Bolsonaro's request to investigate supreme court judge likely to be denied, says source

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro looks on during a ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil May 4, 2022.REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA (Reuters) -Brazil's top public prosecutor's office is unlikely to accept a request made by President Jair Bolsonaro to investigate Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

The request, which is under judicial secrecy, is still being analyzed and is unlikely to be accepted by the prosecutor, the source added.

The far-right president's move comes shortly after Supreme Court Justice Dias Toffoli dismissed a criminal lawsuit filed by Bolsonaro on Tuesday against Moraes. Toffoli said there was no fair cause for it to go forward, according to a decision reviewed by Reuters.

The decision to request the investigation came after Justice Toffoli's ruling to dismiss the previous lawsuit without sending it to the top prosecutor's office, said the government's lower house leader Ricardo Barros in an interview to local TV channel CNN Brasil.

"The president then sent the process to the top prosecutor, so that he can assess whether or not there was abuse of authority by Alexandre de Moraes," Barros said.

Bolsonaro announced late on Tuesday he was suing Moraes for abuse of authority, citing alleged "attacks on democracy," marking the latest episode in a running showdown between the president and the court that could spill into the country's upcoming presidential election.

"Considering that the facts reported initially evidently do not constitute a crime and that there is no fair cause for the continuity of the case, I deny further action," Toffoli said in the document.

He said on Tuesday his lawsuit was supported by Moraes' "unjustified" probe into the president's role in the alleged sharing of disinformation, as well as an investigation into the Bolsonaro's accusations against the country's voting system.

The president, who is up for re-election in October, has repeatedly cast doubt about the integrity of the upcoming vote.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Gabriel Araujo and Peter Frontini; Editing by Bill Berkrot, Marguerita Choy and Bernard Orr)

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