Former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who rose from childhood poverty to become a two-term president, was convicted on corruption charges on Wednesday in the first of five graft trials he faces.
He was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. He will remain free on appeal.
The ruling marked a stunning fall for Lula, Brazil’s first working-class president who left office six years ago with an 83-percent approval rating. The former union leader won global admiration for transformative social policies that helped reduce stinging inequality in Latin America’s biggest country.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama once labeled him the most popular politician on earth.