Brazil’s Supreme Court rules in favor of Lula over Moro

Decision allows former president’s access to message in an attempt to overturn conviction

Gabriel Toueg  | 10.02.2021 - Update : 10.02.2021
Brazil’s Supreme Court rules in favor of Lula over Moro


Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled 4 - 1 to maintain a decision that allows former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s defense team access to messages between a judge in the Operation Car Wash scandal and state prosecutors.

The messages with a former federal judge and justice minister Sergio Moro were reportedly illegally obtained and disseminated in 2019 after the cell phones of Car Wash members were hacked.

The controversy on the veracity of the conversations led the seven-year case to be investigated in a new operation.

Car Wash involved contracts given to construction companies in exchange for political bribes.

Brazilian law prohibits the use of evidence obtained illegally.

At the hearing Tuesday, justices analyzed an appeal by Car Wash prosecutors, who questioned the authenticity of the leaked messages and asked that access and their use by Lula's defense team be revoked.

Lula was sentenced to prison for corruption, with a suspension of his political rights.

The former president, a favorite in the 2018 presidential race against current President Jair Bolsonaro, was jailed for 580 days, coinciding with the election.

Justice Ricardo Lewandowski voted to maintain access to the messages. He had already ruled in favor of Lula in a December injunction that authorized sharing the conversations with the defense team.

Lewandowski’s vote was backed by justices Nunes Marques, a Bolsonaro nominee, Carmen Lucia, and Gilmar Mendes.

The opposing vote was from Edson Fachin.

The ruling will allow Lula’s defense team to use the messages as their main strategy in an attempt to overturn his condemnation.

For Lula’s lawyers, the fact that information on the case was shared between Moro and prosecutors is a serious sign of direct interference in the process, placing suspicion on the former judge, who headed Bolsonaro’s justice ministry until last April.

Moro criticized the court’s decision. “It is regrettable that alleged messages obtained after a criminal violation from law enforcement agents’ devices can be accessed by third parties, which is contrary to jurisprudence that prohibits the use of illicit evidence in proceedings,” he said in a statement.

Moro left Bolsonaro government in April 2020, alleging the president's interference in the affairs of his ministry.

The list of people jailed during Operation Car Wash included former presidents Lula of Brazil, Alejandro Toledo of Peru, and Ricardo Martinelli of Panama, as well as senior executives at Petrobras, Odebrecht, and several other companies.

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.