Leaked Lava Jato messages suggest that political considerations influenced then-judge Sergio Moro's decision to disclose former minister Antonio Palocci's testimony six days before last year's first round of the presidential election.
The messages, obtained by The Intercept Brasil and analyzed by Folha along with the site, show that Moro doubted Palocci's evidence, but found his collaboration relevant because it broke the unity of the petistas.
"Russo (Moro's nickname) commented that while it is difficult to prove he is the only one who broke the omission of the PT," Prosecutor Paulo Roberto Galvao told his colleagues in a Telegram message group on September 25.
Other members of the group also expressed skepticism. "Not only is it difficult to prove, but it's also impossible to extract anything from his denunciation," said Prosecutor Laura Tessler. "The best thing is [Palocci] even talks about what he thinks it might be," added Antonio Carlos Welter.
That day, Moro had just received the evidence delivered by the whistleblower and was preparing to release one of the testimonials the former minister had given about corruption in the PT governments. The comment by Galvão suggests that the judge dismissed his insecurity about the evidence by making the allegation public.
Palocci struck a plea bargain agreement with the Federal Police in March last year. He turned to the PF after frustrated efforts to reach an agreement with the Attorney General's Office and the Lava Jato task force in Curitiba.
The messages examined by Folha and The Intercept show that prosecutors concluded that Palocci's allegation added little to what investigators already knew.
Messages reveal that prosecutors considered asking for the annulment of Palocci's agreement with PF and continued to express doubts about their collaboration after Moro's disclosure of their terms, although they avoided public criticism after the judge's move.
Moro announced Palocci's report on October 1, a week after Paulo Roberto Galvão's commentary on Telegram and a week before the first round of the presidential election.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon