Brazil’s chief justice opens probe into Bolsonaro over investigation leak

WION Web Team
Brasilia, Brazil Published: Aug 13, 2021, 07:00 AM(IST)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Bolsonaro, who polls say is trailing behind former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2022 re-election bid, has embarked on a crusade to discredit the nation’s electronic voting system and authorities who defend it as reliable

The Brazilian Supreme Court’s chief justice said Thursday he opened a probe into right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro for posting documents to social media from a sealed police investigation into the hacking of a federal election court.

With Bolsonaro posting the documents last week while persistently claiming that the election system is open to fraud, the hack of the Superior Electoral Court occurred months before the 2018 election.

The president has not presented proof to back up those allegations.

Moraes ruled that Bolsonaro's posts must immediately be removed from social media and that the police officer leading the inquiry be removed.

Bolsonaro responded in his weekly online live broadcast, saying that the classified investigation should be public.

"The federal police investigation interests all of us, so it has to be public. If not, how long will it stay under seal?" Bolsonaro asked.

He said that even if his posts were removed online, the documents had already been widely circulated.

Judges on the electoral court had requested an inquiry be opened into the matter earlier in the week.

Earlier, Congress defeated Bolsonaro's campaign earlier this week to adopt a paper record of each vote, in another blow to his weakened political position heading into the 2022 elections.

Bolsonaro, who polls say is trailing behind former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2022 re-election bid, has embarked on a crusade to discredit the nation’s electronic voting system and authorities who defend it as reliable.

The electoral court has rebuffed his assertions as baseless, saying the system is trustworthy and there are several means of checking results. It also approved opening its own investigation of Bolsonaro, who has failed to present proof of his claim that past votes were wracked with fraud.

This week, Bolsonaro repeatedly insulted Luis Roberto Barroso, who is both a Supreme Court justice and the electoral court’s president.

As his government came under fire for its pandemic response, Bolsonaro has frequently repeated the false claim that the top court prohibited him from adopting measures to limit the virus’ spread. In fact, the court ruling ensured mayors and governors also had jurisdiction to act.

(With inputs from agencies)

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