Bolsonaro's legal troubles: "The circle is closing"

The former Brazilian president faces multiple investigations, ranging from embezzlement to alleged participation in the raid on federal buildings after losing the 2022 election.

The ruling that disqualified President Jair Bolsonaro from public office until 2030 seems to be just the beginning of his judicial battle. It has been nothing but bad news for the former president following the Supreme Electoral Tribunal’s decision in June, such as the arrest of his collaborators and the continuous reports of new evidence. The accusations against the former president have accelerated in recent months. In the words of a Supreme Court source to Reuters:

Clearly, the circle is closing.

Just last Friday, the lawyer for one of his former aides announced that he could testify against him for the alleged sale of a high-end watch that he was given as an official gift. Police investigated he and his wife’s confidential phone and bank records after Judge Alexandre de Moraes granted access.

"Why break my banking and tax secrecy? Just ask me," former first lady Michelle Bolsonaro posted on Instagram. "It's becoming increasingly clear that this political persecution ... is aimed at tarnishing my family name and making me give up. They won't! I am at peace," reads a post from Michelle Bolsonaro:

The day before, a computer programmer testified before a congressional investigative committee that Bolsonaro had asked him if he could hack voting machines. Walter Delgatti Neto also claimed that the then-president promised to pardon him if he was captured.

That testimony was part of the investigations of the Joint Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, dedicated to the raid on government buildings on Jan. 8, 2023.

"[Neto] lies and lies and lies," Fabio Wajngarten, Bolsonaro's lawyer, wrote of Neto's remarks. In addition, he denied that the campaign had contacted computer programmers and that the former president, who was seeking re-election, had met more than an hour with the hacker.

Would a PRESIDENT who has ALWAYS played within the lines ask to rig the election? [Neto] lies and lies and lies.

Bolsonaro’s court cases

The 68-year-old has testified numerous times since returning from Florida, where he stayed for three months after losing the election to current President Lula da Silva. In total, he has testified four times in four months.

When he landed in Brasilia in March, Bolsonaro already faced two investigations: one linking him to the his supporters’ assault on three federal buildings after the elections and another for the alleged embezzlement of some jewels he received from the Saudi Arabian government.

Bolsonaro's home in the capital was raided in May because, according to police, members of his team had falsified vaccination data to prepare vaccine cards that would allow travel to countries such as the United States. At the same time, six of the politician's associates were arrested, including his former adviser Mauro Cid Barbosa.

The latest investigation into Bolsonaro involves the judge who has handled all the previous cases. Alexandre de Moraes is both the magistrate in charge and an alleged victim of the former president, who is under scrutiny for allegedly having planned to secretly record the judge. The former president’s alleged goal was to find evidence of bias. Moraes heads the Superior Electoral Tribunal, which has ruled in favor of Lula.