Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, or “Lula”, has been around the block a few times. He was first elected to the office in 2003 and served until 2010. In 2017, Lula was convicted of corruption and money laundering.
He was sentenced to nine and a half years. Even though he was sentenced, he chose to run in the presidential race in 2018. He was disqualified from running as his corruption conviction made him ineligible.
He went to prison from April 2018 until November 2019, when the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court ruled that that his imprisonment was unlawful. The case was annulled in June of 2021, making him eligible to run in the 2022 presidential race, which he won.
Lula’s time in office in the early 2000s was notable for the growth of the Brazilian economy, reduction in public debt and helping 20 million Brazilians escape poverty.
His rival in the 2022 election, Jair Bolsonaro was known as the ‘Brazilian Trump”. He sowed doubt about the veracity of elections, was generally seen to have handled the Covid-19 pandemic poorly, even denying its existence at one point, had an extremely poor environmental record seeing massive harvesting of the Amazon rain forest and fought calls for his impeachment.
At the time, the corruption charges brought against Lula stemmed from investigations of bribery and influence peddling. A key finding was that he had accepted $1.2 million US in bribes, and this led to his conviction.
I don’t know about you, but $1.2 million US doesn’t sound like very much money for a former president to make from bribery. I’m not condoning corruption, but either he’s Dr. Evil demanding $1 million dollars or he’s terrible at corruption.
I’m thinking it might be a combination of the two. But, as usual, I digress.
Let’s see what’s happening south of the border. It’s rumoured that the former president of the United States, Donald Trump (you may have heard of him) will be indicted in the state of New York on charges stemming from payments made to a porn star.
Keep in mind that President Barack Obama was pilloried for wearing a tan suit in the Oval Office. No mention of any porn star payments. Just bad clothing choices. Allegations of the payments were made before Trump was elected, and he still won.
Say Trump gets convicted. Then, on appeal, he gets the verdict set aside by a Supreme Court that counts three of his own appointees among the nine members. He’d have a path back to the White House.
Or, he could continue his run for President in 2024, win, and hold office from a prison cell. Just because it’s never been done before, doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. It is Trump, after all.
My point being, if Lula could find a way back to the presidency among corruption charges, there’s nothing stopping Trump from doing the same.
These days, anything is possible.
Winter isn't quite over.