BRASILIA Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff said on Tuesday she will not resign under any circumstances and equated a bid to impeach her to a "coup d'etat" against democratic rule because she had committed no crime.
Rousseff urged Brazil's Supreme Court to remain impartial in the political crisis that has threatened to topple her government as opponents seek her impeachment in Congress amid a widespread corruption scandal that has reached her inner circle.
"I will never resign under any circumstances," the embattled president said in a speech to legal experts. "I have committed no crime that would warrant shortening my term."
Opposition parties have launched impeachment proceedings against Rousseff for allegedly manipulating government accounts to allow her government to spend more in the run-up to her 2014 re-election. The president could be suspended as soon as May if her supporters do not block impeachment in the lower house.
Rousseff also criticized a crusading anti-corruption judge for overstepping his jurisdiction by releasing a wiretap of a conversation between her and former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, who is being investigated in the political bribery scheme stemming from state-run oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA).
Without mentioning the federal judge, Sergio Moro, by name, Rousseff said the judiciary cannot abandon impartiality and take sides politically by becoming a "party militant."
The recording of a conversation between Rousseff and Lula contributed to suspicions that she had appointed her mentor and predecessor as cabinet chief to shield him from prosecution. Only the Supreme Court has jurisdiction in cases against ministers.
Earlier on Tuesday, a supreme court justice upheld a decision by another judge on the court barring Lula from taking a ministry post.
Last week, Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes blocked Lula from taking office and ordered that the corruption case against him be handled by Moro, exposing Lula to the risk of arrest. A plenary vote of the full Supreme Court can still overrule Mendes' decision.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
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Updated Date: Mar 23, 2016 01:16 AM