Judge Sergio Moro, behind the first conviction of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for corruption, was declared “biased” Tuesday by the Supreme Court of Brazil, a new judicial victory for the former leftist president.
Lula, 75, had already seen all of his convictions overturned for technicality by a judge of the same Supreme Court two weeks ago, becoming eligible again to face far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in the 2022 poll. .
“Today’s decision is a new political victory for Lula, whose eligibility (for the presidential election of 2022) is being confirmed according to the successive decisions of the Supreme Court”, estimated the consulting firm Prospectiva shortly after Tuesday’s judgment. Even if he assures that he “does not have the head for the candidacy of 2022”, the return of Lula in the political arena has completely reshuffled the cards, with a duel of titans looming against Jair Bolsonaro next year.
The “Express washing” investigation discredited
The decision of this Tuesday, taken by three votes to two by the second chamber of the highest court of Brazil, is also a stinging defeat for “Express washing”, largest anti-corruption investigation in the history of the country, including Judge Moro was the figurehead.
His impartiality had been questioned when he agreed at the end of 2018 to become the Minister of Justice of Jair Bolsonaro. He had, denouncing interference by the president.
The “Express Wash” investigation was then further discredited by the revelation of the exchange of messages by the site The Intercept Brasil, showing a collusion between prosecutors and Judge Moro.
Morio’s “political motivations” denounced by the Lula camp
The main feat of arms of this magistrate was the conviction of Lula at first instance in July 2017: the former president (2003-2010) was accused of having received a triplex by the sea in exchange for favors in the award of public contracts.
After being convicted on appeal, the former turner-miller had served 18 months in prison from April 2018 to November 2019, before being released on another Supreme Court decision. Before being imprisoned, he was a favorite in the presidential election finally won by Jair Bolsonaro.
In its appeal, deemed admissible by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Lula’s defense considered that Judge Moro had been a prosecution against the former president (2003-2010) throughout the investigation of the triplex case , because of “political motives”, to prevent him from running for the third term. Lula has repeatedly denounced a political plot against him.