Bolsonaro Indicted, Allegedly Faked His Own Vaccine Info

Former Brazil leader faces jail time if convicted
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 19, 2024 8:58 AM CDT
Bolsonaro Indicted, Allegedly Faked His Own Vaccine Info
Former Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro greets supporters after the launch of a campaign event launching the pre-candidacy of a mayoral candidate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, March 16, 2024.   (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Brazil's Federal Police accused former President Jair Bolsonaro of criminal association and falsifying his own COVID-19 vaccination data, reports the AP. The Supreme Court released the indictment on Tuesday that alleges Bolsonaro and 16 others inserted false information into the public health database to make it appear as though the then-president, his 12-year-old daughter, and others in his circle had received the COVID-19 vaccine. During the pandemic, Bolsonaro was one of the few world leaders railing against the vaccine, openly flouting health restrictions and encouraging society to follow his example.

Brazil's prosecutor-general's office will have the final say on whether to use the police indictment to file charges against Bolsonaro at the Supreme Court. It stems from one of several investigations targeting Bolsonaro. Police accuse Bolsonaro and his aides of tampering with the health ministry's database shortly before he traveled to the US in December 2022, two months after he lost his reelection bid to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Bolsonaro needed a certificate of vaccination to enter the US, where he remained for the final days of his term and the first months of Lula's term. If convicted for falsifying health data, the 68-year-old politician could spend up to 12 years behind bars. The maximum jail time for a charge of criminal association is four years.

Bolsonaro retains a staunch base, but Brazil's top electoral court has already ruled him ineligible until 2030 on the grounds that he abused his power during the 2022 campaign and cast unfounded doubts on the country's electronic voting system. He also faces investigations into whether he tried to sneak two sets of expensive diamond jewelry into Brazil and prevent them from being incorporated into the presidency's public collection; and one over his alleged involvement in the Jan. 8, 2023 uprising in capital Brasilia, soon after Lula took power, that resembled the Capitol riot in Washington two years prior.

(More Jair Bolsonaro stories.)

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