Brasília Judge ends Lava Jato witch hunt against Lula

Court ruling means Atibaia vacation home case against former President Lula – one of three US DOJ-backed, illegal convictions used to help elect Jair Bolsonaro – can never be reopened.

by Brian Mier

On Saturday, August 21, Brasília 12th District Criminal Court Judge Pollyanna Kelly Alvez rejected an attempt by the federal public prosecutors to reopen one of disgraced former Judge Sergio Moro’s US-backed, election year conviction of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Called the Atibaia vacation home case, it used one coerced plea bargain testimony made by a convicted felon to build a now debunked and ridiculous charge that Lula had received free renovations as a gift from OAS and Odebrecht construction companies on someone else’s property – the modest vacation hope of family friend Jacó Bittar, the former Workers Party Mayor of Brazil’s 11th wealthiest city, Campinas.

Originally sentenced to 12 years and 1 month by a judge who used an inquisition era loophole in Brazilian law to both oversee the investigation, admit evidence and reject witnesses for the defense, the Supreme Court exonerated Lula in this, the weakest of the three Lava Jato convictions, by the Supreme Court in June 2021.

At the time, most Anglo media outlets spun the reversal of all Lava Jato charges against Lula as a technicality, as if he were still guilty of something. The Supreme Court, in fact, ruled that he had been victim of multiple counts of felony judicial bias. As a result, they dismissed all evidence used in the convictions and said that, if anyone wanted to reopen the cases, they would have to start from zero.

Bias was proven through to evidence revealed in leaked Telegram conversations between judge Moro and the Lava Jato task-force that were revealed by hacker Wagner Delgatti, who is currently facing 300 consecutive one-year prison sentences.

In addition to showing that the Lava Jato prosecution task force had met with a group of 18 FBI agents every 15 days for the entire duration of the investigation leaked the conversations show Judge Moro coaching the task force on things such as how to leak information to the media to damage Lula’s public image in the lead up to the trial.

One example of information used to damage Lula’s reputation before he had a chance to defend himself, was a series of articles that appeared in the media, based on information received from the task force, about investigators finding a “yacht” that Lula allegedly owned, which eventually turned out to be an 11ft aluminum fishing boat floating in a Tilapia pond which had been purchased for around $2000 US.

In her decision rejecting the attempt to reopen the case, Judge Alvez wrote, “it is not the role of the judiciary to act as an investigator or accuser.” She also reprimanded the public prosecutors office for trying to reopen a case with no evidence. Submitting evidence, she wrote, “is the burden and prerogative of the prosecutors. The judge is prohibited from investigating it because this would represent replacing the prosecuting body and this would violate the legal system’s prosecution regulations, the corollary of ample defense adversarial proceedings and due process. ”

After the ruling was released, Lula’s Defense Lawyers pointed out that this is the 17th set of frivolous corruption accusations made against former President Lula that have been dismissed in court since the beginning of the US DOJ backed Lava Jato investigation.


By Brian Mier

Writer, geographer and former development professional who has lived in Brazil for 26 years. Former directorate member of the Fórum Nacional de Reforma Urbana (National Urban Reform Forum). Has lived in São Luis, Recife, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Author of “Os Megaeventos Esportivos na Cidade do Rio de Janeiro e o Direito á Cidade” (CEPR: Porto Alegre. 2016). Editor of "Voices of the Brazilian Left" (Sumare: São Paulo. 2018). Editor of "Year of Lead: Washington, Wall Street and the New Imperialism in Brazil" ((Sumare: São Paulo. 2019) Irregular correspondent for the Chicago radio show This is Hell.