“Their Little Show”

Exclusive: Brazilian Judge in Car Wash Corruption Case Mocked Lula’s Defense and Secretly Directed Prosecutors’ Media Strategy During Trial

Ilustração: João Brizzi and Rodrigo Bento/The Intercept Brasil; Foto: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência BrasilIlustração: João Brizzi and Rodrigo Bento/The Intercept Brasil; Foto: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil

Brazil’s Justice Minister Sergio Moro, while serving as a judge in a corruption case that upended Brazilian politics, took to private chats to mock the defense of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and direct prosecutors’ media strategy, according to newly unearthed chats from an archive obtained by The Intercept Brasil.

The new revelations, which were published in Portuguese by The Intercept Brasil on Friday, have added fuel to a weeklong political firestorm in Brazil. The country’s largest circulation newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, said the reporting suggests that officials “ignored the limits of the law,” while UOL, a news website, said jurists view the revelations as “grave.” The site quoted the head of a national criminal law association saying, “This is unthinkable in any democracy. It’s scary.”

In the newly revealed chats with a senior prosecutor — a member of the team working on the Operation Car Wash corruption case — Moro said, “Maybe, tomorrow, you should prepare a press release” to point out inconsistencies in Lula’s arguments, adding, “The defense already put on their little show.”

“You should prepare a press release explaining the contradictions between his testimony and the rest of the evidence or with his previous testimony. After all, the defense already put on their little show.”

Moro’s advice was a major deviation from their previous communications strategy, but prosecutors did as he asked — further evidence of bias and unethical collaboration between the two parties in the case that sent Lula to prison on corruption charges, making the most popular politician in Brazil ineligible to run in the 2018 presidential election.

The newly published chats come from an archive of documents, provided to The Intercept Brasil by an anonymous source, which includes years of private communications from the prosecutorial task force responsible for the Car Wash case, the largest anti-corruption investigation in Brazilian history.

Last weekend, The Intercept published explosive group chats between Car Wash prosecutors and conversations between task force coordinator Deltan Dallagnol and Moro, showing that the then-judge and the prosecutors were unethically and inappropriately collaborating in secret. Despite repeatedly insisting in public that they were acting ethically and impartially, the chats revealed that the judge was passing on advice, investigative leads, and inside information to the prosecutors — who were themselves plotting to prevent Lula’s Workers’ Party from winning last year’s election.

Lula, who had been the far and away favorite in election polls, was rendered ineligible by his conviction, and instead the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro handily won over Lula’s replacement. Lula has maintained that he was not granted a fair trial. Moro is now Bolsonaro’s justice minister.

In an interview on Friday with the Estado de São Paulo newspaper, Moro said, “The Brazilian legal tradition does not prevent personal contact and such conversations between judges, lawyers, detectives, and prosecutors.” This type of communication is “absolutely normal,” he added. However, the chats published by The Intercept Brasil show that the communication went far beyond “personal contact” and “conversations” to include directives as to how the prosecutors should operate inside and outside of the courtroom.

The Car Wash task force refused to comment on the contents of this story. In a statement, Moro declined to speak to the substance of this article, but said, “The Minister of Justice and Public Security will not comment on alleged messages from public authorities collected through criminal invasion by hackers and that may have been tampered with and edited, especially without prior analysis by independent authorities that can certify their integrity. In the case in question, the alleged messages were not even sent previously.”

Despite repeatedly using the phrase “alleged messages,” Moro acknowledged the authenticity of at least one of the conversations this past Friday. Questioned during a press conference about having passed on an investigative lead to prosecutors on December 7, 2015, Moro said it was an “oversight on my part.”

“The Defense Already Put on Their Little Show”

GettyImages-516938650

Prosecutor Carlos Fernando dos Santos Lima talks about the 26th stage of the Lava Jato operation, called Xepa, during a press conference at the Superintendency of the Federal Police in Curitiba, Brazil, on March 22, 2016.

Photo: Heuler Andrey/AFP/Getty Images

“What did you think?” It was 10:04 p.m. on May 10, 2017, and then-Judge Sergio Moro was using the Telegram messaging app to talk with Carlos Fernando dos Santos Lima, a senior prosecutor in the Operation Car Wash task force. Moro had just wrapped up one of the most important days of his career and was looking for feedback.

In a modest courtroom in the city of Curitiba, Moro had deposed Lula for more than five hours, as thousands of the former president’s supporters protested outside. Later that day, video recordings of the unusual proceedings — unusual because former presidents are rarely tried on corruption charges and also because judges don’t usually interrogate the accused for hours on end — were released to the public. Less than a year later, Moro would sentence Lula to more than nine years in prison for receiving a beachfront triplex apartment as a bribe for facilitating contracts with the state-run oil company Petrobras. But, for the moment, the judge was concerned about how the public was receiving the news about his interrogation of Lula.

“I thought it went really well,” Santos Lima, the prosecutor, responded. “He started antagonizing us, which gave me some peace of mind. He contradicted himself in small details and didn’t answer a lot of things, this is not well understood by the public. You starting with the Triplex left him uneasy.” The conversation continued:


Moro – 22:11 – The communication is complicated, because the press does not pay much attention to details.
22:11 – And some of them expect something conclusive.
22:12 – Maybe, tomorrow, you should prepare a press release explaining the contradictions between his testimony and the rest of the evidence or with his previous testimony
22:13 – Since the defense already put on their little show.
Santos Lima – 22:13 – We can do this. I’ll talk to the group.
Moro – 22:13 – Think on it. I haven’t made up my mind yet.
Santos Lima – 22:16 – I won’t be here tomorrow. But the most important thing was to block the idea that he would be able to turn everything into his persecution.


Ten minutes after his last message to Moro, Santos Lima sent a request in the “clippings analysis” group chat, used by prosecutors to coordinate media strategy and monitor coverage together with two press aides:


Santos Lima – 22:26:23 – Do you think we can book an interview with someone from Globo in Recife tomorrow about today’s hearings?
Press Aide 1 – 22:28:19 – It’s possible, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it. What about all the journalists here that already asked for an interview?
Press Aide 2 – 22:28:32 – But, sir, what’s the reason?
Press Aide 2 – 22:29:13 – What’s the need, actually..
Santos Lima – 22:30:50 – Just something I need taken care of. How’s the repercussion of the lawyers’ press conference?
Press Aide 2 – 22:30:58 – Typical procedure…you never gave interviews about the hearings…it will give reason for the defense to attack…once again…


The press aide’s surprise and confusion over the request demonstrates that Moro was suggesting a dramatic shift in the Car Wash prosecutors’ typical communications strategy. Up until that point, they had not been in the habit of commenting publicly on the trial proceedings.

