The Brazilian Supreme Court has ordered authorities to investigate accusations that President Jair Bolsonaro attempted to influence federal police. The probe could result in a trial against the far-right leader.
A Supreme Court judge in Brazil has authorized a probe into claims that the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, attempted to "interfere" with police investigations.
The accusations were brought by Brazil’s former Justice Minister Sergio Moro. If found credible, the investigation could potentially result in criminal charges against the far-right leader.
The court's decision on Monday gives federal police 60 days to question Moro about his claims.
The judge argued that "the crimes allegedly practiced by the president of the Republic" seem to have "an intimate connection with the exercise of the presidential mandate," which allows for an investigation to take place.
Moro walks out
On Friday, Moro announced he was resigning from his post after Bolsonaro dismissed the head of the federal police. He accused the president of "political interference" and said he could not do his job without "autonomy" for the force.
The judge identified seven accusations against Bolsonaro, including the obstruction of justice and malfeasance.
Investigators will hand their findings over to Brazil's attorney general. Should the claims hold weight, a political trial against the president could follow, with congress potentially initiating impeachment proceedings that could remove Bolsonaro from office.
Alternatively, Moro could be indicted for false testimony if the serious claims are found to be baseless.
The investigation comes amid a global health crisis due to the coronavirus. Bolsonaro has been criticized for his decision to fire his health minister, who supported isolation measures as a way to contain the outbreak. The president has played down the risk posed by the virus.
kp/rt (AFP, dpa)