BRASILIA – Brazil’s Supreme Court decided on Thursday that Senate leader Renan Calheiros will stand trial on corruption charges.
Judges voted 8-2 to allow prosecutors to proceed against Calheiros, a key ally of President Michel Temer, just the Senate takes up the administration’s proposal for a constitutional amendment to cap public spending for 20 years.
Under Brazilian law, only the Supreme Court can hear cases against sitting lawmakers and senior officials.
The Senate chief is accused of using his influence to benefit construction company Mendes Junior in exchange for the firm’s agreeing to support Calheiros’ out-of-wedlock daughter by journalist Monica Veloso.
The situation became public in 2007 and Calheiros was forced to give up his post as Senate leader, but not his seat, and he was re-elected leader in 2013.
Calheiros is also among dozens of Brazilian politicians under investigation in connection with the $2 billion corruption scandal centered on state oil company Petrobras.
Temer, Calheiros’ colleague in the PMDB party, has pursued an aggressive right-wing agenda since taking office Aug. 31 after Congress ousted the elected president, social democrat Dilma Rousseff, over alleged budget irregularities.