Brazil Judge Orders Bolsonaro Allies to Pay Millions for Election Fraud Lawsuit
An attempt by supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to claim voter fraud in the country’s recent election could end up costing them about US$4 million, a judge ruled last week.
Bolsonaro’s coalition must pay the equivalent of around $4 million, the head of Brazil’s electoral court ordered Wednesday, saying their “bad faith” lawsuit aimed to overturn the results of October’s presidential election.
Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva narrowly defeated Bolsonaro in that election, and Bolsonaro supporters have organized multiple protests across the country. Some have blocked roads and truckers have threatened to strike in support of the outgoing president.
Many demonstrators want the Brazilian armed forces to shut down the Congress and to impeach all 11 Supreme Court justices. Military installations across the country have been targeted by protesters urging intervention.Brazil’s military commanders say they do not intend to intervene in the election. They have said that the solutions to Brazil’s disputes must come from the democratic rule of law, while also affirming the right to peaceful protest.
The order from Alexandre de Moraes, who is also a judge on Brazil’s Supreme Court, follows several public condemnations of attempts by Bolsonaro supporters to invalidate the election.
Bolsonaro’s coalition claimed voting machines had malfunctioned, which Moraes called a “bizarre and illicit” argument for which they presented no evidence. This “bad faith” litigation lacked “any indications and circumstances that would justify an extra verification” in the electronic voting machines, he said.
Bolsonaro’s party alleged, in its audit of the second round held on Oct. 30, that some electronic voting machines would not be able to be identified, which would be a sign of “malfunction.”
However, they have questioned only the results of the presidential election. According to Moraes, even if the discussion could be restricted to the second round, “there would be no reason why the alleged defect or malfunction of electronic voting machines - if it existed - would be discussed only with regard to the elections for president.”
The lawsuit clearly “attempts to challenge the Democratic State of Law and incentivizes criminal and anti-democratic protest movements,” he said.
According to Moraes, documents attached to the case file shows that the electronic voting machines are perfectly “capable of full, safe and clear individual identification, one by one.” The arguments are baseless and “absolutely false,” he said.
In addition to the fine, Moraes froze the entire party fund of Bolsonaro’s coalition until the payment was made. Bolsonaro’s party is entitled to nearly $50 million in party funds.