Brazil's Supreme Federal Court (STF) Thursday decided that all of its justices will vote on May 31 on the length of the sentence to be imposed on former Senator and President Fernando Collor de Melo, who has been found guilty of passive corruption and money laundering in Operation Lava Jato, Agencia Brasil reported.
During Thursday's session, after deciding the conviction, the plenary defined that even the justices who voted to acquit Collor may also express themselves on the penalty.
Case rapporteur Justice Edson Fachin understood that his colleagues who voted for Collor's acquittal could not vote on length of the sentence. But his view was overruled by a 7-2 decision.
Justice Dias Toffoli insisted that the members of the court could not be prevented from voting and admitted that in a previous ruling he had voted in favor of convicting solely to be allowed to participate in the penalty vote. I voted in some cases of Criminal Action 470 to convict and participate in the dosimetry, to be able to influence, since they took away my right to acquit. We are a collegiate, and no one can take away anyone's vote. We are equals, he said.
We are correcting injustices that have been done, and we don't have to be ashamed to apologize for judicial errors that we have made. We are here correcting injustices, and people have suffered for injustices we have committed in the past, he added.
Besides the rapporteur, Justices Alexandre De Moraes, André Mendonça, Luís Roberto Barroso, Luiz Fux, Cármen Lúcia, Dias Toffoli and Rosa Weber also voted for Collor's conviction. Nunes Marques and Gilmar Mendes voted for acquittal.
For the court, as a former leader of the Brazilian Labor Party (PTB), Collor was responsible for political appointments to BR Distribuidora, a subsidiary of Petrobras, and received R$20 million between 2010 and 2014 in undue advantages in company contracts.
During the trial, lawyer Marcelo Bessa asked for Collor's acquittal. The defense claimed that the PGR's accusations were based on whistleblower testimony and no evidence incriminating the former senator was presented. Bessa also denied that Collor was responsible for the appointment of directors of the company. According to the lawyer, the whistleblowers accused Collor based on hearsay.
There is no suitable evidence to support the prosecution's version. We have here a version put forward, solely and exclusively, by cooperators, who do not say that the collection of these amounts would have to do with Collor or with the supposed intermediation of this flagging contract, he concluded.
(Source: Agencia Brasil)