Brazil’s ousted leader defends predecessor against charges

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Former President Dilma Rousseff on Wednesday called the prosecution of her predecessor on corruption charges another attack on Brazil’s democracy, speaking just weeks after the Senate removed her from office in an impeachment trial.

Rousseff spoke in support of her mentor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a day after a federal judge ruled that he must stand trial on corruption and money-laundering charges, possibly thwarting the political comeback of one of the remaining dominant forces of Latin America’s left. A conviction could ruin his chances of running for president again in 2018 and returning the leftist Workers’ Party to power.

“Brazil is going through a very difficult moment. A process is underway that is systematically breaking the constitution,” Rousseff told supporters at a rally for Rio de Janeiro mayoral candidate Jandira Feghali. “First they attacked me, and now they are attacking Lula.”

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