Brasilia, Jul 12 (EFE).- Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro denied Wednesday that he considered staging a coup to remain in power after losing the 2022 election to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Federal Police questioned Bolsonaro for two hours about accusations leveled by rightist Sen. Marcos do Val.
“I never had any relationship with that senator,” Bolsonaro told reporters outside Federal Police headquarters in Brasilia, though he acknowledged meeting with Do Val and former lawmaker Daniel Silveira last Dec. 8 at the official presidential residence.
That encounter, according to Bolsonaro, lasted about 20 minutes and dealt with political matters, “but in no way with conspiracies” or coups d’etat.
The far-right leader and vocal admirer of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military regime said he would never have agreed to any such plot because he is committed to the constitutional order.
Do Val, who has multiple, mutually contradictory accounts since first speaking out in February, said that Bolsonaro and Silveira urged him to request a meeting with Supreme Court Judge Alexandre de Moraes, who is also the presiding member of the TSE electoral court.
The plan, Do Val said, called for him to surreptitiously record the conversation with De Moraes and induce the judge to say something that could be interpreted as reflecting bias in favor of Lula, which would be cited as a pretext to invalidate the election and keep Bolsonaro in power.
Bolsonaro, however, said Wednesday that “the name of Alexandre de Moraes was not even spoken” during the Dec. 8 encounter.
De Moraes said that Do Val told him in December about the ostensible plot, but declined to file a formal criminal complaint.
“He told me that it was a question of ‘intelligence’ and that he could not confirm it. I just thanked him, because what is not official does not exist,” the judge said months ago, dismissing the alleged plot “ridiculous.”
But once Do Val made the accusations public, De Moraes ordered an investigation as part of the larger probe of the events of Jan. 8, when thousands of Bolsonaro supporters stormed Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidential palace in hope of spurring a military coup against Lula, who took office on New Year’s Day.
Wednesday is the fourth time Bolsonaro has given a statement to Federal Police since returning to Brazil from Florida, where he traveled two days before Lula’s inauguration.
The other investigations concern expensive jewelry he received from Saudi Arabia and failed to turn over to the state, and alleged corruption and fraud in connection with his administration’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On June 30, the TSE found Bolsonaro guilty 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 5-2 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.
Bolsonaro, who has never acknowledged his defeat at the polls last October, called the TSE verdict a “stab in the back” and said that he will ask his lawyers to look into the possibility of lodging an appeal.
Meanwhile, his allies in Congress are trying to pass a bill that would grant amnesty to all those convicted of electoral offenses in 2022.