Ally of Brazil’s Bolsonaro can’t explain coup plan found in his home

Brasilia, Aug 8 (EFE).- A staunch ally of former President Jair Bolsonaro had no explanation Tuesday when members of a Brazilian congressional committee asked him about a document found in his home outlining a plan to keep the rightist in power after he lost the 2022 election.

Anderson Torres, now free on bail after spending four months behind bars pending trial for his alleged involvement in a Jan. 8 assault on government buildings in Brasilia by Bolsonaro supporters, appeared before the panel investigating that incident.

During a search of Torres’ home as part of the Jan. 8 probe, police found a draft of a decree nullifying Bolsonaro’s defeat to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the Oct. 30 presidential runoff.

The plan also envisioned a takeover of the judiciary by the executive branch.

Torres acknowledged to lawmakers the existence of the “paper,” but said he could not explain how it came to be in his house.

“I don’t know who gave me that apocryphal document and I don’t know how it was drafted,” the man who was minister of justice and public safety under Bolsonaro told the committee.

At the same time, Torres sought to minimize the importance of what he called a “juridical aberration” and said that he kept it with other “worthless papers.”

Before leaving office last December, Bolsonaro arranged for Torres to be appointed as public safety secretary in the Federal District of Brasilia.

Torres took up that post on Jan. 1, the same day Lula, a former two-term president, was inaugurated as Bolsonaro’s successor.

Later that week, Torres joined Bolsonaro – who boycotted Lula’s inauguration – in Florida and he was still there on Jan. 8 when thousands of the former president’s supporters stormed Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidential palace in Brasilia in a bid to spur the military to intervene and topple the new government.

In his testimony Tuesday, Torres insisted that if the “strict security protocol” he put in place before leaving on vacation had been respected, the protesters would not have breached the government buildings.

He did not say who was responsible for the failure to follow the protocols.

Nearly 1,300 people have been indicted for their role in the events of Jan. 8 and prosecutors announced Monday that they are seeking the maximum sentence, 30 years, for 40 of those defendants on charges that include “armed criminal conspiracy.”

Last month, Bolsonaro denied under questioning by the Federal Police that he considered staging a coup to remain in power after losing the 2022 election.

Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal found Bolsonaro guilty on June 30 of “abuses of power” during his ultimately unsuccessful campaign for a second term and barred him from seeking or holding any public office for eight years.

The ruling means that the 68-year-old Bolsonaro, who had already announced his intention to run for president in 2026, will be excluded from electoral politics until October 2030.

EFE ed/dr

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