Brazil’s powerful justice minister has resigned, accusing far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of illegally firing the federal police chief. Sérgio Moro becomes the eighth Cabinet member — and the most high-profile — to depart in the 15 months since Bolsonaro took office. Moro once oversaw a vast anti-corruption investigation known as “Operation Car Wash” and prosecuted former President Lula da Silva for alleged corruption — charges that Lula says were politically motivated and designed to keep him from running for the presidency again. Moro quit Friday just hours after Bolsonaro fired the federal police chief, who was investigating Bolsonaro’s political allies and two of his sons.
Flávio Bolsonaro is under investigation for corruption and ties to mafia in Rio de Janeiro; another son, Carlos Bolsonaro, is charged with leading a “criminal fake news racket” that’s made threats against political opponents while spreading defamatory misinformation.
This all comes as President Bolsonaro faces widespread criticism for minimizing the dangers of the coronavirus outbreak. The death toll in Brazil has topped 4,000, and hospitals report being overwhelmed with sick patients.