Brazilian opposition Senator Marcos do Val said on Thursday that a close aide to far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro tried to persuade him to join a conspiracy to annul the October elections.
Do Val said in a news conference that a Bolsonaro associate asked him, in a meeting with the then-president, to get the top electoral authority, Justice Alexandre de Moraes, to make compromising comments in a taped conversation that would lead to his arrest.
Bolsonaro “sat in silence” while former lawmaker Daniel Silveira suggested the plan, the senator told reporters.
Do Val’s statement is the hardest evidence yet to support accusations that Bolsonaro tried to overturn the result of the election that was narrowly won by leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who took office on Jan. 1.
Bolsonaro left Brazil for Florida 48 hours before Lula took office without ever conceding defeat. He is being investigated by Justice de Moraes on the Supreme Court for his possible role in encouraging riots by his supporters, who stormed government buildings on Jan. 8 seeking to provoke a military coup.
It was not immediately possible to reach representatives for Bolsonaro, who has been reclusive in Orlando. His party, the right-wing Liberal Party, declined to comment for now.
Do Val said he is considering resigning his Senate seat.
Silveira, a former Rio de Janeiro police officer, was mentioned by do Val as the person who set up the meeting to persuade him to join the conspiracy, which do Val described as “a bizarre, immoral and even criminal action,” according to Veja news weekly, which first reported the alleged conspiracy.
Do Val told the magazine that he later met then-President Bolsonaro for 40 minutes in his office in the Planalto presidential palace where Silveira explained the plan.
Do Val said Silveira told Bolsonaro that he was a trusted person and asked the president to present “the idea that would save Brazil” to him, according to the Veja report.
Silveira, a staunch Bolsonaro ally who backed the former president’s attacks on Brazil’s electronic voting system, was arrested by police on Thursday on a warrant issued by Justice de Moraes, who accused him of disobeying court rulings and for his “complete disrespect and mockery” of the judiciary.