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Former Brazilian President Lula found guilty of corruption

BRASILIA, July 12 (Reuters) - Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was convicted Wednesday on corruption charges in the first of five graft trials he faces, according to a court document.

Lula was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison and will remain free on appeal.

Lawyers for Lula, still one of Brazil’s most popular politicians, have said they would appeal a guilty ruling and have continuously blasted the trial as an illegitimate political witch hunt. His attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Judge Sergio Moro found Lula guilty of accepting 3.7 million reais ($1.2 million) worth of bribes from engineering firm OAS SA, the amount prosecutors said the company spent refurbishing a beach apartment for Lula in return for his help winning contracts with state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro.

$1 = 3.22 reais Reporting by Brad Brooks; Editing by Brad Haynes