'Truth Will Prevail,' Says Lula, After Leaked Documents Suggest He Was Imprisoned to Prevent Victory in Brazil's Presidential Election

A massive trove of documents leaked to The Intercept added weight to longstanding allegations that the judge and team of prosecutors behind the imprisonment of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva were motivated by a desire to prevent Lula and his party from winning the country’s 2018 elections.

“Lula should be released immediately and the courts should recognize once and for all that he has not committed any crime.” 
—Legal team of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

According to The Intercept, the documents provide significant evidence that Sérgio Moro—the judge who found Lula guilty—unlawfully conspired with prosecutors to construct the corruption case against the former Brazilian president, who polled as the frontrunner in the 2018 presidential election even while he was imprisoned.

“Overall, the documents depict a task force of prosecutors seemingly intent on exploiting its legal powers for blatantly political ends,” The Intercept reported Sunday, “led by its goal of preventing a return to power of the Workers’ Party generally, and Lula specifically.”

Lula’s imprisonment in 2018 on corruption charges cleared the way for the rapid ascent and victory of Brazil’s current far-right president Jair Bolsonaro over Fernando Haddad, who replaced Lula as the presidential candidate for the Workers’ Party (PT).

“[M]any of these documents show improper and unethical plotting… on how to best structure the corruption case against Lula—although Moro was legally required to judge the case as a neutral arbiter,” The Intercept reported. “Other documents include private admissions among the prosecutors that the evidence proving Lula’s guilt was lacking.”

Following his victory in the presidential election, Bolsonaro appointed Moro as justice minister—a move The Intercept said created “the obvious perception (real or not) of a quid pro quo.”

The Intercept highlighted a particularly egregious example of the team of prosecutors coordinating to ensure Lula’s party would not prevail in the 2018 election after the former president was imprisoned and barred from running:

One glaring example occurred 10 days before the first round of presidential voting last year, when a Supreme Court justice granted a petition from the country’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, to interview Lula, who was in prison on corruption charges…