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Defense

Lawyer David Mendes filed complaint against former leader of IURD in Angola

The Angolan lawyer David Mendes said this Thursday that he had filed a criminal proceeding against the former leader of the IURD in Angola, Honorilton Gonçalves, who was admitted on Wednesday, and the competent police should make a statement in the near future.

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At issue is an incident recorded on the day of the start of the trial involving elements of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD) in Angola, whose third session took place this Thursday at the Provincial Court of Luanda ("Palácio Dona Ana Joaquina"), in which the prosecuting attorney accused the accused of having offended him, a situation which he reported to the court, and the judge advised that if he thought it appropriate he should file a complaint with the police.

That day, in statements to the press, the lawyer even stated that the defendant "was lucky, because he ran away", otherwise he could have "slapped him" at the time, guaranteeing that he would file a case against the bishop, claiming that he can't offend people.

"It's not because he's Brazilian that he comes here and can do whatever he wants. He called me a criminal," he said, stressing that this is the behavior of "false prophets".

In his defense, the defendant, in statements to Lusa, said that there had been a misunderstanding, because what he told the lawyer was that he was not a criminal, when he went to greet him.

The Angolan bishop António Miguel Ferraz, the Brazilian pastor Fernando Teixeira, and the Angolan Belo Kifua Miguel are also accused in the process.

The former spiritual leader of the IURD chose this Thursday not to respond to any of the prosecution attorney David Mendes' questions.

In the third session of the trial hearing of the case involving IURD bishops and pastors accused of crimes of criminal association, money laundering and domestic violence, the court continued to hear Brazilian bishop Honorilton Gonçalves, at the height of the alleged crimes, spiritual leader of the church.

The session, which lasted nine hours, with a 30-minute break, was suspended when the accused expressed fatigue, after answering questions raised by the court, the Public Ministry and assistants to the prosecution.

During the trial session, which began on the 18th of this month, the defendant even expressed to the court some discomfort at the fact that lawyer David Mendes was "shaking his head, reproving and laughing" at his answers, which he argued be hindering him when answering questions from the Public Ministry.

In response, David Mendes suggested that he stop looking at himself and focus on the judge, who suggested that the defendant sit further to the defense side to avoid eye contact.

After the Public Ministry, given the floor to the assistants for the prosecution, Honorilton Gonçalves decided not to answer any of the questions posed by lawyer David Mendes, who brought to the courtroom two evidences to be included in the file, namely a document for the defendant to recognize his signature and an audio in which he supposedly gave instructions on the vasectomy process.

Several questions were raised today about this surgical procedure, either at the court's level, or by the Public Ministry and assistants, and the defendant said that during his term of just over a year it was never known to him that it had been done by a pastor or bishop.

This was, in fact, the majority of answers given in court this Thursday, which led to a warning from the judge to change his attitude, as he was turning the hearing into a "comical environment".

Regarding this audio evidence, the defense considered it illegal, questioning the way it was recorded, whether with authorization or not, and the guarantee that it is the defendant, taking into account the various programs available today for editing sounds.

The presiding judge of the session, Tutti António, relegated it to the next session, scheduled for December 9, which continues with the hearing of Honorilton Gonçalves, the admission or not of this test, after being analyzed with the parties involved before the start of the audience.

Speaking to the press, David Mendes said he believed that the evidence brought this Thursday by itself will change the course of the arguments presented so far by the defendant, "because he came with a line that he did nothing, that he was not ahead of the church".

"But it started to become clear from the moment I presented proofs that were signed by Mr. Honorilton Gonçalves and on the other hand we also have audios in which he gives instructions for having a vasectomy, so things start to change," he said.

"From the moment I asked for the documents to be collected, he became stressed", he said, also noting: "He repeated several times in this court that the Universal Church of Angola has nothing to do with Brazil, it is an autonomous church, it is a church that depends on Angolans, so it is very clear here, what many people said that the IURD was from Brazil and the spiritual leader who comes and says it is not true, so it adds another dimension", he added.

Regarding the fact that he did not answer any of his questions, the lawyer considered it normal, as it was part of the defense strategy, because he knew that his constituent could be cornered, "as it just happened".

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