Brazil’s Supreme Court agrees to probe Bolsonaro for riot

Jan 13, 2023, 7:04 AM | Updated: Jan 14, 2023, 5:54 am
FILE - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro looks on after speaking from his official residence the A...

FILE - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro looks on after speaking from his official residence the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Nov. 1, 2022. His absence on Inauguration Day will mark a break with tradition and remains unclear who, instead of him, will hand over the presidential sash to Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at the presidential palace on Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

(AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s Supreme Court has agreed to investigate whether former president Jair Bolsonaro incited the far-right mob that ransacked the country’s Congress, top court and presidential offices, a swift escalation in the probe that shows the ex-leader could face legal consequences for an extremist movement he helped build.

Justice Alexandre de Moraes granted a request from the prosecutor general’s office to include Bolsonaro in the wider investigation, citing a video the former president posted on Facebook two days after the riot. It claimed Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva wasn’t voted into office, but rather was chosen by the Supreme Court and Brazil’s electoral authority.

Although Bolsonaro posted the video after the riot and deleted it in the morning, prosecutors argued its content was sufficient to justify investigating his conduct beforehand.

Otherwise, Bolsonaro has refrained from commenting on the election since his Oct. 30 defeat. He repeatedly stoked doubt about the reliability of the electronic voting system in the run-up to the vote, filed a request afterward to annul millions of ballots cast using the machines and never conceded.

None of the ex-president’s claims were proved, and the results of the election were recognized as legal by different politicians, including some Bolsonaro allies, and several foreign government.

He has taken up residence in an Orlando suburb since leaving Brazil in late December and skipping the Jan. 1 swearing-in of his leftist successor, and some Democratic lawmakers have urged President Joe Biden to cancel his visa.

Following the justice’s decision late Friday, Bolsonaro’s lawyer Frederick Wassef said in a statement that the former president “vehemently repudiates the acts of vandalism and destruction” from Jan. 8, but blamed supposed “infiltrators” of the protest — something his far-right backers have also claimed.

The statement also said Bolsonaro “never had any relationship or participation with these spontaneous social movements.”

Brazilian authorities are investigating who enabled Bolsonaro’s radical supporters to storm the seats of power in an attempt to overturn results of the October election. Targets include those who summoned rioters to the capital or paid to transport them, and local security personnel who may have stood aside to let the mayhem occur.

Much of the attention thus far has focused on Anderson Torres, Bolsonaro’s former justice minister, who became the federal district’s security chief on Jan. 2, and was in the U.S. on the day of the riot.

De Moraes ordered Torres’ arrest this week and has opened an investigation into his actions, which he characterized as “neglect and collusion.” In his decision, which was made public Friday, de Moraes said that Torres fired subordinates and left the country before the riot, an indication that he was deliberately laying the groundwork for the unrest.

The court also issued an arrest warrant for the former security chief, and he must return within three days or Brazil will request his extradition, Justice Minister Flávio Dino said Friday.

Torres has denied wrongdoing, and said Jan. 10 on Twitter that he would interrupt his vacation to return to Brazil and present his defense. Three days later, that has yet to occur.

The minister pointed to a document that Brazilian federal police found upon searching Torres’ home; a draft decree that would have seized control of Brazil’s electoral authority and potentially overturned the election. The origin and authenticity of the unsigned document are unclear, and it remains unknown if Bolsonaro or his subordinates took any steps to implement the measure that would have been unconstitutional, according to analysts and the Brazilian academy of electoral and political law.

But the document “will figure in the police investigation, because it even more fully reveals the existence of a chain of people responsible for the criminal events,” Dino said, adding that Torres will need to inform police who drafted it.

By failing to initiate a probe against the document’s author or report its existence, Torres at very could be charged with dereliction of duty, said Mario Sérgio Lima, a political analyst at Medley Advisors.

Torres said on Twitter that the document was probably found in a pile along with others intended for shredding, and that it was leaked out of context feed false narratives aimed at discrediting him.

Dino told reporters Friday morning that no connection has yet been established between the capital riot and Bolsonaro.

Also on Friday night, the popular social media accounts of several prominent right-wing figures were suspended in Brazil in response to a court order, which journalist Glenn Greenwald obtained and detailed on a live social media broadcast.

The order, also issued by Justice de Moraes, was directed at six social media platforms and established a two-hour deadline to block the accounts or face fines. The accounts belong to a digital influencer, a YouTuber recently elected federal lawmaker, a podcast host in the mold of Joe Rogan, and an evangelical pastor and senator-elect, among others.

__

AP writer Bridi reported from Brasilia.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest, a Coast Guard rescue swimmer reac...
Associated Press

Man rescued by Coast Guard wanted in ‘Goonies’ fish incident

A man who was saved by a Coast Guard rescue swimmer at the mouth of the Columbia River as a massive wave rolled the yacht he was piloting Friday was wanted for a bizarre incident in which police said he left a dead fish at the Astoria, Oregon, home featured in the classic 1985 film, "The Goonies."
19 hours ago
FILE - An Amazon company logo on the company's building in Schoenefeld near Berlin, Germany, March ...
Associated Press

Amazon violated labor law with delivery app

A Spanish court has ruled that Amazon broke labor laws by forcing more than 2,000 delivery drivers to use an app that the company controlled for scheduling work and payments and requiring them to use their own cars and cellphones on the job.
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Saturday’s Scores

GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL= Bellarmine Prep 54, Olympia 43 Chiawana 76, Hermiston, Ore. 41 Hazen 40, Liberty 36 Kamiakin 77, Pasco 17 Orcas Island 67, Concrete 13 South Kitsap 39, Bethel 37 ___ Some high school basketball scores provided by Scorestream.com, https://scorestream.com/ Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Saturday’s Scores

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL= Adna 66, Raymond 47 Goldendale 56, Kittitas 33 Issaquah 65, Newport-Bellevue 46 Klahowya 79, North Mason 50 Lummi 65, Lopez 25 Mount Vernon Christian 81, Shoreline Christian 33 Neah Bay 91, Taholah 36 Orcas Island 82, Fellowship Christian 36 Puyallup 63, Emerald Ridge 52 Woodinville 73, North Creek 49 ___ Some high […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Crash averted at Austin airport; FAA, NTSB to investigate

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A FedEx cargo airplane attempting to land at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Saturday morning had to reverse course after a second plane was cleared to depart from the same runway, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. “The pilot of the FedEx airplane discontinued the landing and initiated a climb out,” the […]
19 hours ago
Skateboarders skate in front of city hall in remembrance of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beat...
Associated Press

Tony Hawk to donate photo proceeds to Tyre Nichols fund

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Skateboard legend Tony Hawk says he will donate half of the proceeds of autographed photos of himself and BMX rider Rick Throne to the memorial fund for Tyre Nichols. “My proceeds from these will go to the Tyre Nichols Memorial Fund, which includes plans to build a public skatepark in his […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Brazil’s Supreme Court agrees to probe Bolsonaro for riot