A lawyer for former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Wednesday said he would appeal Lula's conviction on graft charges and expressed confidence that a higher court would overturn the verdict.
"This makes Lula's situation much worse since it is much more than a mere investigation", said Claudio Couto, a political science professor at Fundacao Getulio Vargas, a Sao Paulo-based university and think tank.
The head of the Workers' Party, Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, also hit out at the ruling, saying it was created to stop Lula standing for office. It added that the court's decision was "likely to give a near-term boost to Brazilian markets" as the likelihood of Lula, a former union leader, returning to power and quashing needed economic reforms championed by Temer waned. He closed with Thomas Fuller's words: "Be you never so high the law is above you". Several OAS executives were jailed by Moro, the hard-charging judge overseeing the so-called Car Wash investigation, the largest-ever corruption probe in Brazil's history.
Expressions of support for Lula also came in from around Latin America. "Everyone knows he will win if he runs".
Even as his appeal is heard in this case, he faces four more trials over corruption allegations.
Lula will appeal the verdict and can remain free while he does so. The guilty sentence, according to the digital newspaper Brasil 247, was issued just under 10 months after attorney generals for Lava Jato anti-corruption operation filed the indictment.
The prosecution will not enforce the sentence yet pending an appeal.
The ruling completes a stunning downfall for Lula who harnessed his personal popularity with rising wealth from a commodities boom to make Brazil a major player on the world stage during his two terms in office.
Upon leaving office and getting his hand-selected successor, Dilma Rousseff, elected, Brazil's economy soured.
Now, Temer faces impeachment questions of his own. As president, Lula was a staunch supporter of Latin American leftists in Cuba, Venezuela, and Argentina, and if reelected would provide Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro with a much-needed ally on the worldwide stage, particularly in the Organization of American States (OAS).
"It's very unusual to have a former president convicted of corruption and at the time same a sitting president also being investigated", said Sergio Praca, a political scientist at the Fundacao Getulio Vargas university in Rio de Janeiro.
A close Temer ally got some relief Wednesday.