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Temer aggressive defense may be a bad choice

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by Pedro Luiz Rodrigues

President Michel Temer has plenty of motives to feel stressed, as he has been faced with a second set of criminal charges this year.

This time, the charges filed against him by the prosecutor general’s office were for obstruction of justice and racketeering.

On August 2, Brazil’s Congress lower house voted 263 to 227 to drop the first round of corruption charges against Temer. If two-thirds of the 513 deputies had voted against him, he would had to leave the seat during trial.

On October 4, Temer’s lawyers visited the Chamber of Deputies to present his defense on the new set of charges.

But instead of limiting themselves to present legal arguments on the matter, they decided to perform for the media, strongly insulting former Attorney General of the Republic, Rodrigo Janot.

Janot, who retired recently, was charged of unethical, immoral, indecent and illegal behavior for having presented “inept” charges  against the President. According to Temer’s lawyers, Janot could be compared with ‘a gunslinger hired to kill someone and who does not accept the termination of the agreement by the contractor, because he has already inflicted rage on the victim.

The lawyers, acting surely on  express orders from the President  (they would not have dared to act as they acted without such an endorsement) forgot Law, and instead of spending Latin to fully demonstrate the alleged  ineptitude of the accusatory piece , preferred to act as if they were in a fifth-rate reality show.

The spectacle carried out by the lawyers in their visit to the Chamber of Deputies  – transmitted broadly by the television and the social media – caused very negative impression in Brazil’s public opinion.

Shouting and verbal aggression do not seem the appropriate way   to overturn legal decisions.

If the idea underlying the show of explicit  outburst of aggressiveness was to transmit  the rage of the offended, it didn’t work as expected.

Weighting, balance and legal argumentation would have been a much better public response to the President, and it would perhaps have helped him in regaining some of the prestige and credibility he has been recently losing.

If such noisy and aggressive path continues to be the President’s line of defense, I do not think it’s doomed to success.

After all, if the charges are ‘inept’, it would be relatively easy to win the case.

Even if he manages to gather the necessary votes in the Chamber of Deputies to reject prosecution, the President will  continue burning out  the limited  stock of confidence and support he has been receiving from society since he took office.