RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – A Brazilian magazine released audio of a senator Thursday that it claims then-President Jair Bolsonaro asked for help in a plot to cancel October’s elections and keep himself in power.
In the recording, Sen. Marcos do Val tells the magazine Veja that the idea was discussed when he met with Bolsonaro and lawmaker Daniel Silveira at the presidential residence on 9 December, three weeks before leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office before .
Do Val, who was an ally during Bolsonaro’s four-year term in office, said the far-right leader gave him a “mission” to record Alexandre de Moraes, a Supreme Court justice who was in charge of Brazil. Was the head of the Electoral Authority, while trying to get the judge. Admits that he exceeded his powers under the Constitution.
“I cancel the elections, Lula is not sworn in, I keep the presidency and arrest Alexandre de Moraes because of his comments,” Val Bolsonaro is quoted as saying.
Veja released the audio in response to a rebuttal issued by the senator following the magazine’s report on Thursday morning about the alleged plot, which did not cite him as its source. Do Val told reporters after the magazine published his story that the plot was Silveira’s idea and that the former president had not said a word during the meeting.
Later on Thursday, De Moraes ordered the federal police to swear in Val within five days. Bolsonaro, who has been maintaining a low profile in Florida since December 30, has not commented on the matter on any of his social media channels. He recently applied for a six-month tourist visa to stay in the US
Bolsonaro’s lawyer, Frederic Wassef, declined to comment.
The alleged meeting adds to a growing list of troubles for Bolsonaro, who is already under scrutiny for his possible role in the Jan. 8 uprising of his supporters in the Brazilian capital.
Bolsonaro cast doubt on the country’s electronic voting system for months in the lead-up to the election, and then refused to give up. His staunch supporters have accused de Moraes of rigging the election in Lula’s favor, without presenting any evidence, and of exercising authority by blocking social media accounts and ordering arbitrary arrests and searches. done.
Suspicions of a coup plot grew after police searched the home of Bolsonaro’s former justice minister, finding a draft decree that would have seized control of the electoral authority and potentially overturned the election. The origin of the unsigned document is unclear, and it is unknown whether Bolsonaro or his subordinates took any steps to implement the measure.
Lula said in an interview on Thursday that Bolsonaro tried to block him from taking office. He also said that supporters of the former president had hoped to attack government buildings on the day of his inauguration, but had to compromise a week later on 8 January.
“Now I’m aware, and I’ll say it loud and clear: That man set up a coup. They wanted to make that mess on January 1st, but they saw they couldn’t do it because there were too many police, Too many people on the street,” Lula told TV network RedeTV!
Do Val told both Veja magazine and reporters later on Thursday that he told de Moraes what was discussed in the meeting with Bolsonaro and Silveira and denied participating in the alleged plot.
Sen. Flavio Bolsonaro, the former president’s son, said he was aware of the meeting, which he described as an attempt by Silveira to persuade the other two men to do something “absolutely unacceptable, absurd and illegal.” But discussing such an idea is not a crime, he said.
Silveira was arrested on Thursday on orders from De Moraes for violating conditions of his release from prison. Silveira was previously sentenced for anti-democracy acts after issuing threats against de Moraes and other judges, but was released after Bolsonaro pardoned him. Nevertheless, he was banned from using his social media accounts and was required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet as other investigations were targeting him.
Savarese reported from Sao Paulo.