Brazil: Majority of top court convicts ex-top aide - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Brazil: Majority of top court convicts ex-top aide

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -

A majority of Brazil's Supreme Court justices have voted to convict a former top aide to popular former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for orchestrating a cash-for-votes scheme.

Six of the eight justices who voted Tuesday condemned Jose Dirceu on a charge of "active corruption" for his leading role in the scheme that saw legislators paid regular bribes in exchange for votes supporting government initiatives.

Two other justices will vote Wednesday, making the verdict final -- but a majority is all that's needed for conviction.

Dirceu was Silva chief-of-staff and has denied the allegations since the scandal broke in 2005. He faces up to 12 years in prison.

The case is known in Brazil as "mensalao," which means big monthly allowance. Lawmakers allegedly got up to $10,000 each month.

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