Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro lashed out Wednesday at Brazil’s largest media company, Globo, after it broadcast a report alleging a link between Bolsonaro and two men accused of murdering Rio de Janeiro City Councilwoman Marielle Franco in March of last year.
Globo quoted a doorman who said one of the murder suspects, alleged getaway driver Élcio de Queiroz, arrived at Bolsonaro’s gated community on the night of the murder and was granted access after calling Bolsonaro’s residence. De Queiroz then drove to the home of the second suspect in the murder, alleged triggerman Ronnie Lessa, who has a residence in the same area.
Bolsonaro has denied knowing the suspects — even though he appears in a photograph circulated on social media with de Queiroz, and one of his sons once dated Ronnie Lessa’s daughter. Bolsonaro recorded an angry 23-minute diatribe early Wednesday morning from a hotel room in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
President Jair Bolsonaro: “But now you try to link me to the murder of Marielle. You jerks of TV Globo! You jerks! You scoundrels! This will not stick! I don’t owe anyone anything! I had no reason to kill anyone in Rio de Janeiro. I knew about this councilwoman. I found out about her on the day she was murdered, which, by coincidence, was March 14. For the love of God, where are your heads? You have no common sense, TV Globo!”
In a statement, the Committee to Protect Journalists responded, “President Bolsonaro’s threats and insults against Brazil’s largest news broadcaster have no place in a democracy.”
Bolsonaro’s tirade came ahead of a fiery address to the Saudi investment forum in Riyadh known as “Davos in the Desert.” In the speech, President Bolsonaro praised Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Donald Trump, while blasting French President Emmanuel Macron, who has criticized Bolsonaro’s support for the illegal ranchers and miners behind many of the fires sweeping the Amazon rainforest.