Police Investigate Brazil’s Former President Over Coup Plot

Brazil’s federal police on February 8 launched a widespread raid on the homes and offices of top aides for former President Jair Bolsonaro as part of an investigation into a possible coup plot that the former president was also a part of, the Associated Press reported.

According to court documents, before Bolsonaro’s 2022 election loss to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, his aides sought to have him sign a decree if he lost that would declare the election fraudulent and justify military intervention to hold new elections.

While Bolsonaro was not personally a target of the raids, police did arrive at his beach home that morning to demand the surrender of his passport.

The raids were prompted by a ruling from Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes that was made public on February 8.

According to federal police, the homes and offices of several suspects were searched. The suspects allegedly “acted to attempt a coup d’etat” to keep Bolsonaro in office if he lost the 2022 election. The suspects planned to allege voter fraud to “legitimize a military intervention.”

Based on Justice Moraes’ order, former special advisor Filipe Martins prepared the draft decree and presented it to Bolsonaro before the October 2022 election. The decree also included an order to arrest Justice Moraes and fellow Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes.

Bolsonaro requested several edits to the decree, keeping the call for new elections but modifying the arrest orders to just Justice Moraes, who presided over the body that oversaw the presidential election.

Bolsonaro then allegedly called for a meeting with the heads of the military to plan for a possible military coup.

In total, the federal police executed 33 searches. In addition to Filipe Martins, the homes and offices of Bolsonaro’s running mate Gen. Walter Braga Netto, former Justice Minister Anderson Torres, former advisor Gen. Augusto Heleno, and Valdemar Costa Neto, the head of Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party.