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Brazil's Top Prosecutor Says Committed to 'Car Wash' Probe

Brazil's Prosecutor General Raquel Dodge smiles during a news conference in Brasilia, Brazil, Sept. 26, 2017.

Brazil's new Prosecutor General Raquel Dodge said on Tuesday she is committed to continuing the sprawling "Car Wash" corruption investigation that has implicated dozens of Brazilian politicians, including President Michel Temer.

In her first news conference since taking office on Sept. 18, Dodge declined to comment on charges filed against Temer by her predecessor Rodrigo Janot, but she said she could not withdraw them.

Janot charged Temer with obstruction of justice and being a member of a criminal organization days before leaving office based on plea bargain testimony by the owners of meatpacker JBS SA. Janot had to revoke that plea deal after evidence emerged of crimes committed by the witnesses.

Dodge, however, told reporters that the revoking of a plea deal did not erase the evidence provided.

The lower house of Congress, which has the authority to decide whether a president should stand trial, began to discuss the new charges on Tuesday and is expected to block them as it did last month with an earlier graft charge brought against Temer for allegedly accepting bribes paid by JBS.

Dodge said the Supreme Court must decide whether the Federal Police can also negotiate plea bargains with criminals, an authority currently limited to prosecutors who have opposed sharing the function with the police.

Plea bargains have been instrumental for prosecutors in the uncovering of a massive network of bribes and political kickbacks in Brazil's largest corruption scandal.

"I am sure that the Supreme Court will hand down a ruling that will turn this into an valuable tool," she said.