Guatemala court sends Morales graft query to congress

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemala’s Supreme Court is letting a request to lift President Jimmy Morale’s immunity of office go to lawmakers to decide whether he will be investigated for alleged illicit electoral financing.

The ruling comes in response to a request from prosecutors and a U.N.-sponsored commission investigating graft in the country.

Morales is suspected of receiving at least $1 million in undeclared contributions during the 2015 campaign.

He has denied wrongdoing in the past. Presidential spokesman Alfredo Brito said Wednesday that the executive branch respects judicial independence.

Opposition lawmaker Sandra Moran said it would be tough to find the 105 votes in congress needed to lift the immunity from prosecution that comes with the presidency.

Two previous efforts to do so failed, once in congress and once before the Supreme Court.