House impeaches congresswoman accused of murder

House impeaches congresswoman accused of murder
Flordelis de Souza during a hearing at the House’s Ethics Committee. Photo: Cleia Viana/CD/CC-BY 4.0

In a whopping 437-7 vote, the Brazilian lower house decided on Wednesday to impeach Congresswoman Flordelis de Souza of Rio de Janeiro. A former gospel star and Evangelical preacher, she is facing murder charges and has been implicated in the 2019 murder of Anderson do Carmo, her adopted son-turned-son-in-law-turned-husband.

Ms. Souza denies any responsibility for the crime and says she is the victim of injustice  — given that she has yet to be tried in a court of law. But the rapporteur of her impeachment process found her guilty of using her status as a federal lawmaker to obstruct investigations, conceal evidence, and tamper with witnesses.

In a body known for protecting its own members, Congresswoman Flordelis de Souza’s biggest crime, however, might have been lying to the House’s Ethics Committee.

The death of Mr. do Carmo was reported as a robbery gone wrong, but police quickly zeroed in on his family. Investigators discovered a bizarre number of failed assassination attempts and the morbidly on-the-nose Google searches made by one of Ms. Souza’s children — including the search terms “assassin where to find,” “poison to kill a person that is lethal and easy to buy”.

Nine of Ms. Souza’s 55 children — of which 51 are adopted — were arrested a year ago, and she only remains at liberty thanks to her parliamentary immunity, which she has now lost.