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The Latest: Defiant da Silva tells rally he’s not guilty

January 24, 2018

Brazilian former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks during a demonstration in his support in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. Two appellate court judges have voted to uphold a graft conviction against da Silva, raising the specter that the former leader won't be able to run for Brazil's top job despite holding a lead in the polls. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) — The latest on the appeal of a graft conviction against former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (all times local):

9:05 p.m.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has defiantly told supporters that he is not guilty of any crime despite an appeals court’s decision to uphold a corruption conviction against him.

Speaking at a rally in Sao Paulo, da Silva told the crowd of supporters: “I want them to tell me what crime I committed. I have been convicted again for a freaking apartment that is not mine.”

He was convicted last year of being given an apartment by a construction company in return for giving it government contracts.

Three appellate judges voted unanimously Wednesday to uphold the conviction and even added years to da Silva’s sentence.

Da Silva said the decision was political and would hurt the Brazilian people.

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7 p.m.

Brazil’s Workers’ Party says it will register former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as its candidate for president despite the fact that his corruption conviction has been upheld.

An appellate court unanimously upheld the graft conviction on Wednesday and even added years to his sentence. By law, a person with a criminal conviction that has been upheld can’t run for office. However, da Silva has several avenues to appeal.

Party chairwoman Gleisi Hoffmann called Wednesday’s ruling a “judicial farce” that was orchestrated to keep da Silva from office.

She vowed that the party would fight the conviction “in the judiciary and mainly on the streets.”

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6:35 p.m.

An appellate court has unanimously upheld a graft conviction against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva — and even added a few years to his sentence.

Wednesday’s decision marks a significant blow to da Silva, who was wildly popular as president between 2003 and 2010 but has since been dogged by corruption allegations. It also complicates da Silva’s push to return to the presidency.

By law, a person with a criminal conviction that has been upheld can’t run for office. However, da Silva has several avenues to appeal and is expected to do so.

In July, Judge Sergio Moro convicted da Silva of corruption for being slated to receive a beachfront apartment from construction company OAS in exchange for contracts. Moro sentenced da Silva to 9½ years in prison.

The judges on Wednesday decided to lengthen that sentence to 12 years and one month.

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4:35 p.m.

Two of the three judges on an appellate court have decided to uphold a corruption conviction against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The third judge on the panel is also set to vote Wednesday, but a simple majority is enough to uphold the July conviction by lower court Judge Sergio Moro.

Moro ruled that da Silva was slated to receive a beachfront apartment from construction company OAS in exchange for contracts.

The appellate court’s Wednesday decision could bar da Silva, president between 2003 and 2010, from running in October’s election. By law, a candidate is ineligible if he or she has a criminal conviction and it has been upheld by a second court.

However, final decisions on candidacies are made by Brazil’s electoral court, and da Silva has several avenues to appeal to higher courts.

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3:20 p.m.

Brazil is taking over Twitter, with much of this nation of more than 200 million fixated on the judges who are ruling whether to uphold or throw out a corruption conviction against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

As the appeals decision was broadcast live Wednesday, three of the top 10 topics trending worldwide on Twitter were about the case. The top trending topic was the hashtag “MoluscoNaCadeia,” or “MolluskInJail.” That’s a play on the fact that da Silva is universally known as “Lula,” which is a common nickname for Luiz but also means squid.

At No. 5 on the worldwide trending list was “CadeAProva,” or “WhereIsTheProof,” reflecting how the case has split this social media-mad country.

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2:10 p.m.

An appellate court judge is voting to increase the jail time for a graft conviction against former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Judge Joao Pedro Gebran Neto is the first of three appellate court judges to rule on a case that could impact the presidential elections and even stability in Latin America’s largest nation.

After hearing arguments from both the prosecution and defense, Gebran Neto said da Silva’s jail time should be 12 years and one month. That is an increase of more than two years over the sentence leveled in July.

If at least two of the three judges assigned to review the case uphold the conviction, da Silva could be barred from running in elections later this year.

Despite myriad legal troubles the 72-year-old leads polls for October’s race.

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