Monday, March 20, 2023

Brazilian police are questioning Bolsonaro’s nephew

BRASILIA ( Associated Press) – Brazil’s federal police raided the home of a nephew of former President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday in connection with a Jan. 8 attack on government buildings in the capital by right-wing protesters.

Police said Leonardo Rodrigues de Jesus, known as Leo Indio to Bolsonaro supporters, was one of the targets in a series of raids that led to 11 arrests in different states. This is the first time that a relative of Bolsonaro has been included in the investigation of the riots in Brasilia.

Police indicated that those being investigated could be tried for crimes against democracy and criminal association.

Rodrigues de Jesus posted a picture of himself on social media near the entrance of Congress on the day of the riots. Later, Bolsonaro’s nephew accused the left of infiltrating the protests against attacks on government buildings. The police investigation has not found any evidence to support this claim.

Rodrigues de Jesus is close to one of Bolsonaro’s sons, Carlos Bolsonaro, who is a member of the municipal council in Rio de Janeiro. The two often appeared together at the presidential palace in Brasilia when the right-wing president was in charge. His visits were kept secret after criticism from the opposition.

Carlos Bolsonaro is the former president’s head of digital operations and a key member of Bolsonaro’s unsuccessful re-election bid.

Rodrigues de Jesus was one of Carlos Bolsonaro’s aides in Rio and moved to Brasilia in 2019. He joined a senator’s cabinet team and then Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party caucus as an advisor in the Senate. The local press revealed that he had been paid without work, after which he was fired.

In 2022, he ran as Councilor for the Federal District, but did not garner enough votes.

Rodrigues de Jesus has been under investigation by Rio de Janeiro’s judicial authorities since 2021 after he allegedly received money transfers from the cabinet of Flavio, one of Bolsonaro’s sons, when he was part of the municipal council. Rodrigues de Jesus’ rent is also believed to have been paid from public funds.

The Supreme Court had already requested Rodrigues de Jesus’ preventive arrest in connection with the January 8 attacks, but police said he had not yet been detained. Rodrigues de Jesus may appeal that order, but declared a lack of funds to pay his lawyers’ expenses.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in a meeting with state governors, guaranteed that what happened on 8 January would not happen again, calling it an attempted coup.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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