Turnaround in Lava Jato resurrects political clash – 05/23/2023 – Power
The decision by the TRF-4 (Federal Regional Court of the 4th Region) to remove the judge responsible for Lava Jato in Curitiba caused a turnaround in the operation, leaving processes once again in the hands of a judge aligned with Senator Sergio Moro and rekindling the political debate on the investigation initiated in Paraná.
On Monday (22), the Special Administrative Court of the court temporarily removed Judge Eduardo Appio from his duties as a result of an investigation into an alleged phone call to the son of the former Lava Jato rapporteur, in which he pretended to be someone else. .
In recent months, Appio has fought a series of clashes with car washes, with decisions that contradicted former exponents of the task force and a declaration of sympathy for President Lula (PT), who was imprisoned for 580 days, between 2018 and 2019, after condemnation resulting from the operation.
Now removed, he will initially be replaced by Gabriela Hardt, who showed alignment with Moro at the time when he was still a judge and who condemned Lula in the Atibaia site (SP) process, in 2019 – in a sentence that was also annulled when the Supreme Court Federal Court reviewed the PT’s processes two years later.
The turnaround inflamed political debates over Lava Jato.
Moro and former prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol (Podemos-PR), who had his mandate as a federal deputy revoked last week at the Superior Electoral Court, took advantage of Appio’s removal to criticize the magistrate, who usually refers to the two in a negative tone.
Politicians close to the PT government questioned the measure, seeing an alleged shielding of the TRF-4 from former authorities of the operation.
The TRF-4 set a period of 15 days for Appio to present his prior defense in the case. The judge stated that he is on vacation and that he prefers not to comment on the matter at the moment.
The Lava Jato magistrate had clashed with former rapporteur Marcelo Malucelli in April, after having his decisions reviewed in the second instance. The former rapporteur was questioned at the time about his link with former judge Sergio Moro.
Malucelli’s son, lawyer João Eduardo Barreto Malucelli, is a partner of senator and federal deputy Rosangela Moro (União Brasil-SP) at the Wolff Moro Sociedade de Advocacia office.
In the phone call that became the object of the investigation, which took place on April 13, the caller apparently tries to confirm João Eduardo’s relationship with Malucelli. He also asks at the end: “Are you sure you haven’t been up to anything?”, In what was interpreted as a possible threat.
During the call, the recorded man said that he was a server in the health area of the court, that he had found amounts to return to Malucelli related to medical expenses included in the Income Tax, but that he did not want to bother the second degree judge.
He also says that he is calling from an unidentified number because he uses the Skype call “to save Federal Justice fees” — a procedure that does not exist.
A Federal Police expertise pointed to a result that “strongly corroborates the hypothesis” that the analyzed voice is Appio’s.
The regional inspector of the Federal Justice of the 4th Region, Cândido Alfredo Silva Leal Júnior, stated that, on April 13, Appio accessed a file in which it was possible to see the data of lawyer João Eduardo Barreto Malucelli, such as his cell phone number.
Minutes after the access, there was a call to João Eduardo’s cell phone in which the judge allegedly pretended to be an employee of the TRF-4. João Eduardo became suspicious of the contact, put the call on speakerphone, and someone else started to record the dialogue. The video of the conversation was handed over to the police.
The magistrate indicated that the judge of first instance may have violated at least six norms provided for in the Code of Ethics for the Judiciary and the Organic Law for the Judiciary.
According to Leal Júnior, when making a call using a blocked identifier and impersonating a third person, Judge Appio would be violating a section of the law in which the magistrate has the duty to “maintain irreproachable conduct in public and private life”.
Still within the Code of Ethics of the National Judiciary, the magistrate also indicates violation of article 37, which does not allow “procedure incompatible with the dignity, honor and decorum of his functions”, and of article 4, which requires the magistrate to behave “ethically independent”, that “does not interfere, in any way, in the judicial performance of another colleague”.
The magistrate also pointed out that there was a publication, in the profile of a lawyer and law professor, of a screen print of the Federal Justice system with personal data of the son of the former Lava Jato rapporteur.
According to TRF-4 technicians, the print could only have been carried out by “a user logged in with the magistrate profile”. The posting took place on the same day as the phone call.
Appio’s removal order included the immediate suspension of the judge’s access to Federal Justice facilities and systems, such as the internal corporate network. He also needs to return a used, functional desktop, notebook, and cell phone.
The decision was questioned by Senator Renan Calheiros (MDB-AL), for whom the judge “tracks Lava Jato fraud” and, therefore, there is “something rotten” in the circumstances.
Ivan Valente, federal deputy of the PSOL-SP, said that everything indicates that it is “another political frame-up”. “Dallagnol and Moro celebrated, that says a lot.”
Appio took over the 13th Federal Court of Curitiba in February and, since then, has been notable for controversial measures, such as revisions of old decisions of the operation. He also gave a series of interviews about the processes —to the Sheet said that Lava Jato had moments “worthy of slapstick comedy”.
In an interview this week, he stated that he used the login “LUL22” in the justice system in protest against Lula’s arrest.
Among his determinations in the period, he annulled the sentence issued in 2017 against the former governor of Rio Sérgio Cabral and ordered the arrest of whistleblower Alberto Youssef, a money changer who was the pivot of Lava Jato. Both measures were reviewed by the TRF-4 itself.
It also promoted hearings via videoconference with lawyer Rodrigo Tacla Duran, arrested in 2016 and who usually makes accusations against former authorities of the operation, such as extortion.
Moro, in an interview with GloboNews, called Appio “emotionally unbalanced” and said that he found out about the recording when it was made, in April.
“I was perplexed, we collected the material and handed it over to the court, which did all the investigation. We completely distanced ourselves, even to avoid any kind of questioning,” said Moro.
The former judge of the operation also said, on a social network, that he had never heard of a situation in which “the judge of a case would have called the son of a judge, who was reviewing his sentences, pretending to be a third person to collect personal data and make veiled threats”.
On a social network, Deltan shared the video of the recording of the phone call attributed to the removed judge and commented that “this is the new Lava Jato of Lula’s revenge government”.
“They no longer fight to fight corruption, but to take revenge on those who fight it,” wrote Deltan.
With Appio’s removal, substitute judge Gabriela Hardt temporarily takes over Lava Jato’s cases, two months after returning to the news when acting in an investigation into an attack plan against Moro prepared by the PCC. The judge, at the time, ordered the arrest of 11 suspects.
She removed the secrecy of the case shortly after Lula stated in an interview that he saw “a frame-up” in the Federal Police’s operation on the subject.