Brazil court nixes leniency for scandal ringleader

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s supreme court has rejected the request from the ringleader of the nation’s biggest political corruption case to have his sentence reduced.

The top court ruled Thursday that Jose Dirceu’s sentence of 10 years and 10 months stands.

Dirceu is the former chief of staff to ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. He is a leftist revolutionary who fought against Brazil’s military regime.

Dirceu was convicted by the top court last year for the crime of “active corruption.” An additional 22 people were also found guilty of various crimes in the cash-for-votes scheme.

Congressmen were paid upward of $10,000 a month to vote for the government’s agenda. The scheme came to light in 2005.

A series of remaining legal maneuvers will likely delay Dirceu actually heading to prison.

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