Brazilian President Michel Temer has been charged with corruption by the country’s top federal prosecutor, just one month after allegations emerged that the leader approved bribes to silence a possible witness in the corruption scandal that has rocked the country.
The complaint, which was filed late Monday night by General Prosecutor Rodrigo Janot, accuses Temer of accepting bribes “in violation of his duties toward the State and society.” Janot called on Temer to pay millions of dollars in damages.
The charges come a month after the release of an audio recording of a conversation between Temer and Joesley Batista, the chairman of JBS, Brazil’s largest meatpacker, in which Temer can apparently be heard approving bribes. Batista, who presented the recording to prosectors as part of a plea deal, accused Temer of negotiating millions of dollars in illegal campaign donations for his ruling party, Brazilian Democratic Movement.
This marks the first time a sitting Brazilian president has faced criminal charges. But Temer may not face a trial. Under Brazilian law, the country’s lower house of Congress must decide if Temer should be tried—a decision that would require two-thirds of lawmakers to accept the charges.