'Leaked cellphone chats published by the Intercept suggest Sérgio Moro, now justice minister, steered case against ex-president'
'Brazil has been rocked by allegations that a prominent judge repeatedly collaborated with prosecutors during high-profile corruption investigations – including the controversial case that imprisoned former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
According to the Intercept, Sérgio Moro gave prosecutors strategic advice, criticism and tips during the sprawling corruption investigation known as Operation Car Wash that jailed hundreds of executives, politicians and middlemen.
Prosecutors also allegedly discussed strategies to block a newspaper’s attempts to interview Lula during last year’s election campaign, according to the Intercept, which published cellphone chats it said it had received from an anonymous source.
Lula has been imprisoned since April 2018. He was handed a nine-year prison sentence in 2017 by Moro, who ruled that he received bribes from a construction company in the shape of a seaside apartment renovated for him.
On Sunday, the Intercept published excerpts from what it described as an “enormous trove” of group chats on the encrypted phone app Telegram, along with audio, video and other documentation.
Excerpts of conversations between prosecutors on the Telegram cellphone app appear to show Deltan Dallagnol, the lead prosecutor in the Car Wash investigation, expressing doubts over the strength of the case against Lula in September 2016, four days before filing the indictment.
“It’s like stopping the other team from playing. Its like they decided to play the ball alone,” said Carlos Melo, a professor of political science at the São Paulo business school Insper. “A basic principle of law is that those who accuse do not judge.”'
Read more: Brazil reels at claims judge who jailed Lula collaborated with prosecutors