- Associated Press - Friday, October 4, 2019

SAO PAULO (AP) - Brazil’s tourism minister committed electoral crimes during last year’s general elections, police said Friday.

Prosecutors endorsed the police findings, opening the way for a judge to decide whether the case against the minister, Marcelo Alvaro Antonio, should go to trial.

Antonio was leading President Jair Bolsonaro’s party in Minas Gerais state during the 2018 election. Police say Antonio abused a law requiring parties to have women make up at least 30 percent of their candidates.

Testimonies suggest many women on the far-right party slate were basically fake candidates who received no campaign funds or promotion.

Some received small amounts and then had to return them to party coffers, police said.

Antonio said in a statement that he trusts “truth will prevail in the case.”

The minister has denied any wrongdoing since the first of many complaints about the issue appeared in March.

He could face several years of jail time if the case against him goes to trial and he is convicted.

Bolsonaro’s spokesman said the Brazilian president will not fire the embattled minister. Bolsonaro campaigned on an anti-corruption platform.

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