UPDATE 5-Brazil's Rousseff loses legal battle, faces impeachment threat
(Updates with audit court rejecting government accounts)
By Anthony Boadle and Alonso Soto
BRASILIA Oct 7 (Reuters) - Brazil's besieged President Dilma Rousseff lost a major battle on Wednesday when the federal audit court rejected her government's accounts from last year, paving the way for her opponents to try to impeach her.
In a unanimous vote, the Federal Accounts Court, known as the TCU, ruled that Rousseff's government manipulated its accounts in 2014 to disguise a widening fiscal deficit as she campaigned for re-election.
The ruling, the TCU's first against a Brazilian president in nearly 80 years, is not legally binding but it will be used by opposition lawmakers to argue for impeachment proceedings against the unpopular leftist leader in an increasingly hostile Congress.
Opposition leaders hugged and cheered when the ruling was announced in Congress, though it was not clear how quickly they would move or whether they have enough support to impeach the president.
"This establishes that they doctored fiscal accounts, which is an administrative crime and President Rousseff should face an impeachment vote," said Carlos Sampaio, leader of the opposition PSDB party in the lower house.
"It's the end for the Rousseff government," said Rubens Bueno, a congressman from the PPS party. He said the opposition has the votes to start proceedings in the lower house though perhaps not the two-thirds majority needed for an impeachment trial in the Senate.
In a last-ditch bid to win time, the government had asked the Supreme Court to delay Wednesday's ruling, but it refused. Continuación...