Lula da Silva, 72, who served two terms as head of state between 2003 and 2010, served the first day of a 12-year prison sentence for corruption Sunday, but was already hoping for a way out through the courts this week, threatening to extend the drama ahead of presidential elections.
His cell is located in the same federal police building that serves as the base of operations for “Car Wash,” the expansive anti-graft investigation that brought him down.
Lula is the first former president to have been convicted and put behind bars for corruption and money laundry for accepting a luxury apartment as a bribe from a construction company and is the biggest scalp so far in the “Car Wash” probe.
He insists on his innocence and says he was framed to stop him running in October presidential elections in which polls show him as frontrunner.
But there could be surprises ahead, with a potentially explosive legal development coming as early as Wednesday, when local media say the Supreme Court could revisit the current law on incarceration during appeals.
In September the member of the Supreme Court, Dias Toffoli, will be the new the President of the Court. Toffoli is known as a friend of Lula and an activist Worker’s Party, having been the defense lawyer of the Party.
He could will change the provision so that higher court appeals could be pursued while free — which could provide the freedom for Lula. Analysts are quick to point out that, given the country’s history of rapid and unexpected changes, anything could happen.