On 29 April 2020, Alexandre de Moraes, a justice or ‘minister’ of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil blocked the appointment of Alexandre Ramagem, former Head of the Brazilian Intelligence Services to the role of Director General of the Federal Police, prompting accusations of judicial activism and improvisation. De Moraes’s legal reasoning – and if that is conceded, the allegation that Alexandre Ramagem is too close to President Jair Bolsonaro to serve as the nation’s chief police officer – will now be considered by the Supreme Federal Court en banc. The right meanwhile is furious with the Brazilian deep state “improvising” judicial tests to subvert the executive branch.

Ramagem’s nomination comes as part of a reshuffle of senior Brazilian officials following the resignation of Minister of Justice Sérgio Moro on 24 April 2020, which appears to have been prompted by the resignation of Maurício Valeixo, Ramagem’s would-be predecessor, on the same day. Moro is a controversial figure whose role in Operation Car Wash led to multiple senior politicians being arrested, and who sentenced ex-President to nine-and-a-half years in prison in 2017 for money laundering and passive corruption.

Moro was subsequently subject an expose by the Intercept, which published details of his correspondence with the prosecutors in the Lula case, accusing him of collaboration, an accusation that Moro denies. At the time, The Intercept wrote:

In the files, conversations between lead prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol and then-presiding Judge Sergio Moro reveal that Moro offered strategic advice to prosecutors and passed on tips for new avenues of investigation. With these actions, Moro grossly overstepped the ethical lines that define the role of a judge. In Brazil, as in the United States, judges are required to be impartial and neutral, and are barred from secretly collaborating with one side in a case.

On 29 April 2020, André Mendonça (pictured), the former Attorney General of Brazil and a Presbyterian minister took up office as Minister of Justice, while José Levi do Amaral, a law professor from the University of Sao Paulo and former adviser to José Serra has taken up the post of Attorney General.

Meanwhile, former Deputy Director of the Brazilian Intelligence Agency, Frank Márcio de Oliveira has been appointed as its new head.

Picture by Luis Macedo/Câmara dos Deputados – Câmara dos Deputados do Brasil (1, 2), CC BY 3.0, Link. 

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