UPDATE 3-Brazil's ex-president Lula to stand trial for corruption
(Adds quote from Lula)
By Brad Brooks
SAO PAULO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will stand trial on corruption charges, a crusading federal judge ruled on Tuesday, adding more turbulence to the country's political landscape.
Judge Sergio Moro said that Lula, who served as president from 2003-11 and has for two decades been an iconic and powerful political force in Brazil, will face charges of accepting 3.7 million Brazilian reais ($1.14 million) in bribes connected to a sweeping kickback probe at state-run oil company Petrobras .
Moro wrote in his ruling that according to the prosecutors' charges, Lula was a "direct beneficiary" of bribes from OAS SA , one of the engineering and construction firms at the center of the graft scandal, and therefore must stand trial.
The corruption case will also put on trial Lula's wife, Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva; OAS Chief Executive Jose Aldemario "Leo" Pinheiro; Paulo Okamotto, the president of the Lula Institute, and four others.
In an emailed note late on Tuesday, Lula's lawyers again said their client had committed no crime and labeled Moro as a "impartial" judge who was on a witch hunt to see the former leader jailed.
Lula, speaking via video link, told an event held by his lawyers in New York that the charges were a "farce."
"What's happening isn't getting me down, but just motivates me to go out and talk more," said Lula, adding that he "will keep fighting." Continuación...