Brasilia, June 27 (EFE).- A key judge on Tuesday voted in favor of barring former Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro from public office for eight years for abuse of political power.
In the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), lead judge Benedito Gonçalves found Bolsonaro guilty of abuse of power and misuse of the media, saying he used his then-position as head of state “to degrade the electoral environment” and fabricate “conspiracy theories” with “false information” and “lies.”
With the first vote in favor of the disqualification of Bolsonaro, the trial was suspended and will resume on Thursday with the votes of the TSE’s six other magistrates who will define the future of the far-right nationalist politician.
The central point of the case is a meeting to which Bolsonaro summoned 50 foreign ambassadors at his official presidential residence on July 18, 2022, to undermine the security of the electoral system and accuse justice of maneuvering in favor of now-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
That meeting, described Tuesday as “aberrant” by Gonçalves and in which Bolsonaro expressed unfounded claims about the electronic ballot boxes that Brazil has used with no complaints of fraud since 1996, was broadcast on public television and the army reserve captain’s social media accounts.
Bolsonaro ended up narrowly losing the October election to Lula, who took office on Jan. 1.
In addition, Gonçalves opted for the acquittal of Bolsonaro’s running mate, General Walter Braga Netto, considering his responsibility had not been proven.
While the trial was taking place, Bolsonaro, who pleaded not guilty, on Telegram defended his management in the face of “malicious narratives.”
It began last Thursday with the reading of the case report and oral presentations by the prosecution, Bolsonaro’s defense and the Public Ministry, which also asked to condemn the former head of state and strip him of his political rights.
If found guilty, Bolsonaro would not be able to run in the 2026 presidential election, which he has previously indicated he would do.
He also faces multiple other criminal investigations that could land him in prison. EFE