Santos Lima then forwarded his exchange with the judge to Car Wash coordinator Deltan Dallagnol, who responded in a group chat with other prosecutors:


Dallagnol – 22:46:46 – So, we need to take into account the following points: 1) create comfort for the judge and take the spotlight to give him more protection and to shift the focus away from him; 2) to counterbalance the defense’s show.
22:47:19 – These are the reasons we should take into account, because no one is sure.
22:47:50 – The “what” would be: to point out the contradictions of the testimony.
22:49:18 – And the format, I agree, would have to be a press release, for protection and risk reduction. JN will still explore this tomorrow. If we do this, we would have to work intensely on this during the day to release it around 4 p.m.


Minutes later, Dallagnol chimed in to reinforce Santos Lima’s request in the chat with the press aides , and the second press aide reiterated their objections more forcefully:


Press aide 2 – 23:15:30 – Those who attack us will keep attacking us. Those who don’t will notice a change in behavior and will question it. It’s part of the process. The way I see it, it’s issuing an opinion about the case before its conclusion… and creating an opening to say that you are trying to influence the judge. Their role will be to make this a political issue. The press knows this. And they already know that you don’t usually talk about the hearings. Changing your behavior will create the opportunity to raise other questions. Why did you decide to talk now? Because it was the ex-president? And bring back the narrative of persecution… it is what the defense did, does… because there is no way to refute the accusation. For the prosecution to use the same strategy might be shooting yourself in the foot.


Dallagnol also messaged Moro to congratulate him on his performance in court that day and discuss the judge’s suggestion: “Congratulations on keeping control of the hearing in such a serene and respectful way. We are pondering an eventual statement. GN [Globonews] just showed a series of contradictions and evasions. We’re keeping track.”

Moro again suggested that the prosecutors consider issuing a statement to the press. He said, “OK. I also have my doubts about the pertinence of a statement, but we should think about it due to the subtleties involved.”

Under the Brazilian judicial system, the judge and the prosecution are required to operate independently to ensure a fair trial. However, in this case, Car Wash prosecutors spent hours crafting a communications strategy at the judge’s suggestion in order to, in the words of their leader, “comfort the judge.”

Prosecutors Deliver on Moro’s Suggestion

The following afternoon, the Car Wash prosecutors put out a statement attacking Lula’s arguments and using the exact word Moro had suggested: contradictions. “As for the many verified contradictions in the questioning of ex-President Lula,” read the statement. “[T]he Federal Public Prosecutor will address this in due course, during the trial, particularly during closing arguments.”

Media coverage was dominated by the prosecutors’ allegations of contradictions. The Folha de São Paulo newspaper ran an article the next day with the headline, “Lula’s testimony had ‘several contradictions’, prosecutors say.” Exame magazine ran a piece titled, “Car Wash task force sees contradictions in Lula’s testimony.” The Estado de São Paulo ran with “Prosecutors accuse Lula’s defense of lying in triplex case.”

Santos Lima, the first prosecutor to receive Moro’s suggestion to speak out about the “contradictions” in Lula’s defense, did an interview with Estado de São Paulo’s “Broadcast Político” podcast, in which he said he did “not see any consistency” in Lula’s claims and defended Moro in response to the former president’s criticisms.

Later that night, 24 hours after Moro’s initial suggestion, Dallagnol messaged the judge to inform him that they had submitted a petition “more for strategy” that was “not essential” and that the judge “should feel free, it’s unnecessary to say, to deny” the request. He then went on to summarize their media strategy for the day. Brazil’s biggest nightly news program, “Jornal Nacional,” had just read their statement live on air:


Dallagnol – 22:16:26 – I also want to inform you that we discussed it since yesterday, over the course of the entire day, and we understand, unanimously and along with our press secretary, that the media was covering the contradictions well and that if we spoke out about it, it could make things worse. We passed along some relevant [points] to journalists. We decided to make a statement only addressing the false information, saying that we will focus on other contradictions in the closing arguments.
Moro – 23:07:15 – Cool, no worries, I’m still preparing the decision but I’m leaning towards denying it, yes


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Contact the author:

Andrew Fishman[email protected]​theintercept.com@AndrewDFish

Rafael Moro Martins[email protected]​theintercept.com@rafaelmmartins

Leandro Demori[email protected]​theintercept.com@demori

Glenn Greenwald[email protected]​theintercept.com@ggreenwald

Amanda Audi[email protected]​theintercept.com@amandafaudi

Additional Credits:

Research: André Souza.
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Breach of Ethics

Exclusive: Leaked Chats Between Brazilian Judge and Prosecutor Who Imprisoned Lula Reveal Prohibited Collaboration and Doubts Over Evidence

Sergio Moro. Illustration: Rodrigo Bento/The Intercept Brasil. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência BrasilSergio Moro. Illustration: Rodrigo Bento/The Intercept Brasil. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil

A large trove of documents furnished exclusively to The Intercept Brasil reveals serious ethical violations and legally prohibited collaboration between the judge and prosecutors who last year convicted and imprisoned former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on corruption charges — a conviction that resulted in Lula being barred from the 2018 presidential election. These materials also contain evidence that the prosecution had serious doubts about whether there was sufficient evidence to establish Lula’s guilt.

The archive, provided to The Intercept by an anonymous source, includes years of internal files and private conversations from the prosecutorial team behind Brazil’s sprawling Operation Car Wash, an ongoing corruption investigation that has yielded dozens of major convictions, including those of top corporate executives and powerful politicians.

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.

Other chats in the archive raise fundamental questions about the quality of the charges that ultimately sent Lula to prison. He was accused of having received a beachfront triplex apartment from a contractor as a kickback for facilitating multimillion-dollar contracts with the state-controlled oil firm Petrobras. In group chats among members of the prosecutorial team just days before filing the indictment, Dallagnol expressed his increasing doubts over two key elements of the prosecution’s case: whether the triplex was in fact Lula’s and whether it had anything to do with Petrobras.

