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Supreme Court extends probe into pro-Bolsonaro digital troll armies

Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes. Photo: Rovena Rosa/ABr
Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes. Photo: Rovena Rosa/ABr

Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes issued a 90-day extension for a probe into online troll armies flooding the Brazilian public discourse with false information. This is the second time Justice Moraes has extended the investigation.

The probe began last year as part of an effort to discover who was funding protests calling for President Jair Bolsonaro to shut down the Supreme Court and Congress. The Federal Prosecution Office recommended shelving the case, but the Federal Police found evidence of underground fake news-spreading networks — which motivated the Supreme Court to open new lines of investigation.

The inquiry scrutinizes alleged money transfers to offshore accounts owned by pro-Bolsonaro blog Terça Livre. Its owner, Allan dos Santos, is a fugitive of Brazilian justice. Mr. Santos had his arrest ordered by the Supreme Court, but fled Brazil to live in the U.S. — and the government has worked to keep him from being extradited.

Despite his status, he enjoys support from the federal government — and as recently as last week he participated in an event with Communications Minister Fábio Faria, organized by an evangelical church in Orlando.

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