Brazil top court spares leading candidate from racism trial

CORRECTS MONTH - In this handout photo provided by the National Social Liberal Party press office, presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro poses for a p

CORRECTS MONTH - In this handout photo provided by the National Social Liberal Party press office, presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro poses for a p

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil's top court has narrowly spared a far-right presidential candidate from standing trial for racism.

A court panel voted 3-2 on Tuesday to drop a racism accusation against Jair Bolsonaro, who leads polls ahead of October's elections and was stabbed and injured last week during a campaign event.

Justice Alexandre de Moraes ruled the candidate had the right to voice rude and disrespectful opinions toward blacks in a 2017 speech.

Bolsonaro said in the speech that members of rural settlements founded by the descendants of slaves, called "quilombolas," are "not good even to procreate."

He also talked about the weight of those slave descendants using a measure that Brazilian farmers apply to animals.

Moraes said those comments did not cross the limits of his freedom of expression.