His eccentric manner and behaviour towards journalists has been remarked on throughout the four months that his high-profile client has been held in Évora jail, but now José Sócrates’ lawyer João Araújo faces disciplinary proceedings over comments he made on air to a female journalist.
Leaving the hearing that saw judges at Lisbon’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice once again refuse a writ of habeas corpus to release his client, Araújo was pursued by reporters, one of which was Tânia Laranjo, who works for Correio da Manhã – the tabloid that has published more ‘exclusives’ on Sócrates’ alleged misdemeanours than any other national news provider.
It is well known that there is no love lost between CM and Team Sócrates but this time Araújo really blew off steam.
After telling the posse of reporters to “get out of my face” using a colloquial expression unacceptable in polite circles, he rounded on Laranjo, saying: “Madam, you should take another bath because you smell bad.”
As he continued on his way, still being filmed by CMTV (Correio da Manhã’s television channel), Araújo confided to a colleague: “That girl makes me feel sick.”
Laranjo and her employers have reacted with threats of legal action, saying it is the “least” they can do.
CM director Octávio Ribeiro said Araújo had “exceeded all the limits of his profession” and indeed the limits that apply to the way anyone should treat a fellow citizen.
“He insulted a journalist who was simply performing her duty and asking questions that needed to be asked.
“It was a vile, insulting attack,” Ribeiro added, and the paper will now be adding this latest complaint to the “others” already lodged in court against the lawyer.
Meantime, Elina Fraga of the Ordem dos Advogados (lawyers’ association) has said Araújo faces the likelihood of an internal disciplinary hearing if the association’s ethics council concludes he insulted Laranjo’s dignity.
Since making his comments, a video clip leaving viewers in no doubt as to what happened has been available on multiple sites online.
By NATASHA DONN [email protected]