Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was one vote short of disenfranchisement when the Superior Electoral Court adjourned Thursday's session with a score of 3-1 with three magistrates still to vote when the trial for abuse of power resumes Friday, Agencia Brasil reported.
Justice André Ramos Tavares cast the third vote condemning Bolsonaro to ineligibility for a period of eight years.
The court opened Thursday morning the third session to judge Bolsonaro's conduct during a meeting with ambassadors at the Alvorada Palace in July last year, in which he attacked the electronic voting system, and for which he is being tried for abuse of political power and misuse of the media by using TV Brasil, a broadcasting company of the Empresa Brasil de Comunicação (EBC), to broadcast the event.
Tavares found that Bolsonaro made demonstrably false attacks against the electronic ballot box with electoral purpose in his speeches during the meeting.
The content is permeated by false statements and unequivocal attacks on opponents and ministers of the STF and TSE, he said. In his view, the former president challenged the electoral system at least 21 times since 2021 and used the meeting for electoral promotion.
The candidacy benefited from the tactic that pervaded the entire content of the speech delivered within the ceremony, so as to stir up the electoral bases in the sense of channeling votes to prevent any other candidate, especially one of them, from having victory in the elections, manipulating the polarization of society for electoral benefit, Tavares said.
Joining Tavares, Justices Benedito Gonçalves and Floriano de Azevedo Marques also voted for Bolsonaro's conviction, while Justice Raul Araújo voted to dismiss the case against Bolsonaro, believing that the meeting was not serious enough to generate a conviction of ineligibility.
If any judge requests to suspend the session, the deadline for returning the case for judgment is 30 days, renewable for another 30. With the July recess ahead, the period will increase to 90 days.
Bolsonaro's defense claimed last week that the meeting had no electoral bias and was held as an institutional counterpoint to suggest changes in the electoral system. According to lawyer Tarcisio Vieira de Carvalho, the meeting took place before the election period, on July 18, when Bolsonaro was not an official candidate for the 2022 elections. Hence, a fine would be the proper measure and not his client's disenfranchisement.
The TSE has already formed a majority of four votes for the acquittal of General Walter Braga Netto, Bolsonaro's vice-presidential candidate last year.
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(Source: Agencia Brasil)