Brazil’s Supreme Court on Tuesday night effectively took control of a case involving former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, thus ensuring him defense privileges not enjoyed by ordinary citizens. Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki ordered a district judge, Sérgio Moro, to turn over all files in the Lula case to the Supreme Court. Zavascki also ordered most evidence collected so far in the case to be sealed. He especially noted what he called “inappropriate release” of tapped telephone conversations between Lula and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Moro has been spearheading a sweeping corruption probe for the last two years. The corruption investigation involves graft, fraud and money laundering allegations against political figures and government and corporate executives. Former President Lula is being investigated for influence-peddling and other crimes as part of the broad probe.
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