RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Former Brazilian President Michel Temer was released from jail on Monday, less than a week after he was arrested in the sprawling Car Wash corruption probe that has ensnared many of the country’s top politicians and business leaders.
Temer, who will still face several corruption charges while free, left his cell in a facility near Rio de Janeiro for an undisclosed location after an order from a federal judge.
Judge Antonio Ivan Athie said earlier there’s no need to jail the 78-year-old politician because he doesn’t pose a risk to the investigation into the charges.
The backroom dealmaker and seven other people were jailed on Thursday on corruption charges in a decision that even some of his adversaries criticized. At the time, Judge Marcelo Bretas argued they be held so they couldn’t destroy evidence.
Federal prosecutors said they will appeal Athie’s decision and seek a new arrest of the unpopular former president.
Temer became president in August 2016 after President Dilma Roussef was impeached and removed from office, and his term ended on Jan. 1, when President Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in.
His administration was clouded by corruption allegations, though on two occasions, lawmakers refused to authorize prosecution of Temer. In Brazil, the prosecution of a sitting president requires a vote of Congress.
Athie’s ruling could still be reversed by his colleagues on the same court, which had been expected to decide on Temer’s future only on Wednesday.
“As I examined the case I verified that there is no justification to wait for two more days for the decision,” the judge said.
The ruling also said Bretas’ decision to arrest Temer was based on “assumptions on old facts.”
The Car Wash probes also led to the jailing of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is serving a 12-year sentence corruption and money laundering.
Once hugely popular, Da Silva, who governed between 2003 and 2010, has only left his prison cell in the city of Curitiba to testify in other suits and to attend his 7-year-old grandson’s funeral earlier in February.
Savarese reported from Madrid.
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