Defiant Bolsonaro declares he is ‘not afraid of any trial’

Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro said he was “not afraid of any trial” after documents released by the Supreme Court revealed two top military leaders said the populist plotted to remain in power after losing the 2022 election.

Mr Bolsonaro avoided commenting on the content of any of several investigations targeting him, but claimed he was a victim of “persecution” for causing trouble for the country’s political left.

Authorities in February confiscated the former president’s passport.

“I could very well be in another country, but I decided to come back here at all costs,” Mr Bolsonaro said in at a campaign event in Rio de Janeiro’s mayoral race. “I’m not afraid of any trial, as long as the judges are impartial.”

Brazil Bolsonaro
Supporters of former Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro attend a campaign event in Rio (Silvia Izquierdo/AP)

The testimonies include the first direct mentions of the right-wing leader as actively participating in a conspiracy to ignore the results of the October 2022 election won by his rival, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

At the same time the new information was revealed, Mr Bolsonaro appeared to be traveling to different cities in Rio de Janeiro state, posting videos to X, formerly Twitter.

The embattled politician was featured surrounded by throngs of supporters cheering and wearing Brazil’s yellow soccer jersey, which has turned into an emblem of his feverish right-wing movement.

The statements only added to a growing pile of legal woes for Mr Bolsonaro as prosecutors seek to find links between the far-right leader and the January 8 2023 riots that trashed government buildings in the capital Brasilia a week after Lula’s inauguration.

The right-wing populist has denied allegations that he and his supporters attempted a coup during the 2023 attacks.

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