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Rousseff Addresses Brazilian Senate in Impeachment Trial

  • VOA News

People walk next to an official photography of Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff, with a text written in Portuguese that reads "Dilma our president," at a camp in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016.

People walk next to an official photography of Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff, with a text written in Portuguese that reads "Dilma our president," at a camp in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016.

Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has denied allegations of manipulating government accounts, during testimony at her impeachment trial.

"I did not commit the crimes that I am unjustly accused of," the 68-year-old leftist leader said in an address Monday to the Senate, repeating her claim that the impeachment drive was a "coup."

"I can't help but taste the bitterness of injustice," she said.

Rousseff is accused of taking illegal state loans to cover deficits in the budget.

Brazil Political Crisis: Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff speaks at her own impeachment trial, in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016.

Brazil Political Crisis: Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff speaks at her own impeachment trial, in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016.

The first Brazilian female president has denied wrongdoing and denounced opponents' efforts as a conspiracy to overthrow her and undermine the country's democracy.

Officials speaking on condition of anonymity told reporters Rousseff will be assertive and talk about her life fighting for democracy.

Late Saturday, senators concluded the third day of hearings with officials interrogating two witnesses called by the defense

Former Finance Minister Nelson Henrique Barbosa and Rio de Janeiro State University law professor Ricardo Lodi were brought in to testify and said Rousseff did not break the law.

"There is nothing remotely illegal. You cannot act retroactively with a new interpretation of the law," Barbosa said.

Following days of deliberations, senators will vote on whether to permanently remove Rousseff. Of the 81 senators, 54 must vote against her in order for the impeachment to become permanent.

"She will appeal to undecided senators to respect democracy and stop the coup that is under way," a spokesman for Rousseff told Reuters. "She is in good spirits."

Interim President Michel Temer could stay on the job until the end of Rousseff's term in 2018.

Accusers presented the case last week saying Rousseff was criminally guilty and responsible for Brazil's severe recession in Latin America's largest economy.

Former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva is expected to appear with Rousseff.

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