The operation launched by the Federal Police this Thursday 8 closes the siege not only on high-ranking military personnel and former ministers, but also on former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL), a central player in the investigation into an attempted coup d’état in 2022.
The approval for the police action came from Minister Alexandre de Moraes, of the Federal Supreme Court. Click here and read the full decision.
Days earlier, the magistrate also extended the investigation into the intellectual authorship of the acts of January 8, in which Bolsonaro is included.
The facts discovered by the PF in this Thursday’s operation constitute, in theory, the crimes of criminal organization, violent abolition of the Democratic Rule of Law and coup d’état.
Among other elements, the police identified a coup draft predicting the arrest of STF ministers Alexandre de Moraes and Gilmar Mendes, as well as the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG).
According to a PF report, the then president had determined “adjustments” in the document, removing the names of Gilmar and Pacheco and keeping that of Moraes, in addition to planning to hold new elections. The draft would have been delivered to Bolsonaro by Filipe Martins, at the time special advisor for international affairs to the Presidency, arrested this morning.
The analysis of the draft decree would have led to Bolsonaro calling a series of meetings, “including for discussions with high-ranking military personnel about the installation of a constitutional exception regime”.
Furthermore, a video seized from Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid’s computer reinforces the suspicions. This is a record of a meeting on July 5, 2022, at Palácio do Planalto, about the path to attack the TSE and the legitimacy of the electoral system.
Days after the meeting, Bolsonaro promoted the fateful agenda with foreign ambassadors in which he repeated lies about the polls, an event that would lead to the former captain’s ineligibility for eight years.
For the PF, the meeting on July 5th “reveals the arrangement of coup dynamics, within the scope of the government’s top leadership, with all those investigated who took part in it speaking out in order to validate and amplify the massive disinformation and fraudulent narratives” about elections and institutions.
Since the beginning of 2023, the scenario for Bolsonaro has become dramatic on several fronts. Although they are formally independent processes, the investigation into digital militias and the one targeting the instigators of January 8th have relationships that make the former president’s situation even more delicate. At the same time, the investigation continues into the alleged use of the Brazilian Intelligence Agency to monitor opponents of the former government.
There are also processes such as those about the alleged misappropriation of Saudi jewelry and an alleged scheme to tamper with vaccination cards – not to mention the convictions in the TSE that undermined Bolsonaro’s political rights.
Still, there is no consensus on the possibility of preventive detention of the former president and other targets this Thursday, according to experts interviewed by CartaCapital.
In the assessment of constitutional lawyer Antonio Carlos de Almeida Castro, known as Kakay, this morning’s operation followed the expected rites and appeared to be careful.
“If there is nothing new that justifies the need for prison, I understand that they could be released,” he said. “What you have to do is file a complaint, as quickly as possible, giving them all the constitutional rights and guarantees, and only then can they have a trial.”
According to Kakay, in the 2022 election, democracy defeated barbarism and, therefore, it is necessary to avoid the use of authoritarian instruments. “If we adopted methods that they adopted and that Sergio Moro adopted, such as prison at the beginning of the process, we would have lost, because we would be adopting methods of barbarism.”
Jurist Pedro Serrano, professor of Constitutional Law, shares this assessment. He said it was proven that the crime of a coup d’état took place, but considered it necessary to demonstrate in the investigation that Bolsonaro was co-author of this and other practices.
“If his co-authorship in this type of conduct is proven, there will be arrest after the final judgment,” Serrano stressed to the report. “Preventively arrest him only if it is demonstrated that he is taking a stance that is disruptive to the investigation and the process, which he is not showing.”
Lenio Streck, jurist and professor of Constitutional Law, understands, in turn, that the fact that the PF seized Bolsonaro’s passport this Thursday is the strongest indication that “the cat has risen to the roof” – that is, that the risk of arrest is real.
“With all the elements contained in the document of more than 130 pages of today’s warrants and arrests and what will be discovered – or confirmed – from the material collected, the possibility of Bolsonaro’s arrest no longer arises. It is, rather, the inexorability of prison,” he states. “There will be no other way for the MP and the PF than to ask for the arrest and for the STF to order it.”