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Lawmakers back quashing graft trial of Brazil President Temer

© AFP/File | Brazilian President Michel Temer speaks during the ceremony for the launching of the Agricultural and Livestock Plan 2017/2018 in Brasilia, on July 11, 2017

BRASÍLIA (AFP) - 

Brazilian President Michel Temer looked on track Thursday to avoid trial over graft charges, after a committee of lawmakers recommended the accusations against him be shelved ahead of a congressional vote.

If the matter is put aside, Temer would win some respite just one day after a predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was convicted and sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison on charges of corruption and money laundering.

But Brazil's chief public prosecutor could still lodge new graft charges against Temer, who took over the presidency after Lula's protegee Dilma Rousseff was impeached and ousted last year.

Brazil's full Chamber of Deputies is expected within days to vote on whether the Supreme Court should put Temer on trial.

The president has denied the allegations that he took a $150,000 bribe from a meatpacking firm.

Police arrested an adviser of Temer's with a suitcase full of money, which prosecutors allege was destined for Temer as a bribe.

A video also emerged of Temer apparently approving the payment of hush money to a jailed ally.

The congressional committee on the constitution, justice and citizenship voted 40 votes to 25 to shelve the accusations.

For congress to approve a trial, two-thirds of the 513 deputies have to vote in favor.

© 2017 AFP