Brazil's Crazy Political Crisis Just Got a Little Crazier

Judge trying to halt president's controversial Cabinet appointment
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2016 11:13 AM CDT

(Newser) – Not so fast, Lula. A judge on Thursday issued an injunction to suspend Brazil President Dilma Rousseff's appointment of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as her chief of staff, reports Reuters. This was no ordinary political appointment: Lula is facing prosecution in a corruption scandal involving energy giant Petrobras, and his appointment to a Cabinet position would have shielded him from prosecution by the federal judge handling that case. "In light of the risk of harming the free exercise of judicial power ... I grant the request for an injunction to suspend the nomination of Mr. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva," wrote the judge who issued Thursday's ruling.

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His move came after Lula had been sworn in, and the government can appeal. The appointment by Rousseff, who is facing impeachment herself, had set off nationwide protests in part because only the Supreme Court, not federal courts, can investigate Cabinet members, notes the BBC. For a primer on what's happening in Brazil, including the release of taped phone calls between Rousseff and Lula, click here. (Read more Brazil stories.)

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