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Brazil coup case; ex-president Bolsonaro asks for new judge 




Lawyers for Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsonaro said Thursday they have requested a new judge be assigned to the case investigating accusations he was involved in a coup plot to keep him in power.

In a petition filed with the Supreme Court, the far-right ex-army captain’s lawyers argued the judge handling the case, Justice Alexandre de Moraes, risked being “partial” because the alleged plot included plans to spy on him, accuse him of crimes and arrest him.

Moraes “describes himself (in court documents) as a direct victim” of the alleged crimes under investigation, “compromising the necessary impartiality to fulfill his duties,” they wrote in the petition, filed Wednesday.

Bolsonaro, who led Brazil from 2019 to 2022, has frequently attacked Moraes, who has handled several criminal and civil cases against him in his dual role as a Supreme Court justice and head of Brazil’s Superior Electoral Tribunal.

In 2021, Bolsonaro called Moraes a “scum” and vowed to stop obeying his rulings.

Bolsonaro is under investigation over allegations he and his allies plotted to declare a state of emergency, have Moraes arrested, and call new elections to keep the incumbent in power as it became clear he would lose Brazil’s 2022 elections to veteran leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Last week, Moraes authorized police to seize Bolsonaro’s passport and raid properties linked to him and his inner circle.

Bolsonaro’s lawyers argued Moraes could not be “both victim and judge” in the case.

The “narrative created by the judge himself makes clear” that Moraes “feels he was a target of the actions supposedly perpetrated by those under investigation,” they said.

They requested a new judge be assigned to the case and for Moraes’s rulings to be declared null and void.

Chief Justice Luis Roberto Barroso is analyzing the petition, the Supreme Court said.

According to AFP, Moraes’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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