These two questions were critical to their ability to prosecute Lula. Without the Petrobras link, the task force running the Car Wash investigation would have no legal basis for prosecuting this case, as it would fall outside of their jurisdiction. Even more seriously, without proving that the triplex belonged to Lula, the case itself would fall apart, since Lula’s alleged receipt of the triplex was the key ingredient to prove he acted corruptly.

Operation Car Wash is one of the most consequential political forces in the history of Brazilian democracy and also one of the most controversial. It has taken down powerful actors once thought to be untouchable and revealed massive corruption schemes that sucked billions out of public coffers.

The probe, however, has also been accused of political bias, repeated violations of constitutional guarantees, and illegal leaks of information to the press. (A separate article published today by The Intercept reveals that the Car Wash prosecutors, who long insisted that they were apolitical and concerned solely with fighting corruption, were in fact internally plotting how to prevent the return to power by Lula and his Workers’ Party).

The successful prosecution of Lula rendered him ineligible to run in the 2018 presidential election at a time when all polls showed that the former president was the clear frontrunner. As a result, Operation Car Wash was scorned by Lula’s supporters, who considered it a politically motivated scheme, driven by right-wing ideologues masquerading as apolitical anti-corruption prosecutors, in order to prevent Lula from running for president and to destroy the Workers’ Party.

But on the Brazilian right, there was widespread popular support for the corruption probe, the team of prosecutors, and Moro. The yearslong corruption probe transformed Moro into a hero both in Brazil and around the world, a status that was only strengthened once he became the man who finally brought down Lula.

After the guilty verdict from Moro was quickly affirmed by an appellate court, Lula’s candidacy was barred by law. With Lula out of the running, the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro shot up in the polls and then handily won the presidency by defeating Lula’s chosen replacement, former São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad.

Bolsonaro then named Moro, the judge who had presided over the case against Lula, to be his justice minister. Jurists and scholars will continue to debate the role of Car Wash for decades, but these archives offer an unprecedented window into this crucial moment in recent Brazilian history.

View of a truck with a portrait of Brazilian judge Sergio Moro reading "Long live Lava Jato", referring to an anti-corrption operation, during a protest against Brazilian former president (2003-2011) Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva outside the Federal Police headquarters, where he is awaited to start his 12-year prison sentence in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil. Lula da Silva, the controversial frontrunner in Brazil's October presidential election, remained defiantly holed up Friday as a deadline for him to surrender and start a 12-year prison sentence for corruption loomed.

A truck with a portrait of Sergio Moro reading, “Long live Lava Jato (Car Wash),” from April 6, 2018.

Photo: Mauro Pimentel/AFP/Getty Images

Sergio Moro Crosses the Line

Telegram messages between Sergio Moro and Deltan Dallagnol reveal that Moro repeatedly stepped far outside the permissible bounds of his position as a judge while working on Car Wash cases. Over the course of more than two years, Moro suggested to the prosecutor that his team change the sequence of who they would investigate; insisted on less downtime between raids; gave strategic advice and informal tips; provided the prosecutors with advance knowledge of his decisions; offered constructive criticism of prosecutorial filings; and even scolded Dallagnol as if the prosecutor worked for the judge. Such conduct is unethical for a judge, who is responsible for maintaining neutrality to guarantee a fair trial, and it violates the Judiciary’s Code of Ethics for Brazil.

In one illustrative chat, Moro, referring to new rounds of search warrants and interrogations, suggested to Dallagnol that it might be preferable to “reverse the order of the two planned [phases].”

Numerous other instances in this archive reveal Moro — then a judge, and now Bolsonaro’s justice minister — actively collaborating with the prosecutors to strengthen their case. After a month of silence from the Car Wash task force, Moro asked: “Hasn’t it been a long time without an operation?” In another instance, Moro said, “You cannot make that kind of mistake now” — a reference to what he considered to be an error by the Federal Police. “But think hard whether that’s a good idea… the facts would have to be serious,” he counseled after Dallagnol told him of a motion he planned to file. “What do you think of these crazy statements from the PT national board? Should we officially rebut?” he asked, using the plural — “we” — in response to criticisms of the Car Wash investigation by Lula’s Workers’ Party, showing that he viewed himself and the Car Wash prosecutors as united in the same cause.

As in the United States, Brazil’s criminal justice system employs the accusatory model, which requires separation between the accuser and judge. Under this model, the judge must analyze the allegations of both sides in an impartial, disinterested manner. But the chats between Moro and Dallagnol show that, when he was a judge, the current justice minister improperly interfered in the Car Wash task force’s work, acting informally as an aid and advisor to the prosecution. In secret, he was helping design and construct the very criminal case that he would then “neutrally” adjudicate.

Such coordination between the judge and the Public Prosecutor’s Office outside of official proceedings squarely contradicts the public narrative that Car Wash prosecutors, Moro, and their supporters have presented and vigorously defended over the years. Moro and Dallagnol have been accused of secret collaboration since the early days of Car Wash, but these suspicions — until now — were not backed by concrete evidence.

Another example of Moro crossing the line separating prosecutor and judge is in a conversation with Dallagnol on December 7, 2015, when he informally passed on a tip about Lula’s case to the prosecutors. “So. The following. Source informed me that the contact person is annoyed at having been asked to issue draft property transfer deeds for one of the ex-president’s children. Apparently the person would be willing to provide the information. I’m therefore passing it along. The source is serious,” wrote Moro.

“Thank you!! We’ll make contact,” Dallagnol promptly replied. Moro added, “And it would be dozens of properties.” Dallagnol later advised Moro that he called the source, but she would not talk: “I’m thinking of drafting a subpoena, based on apocryphal news,” the prosecutor said. While it is not entirely clear what this means, it appears that Dallagnol was floating the idea of inventing an anonymous complaint that could be used to compel the source to testify. Moro, rather than chastise the prosecutor or remain silent, appears to endorse the proposal: “Better to formalize then,” the judge replied.

Moro has publicly and vehemently denied on several occasions that he ever worked in partnership with the team of prosecutors. In a March 2016 speech, Moro denied these suspicions explicitly:

Let’s make something very clear. You hear a lot about Judge Moro’s investigative strategy. […] I do not have any investigative strategy at all. The people who investigate or who decide what to do and such is the Public Prosecutor and the [Federal] Police. The judge is reactive. We say that a judge should normally cultivate these passive virtues. And I even get irritated at times, I see somewhat unfounded criticism of my work, saying that I am a judge-investigator.

