The power of Paulo Gustavo Gonet Branco, supported by Gilmar Mendes and considered favorite to replace Augusto Aras in the PGR (Attorney General’s Office), goes beyond his friendship with the Supreme Court minister — his former partner in the IDP (Instituto Brasiliense of Public Law).
Lawyers Gustavo Teixeira Gonet Branco and Pedro Henrique de Moura Gonet Branco, sons of the deputy electoral attorney, are close to Gilmar.
Gustavo works on processes of interest to the minister. Pedro Henrique is an advisor in Gilmar’s office and receives R$14,700 monthly (R$13,000 net). He was appointed in November 2022 by Rosa Weber, president of the STF (Supreme Federal Court).
When consulted through their advisors, Gilmar and Gonet did not comment.
Pedro is a lawyer registered with the OAB of the Federal District, with additional registration in Alagoas. He is involved with other lawyers in proceedings at the STJ (Superior Court of Justice) involving an oil derivatives company.
He is a researcher, with a long list of published texts. In 2019, at the age of 20, a law student at UnB, Pedro co-authored an article with his father about internet regulation in Brazil. The text was published in a magazine at the Centro Universitário de Curitiba and cited in Gilmar’s vote.
“Sometimes we write thinking that no one will read or care. So, seeing this being mentioned in the highest court in Brazil, in a decision of concentrated control of constitutionality, was an unparalleled joy”, commented Pedro in an UnB bulletin, in 2021.
The mention of Gilmar was seen as a way of projecting his friend’s young son into the legal community.
Gustavo is a partner at Mudrovitsch Advogados. He defends businessman Jacob Barata Filho, the “bus king”, as he is known. Barata Filho was investigated in Lava Jato with the former governor of Rio Sérgio Cabral and obtained three habeas corpus from Gilmar.
Rodrigo Janot, former PGR, had argued Gilmar’s suspicion. He mentioned that the minister was the best man at the businessman’s daughter’s wedding.
Raquel Dodge, then PGR, understood that Gilmar “did not state suspicion” and considered himself “fully capable, in a subjective aspect, to judge the request for habeas corpus”.
Barata Filho has been represented for the longest time by lawyer Daniela Teixeira, recently elected to a vacancy at the STJ. Daniela has a master’s degree in criminal law from IDP and a postgraduate degree in economic law from FGV. She began her career at the office of lawyer Arnoldo Wald.
Gustavo also participated in the lawsuit filed by Gilmar against journalist Rubens Valente, author of the book “Operação Banqueiro”, about the investigation into the business of banker Daniel Dantas.
Valente was forced to pay more than R$310,000 to the minister. Report from Sheet notes that the decision contradicts the STF’s own precedent, as the “modity clause” in compensation was not observed when the alleged victim of honor and image is a public agent.
Gonet joined the MPF (Federal Public Ministry) in 1987. He was a partner of lawyer Sergio Bermudes, in Brasília, with lawyer Guiomar Feitosa Mendes, the minister’s wife. He published with Gilmar the book “Curso de Direito Constitucional”, which is in its 17th edition.
In the late 1990s, Inocêncio Mártires Coelho, Gonet and Gilmar created the IDP. Coelho, who was PGR, presided over the institute. Gilmar and Coelho fell out in 2010. The confidential process was terminated. Gonet stayed next to Gilmar.
In 2017, Gonet sold his share in the company to lawyer Francisco Schertel Mendes, Gilmar’s son and current general director of IDP.
The website BuzzFeed News Brasil revealed that the lawyer bought 43% of the institute for R$12 million, on the same day that Bradesco lent money to IDP — according to the publication, the rate was better than 99.92% of the bank’s loans .
Gonet imitates Aras
In 2019, Gonet tried to become a PGR by circumventing the triple list of the ANPR (National Association of Public Prosecutors). Jair Bolsonaro (PL) received Gonet, outside the agenda, taken by deputy Bia Kicis (PSL-DF).
“Paulo Gonet is a root conservative, Christian” (…) “He has no capybara. The fact that he was a partner of Gilmar Mendes in the IDP in no way interfered with his professional performance,” the deputy wrote on Twitter at the time.
Discreet, Gonet is respected in the MPF, but he would not have leadership at the base of the institution.
Invited by Aras, Gonet assumed the general directorship of the Higher School of the Public Ministry of the Union, accumulating the position with his functions at the STF, where he served as deputy attorney general in the sessions of the 1st and 2nd Panel of the STF.
Aras interrupted the terms of 16 school counselors. He had claimed there was an “indoctrination” on the left. Gilmar rejected the request to suspend this decision.
Gonet left school in August 2021. Aras assigned him to the TSE on the same day that Bolsonaro sent the nomination for his reappointment as PGR to the Senate.
In 2021, Aras authorized Gonet’s absence for a week to participate in the IDP forum in Portugal, where he spoke about exceptional health measures. The PGR did not say who paid the expenses.
Gonet was praised for his opinion in the TSE trial that made Bolsonaro ineligible. He assessed that the meeting in July 2022 with ambassadors, when the president questioned the electronic voting machines, was an “electoral maneuver”.
In 2021, however, 36 deputy attorneys general had requested an electoral preparatory procedure due to possible abuse of power. Bolsonaro had questioned electronic voting and indicated that elections would not be held in 2022.
Gonet welcomed the representation “as internal support for possible future action”. He claimed that the facts were already being assessed by the Electoral Court and the STF.
Only in February this year did Gonet promote the archiving, with the same arguments. Members of the MPF internally questioned the fact that Gonet had not taken the initiative sooner, which had been requested in 2021 by half of the Republic’s 74 deputy attorneys general.