Brazil Corruption: Report: Judge and prosecution collaborated to jail former President
The online investigative journal 'The Intercept' this week has alleged the judge and prosecution collaborated to jail the Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. And the former President was kept from running in the 2018 presidential elections. CGTN's Lucrecia Franco in Rio reports.
Was it a conspiracy that kept former President Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva' from running again in last year's presidential race?
Yes, it was according to the 'The Intercept, Brazil,' an online investigative journal which published the contents of private text messages between presiding Judge Sergio Moro and prosecutors in the biggest corruption scandal in Brazilian history: 'Operation Car Wash'.
Dozens of high-profile politicians and officials from almost all political parties were caught in the judicial net, but Lula da Silva was the biggest fish of them all.
Judge Moro, who is now the Minister of Justice, became a national hero for his perceived role in rooting out corruption. Now, there is evidence the process against the former president was rigged and that Moro is implicated.
CATIA SEABRA, POLITICAL REPORTER FOLHA DE SAO PAULO "A judge can't talk to the prosecution. He can't guide them because, later, he is going to pass judgment on the case. What he did is illegal. So these conversations create a lot of questions about the process that sent former President Lula to prison."
A number of texts published by 'The Intercept' allegedly show bias against Lula's Workers party, calling members 'revolting' and mobsters. The author of this one says she is 'very worried that the Workers party will return to power.'
Justice Minister Moro says he did nothing wrong.
SERGIO MORO JUSTICE MINISTER "I didn't see anything important in these messages. What happened here was a criminal invasion of the prosecutors' cell phones. In my opinion, that's a very serious violation."
But the Brazilian bar association is recommending that Moro step down.
MARCUS VINICIUS CORDEIRO BRAZILIAN BAR ASSOCIATION "He is in charge of the Federal police. He will have the power to manipulate the inquiry, to open investigations or close them, and to control the flow of information and the message, so it is entirely inappropriate that he continues as the Minister."
Lula's defense team is planning to use the leaked messages to attempt to nullify the case.
LUCRECIA FRANCO RIO DE JANEIRO "Key to President Jair Bolsonaro's election campaign was his promise for zero corruption tolerance but so far he has said nothing about the scandal. His aides have recommended that he wait for more revelations. The Intercept, meanwhile, says that what it published is just the tip of the iceberg. Lucrecia Franco, CGTN, Rio de Janeiro."