In his 2017 book, “The Fight Against Corruption,” Dallagnol wrote that Moro “always evaluated the Public Prosecutor’s requests in an impartial and technical manner.” Last year, in response to a complaint from Lula’s lawyers, Brazil’s prosecutor general — the presidentially-appointed chief prosecutor who runs the Car Wash investigation — wrote that Moro “remained impartial during the entire process” of Lula’s conviction.

Brazilian Federal Attorney Deltan Dallagnol listens, during the ceremony for the return of resources to Petrobras, which were recovered through cooperation and leniency agreements  in connection with Lava Jato operation, in Curitiba, Brazil on December 07, 2017.  Petrobras received 654 million reais (200 million dollars) from legal agreements related to Lava Jato operation, the largest corruption investigation in Brazil's history, the state-owned company reported. / AFP PHOTO / Heuler Andrey        (Photo credit should read HEULER ANDREY/AFP/Getty Images)

Brazilian Federal Attorney Deltan Dallagnol listens, during a ceremony for the return of resources to Petrobras, which were recovered in connection with Lava Jato operation, in Curitiba, Brazil, on Dec. 7, 2017.

Photo: Heuler Andrey/AFP/Getty Images

Doubts, Misinterpretations, and a Triplex

Beyond Moro’s interjections, the documents obtained by The Intercept Brasil reveal that, while publicly boasting about the strength of the evidence against Lula, prosecutors were internally admitting major doubts. They also knew that their claimed jurisdictional entitlement to prosecute Lula was shaky at best, if not entirely baseless.

In the documents, Dallagnol, the Operation Car Wash lead prosecutor, expressed concerns regarding the two most important elements of the prosecution’s case. Their indictment accused Lula of receiving a beachfront triplex apartment from the construction firm Grupo OAS as a bribe in exchange for facilitating millions of dollars in contracts with Petrobras, but they lacked solid documentary evidence to prove that the apartment was Lula’s or that he ever facilitated any contracts. Without the apartment, there was no case, and without the Petrobras link, the case would fall out of their jurisdiction and into that of the São Paulo division of the Public Prosecutor’s office, which had argued that it, rather than Operation Car Wash prosecutors, had jurisdiction over the case against Lula.

“They will say that we are accusing based on newspaper articles and fragile evidence … so it’d be good if this item is wrapped up tight. Apart from this item, so far I am apprehensive about the connection between Petrobras and enrichment, and after they told me I am apprehensive about the apartment story,” wrote Dallagnol in a group Telegram chat with his colleagues on September 9, 2016, four days before filing their indictment against Lula. “These are points in which we have to have solid answers and on the tips of our tongues.”

None of Dallagnol’s subordinates responded to his messages in the materials examined for this article.

Prosecutors in São Paulo had publicly questioned the Petrobras connection in an official court filing, noting, “In 2009-2010 there was no talk of scandal at Petrobras. In 2005, when the presidential couple, in theory, began to pay installments on the property, there was no indication of an ‘oil scandal’.”

The Curitiba-based Car Wash team eventually prevailed over their São Paulo counterparts and were able to maintain the high-profile, politically explosive case in their jurisdiction. But private chats reveal that their argument was a bluff — they weren’t actually sure of the Petrobras link that was the key to maintaining their jurisdiction.

On Saturday night at 10:45 p.m., a day after expressing his original doubts, Dallagnol messaged the group again: “I’m so horny for this O GLOBO article from 2010. I’m going to kiss whichever one of you found this.” The article, headlined “Bancoop Case: Lula Couple’s Triplex Is Delayed,” was the first to publicly mention Lula owning an apartment in Guarujá, a coastal town in São Paulo state. The 645-word article, published years before the Car Wash investigation began, does not mention OAS or Petrobras and instead covers the bankruptcy of the construction cooperative behind the development and how it could negatively impact the delivery date of Lula’s new vacation apartment.

The article was submitted as evidence and, in his decision to convict Lula, Moro wrote that the O Globo article “is quite relevant from a probative point of view.” But Lula’s defense attorneys dispute that he was the owner of a triplex, claiming instead that he purchased a smaller, single level apartment on a lower floor, and the O Globo article presented no documentation proving otherwise.

Moreover, there is a small but telling inconsistency between the O Globo article and the claims of the prosecution regarding the triplex. The article itself puts Lula’s penthouse in Tower B, and even notes that Tower A is yet to be built at the time the article was written: “The second tower, if constructed according to the project blueprints, finalized in the early 2000s, may end part of Lula’s joy: the building will be in front of the president’s property, obstructing his ocean view at Guarujá.” But the prosecutors alleged that Lula owned the beachfront triplex in Tower A. Without noting this contradiction, Item 191 of the indictment cites the O Globo article: “This article explained that the then President LULA and [his wife] MARISA LETÍCIA would receive a triplex penthouse, with a view to the sea, in the said venture.” That is the apartment that would eventually be seized by authorities and that Lula would be convicted of receiving.

Car Wash prosecutors used the article as evidence that the triplex belonged to the presidential family, but indicted and convicted Lula on a triplex in a different building — demonstrating that the investigation was imprecise on the central point of their case: identifying the bribe that Lula allegedly received from the contractor.

When the indictment was revealed during a press conference on September 14, the triplex and its provenance as a bribe from OAS were the key pieces of evidence on the charges of passive corruption and money laundering. In a now infamous moment, Dallagnol presented a typo-laden PowerPoint presentation that showed “Lula” written in a blue bubble surrounded by 14 other bubbles containing everything from “Lula’s reaction” and “expressiveness” to “illicit enrichment” and “bribeocracy.” All arrows pointed back to Lula, whom they characterized as the mastermind behind a sprawling criminal enterprise. The presentation was widely spoofed and criticized by critics as evidence of the weakness of the Car Wash prosecutors’ case.

Two days later, Dallagnol messaged Moro and, in private, explained that they went to great lengths to characterize Lula as the “maximum leader” of the corruption scheme as a way to link the politician to the R$87 million (US$26.7 million, at the time) paid in bribes by OAS for contracts at two Petrobras refineries — a charge without material evidence, he admitted, but one that was essential so that the case could be tried under Moro’s jurisdiction in Curitiba.

