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Brazil Judge denies request to delay ex-president's hearing

Brazil Judge denies request to delay ex-president's hearing

Bo said that ahead of Lula's appearance at the court, his lawyers had tried to postpone the hearing.

In Wednesday's case, Lula is alleged to have taken a luxury seaside apartment near Sao Paulo as a bribe from the OAS construction company, which did lucrative business with Petrobras.

Judge Moro, who has become a national hero to many Brazilians while overseeing the so-called Car Wash investigation, is known for reaching judgments relatively quickly and then denying the release of convicts while they appeal.

A ruling by Judge Sergio Moro, who has spearheaded Brazil's biggest-ever corruption probe, is not expected until July.

Hashtags trending on Twitter reflected the bitter divide over the ex-president's legal problems, including #LulaEuConfio (I trust in Lula) and #MoroOrgulhoBrasileiro (Moro, pride of Brazil).

"After being massacred for two years, I was expecting to see a document showing that I bought the apartment", Silva said.

Lula has vehemently denied all the charges, saying they are politically motivated.

But now facing a total of five corruption trials, he is fighting for his future.

Authorities in the Brazilian city of Curitiba said last week that supporters and opponents of Lula will be kept apart when he is scheduled to testify before Moro. The banner reads: "Lula, welcome to the land of resistance".

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Brazil's most popular president gave testimony to judge Sergio Moro, who is reportedly on a crusade to jail Lula for accepting an apartment as a bribe from a construction firm in return for political support, the BBC broadcaster said.

Lula is accused of benefiting from the plot, in which billions of dollars were siphoned off fat contracts at the state-run oil company Petrobras.

Lula supporters have said they hope to bring as many as 30,000 people to demonstrate in Curitiba this week.

Lula, the fiery, bearded orator who rose from great hardship to found the Workers' Party and lead Brazil, is already one of the most famous people in the country.

As he made his way to the building, a stern-faced Lula grabbed a Brazilian flag and began waving it high above his head, but made no comments as he pushed through the crowd.

They set up makeshift tents along railroad tracks a few kilometers from the federal courthouse. "I am preparing to return as a candidate", he said. "He was the only one in power who has not robbed from the poor".

Thousands of Lula's supporters are to rally in the city of Curitiba in his defence.

Prosecutors say Lula masterminded the scheme during his eight years in office, but Wednesday's hearing focuses on whether he traded influence for the refurbishing of a beach condo.

Helped by a booming economy and an innovative cash-transfer program, his administration yanked tens of millions of people out of poverty into the middle class, and Lula left office in 2010 with an 83 percent approval rating. Millions in bribes allegedly were funneled into the campaign coffers of his Workers Party as well as almost every major political party, they say.


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