Minister Alexandre de Moraes, of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), today ordered President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) to go to the Federal Police Superintendence in the Federal District tomorrow, at 2 pm, to testify about the alleged leak of confidential documents related to a PF investigation in August 2021.
Moraes’ decision is a response to the request presented yesterday by the AGU (Advocacy-General of the Union) for Bolsonaro to be excused from the testimony. Before, the minister had twice postponed the deadline for the president to choose the day, time and place of the hearing – which never happened.
“The Federal Constitution enshrines the right to silence and the privilege against self-incrimination, but not the ‘right of prior and generic refusal to comply with legal determinations’ to the investigated or defendant, that is, they are not allowed to previously and generically refuse to participate of future procedural or procedural acts”, argued Moraes.
The participation of the investigated in the investigation or the defendant in its process is not only a means of ensuring that the relevant facts are brought to light and the pertinent arguments considered. More than that, (…) it is intrinsic to the nature of the trial, whose main purpose is to justify the final verdict to the accused himself, (…) granting him the respect and consideration that any citizen deserves.
Alexandre de Moraes, Minister of the STF
The secret inquiry released by Bolsonaro on social media was opened by the PF ten days after the second round of the 2018 elections, to investigate a complaint of invasion of the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) internal system. The investigation was requested by the court itself, and no evidence was ever found that the attack affected the outcome of that year’s elections.
The investigation against the president was also requested by the TSE, which understood that, by disclosing the copy of the investigation, Bolsonaro may have violated article 153 of the Penal Code, which prohibits the “disclosure, without just cause, of confidential or reserved information, as well as defined by law, whether or not contained in the information systems or database of the Public Administration”. The prescribed penalty is from one to four years in prison.
“Everyone has already copied”
In August last year, Bolsonaro defended the disclosure of confidential data from the Federal Police investigation. For the president, the information contained in the investigation is of interest to “all of us”, and erasing it now, as determined by Minister Alexandre de Moraes at the time, would have no effect, since “everyone has already copied it”.
Bolsonaro also argued that the shared inquiry supported his thesis that there was fraud in the 2018 elections – which cannot be proved from the published documents.
“What we want is agility, speed. With all this information that is on my website, and Your Excellency Alexandre de Moraes ordered it to be removed now… People have already copied, everyone has already copied. I have copies here. Justice? What they were doing, not letting this investigation go forward, is a crime against democracy”, accused Bolsonaro, during a weekly live. (Watch below)
The survey matters to all of us. If it interests us all, it has to be public. How long would it stay hidden, if I don’t speak? How long was it going to stay hidden for this inquiry inside?
Jair Bolsonaro, live on 08/12/21
(With Estadão Content)