“The indictment is based on a lot of indirect evidence of authorship, but it wouldn’t fit to say that in the indictment and in our communications we avoided that point,” Dallagnol wrote. “It was not understood that the long exposition on command of the scheme was necessary to impute corruption to the former president. A lot of people did not understand why we put him as the leader to gain 3,7MM in money laundering, when it was not for that, but to impute 87MM of corruption.”

Moro responded two days later: “Definitely, the criticisms of your presentation are disproportionate. Stand firm.” Less than a year later, the judge sentenced the former president to nine years and six months in prison. The ruling was quickly upheld unanimously by an appeals court and the sentence was extended to 12 years and one month. In an interview, the president of the appeals court characterized Moro’s decision as “just and impartial” before later admitting that he had not yet obtained access to the underlying evidence in the case. One of the three judges on the panel was an old friend and classmate of Moro’s.

Even Lula’s most vehement critics, including those who believe him to be corrupt, have expressed doubts about the strength of this particular conviction. Many have argued that it was chosen as the first case because it was simple enough to process quickly, in time to fulfill the real goal: to bar Lula from being re-elected.

Until now, most of the evidence necessary to evaluate the motives and internal beliefs of the Car Wash task force and Moro remained secret. Reporting on this archive now finally enables the public — in Brazil and internationally — to evaluate both the validity of Lula’s conviction and the propriety of those who worked so tirelessly to bring it about.

The Intercept contacted the offices of the Car Wash task force and Sergio Moro immediately upon publication and will update the stories with their comments if and when they provide them. Read the editors’ statement here.

Update: June 9, 2019, 8:13 p.m. ET

The Car Wash task force did not refute the authenticity of the information published by The Intercept. In a press release published Sunday evening, they wrote, “possibly among the illegally copied information are documents and data on ongoing strategies and investigations and on the personal and security routines of task force members and their families. There is peace of mind that any data obtained reflects activities developed with full respect for legality and in a technical and impartial manner, over more than five years of the operation.”

Update: June 9, 2019, 9:53 p.m. ET
Justice Minister Sergio Moro also published a note in response to our reporting: “About alleged messages that would involve me, posted by The Intercept website this Sunday, June 9, I lament the lack of indication of the source of the person responsible for the criminal invasion of the prosecutors’ cell phones. As well as the position of the site that did not contact me before the publication, contrary to basic rule of journalism.

As for the content of the messages they mention, there is no sign of any abnormality or providing directions as a magistrate, despite being taken out of context and the sensationalism of the articles, they ignore the gigantic corruption scheme revealed by Operation Car Wash.”

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Contact the author:

Andrew Fishman[email protected]​theintercept.com@AndrewDFish

Rafael Moro Martins[email protected]​theintercept.com@rafaelmmartins

Leandro Demori[email protected]​theintercept.com@demori

Alexandre de Santi[email protected]​theintercept.com@alexdesanti

Glenn Greenwald[email protected]​theintercept.com@ggreenwald

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Hidden Plot

Exclusive: Brazil’s Top Prosecutors Who Indicted Lula Schemed in Secret Messages to Prevent His Party From Winning 2018 Election

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Illustration: Rodrigo Bento/The Intercept Brasil. Photo: Getty ImagesFormer Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Illustration: Rodrigo Bento/The Intercept Brasil. Photo: Getty Images

An enormous trove of secret documents reveals that Brazil’s most powerful prosecutors, who have spent years insisting they are apolitical, instead plotted to prevent the Workers’ Party, or PT, from winning the 2018 presidential election by blocking or weakening a pre-election interview with former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva with the explicit purpose of affecting the outcome of the election.

The massive archive, provided exclusively to The Intercept, shows multiple examples of politicized abuse of prosecutorial powers by those who led the country’s sweeping Operation Car Wash corruption probe since 2014. It also reveals a long-denied political and ideological agenda. 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 brought by the Car Wash task force.

Immediately upon learning of that decision on September 28, 2018, the team of prosecutors who handled Lula’s corruption case — who spent years vehemently denying that they were driven by political motives of any kind — began discussing in a private Telegram chat group how to block, subvert, or undermine the Supreme Court decision. This was based on their expressed fear that the decision would help the PT — Lula’s party — win the election. Based on their stated desire to prevent the PT’s return to power, they spent hours debating strategies to prevent or dilute the political impact of Lula’s interview.

The Car Wash prosecutors explicitly said that their motive in stopping Lula’s interview was to prevent the PT from winning. One of the prosecutors, Laura Tessler, exclaimed upon learning of the decision, “What a joke!” and then explained the urgency of preventing or undermining the decision. “A press conference before the second round of voting could help elect Haddad,” she wrote in the chat group, referring to the PT’s candidate Fernando Haddad. The chief of the prosecutor task force, Deltan Dallagnol, conducted a separate conversation with a longtime confidant, also a prosecutor, and they agreed that they would “pray” together that the events of that day would not usher in the PT’s return to power.

Many in Brazil have long accused the Car Wash prosecutors, as well as the judge who adjudicated the corruption cases, Sérgio Moro (now the country’s justice minister under President Jair Bolsonaro), of being driven by ideological and political motives. Moro and the Car Wash team have repeatedly denied these accusations, insisting that their only consideration was to expose and punish political corruption irrespective of party or political faction.

But this new archive of documents — some of which are being published today in other articles by The Intercept and The Intercept Brasil — casts considerable doubt on the denials of the prosecutors. Indeed, many of these documents show improper and unethical plotting between Dallagnol and Moro on how to best structure the corruption case against Lula — although Moro was legally required to judge the case as a neutral arbiter. Other documents include private admissions among the prosecutors that the evidence proving Lula’s guilt was lacking. Overall, the documents depict a task force of prosecutors seemingly intent on exploiting its legal powers for blatantly political ends, led by its goal of preventing a return to power of the Workers’ Party generally, and Lula specifically.

Sergio Moro, Brazil's minister of Justice, speaks during a news conference in Brasilia, Brazil, on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. Moro announced tougher measures to overhaul crime. Photographer: Andre Coelho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sérgio Moro, Brazil’s minister of justice, speaks at a news conference on Feb. 4, 2019, in Brasília, Brazil, where he announced tougher measures to overhaul crime.

