Former Representative Pedro Corrêa, who was impeached for breach of decorum in 2006, made it clear to the judge of the 13th Federal Criminal Court of Curitiba that he has modified the exhibits of the testimony given to the Task Force of the Federal Attorney’s Office, aiming at striking his plea bargain agreement, with the sole purpose of complementing information regarding former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Correa testified for the Federal Attorney’s Office on September 1st, 2016, and at the time, when he decided he wanted to cooperate, he was informed that some elements to ground the complaint against Lula were missing,. The complaint was filed on September 14th, 2016. To this day, Correa’s testimony has not been ratified, after being denied by Justice Teori Zavascki in 2016 for lack of evidence regarding his claims.

Due to the expressly flimsy nature of his version regarding his meetings with Lula, Corrêa presented photographs – with Lula on them – of meetings of the Political Council he attended to as President of the Progressive Party (PP). When questioned by the defense, he had to admit that these meetings were public, had a pre-established agenda, and covered by the press. The former President did not even attend them, only making an appearance at the end in order to greet the people present. As Correa presented the photographs at the beginning of the hearing, he positioned himself not as an unbiased witness, but as a person that has an interest in the matter, seeking to push forward his plea bargain agreement at any cost.     

At the beginning of the hearing, Lula’s defense requested, taking into account the adversary proceeding, the right to a fair hearing, and the equality of arms – as provided by Precedent 14 of the Federal Supreme Court – Corrêa’s testimony to be rescheduled, but it was denied. It was drawn the attention to the fact that the Federal Attorney’s Office had committed, on May 8th, to previously inform about the “status” of the plea bargain agreements in progress involving people who have been called to testify. Regarding Corrêa’s case, no information was provided although the Federal Attorney’s Office acknowledged the existence of negotiations and documented procedural remedies.

At the end of the hearing, the judge informed the parties that the Federal Attorney’s Office had inserted documents regarding the plea bargain agreements of the Odebrecht Group executives in the record.  As other  parties were added to the case, we requested the hearing that was  going to take place in the afternoon  – starting at 2 p.m. – to be rescheduled, considering that there was not enough time to get acquainted with the new elements, what violates the adversary proceeding, the right to a fair hearing, and the equality of arms. The judge decided to keep the testimonies “for judicial economy”, in spite of acknowledging the harm inflicted on the defense, so much so that he even granted a future request for new testimonies.

Cristiano Zanin Martins