Brazil Supreme Court Justice Annuls Lula's Convictions

The ruling restores Lula's political rights

Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin annulled all convictions handed down against former President Lula by the 13th Federal Court of Federal Justice of Curitiba, responsible for the Car Wash corruption cases.

Lula, 75, had been convicted in two criminal actions, for corruption and laundering, in the Guarujá (SP) triplex and the Atibaia site cases. The justice decided that judgments could not have been made by the court responsible for the operation and determined that the cases be sent to the Federal Court of the Federal District.

Thus, the convictions that removed Lula's political rights are no longer valid, and he and can run for election in the next elections, in 2022.

There is still no date for the judgment of the case by justices, which will only happen if the Federal Public Ministry appeals to the decision. The court will still have to decide whether to decide the case in the plenary session or in the 2nd Panel, which is generally more favorable to the PT's requests.

Most likely, the issue will be analyzed by all Supreme Court members, since the justice had already approved the habeas corpus in which he made the decision to the plenary.

In the Supreme Court, the internal assessment is that Fachin's order also aims to prevent a massive annulment of Lava Jato processes in the Supreme Court. This is because this decision may stop the discussion about the suspicion of the ex-judge Sergio Moro to have condemned the PT in the Guarujá triplex case.

Justice Gilmar Mendes, who asked to look at this case, had already warned that he would take the discussion to the Second Panel later this semester. The lawyers' expectation was that a statement of suspicion by Moro could be used by others convicted by him in connection with the operation.

Now, this debate loses strength, and the sentences handed down by Moro that did not involve Lula are more likely to be upheld.

Even the Supreme Court justices who support Car Wash believe that the annulment of Lula's lawsuits due to the 13th Federal Court of Curitiba's incompetence, and not because of Moro's suspicion, can have a positive effect so that no domino effect affects other cases in the operation.

In this Monday's decision, Fachin argued that the crimes imputed to the former president do not correspond to acts that directly involved Petrobras. Therefore, the Federal Justice of Curitiba should not be responsible for the case.

Fachin said that the question of the jurisdiction of the 13th Federal Court of Paraná had already been raised indirectly by the defense, but that this was the first time that the defense had submitted a request that "meets the procedural conditions to be examined, given the deepening and improvement of the matter by the STF."

"As a corollary of such a conclusion, under the terms of art. 567 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, all decision-making acts, including the receipt of the complaint, must be declared null, determining the referral of the case records to the Judicial Section of the Federal District, considered the narrative of the criminal practice in the exercise of the mandate of President of the Republic", He affirmed.

The justice said that the MPF affirmed that Lula was a "central figure" in a criminal group with extensive activities in several public administration bodies, "with Petrobras being only one of them".

"The case, therefore, does not conform to what has been built and already decided within the scope of the Plenary and the Second Panel of the Supreme Federal Court regarding the jurisdiction of the 13th Federal Court of Curitiba, delimited, as seen, exclusively to the illicit acts practiced in to the detriment of Petrobras S / A," he said.

In the decision, the justice talked about the Supreme Court's jurisprudence regarding the limits of the competence of the Curitiba Car Wash.

According to him, initially, all cases that were not related to the deviations practiced against Petrobras were removed.

"Then, it began to distribute the national investigations that started with the award-winning reports from Odebrecht, OAS and J&F. Finally, more recently, the cases involving Transpetro (a subsidiary of Petrobras itself) were also removed from the jurisdiction of the 13th Federal Court of Curitiba," he said.

The justice recalled that the first trial that limited the competence of the Lava Jato de Curitiba dealt with the case of ex-minister Paulo Bernardo, who was removed from the jurisdiction of the then judge of the case Sergio Moro.

Fachin maintained that the MPF already knew that the practices attributed to Lula went beyond Petrobras when it offered the complaint and that the body could, with the progress of the investigations, have triggered the change of competence to process the case.

"It so happens that the conduct attributed to the patient, that is, enabling the appointment and maintenance of agents who adhered to the criminal group's illicit purposes in strategic positions in the structure of the Federal Government, was not restricted to Petrobras S / A, but the extensive range of public bodies where it was possible to achieve spurious political and financial objectives ".


Lula was arrested after the TRF-4 (Federal Regional Court of the 4th Region) confirmed the condemnation of the then judge Sergio Moro against the PT in the case of the Guarujá triplex.

Moro sentenced him to 9 years and six months in prison for money laundering and passive corruption and the second instance court increased the sentence to 12 years in prison.

At the time, the STF jurisprudence was in force, which determined the arrest of defendants after a second instance decision, making Lula's arrest feasible.

More than a year and a half later, the Supreme Court overturned this understanding and went back to defining that the sentence can only be served after the final judgment of the process, that is, after all the remedies have been exhausted by the STF.

In the meantime, while in prison, Lula was convicted in another lawsuit, accused of having received R $ 1 million in bribes related to the renovation of a farm in Atibaia named after Fernando, son of the former mayor of Campinas, Jacob Bittar.

At the time, Sergio Moro was already in the federal government as Minister of Justice, and the sentence of 12 years and 11 months in prison was handed down by Gabriela Hardt, substitute judge of the 13th Federal Court of Curitiba.

The annulment of the condemnation of the triplex case was already taken for granted, responsible for generating the ineligibility that took Lula out of the 2018 elections. The former president was imprisoned for a year and seven months, between 2018 and 2019, and was unable to contest the last presidential election, barred by the Clean Record Law.

After the leak of hacked Lava Jato messages, the thesis that Moro should be declared suspect in Lula's lawsuits gained strength, which would lead to the invalidation of his decision on the case.

Lula's defense was already trying to annul the convictions through a request for habeas corpus in which he questioned the impartiality of ex-judge Sergio Moro.

In the Atibaia case, however, Moro served as a judge in the initial phase of the case and left the judiciary before giving a sentence to condemn or acquit Lula. Thus, even if the Supreme Court declared Moro's suspicion, the PT would remain ineligible due to the Atibaia case, in which there was also confirmation at the second instance.

Now, however, as both processes have been annulled, Lula returns to his political rights.

In one of the criminal proceedings, Car Wash stated that Lula would have received consistent undue advantages from Odebrecht "in a property for the installation of the Lula Institute," at the time valued at R $ 12.4 million; as well as in "apartment No. 121 at Residencial Hill House", in São Bernardo do Campo (SP), valued at R $ 504 thousand.

"There is, however, no indication of any act performed by the patient in the context of the specific contracting carried out by the Odebrecht Group with Petrobras S / A, which equally excludes the competence of the 13th Federal Court of Curitiba to the process and judgment of the accusations," said the Car Wash rapporteur at the Supreme Court.

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