Photo: Andre Coelho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The secrets unveiled by these documents are crucial for the public to know because the massive Car Wash corruption probe, which has swept through Brazil for the last five years, has been one of the most consequential events in the history of the world’s fifth-most populous country — not just legally but also politically.

Until now, both the Car Wash task force and Moro have been heralded around the world with honors, prizes, and media praise. But this new archive of documents shines substantial light on previously unreported motives, actions, and often deceitful maneuvering by these powerful actors.

While the Car Wash team of prosecutors has imprisoned a wide range of powerful politicians and billionaires, by far their most significant accomplishment was the 2018 imprisonment of Lula. At the time of Lula’s conviction, all polls showed that the former president — who had twice been elected by large margins, in 2002 and then again in 2006, and left office with a 87 percent approval rate — was the overwhelming frontrunner to once again win the presidency in 2018.

But Lula’s criminal conviction last year, once it was quickly affirmed by an appellate court, rendered him ineligible to run for the presidency, clearing the way for Bolsonaro, the far-right candidate, to win against Lula’s chosen successor, Haddad, the former São Paulo mayor. Supporters of the PT and many others in Brazil have long insisted that these prosecutors, while masquerading as apolitical and non-ideological actors whose only agenda was fighting corruption, were in fact right-wing ideologues whose overriding mission was to destroy the PT and prevent Lula’s return to power in the 2018 election.

These documents lend obvious credibility to those accusations. They show extensive plotting in secret to block and undermine the September 28 judicial order from Supreme Court Justice Ricardo Lewandowski, which authorized one of the country’s most prominent reporters, Folha’s Mônica Bergamo, to interview Lula in prison. Lewandowski’s decision was expressly grounded in the right of a free press, which he said entitled the newspaper to speak to Lula and report on his perspectives.

In his decision, Lewandowski also explained that the arguments that had been used all year to prevent a prison interview with Lula — namely, “security fears“ and the need to keep prisoners silent — were blatantly invalid given the numerous other prison interviews “permitted for prisoners condemned of crimes such as trafficking, murder and international organized crime.” The ruling also noted that Lula was neither in a maximum-security prison nor under a specially restrictive prison regime, further eroding the rationale for a ban on interviewing him.

Up until that point, Lula — widely regarded as one of the most effective and charismatic political communicators in the democratic world — had been held incommunicado, prevented from speaking to the public about the election. Any pre-election interview of Lula, in which he could have offered his views on Bolsonaro and the other candidates, including the PT’s Haddad, would have commanded massive media attention and likely influenced a decisive bloc of voters who, to this day, remain highly loyal to the former president (which is why Lula, even once he was imprisoned, remained the poll frontrunner).

The Car Wash prosecutors learned of the judicial decision authorizing Folha’s pre-election prison interview with Lula when an article about it was posted in their encrypted Telegram chat group. The panic among them was immediate. They repeatedly worried that the interview, to be conducted so close to the first round of voting, would help the PT’s Haddad win the presidential election. Based explicitly on that fear, the Car Wash prosecutors spent the day working feverishly to develop strategies to either overturn the ruling, delay Lula’s interview until after the election, or ensure that it was structured so as to minimize its political impact and its ability to help the PT win.

Reacting to the decision, Tessler, one of the prosecutors, exclaimed: “What a joke!!! Revolting!!! There he goes hold a rally in prison. A true circus. After Mônica Bergamo, based on the principle of equal treatment, I’m sure many other journalists will also be coming … and we’re left here, made to act like clowns with a supreme court like that …” Another prosecutor, Athayde Ribeiro Costa, responded to the decision with one word and numerous exclamation marks: “Mafiosos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

The prosecutors, according to the time stamps on their chats, spent nearly a full day inventing strategies for how to prevent the Lula interview from taking place before the election or at least dilute its impact — from speculating whether a press conference would be less effective than a one-on-one interview, or whether they should petition to allow all other prisoners to be interviewed to distract attention from Lula. Tessler then made clear why these prosecutors were so deeply upset that the public could be allowed to hear from the former president so soon before the election: “Who knows … but an interview before the second round of voting could help elect Haddad.”

Brazilian Deltan Dallagnol, attorney of the Federal Public Ministry, speaks during an interview in Curitiba, Brazil on January 26, 2017. Dallagnol, in charge of Petrobras' multimillionaire bribery case, said Thursday that the denunciation of managers of Brazilian company Odebrecht will duplicate the number of people under investigation. / AFP / Heuler Andrey / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY DAMIAN WROCLAVSKY        (Photo credit should read HEULER ANDREY/AFP/Getty Images)

Deltan Dallagnol, attorney of the Federal Public Ministry, during an interview in Curitiba, Brazil, on Jan. 26, 2017.

Photo: Heuler Andrey/AFP/Getty Images

While these chats were taking place within the Car Wash chat group, Deltan Dallagnol, the task force’s chief, was also having his own side conversation with a close confidant, a prosecutor who does not work on the Car Wash task force. They both expressly agreed that the chief objective was preventing the return of the PT to power, and the chief prosecutor — who often boasts of his religious piety — agreed that they would “pray” that this did not happen:


Carol PGR – 11:22:08 Deltannn, my friend
11:22:33 all of my solidarity in the world to you with this episode …. We’re on a runaway train and I do not know what’s waiting for us
11:22:44 The only certainty is that we’re together
11:24:06 I remain very worried about the possible return of PT, but I have prayed frequently for God to enlighten our population and for a miracle to save us
Deltan – 13:34:22 I’m with you, Carol!
13:34:27 Pray indeed
13:34:32 We need this as a country


These admissions of the prosecutors’ true concerns — that a Lula interview could “elect Haddad” and usher in a “return of PT” to power — were hardly isolated confessions. To the contrary, the entire discussion, held over many hours, reads far less like a meeting of neutral prosecutors than a war-room session of anti-PT political operatives and strategists, focused on the goal of determining the most effective way to prevent or minimize the political impact of Lula’s interview.

Athayde Ribeiro Costa, for instance, cynically suggested that the omission of any date in Lewandowski’s decision could allow the Federal Police to purposely schedule the interview for after the election while pretending to comply with the order: “There’s no date. So the Federal Police could just schedule this for after the election, and we’ll still be in compliance with the decision.”

