from 2003 to 2005.
Brazil's supreme court on Monday sentenced the former chief of staff under then president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to nearly 11 years in prison for his role in a vote-buying scheme.
Jose Dirceu, who was the chief of staff from 2003-2005 and a top leader of the ruling Workers' Party, was found guilty in October of running the operation to bribe lawmakers during Lula's first term.
On Monday, the court sentenced the 66-year-old lawyer to 10 years and 10 months in prison for corruption and conspiracy, and fined him $350,000.
"The responsibility of the accused is extremely high," said Justice Joaquim Brabosa, speaking for the court.
"He used his positions of leadership and prominence, both in the Workers' Party and the federal government," to engage in crimes of corruption, he said.
Dirceu is alleged to have diverted public funds to pay lawmakers in the ruling coalition to vote in favor of government initiatives.
Lula, Brazil's popular president from 2003 through 2010, has steadfastly denied being aware of the vote-buying scheme and was not prosecuted.