Lula to name his former defense lawyer to Brazil Supreme Court

  • World
  • Thursday, 01 Jun 2023

Cristiano Zanin, a lawyer of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, smiles during a session of the Brazil's electoral court, in Brasilia, Brazil October 27, 2022. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo

BRASILIA (Reuters) -Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Thursday he will appoint the lawyer who defended him against graft accusations, Cristiano Zanin, to a vacant Supreme Court seat.

Lula confirmed the widely expected appointment in a press conference in Brasilia, saying it was "not only" because of his lawyer's role in his defense, "but simply because I think that Zanin will become a great justice of the Supreme Court."

Zanin would replace Justice Ricardo Lewandowski, who retired in April, making him Lula's first nominee to the top court since taking office in January for a third non-consecutive term.

"He will be an exceptional justice of the Supreme Court if approved by the Senate and I believe he will be," Lula added.

Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco was earlier informed of Zanin's nomination.

"I met with Cristiano Zanin yesterday. He will be the president's appointee for the Supreme Court and his nomination is expected to be submitted to the Senate today," Pacheco told reporters in Brasilia.

"I see his nomination positively. He has all conditions needed to be a Supreme Court justice," Pacheco added.

Zanin, a partner at law firm Zanin Martins Advogados, gained recognition in recent years for defending Lula against corruption charges, helping to throw out a conviction at the Supreme Court and release him in 2019 after 580 days in jail.

Zanin holds a law degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo and has previously taught law at the FADISP college.

He has described himself as a specialist in bet-the-company litigation and "lawfare," or the misuse of legal proceedings to attack or intimidate opponents. He co-founded a think tank, the Lawfare Institute, and has published books on the topic.

(Reporting by Gabriel Araujo in Sao Paulo and Ricardo Brito in Brasilia; Editing by Brad Haynes, Mark Porter and Bill Berkrot)

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