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Bolsonaro must testify on Jan. 8 riots, Brazilian judge rules


A judge on Brazil’s Supreme Court has ordered former President Jair Bolsonaro to testify before federal police within 10 days about his role in the Jan. 8 storming of government buildings by his supporters.

According to a document seen by Reuters, Justice Alexandre de Moraes agreed to a request filed by the country’s top public prosecutor, who said Bolsonaro’s testimony was an “indispensable” step to be able to clarify what happened.

Supporters of far-right Bolsonaro invaded and vandalized Brazil’s Congress, the presidential palace and the Supreme Court a week after leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office, protesting his victory in the October election and calling for a military coup.

Bolsonaro has denied any responsibility for the riots – which recalled the 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

He has argued that he was out of the country in self-imposed exiled in Florida, where he flew two days before his term ended without ever conceding defeat.

His critics say he instigated the riots by inflaming his supporters with attacks on Lula and by repeatedly criticizing Brazil’s voting system, which he claimed was open to fraud, though he never provided proof.

Bolsonaro returned to Brazil in March but faces legal investigations into his attacks on the voting system and alleged role in encouraging supporters to storm Brasilia on Jan. 8.

Federal electoral prosecutors have called on the Superior Electoral Court to ban Bolsonaro from elected office for eight years for attacking the voting system in a meeting he called with the diplomatic corps in July.

Related Galleries:

Security forces operate as supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro demonstrate against President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in Planalto Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, January 8, 2023. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Jair Bolsonaro, former President of Brazil, arrives to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., March 4, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
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