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Mac Margolis

Hacked Messages Don’t Nullify Brazil’s Corruption Rulings

The Carwash judge seems to have been overly enthusiastic, but that doesn’t mean his decisions were unsound.

Sergio Moro, Brazil’s justice minister.

Sergio Moro, Brazil’s justice minister.

Photographer: NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

A former lower court judge with a gimlet eye for graft, Sergio Moro made his name taking down crooked Brazilian politicians and their corporate enablers. In naming Moro justice minister in January, President Jair Bolsonaro aimed to shake up an ethically challenged nation. Little did he know.

Since June 8, the muckraking news site The Intercept has been publishing tranches of what it calls a trove of “internal files and private conversations” between Moro and key figures in the Carwash case — the serial corruption and influence peddling trials that Moro has oversaw from 2014 to 2018. The hacked text messages seem to confirm what some Brazilians have long suspected: Moro went too far, apparently coaching lead prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol on how to bring suit against Carwash targets, starting with former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva — who was duly convicted by Moro of graft and money laundering in 2017.