Brazil’s Supreme Court has ruled that Congress will have the final decision in removing lawmakers from their posts, a move that shields legislators from prosecution for corruption.
The majority of the judges decided in a narrow 6-5 vote to avoid confrontation with lawmakers in the middle of the country's largest corruption scandal involving hundreds of politicians, including President Michel Temer and several of his top ministers.
This decision will allow the Senate to vote on whether to revoke the suspension ruled by the court against Senator Aecio Neves, who is being investigated in seven corruption cases.
Meanwhile, the Lower House will vote this month to bury the charges against Temer in a corruption case involving the largest meatpacking company in Brazil, JBS, thus avoiding a trial by the Supreme Court.
More than a hundred politicians are currently being investigated in a graft probe in which dozens of companies are accused of paying bribes to win government contracts and seeking leverage in new laws and reforms inside Congress.
The presidents of the Senate and the Lower House are also under investigation.
More than 230 people inside Congress are being investigated for several allegations and could face trial since the Supreme Court is the only body that can try lawmakers.
The confrontation between both branches began last year after the Supreme Court ordered the former speaker of the Lower House, Eduardo Cunha, to be removed. He was later arrested for corruption and sentenced to more than 15 years in prison.
The Supreme Court had previously ruled that no one could be charged based solely on testimony by someone under a plea bargain if no additional evidence is presented.
The main accusations against politicians in Brazil come from plea deals by officials from companies such as Petrobras and Odebrecht to reduce their sentences.