By order of Minister Ricardo Villas Bôas Cueva, the Superior Court of Justice will forward to the Supreme Court an appeal in which President Jair Bolsonaro protests against the conviction to pay R$ 150,000 in collective moral damages for homophobic statements made in the program CQC, from TV Bandeirantes, shown in March 2011.
The case was scheduled to be judged by the 3rd Panel of the STJ this Tuesday (9/14), the same date on which the reporting judge ordered the referral of the records to the STF, based on article 1.031, paragraph 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure .
The rule indicates that, “if the rapporteur of the special appeal considers the extraordinary appeal to be harmful, in an unappealable decision, the judgment will be suspended and the case will be sent to the Supreme Court”.
Bolsonaro was sued because, as a federal deputy for Rio de Janeiro, he said in an interview with CQC, who never crossed his mind to have a gay child because his children had a “good upbringing” with a father present. He also stated that he would not participate in a gay parade because he would not promote “bad customs” and because he believes in God and the preservation of the family.
The then deputy was convicted in 2015 by the 6th Civil Court of Madureira, a decision upheld by the Court of Justice of Rio de Janeiro in 2017.
The case was processed at the STF and had a favorable outcome to the president: the investigation was initiated byfiled by Minister Luís Roberto Barroso in 2015, for understanding that only opinions unrelated to the parliamentary activity of deputies are subject to criminal control.
At the STJ, Bolsonaro’s special defense appeal pointed to exactly the same thesis: that the statements given to the CQC when announced as the “most controversial federal deputy in Brazil” they are covered by parliamentary immunity.
This was the argument that convinced Minister Ricardo Villa Bôas Cueva to withdraw the case from the agenda, suspend the judgment and send the case file to the STF. He considered that the fundamental issue discussed is eminently constitutional.
In the opinion of the Federal Public Ministry for dismissing the appeal in a special appeal, Assistant Attorney Antonio Carlos Alpino Bigonha highlighted that the matter relating to parliamentary immunity and right of expression has a constitutional nature, which is beyond the purview of the STJ
Bolson’s defense also pointed out legal limitations to the lawsuit filed by the entities. It argues that this matter could not be dealt with by public civil action, since matters related to sexual orientation are not covered in the cases defined by Law 7.347/1985.