Another prosecutor, Januário Paludo, proposed a series of actions designed to prevent or minimize the Lula interview: “Plan A: we could enter an appeal on the Supreme Court itself, zero probability [of success]. Plan B: open it up for everybody to interview him on the same day. It’ll be chaotic but reduces the likelihood that the interview is directed.”

At no point did Dallagnol, who actively participated in the discussion throughout the day, or any other Car Wash prosecutor, suggest that it was improper for such political considerations to drive prosecutorial strategizing. Indeed, this Telegram chat group, which was used by its participants for many months, suggests that political considerations of this kind were routinely incorporated into the task force’s decision-making process.

The prosecutors lamented among themselves that they were barred from appealing the decision because an appeal in the name of the task force would make them look too political and would create the public perception that their intentions were to silence Lula and prevent him from helping the PT win — which, as these documents reveal, was indeed their actual motive. But later in the day, they learned that a right-wing party, called Novo (meaning “New”), had appealed the decision, and that the authorization to interview Lula was stayed by the court. They boisterously celebrated this news by, among other things, mocking the conflicts that were likely to arise within the Supreme Court (STF) and heaping praise on those responsible for trying to stop the interview:


Januário Paludo – 23:41:02 Just heard about it…
Deltan – 23:41:32 lol
Athayde Costa – 23:42:02 The atmosphere at the STF must be great
Januário Paludo – 23:42:11 it’s gonna be a war of judicial decisions…


Paludo added, ironically, that “we should thank our Prosecutors’ Office: the Novo Party!” meaning that this right-wing political party, which was also contesting the 2018 election, had performed what the task force themselves wanted to achieve by preventing Lula from being heard.

The appeal from that party resulted in a judicial stay of Lewandowski’s interview authorization. As a result, no pre-election interview with Lula was permitted and he was thus never heard from prior to the voting. Only once the election was concluded and Bolsonaro won did the Supreme Court begin authorizing media outlets to interview Lula in prison. Last month, Bergamo of Folha was permitted to interview Lula jointly with El País Brasil, and shortly thereafter, Lewandowski granted The Intercept Brasil’s petition to interview Lula alone, the video and transcript of which were published by The Intercept.

Once Bolsonaro was elected president, he quickly offered Moro — whose corruption ruling had resulted in Lula’s candidacy being barred — a newly created and unprecedentedly powerful position as what is now called the “super justice minister,” designed to reflect the massive powers vested in Moro.

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That the same judge who found Lula guilty was then rewarded by Lula’s victorious opponent made even longtime supporters of the Car Wash corruption probe uncomfortable, due to the obvious perception (real or not) of a quid pro quo, and by the transformation of Moro, who long insisted he was apolitical, into a political official working for the most far-right president ever elected in the history of Brazil’s democracy. Those concerns heightened when Bolsonaro recently admitted that he had also promised to appoint Moro to a lifelong seat on the Supreme Court as soon as there was a vacancy.

Now that the actual conversations and actions of the Car Wash team and of Moro can be revealed and seen, the public — both in Brazil and internationally — will finally have the opportunity to evaluate whether their longtime denials of being politically motivated were ever true.

These September 28 discussions are just the start of reporting by The Intercept and The Intercept Brasil on this archive.

Update: June 9, 2019, 8:13 p.m. ET

The Car Wash task force did not refute the authenticity of the information published by The Intercept. In a press release published Sunday evening, they wrote, “possibly among the illegally copied information are documents and data on ongoing strategies and investigations and on the personal and security routines of task force members and their families. There is peace of mind that any data obtained reflects activities developed with full respect for legality and in a technical and impartial manner, over more than five years of the operation.”

Update: June 9, 2019, 9:53 p.m. ET

Justice Minister Sergio Moro also published a note in response to our reporting: “About alleged messages that would involve me, posted by The Intercept website this Sunday, June 9, I lament the lack of indication of the source of the person responsible for the criminal invasion of the prosecutors’ cell phones. As well as the position of the site that did not contact me before the publication, contrary to basic rule of journalism.

As for the content of the messages they mention, there is no sign of any abnormality or providing directions as a magistrate, despite being taken out of context and the sensationalism of the articles, they ignore the gigantic corruption scheme revealed by Operation Car Wash.”

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Contact the author:

Glenn Greenwald[email protected]​theintercept.com@ggreenwald

Victor Pougy[email protected]​theintercept.com@vpougy

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Illustration: Soohee Cho/The InterceptIllustration: Soohee Cho/The Intercept

How and Why The Intercept Is Reporting on a Vast Trove of Materials About Brazil’s Operation Car Wash and Justice Minister Sergio Moro

Illustration: Soohee Cho/The InterceptIllustration: Soohee Cho/The Intercept

The Intercept Brasil today published three explosive exposés showing highly controversial, politicized, and legally dubious internal discussions and secret actions by the Operation Car Wash anti-corruption task force of prosecutors, led by the chief prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, along with then-Judge Sergio Moro, now the powerful and internationally celebrated justice minister for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

These stories are based on a massive archive of previously undisclosed materials — including private chats, audio recordings, videos, photos, court proceedings, and other documentation — provided to us by an anonymous source. They reveal serious wrongdoing, unethical behavior, and systematic deceit about which the public, both in Brazil and internationally, has the right to know.

These three articles were published today in The Intercept Brasil in Portuguese, and we have synthesized them into two English-language articles for The Intercept. Given the size and global influence of Brazil under the new Bolsonaro government, these stories are of great significance to an international audience.

This is merely the beginning of what we intend to be an ongoing journalistic investigation, using this massive archive of material, into the Car Wash corruption probe; Moro’s actions when he was a judge and those of the prosecutor Dallagnol; and the conduct of numerous individuals who continue to wield great political and economic power both inside Brazil and in other countries.

Beyond the inherent political, economic, and environmental importance of Brazil under Bolsonaro, the significance of these revelations arises from the incomparably consequential actions of the yearslong Car Wash corruption probe. That sweeping scandal implicated numerous leading political figures, oligarchs, Bolsonaro’s predecessor as president, and even foreign leaders in corruption prosecutions.

