The former president of Brazil is accused of having used his position to “degrade the electoral environment” in the run-up to the elections that he would later lose to Lula da Silva.
The investigating judge of the trial against Jair Bolsonaro found the former Brazilian president guilty of abuses of power in the 2022 elections and voted in favor of disqualifying him for 8 years, in the second hearing held this Tuesday at the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE).
Judge Benedito Gonçalves considered it proven that Bolsonaro used his then position as head of state “to degrade the electoral environment”, “incite a state of collective paranoia” and fabricate “conspiracy theories” with “false information” and “atrocious lies”. “.
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“It is not possible to close your eyes to the anti-democratic effects of violent speeches and lies that jeopardize the credibility of the electoral Justice,” said the examining magistrate in the 382-page summary of his vote.
Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro faces a trial that could disqualify him for 8 years. Photo: AFP
With the first vote in favor of the disqualification of Bolsonaro, the trial, which stems from a complaint by the Democratic Labor Party, was suspended and will resume on Thursday with the analysis of the other six magistrates that make up the electoral court and who will define the future far-right leader politician.
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The case against Bolsonaro, for his assault on the electoral system
The central point of the case is a meeting to which Bolsonaro summoned fifty foreign ambassadors at the official residence of the Presidency, on July 18, 2022, to seriously disqualify the electoral system and accuse the Justice of maneuvering in favor of today’s president Lula da Silva.
That meeting, described as “abnormal” by Gonçalves and in which the then president raised unfounded suspicions about the electronic ballot boxes that Brazil has used without complaints of fraud since 1996, was broadcast on public television and the social networks of the reserve captain of the Army.
Bolsonaro would end up losing the October elections of that year by a narrow margin to Lula, who took office on January 1.
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Magistrate Benedito Gonçalves. AFP photo.
However, Gonçalves opted for the acquittal of Bolsonaro’s running mate, General Walter Braga Netto, as “his responsibility had not been proven” in the case.
In this context, he pointed to Bolsonaro, 68, as “the one fully responsible” for the event with the ambassadors, based on the testimonies collected in the investigation, including several of his closest ministers.
In his opinion, Bolsonaro, based on “completely distorted” arguments, “dangerously flirted with the coup” and tried to “convince” the diplomatic representatives that “his account deserved more trust than the official information from the TSE.”
“He tried to convince the international community that the elections were marked by systematic fraud and corrupt actions by the TSE, exposing a false image of Brazilian democracy,” he said.
What can happen with Bolsonaro
While the trial was taking place, Bolsonaro, who pleaded not guilty, puffed up on his Telegram channel about his management (2019-2022) in the face of “malicious narratives.”
The trial began on Thursday of last week with the reading of the case report and oral presentations by the prosecution, Bolsonaro’s defense and the Public Ministry, which also asked to condemn the former head of state and strip him of his political rights.
In case of being found guilty, Bolsonaro could lose his political rights for the next 8 years, with which he would not be able to run in the next presidential elections, in 2026.
Jair Bolsonaro pleads not guilty. Photo: REUTERS/Carla Carniel.
The former president has had few public appearances since he returned to Brazil on March 30 after living in the United States for three months, while he has held meetings with his Liberal Party, the majority in Congress.
Weeks ago, he assured “he did not know” if he would be a candidate for public office again, although he made clear his intention to remain “active” in politics and “collaborate with the future of Brazil.”
Other trials against Bolsonaro
That of the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) will be the first of a series of decisions that could fall on the former president, who faces more than a dozen administrative processes in the electoral tribunal.
He is also the subject of five investigations in the Federal Supreme Court, with prison sentences, including one for his alleged role as the mastermind of the violent protest on January 8.
Since his return from the United States, he has testified before the police on three occasions: for the riots in Brasilia, for a case of jewelry that entered the country illegally in 2021 supposedly for him and his wife, and for an alleged system of forging certificates. vaccination against covid.
With information from EFE.