Caetano Veloso’s lawyers said they will appeal what they call an “absurd decision” to acquit Congressman Marco Feliciano, who had been sued by the artist for accusing him of being a pedophile.
On Monday (13), Judge Nelson Ferreira Junior, from the Federal District Court, said that Feliciano practiced the “legitimate exercise of the freedom to criticize” by accusing the musician of raping Paula Lavigne in 1986, when they met. She was 13 years old, and Caetano was 40.
The two ended up getting married and having two children. When the couple got together for the first time, the Brazilian courts still did not have the current forecast of crimes in sexual relations between people aged 14 and over — the discussion was on a case-by-case basis, under the responsibility of the judge.
In a statement, Ticiano Figueiredo and Pedro Ivo Velloso, who defend Caetano, said they received “the acquittal of Pastor Marco Feliciano with great perplexity.”
“The offenses fired by the deputy were never intended to criticize or propose any debate. They are personal attacks, repeated, which have the effect, rather, of a public lynching of the image of Caetano Veloso, as a way to obtain greater visibility”, he says the text signed jointly by the defenders.
“One cannot accept as free exercise of the right to criticize the attitude of those who use the other to leverage popularity, falsely accusing them of crime and infamous acts, making themselves and their families the target of their followers, something that has happened in the last five years,” he continues.
According to the pair, the idea now is to file an appeal in the second instance. “The defense is convinced that it will reverse this absurd decision within the scope of the Federal District Court of Justice.”
Feliciano told this newspaper that “the light of hope” reached him. He regained his “speech immunity provided for in Article 53 of the Constitution,” he said. “No Brazilian can be punished for his opinion.”
In his decision, the magistrate says he does not see definitive proof that the deputy acted with the intention of defaming or insulting Caetano, “limiting himself only to debating issues that were already, for a long time, strongly discussed on social networks, including , in relation to the article in Playboy magazine”.
He refers to an interview Lavigne gave in 1998, when he was 29 years old. In it, she said that her first sexual relationship was with the man who would later become her husband and father of her children, at his 40th birthday party.