Most importantly, Car Wash was the investigative saga that led to the imprisonment of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva last year. Lula’s conviction by Moro, once it was quickly affirmed by an appellate court, rendered him ineligible to run for president at a time when all polls showed that Lula — who was twice elected president by large margins in 2002 and in 2006 before being term-limited out of office in 2010 with an 87 percent approval rating — was the frontrunner in the 2018 presidential race. Lula’s exclusion from the election, based on Moro’s finding of guilt, was a key episode that paved the way for Bolsonaro’s election victory.

Perhaps most remarkably, after Bolsonaro won the presidency, he created a new position of unprecedented authority, referred to by Brazilians as “super justice minister,” to oversee an agency with consolidated powers over law enforcement, surveillance, and investigation previously interspersed among multiple ministries. Bolsonaro created that position for the benefit of the very judge who found Lula guilty, Sergio Moro, and it is the position Moro now occupies. In other words, Moro now wields immense police and surveillance powers in Brazil — courtesy of a president who was elected only after Moro, while he was a judge, rendered Bolsonaro’s key adversary ineligible to run against him.

The Car Wash prosecutors and Moro have been highly controversial in Brazil and internationally — heralded by many as anti-corruption heroes and accused by others of being clandestine right-wing ideologues masquerading as apolitical law enforcers. Their critics have insisted that they have abused and exploited their law enforcement powers with the politicized goal of preventing Lula from returning to the presidency and destroying his leftist Workers’ Party, or the PT. Moro and the prosecutors have, with equal vehemence, denied that they have any political allegiances or objectives and have said they are simply trying to cleanse Brazil of corruption.

But, until now, the Car Wash prosecutors and Moro have carried out their work largely in secret, preventing the public from evaluating the validity of the accusations against them and the truth of their denials. That’s what makes this new archive so journalistically valuable: For the first time, the public will learn what these judges and prosecutors were saying and doing when they thought nobody was listening.

Today’s articles show, among other things, that the Car Wash prosecutors spoke openly of their desire to prevent the PT from winning the election and took steps to carry out that agenda, and that Moro secretly and unethically collaborated with the Car Wash prosecutors to help design the case against Lula despite serious internal doubts about the evidence supporting the accusations, only for him to then pretend to be its neutral adjudicator.

The Intercept’s only role in obtaining these materials was to receive them from our source, who contacted us many weeks ago (long before the recently alleged hacking of Moro’s telephone) and informed us that they had already obtained the full set of materials and was eager to provide them to journalists.

Informing the public of matters in the public interest and exposing wrongdoing was our guiding principle in doing this initial reporting on the archive, and it will continue to be our guiding principle as we report further on the large number of materials we have been provided.

The sheer volume of materials in this archive, as well as the fact that many documents include private conversations among public officials, requires us to make journalistic decisions about which documents should be reported on and published, and which documents should be withheld.

When making these judgments, we employ the standard used by journalists in democracies around the world: namely, that material revealing wrongdoing or deceit by powerful actors should be reported, but information that is purely private in nature and whose disclosure may infringe upon legitimate privacy interests or other social values should be withheld.

Indeed, in our reporting on this material, we are guided by the same rationale that led much of Brazilian society — including many journalists, commentators, and activists — to praise the disclosure in 2016 by Moro and various media outlets of the private telephone calls between Lula and former President Dilma Rousseff, in which the two leaders discussed the possibility of Lula becoming a minister in Dilma’s government. Disclosure of those private calls was crucial in turning public opinion against the PT, helping to lay the groundwork for Dilma’s 2016 impeachment and Lula’s 2018 imprisonment. The principle invoked to justify that disclosure was the same one we are adhering to in our reporting on these materials: that a democracy is healthier when significant actions undertaken in secret by powerful figures are revealed to the public.

But unlike those disclosures by Moro and various media outlets of the private conversations between Lula and Dilma — which included not only matters whose disclosures were in the public interest, but also private communications of Lula that had no public relevance and that many argued were released with the intention of personally embarrassing Lula — The Intercept has resolved to withhold any private communications, audio recordings, videos, or other materials relating to Moro, Dallagnol, or any other parties that are purely private in nature and thus unrelated to matters of public interest.

We have taken measures to secure the archive and all of its component materials outside of Brazil, so that numerous journalists have access to it, ensuring that no authorities in any country will have the ability to prevent reporting based on these materials. We intend to report on and publish stories based on the archive as expeditiously as possible in accordance with our high standards of factual accuracy and journalistic responsibility.

Consistent with journalistic practice in countries where the press operates under the threat of censorship and prior restraint orders, as has been the situation recently in Bolsonaro-led Brazil, we did not seek comment from the powerful legal officials mentioned in these stories prior to publication because we did not want to give them advance notice of this reporting, and because the documents speak for themselves. We contacted them immediately upon publication and will update the stories with their comments if and when they provide them.

Given the immense power wielded by these actors, and the secrecy under which they have — until now — been able to operate, transparency is crucial for Brazil and the international community to have a clear understanding of what they have really done. A free press exists to shine a light on what the most powerful figures in society do in the dark.

Update: June 9, 2019, 8:13 p.m. ET

The Car Wash task force did not refute the authenticity of the information published by The Intercept. In a press release published Sunday evening, they wrote, “possibly among the illegally copied information are documents and data on ongoing strategies and investigations and on the personal and security routines of task force members and their families. There is peace of mind that any data obtained reflects activities developed with full respect for legality and in a technical and impartial manner, over more than five years of the operation.”

Update: June 9, 2019, 9:53 p.m. ET

Justice Minister Sergio Moro also published a note in response to our reporting: “About alleged messages that would involve me, posted by The Intercept website this Sunday, June 9, I lament the lack of indication of the source of the person responsible for the criminal invasion of the prosecutors’ cell phones. As well as the position of the site that did not contact me before the publication, contrary to basic rule of journalism.

As for the content of the messages they mention, there is no sign of any abnormality or providing directions as a magistrate, despite being taken out of context and the sensationalism of the articles, they ignore the gigantic corruption scheme revealed by Operation Car Wash.”

We depend on the support of readers like you to help keep our nonprofit newsroom strong and independent. Join Us 

Contact the author:

Glenn Greenwald[email protected]​theintercept.com@ggreenwald

Leandro Demori[email protected]​theintercept.com@demori

Betsy Reed[email protected]​theintercept.com@betsyreed2

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