During his time as a federal judge, Sergio Moro became something of an executioner figure for ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, politicians from the Workers’ Party government support base, and businessmen who made fortunes with the embezzlement of public money. He sent many of his defendants to jail — including Lula — as part of the sweeping Operation Car Wash investigations.
Some years on, another judge may become the executioner of the Brazilian president. As a justice of the Supreme Court, Alexandre de Moraes is leading three inquiries that impact upon Jair Bolsonaro on various fronts and could even cost him his term and lead to the arrest of his loyal supporters. As a result, he has simultaneously been targeted as a pariah by pro-government groups, and sanctified by some wings of the opposition. It has been quite an image shift for Justice Moraes, who took his seat on the Supreme Court as the most conservative justice in over a decade.