The Brazilian Supreme Court is investigating the alleged involvement of former President Jair Bolsonaro in the January 8 attacks on government buildings in the capital, Brasilia.
The court’s decision follows a request from Brazil’s attorney general’s office, several of whose members released a statement on Friday describing the day’s events – when Bolsonaro supporters stormed and destroyed government buildings in protest of the election of rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – as “anti-democratic actions”.
“By posting a video on January 10 (two days after the attack) questioning the legality of the 2022 presidential election, Bolsonaro issued public incitement to commit crimes,” the statement said.
On Tuesday, Bolsonaro posted a video to Facebook of a woman questioning the victory of Lula da Silva, who defeated Bolsonaro in October’s presidential election. The video was deleted a few hours later.
Prosecutors say that although the video was released after the attacks, there is a “connection” between the content in Bolsonaro’s video and the violence in Brasilia.
On Friday, the Supreme Court said it had accepted the attorney general’s request to investigate Bolsonaro’s alleged involvement.
It also approved the attorney general’s request to require Meta to preserve the video he posted to Facebook, and to investigate its impact.
To date, the far-right former Brazilian president has not been linked to or directly involved in the investigation into the events of January 8th.
Separately from the attorney general’s request and without referring to any accusation in particular, Bolsonaro’s lawyer, Frederic Wasser, said on Friday that the former president has always “rejected all illegal and criminal actions … and has always been a defender of the constitution and democracy.”
“President Bolsonaro strongly rejects the acts of vandalism and looting of public property committed by intruders at the protest. He had no connection or participation in these spontaneous social movements by the people,” the son of the former president, Flavio Bolsonaro, said in a statement on Friday.