Brazil’s Supreme Court has authorized an investigation into allegations made by former Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who has accused President Jair Bolsonaro of interfering in police investigations.
The decision by Justice Ceslo de Mello to allow a formal probe by federal police comes after Moro accused Bolsonaro of firing the country’s top police commander to obstruct investigations of his sons and obtain direct and confidential information.
“The president emphasized to me, explicitly, more than once, that he wanted someone who was a personal contact, whom he could call, from whom he could get information, intelligence reports,” Moro said Friday.
The federal police identified Carlos Bolsonaro, one of President Bolsonaro’s sons, as a key member of a criminal organization dedicated to producing and disseminating false news to threaten and defame authorities. Eduardo and Flávio Bolsonaro are also under investigation for alleged embezzlement.
Brazil’s General Prosecutor Augusto Aras last week asked the Supreme Court to open an investigation into the allegations made by Moro. Judge de Mello gave federal police 60 days to question the former star minister, who made the surprising allegations after resigning from office.
The latest developments deepen the political crisis that has unfolded over Bolsonaro’s highly controversial response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Brazilian leader appointed former attorney general and evangelical pastor André Medonça on Tuesday as the new minister of justice and public security to replace Moro, who is the second minister in just two weeks to leave the government.
Brazilian Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta was fired by President Bolsonaro on April 16 after the two clashed over Bolsonaro’s handling of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak. While Mandetta repeatedly called for social distancing, self-isolation and the closing of businesses, Bolsonaro constantly downplayed the virus as a “little flu.”
Although at least two requests to impeach the president were presented to Congress after Moro made the allegations against Bolsonaro, political rival and Lower House Speaker Rodrigo Maia said the most pressing matter right now is to control the coronavirus outbreak, which had resulted in 5,063 deaths in Brazil as of Tuesday.
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