Attorneys for former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro say he had only accidentally created a Facebook post questioning the results of 2022’s presidental elections – a post that has come under the scrutiny of authorities investigating whether the ex-leader had a role in inciting the country’s January 8 riots.
Bolsonaro’s Facebook post casts doubt on the integrity of Brazil’s voting machines and the election results, which saw Bolsonaro lose his bid for a second term. He was questioned about the post by Brazilian Federal Police on Wednesday, the attorneys said.
Speaking to reporters outside the Federal Police headquarters in Brasilia on Wednesday, attorney Paulo Bessa said the post was erroneous and that Bolsonaro was trying to share a video posted by another account to his “personal file” on WhatsApp but instead posted it to his Facebook page.
At the time, Bolsonaro was in the hospital in Orlando, Bessa also said, receiving treatment for intestinal issues and on powerful medicine. The post was eventually flagged by his team and Bolsonaro took it down, Bessa added.
“The post in question happened a few hours, a few moments after his departure from hospital, highly debilitated and highly medicated. The mechanics of posting on the Facebook platform is with mere two clicks on the ‘share’ button,” said Fabio Wanjgarten, Bolsonaro’s spokesperson.
According to Wajngarten, Bolsonaro reiterated his condemnation of the January 8 attacks to police on Wednesday.
On the evening of January 8, Bolsonaro tweeted that “peaceful demonstrations, respecting the law, are part of democracy. However, depredations and invasions of public buildings like what happened today, just like those done by the left in 2013 and 2017, are not.”
The January 8 riots saw pro-Bolsonaro protesters breaking into government buildings in Brasilia, following weeks of demonstrations over the election, which handed current President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva victory in one of the tightest contests in decades.