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Gospel-singing Brazilian politician may be expelled from congress to face murder charges

A gospel-singing Brazilian lawmaker accused of masterminding the assassination of the husband who was once her adopted son is facing calls for her expulsion from congress so she can face murder charges.

Flordelis dos Santos de Souza – a favela-born celebrity congresswoman whose rise to stardom was celebrated in a film featuring some of Brazil’s top actors – is fighting to avoid jail after police claimed she had orchestrated her partner’s 2019 murder.

The politician met – and initially adopted – Anderson do Carmo in 1991 when he was 14 and she was 30, and they married in 1998 after becoming romantically involved. He was gunned down outside their home on 16 June last year with the singer, who fans call simply Flordelis, claiming her husband had been killed by thieves.

But on Monday, investigators alleged she had plotted to kill the 42-year-old preacher, with the help of at least seven of the couple’s 55 mostly adopted children. Heavily armed police arrested five of the congresswoman’s children and one granddaughter, but were unable to detain Flordelis since she enjoys parliamentary immunity having been elected to Brazil’s 513-member lower house in 2018.

Fellow lawmakers hope to change that.

In an official petition to the speaker of the lower house on Tuesday, Léo Motta, a rightwing congressman and former police officer, demanded she be stripped of her term.

“Given the avalanche of evidence against congresswoman Flordelis, it is clear she cannot remain in the position to which she was elected,” Motta, who is also a gospel singer, argued in the document.

“It’s worth stressing that the congresswoman always sought to project the image of a Christian woman, committed to raising her adopted children and concerned about the family, while simultaneously exhibiting behaviour which – if the police inquiry’s claims prove true – suggests a perverse, crime-inclined heart.

“That alone constitutes a violation of parliamentary decorum,” Motta added, according to the conservative website O Antagonista.

Brazilian newspapers have this week been packed with surreal and macabre details of Flordelis’ alleged crimes, which she denies.

They include claims that scheming relatives spent months trying to kill their victim by poisoning his food and that Flordelis opted to eliminate her husband because she thought divorce ungodly.

“What am I supposed to do? I can’t separate from him because that would scandalize the name of God,” she allegedly said in a message to one of her children.

Police reportedly believe that in the hours before Do Carmo’s shooting, he and Flordelis visited a swingers club in the Rio neighbourhood of Botafogo, in the shadow of the Christ the Redeemer statue.