Supreme Court justice denies Bolsonaro’s subpoena appeal

Supreme Court justice denies Bolsonaro's subpoena appeal
Supreme Court Justice Alexandre during a trial in 2018. Photo: Antonio Cruz/ABr

In a lightning-speed ruling, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes turned down a request from the Solicitor General’s Office to excuse President Jair Bolsonaro from having to appear before Federal Police investigators for a testimony scheduled for 2 pm today (a deadline which has already expired).

On Thursday, Justice Moraes subpoenaed the president to appear before the Federal Police. Mr. Bolsonaro is under investigation for leaking sealed information regarding a probe into cyberattacks against electoral courts during the 2020 municipal elections. 

The justice turned down the validity of the appeal without even considering its merits, saying the arguments presented by the government do not apply to this stage of the inquiry. Moreover, the decision states, the president had already agreed to testify in person at previous stages of the case. Trying to skip the deposition at the last minute seemed “uncanny,” Justice Moraes wrote.

By failing to attend his testimony, Mr. Bolsonaro is technically in contempt of court. However, Justice Moraes has yet to decide which legal measures apply to the case.

Update: The case’s lead investigator wrote in a report to the Supreme Court that the evidence suggests that Mr. Bolsonaro conducted himself in an “improper” way. The marshal added that the only reason she didn’t recommend the president’s indictment is because, as a head of state, he enjoys certain legal privileges — and only the Supreme Court could make that call.