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Here (They Print) Lies (About) Gushiken

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Gushiken, at right, with an aggressively bearded Lula, back in the day

Luiz  Gushiken, a close personal aide to ex-President Lula and founder of the Workers Party (PT), passed away at 63 years of age.

Before falling ill, Gushiken was subjected to a major-league smear campaign in the press before being found innocent by the Supreme Court in the “payola of the PT” case: — as opposed to the “payola of the DEM-PSDB” and the “payola of the Federal District, which seem to be sitting a file drawer somewhere.

Press coverage of Gushiken’s political career drew the anger of ex-President Lula, in a statement published to the Web site of his foundation. He was joined in his indignation by GGN magazine: a passage is translated below.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva state on September 14 that former minister Luiz Gushiken was the victim of lies published by factions in the press, and called for a formal apology for the anguish this caused Gushiken, who died Friday from a stomach cancer.

“Gushiken was a victim of the lies spread by part of the press in this country. I know what comrade Gushiken went through with the slander with which they smeared him. Often, an irresponsible journalist who makes an accusation without evidence to back it  fails to take into account the background and history of persons, whether they are married, whether they have children …

Gushiken headed SECOM, the Presidential Secretariat of Social Communication after serving a key role in the 2002 election of Lula. He was accused of participating in the episode known as the mensalão — “the big monthly payola.”

Finally, last year, after seven years since the case broke, the Supreme Court admitted there was no evidence against Gushiken.

“After suffering as he did for so many years, from his illness on one hand and from the persecution he endured on the other, when he was declared innocent, a news organization with a proper sense of shame, who hammered on the theme of Gushiken’s guilty,  ought to publish a front-page headline asking his forgiveness. There is not harm in Apologizing. The sleazebag journo who accused Gushiken without proof should apologize.”

A good archival exercise for up-and-coming investigative journalists might be to test the hypothesis that the Brazilian press is capable of and willing to lie, based on this case.

The week to come will be eventful as the justices vote on whether to grant appeals — Brazilian law does not provide for the right to appeal to a higher jurisdiction in a case involving elected officials, who enjoy (?) a privileged forum — that is, the Supreme Court is the last court of appeal in a case where it was the first level of jurisdiction.

It is expected that the senior justice of Court will vote for this peculiar due-process mechanism, which will commit the court to reconsidering its own reasoning.

I once shared a table with Gusiken, drinking a beer, at the World Social Forum of 2002 — a very happy Gushiken, having just managed a successful presidential campaign.

Lacking in the eloquence eloquence of other attorneys, the defense team of Luiz Gushiken, led by Luis Justiniano de Arantes Fernandes, made a name for itself in one of the most shocking incidents in the “monthly payola” trial. constitui-se em um dos momentos mais chocantes do julgamento do mensalão.

Calma and soft-spoken, but with an indignance visibly restrained, he showed that there was a 2007 audt document that cleared Gushiken, showoing that all of the procedures for allocating funds to Visanet had been kosher. The federal prosecutor — MPF — denied having access to the investigation by the  two lawyers and the Banco do Brasil. itself.

Had the field reports been compiled into summary reports and included in the case file, it would have resulted in one more vote for his exoneration.

In August 2007 the MPF was convinced there were absolutely no elements to  file a civil case, but insisting on going through with the criminal charge.

MP only turned over the documents to the parties after the Supreme Court had received the case, in which attorney general Roberto Gurgel, accepts the innocence of Gushiken.

Five years of torture, knowing Gushiken to be innocent, was a wicked act that must certainly have aggravated the illness that carried him off.

Unless the MPF presents acceptable explanations of this episode, this case will be a stain on the MPF careers of Geral Antonio Fernando de Souza and Roberto Gurgel.

Next, José Augusto Leal accused Antonio Fernando de Souza from erasing from the file declarations favorable to Gushiken.

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