Brazil Supreme Court Jan. 8 riots investigations to include Bolsonaro
Brazil's Supreme Court approved a request from the Attorney General's office to investigate the role of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in inciting the January 8 riots that vandalized government institutions.
The Supreme Court in Brazil, in its investigation into the incitement of the January 8 Brazil riots, agreed to include former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
The request to investigate Bolsonaro came from the Attorney General's office to the Supreme Court in a statement, on Friday, that specified that the investigation looked at the “instigation and intellectual authorship of anti-democratic acts that resulted in episodes of vandalism and violence in Brasilia last Sunday.”
According to the court, there are seven different probes pertaining to the January 8 riots in Brasilia, among which there is one that investigated Bolosonaro's ties.
A video that questioned the electoral process
The evidence cited by the AG's office which compelled Justice Alexandre de Moraes to grant the request was a video that Bolsonaro had posted to Facebook two days after the Brasilia riots, in which an attorney in Mato Grosso allegedly questioned the legitimacy of Brazil's presidential election that brought President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to office once again.
More specifically, the video argued that Lula da Silva's election was brought on by a decision from the Supreme Court and Brazil's electoral offices rather than through a democratic election, thus questioning the legitimacy of the entire electoral process.
The video, however, was deleted from Facebook the morning after it was posted.
Prosecutors have maintained that, despite the fact that the video was posted after the riots took place, it remained plausible evidence to probe into Bolsonaro's role in the incitement of the riots. The prosecutors further noted that the video had "the power to incite new acts of civil insurgency."
Moreover, it was stated that the video might lead to Bolsonaro being charged with a "crime of incitement," which is punishable by three to six months in prison or a fine.
De Moraes' decision also included a request for a hearing to look into political communication on platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram.
Bolosonaro was not alone
In addition to Bolsonaro, his former Justice Minister Anderson Torres, has also been included in the investigation following an arrest order by de Moraes for his “neglect and collusion.”
According to de Moraes, Torres fired subordinates and fleed to the US prior to the riots, which opened the door for the riots to take place.
Hoje (10/01), recebi notícia de que o Min Alexandre de Moraes do STF determinou minha prisão e autorizou busca em minha residência. Tomei a decisão de interromper minhas férias e retornar ao Brasil. Irei me apresentar à justiça e cuidar da minha defesa.— Anderson Torres (@andersongtorres) January 10, 2023
Despite de Moraes's allegations, Torres denied any wrongdoing. Notwithstanding Torres' denial, the investigation has discovered a draft decree in his home that outlined seizing control of Brazil’s electoral authority and possibly overturning the election.
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The defense rebuts
Bolsonaro has “never had any relation or participation” in the January 8 riots in Brasilia, said Frederick Wassef, a lawyer representing the former President.
“President Jair Bolsonaro always repudiated all the illegal and criminal acts, and always spoke publicly against illicit conducts, just as he was always a defender of the Constitution and democracy,” Wassef said in a statement.
Furthermore, Wassef also noted that “Throughout his government, he always acted according to the four lines of the Constitution," adding that "President Jair Bolsonaro fiercely repudiates the vandalism and depredation acts against public patrimony committed by infiltrators in the manifestations.”
Brasilia rioters likely had inside help: Lula
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said, on Thursday, that the rioters likely had inside help.
Lula told journalists he had ordered a "thorough review" of presidential palace staff after Sunday's violent riots, which saw supporters of his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro storm the presidential palace, Congress, and Supreme Court and cause widespread damage.
"I am convinced that the door of the Planalto (presidential) palace was opened for people to enter because there are no broken doors," the President said in Brasilia.
"This means that someone facilitated their entry," he added.
Elsewhere in his remarks, he affirmed that "we will investigate calmly to see what really happened."
Read more: Brazil rioters dubbed 'neo-fascists' dispersed, intl. leaders condemn