(Bloomberg) -- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will appoint the lawyer who helped his political comeback to a seat on Brazil’s Supreme Court.
Cristiano Zanin, 48, headed up Lula’s defense team throughout nationwide probes that began in 2014 into a massive bribery scheme that diverted billions of dollars from public coffers. His name will be submitted to senators on Thursday, Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco told reporters on Thursday.
Lula later confirmed the decision.
“I think everyone expected me to nominate Zanin, not only for the role he played in my defense, but simply because I think he will become a great minister of the Supreme Court,” the president told reporters.
The so-called Carwash anti-corruption investigation and prosecutions ensnared some of the nation’s top politicians, landing chief executives of construction conglomerates and Lula himself in jail.
Zanin spearheaded the ultimately successful legal challenge that saw Lula’s conviction on graft charges overturned by the Supreme Court. The annulment of the sentences — which had been handed down by then Judge Sergio Moro — restored Lula’s political rights and made it possible for him to run in the 2022 elections, in which he narrowly defeated Jair Bolsonaro.
Lula, who served two terms as Brazil’s president from 2003 through 2010, served 580 days in prison before his release.
Zanin’s appointment must be approved by the Senate to become final.
(Updates with Lula comments in third paragraph.)
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