Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been ordered by a Supreme Court judge to testify before federal police within 10 days about his role in the violent riots that shook the country on Jan. 8.
Bolsonaro is being investigated as part of a probe into the storming of government buildings by his supporters, who protested the election of leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and called for a military coup.
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Bolsonaro has denied any responsibility for the riots, saying he was out of the country in self-imposed exile 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.
A Brazilian senator has also accused Bolsonaro of attending a meeting about a plot to keep him in power by discrediting the head of the electoral authority, Justice Alexandre de Moraes. Senator Marcos do Val said he was invited to a meeting on Dec. 9 with Bolsonaro by Daniel Silveira, a former lawmaker and a close ally of the former president. Silveira allegedly asked do Val to get Moraes to make compromising comments on tape that would lead to his arrest.
Do Val said he refused to participate in the plot and that Bolsonaro “sat in silence” while Silveira laid out the details of the plan during the meeting. He denied that Bolsonaro himself tried to force him to get involved in the scheme. Silveira was arrested on Thursday in relation to previous offenses after his parliamentary immunity came to an end.
Bolsonaro faces legal troubles on several fronts, including a request by federal electoral prosecutors to ban him from elected office for eight years for attacking the voting system in a meeting he called with the diplomatic corps in July. He is currently in Florida after leaving Brazil at the end of December before his successor was sworn in. His lawyers have told the BBC he has applied for a 6-month US tourist visa.