Ally claims Bolsonaro plotted coup to block Lula presidency

Lazy eyes listen


On Thursday, a Brazilian magazine published audio of a senator claiming that then-President Jair Bolsonaro sought assistance in a plot to annul the October elections and keep himself in power.

Sen. Marcos do Val tells the magazine Veja in the recording that the idea was discussed when he met with Bolsonaro and lawmaker Daniel Silveira at the presidential residence on December 9, three weeks before leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was set to take office.

Do Val, a Bolsonaro ally during his four-year term, said the far-right leader assigned him the “mission” of recording Alexandre de Moraes, a Supreme Court justice who also heads Brazil’s electoral authority, while attempting to persuade the judge that he overstepped his constitutional powers.

“‘I annul the election, Lula is not sworn in, I remain president, and I arrest Alexandre de Moraes because of his comments,” Bolsonaro is quoted as saying by do Val.

Veja released the audio in response to the senator’s denials following the magazine’s report on the alleged plot on Thursday morning, which did not cite him as its source. After the magazine published its story, Do Val told reporters that the plot was Silveira’s idea and that the former president had not said anything during the meeting.

Later that day, de Moraes directed the Federal Police to take sworn testimony from Val within five days. Bolsonaro, who has kept a low profile in Florida since December 30, did not respond on any of his social media channels. He recently applied for a tourist visa to stay in the United States for six months.

The Associated Press reached out to Bolsonaro’s lawyer, Frederick Wassef, who declined to comment.

The alleged meeting adds to Bolsonaro’s growing list of problems. He is already being investigated for his possible role in his supporters’ uprising in the Brazilian capital on January 8.

Bolsonaro questioned the country’s electronic voting system for months before the election, and he then refused to concede defeat. His ardent supporters have accused de Moraes of rigging the election in favor of Lula, without providing evidence, and of exceeding his authority by blocking social media accounts and ordering allegedly arbitrary arrests and searches.

Suspicions of a coup plot grew after police raided the home of Bolsonaro’s former justice minister and discovered a draft decree seized control of the electoral authority and potentially overturned the election. The origin of the unsigned document is unknown, and it is unclear whether Bolsonaro or his subordinates took any steps to put the measure into effect.

In an interview on Thursday, Lula stated that Bolsonaro attempted to prevent him from taking office. He also stated that supporters of the former president had hoped to storm government buildings on the day of his inauguration but were forced to settle for Jan. 8, one week later.

“Now I know, and I’m going to say it loud and clear: That man planned the coup. They wanted to make that mess on January 1st, but they realized they couldn’t because there were too many cops, too many people on the street, and too much snow “Lula told the RedeTV! television network.

Later Thursday, Do Val told Veja magazine and journalists that he informed de Moraes of what was discussed at the meeting with Bolsonaro and Silveira and declined to participate in the alleged plot.

The former president’s son, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, said he was aware of the meeting, which he described as Silveira’s attempt to persuade the other two men to do something “absolutely unacceptable, absurd, and illegal.” However, he claims that discussing such an idea is not a crime.

Silveira was arrested on de Moraes’ order on Thursday for violating the terms of his release from prison. Silveira had previously been sentenced for anti-democratic acts after threatening de Moraes and other justices, but he was released after Bolsonaro pardoned him. Nonetheless, he was barred from using his social media accounts and was ordered to wear an electronic ankle bracelet while other investigations against him were ongoing.