© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro talks with army major, Mauro Cid after a meeting at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

By Ricardo Brito

BRASILIA (Reuters) -One of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s closest aides sought legal advice for a military intervention that would have prevented the handover of power following last October’s election, federal police said on Friday.

Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid was one of Bolsonaro’s personal assistants who stayed on as an aide after he stepped down. He is under arrest over allegations that he faked Bolsonaro’s COVID-19 vaccination card.

According to an analysis of Cid’s seized cell phone, a federal police report said he had “gathered documents with the aim of obtaining ‘legal and judicial’ support for the execution of a coup d’état.”

Cid’s lawyer Bernardo Fenelon said in a statement that his client would only defend himself to investigators.

Federal police also accused Cid of looking into “the possibility of using the armed forces, on an exceptional basis, to ensure the independent and harmonious functioning of the Powers of the Union, through determination of the President of the Republic.”

Cid’s research may have formed the basis of a step-by-step guide, also found on his phone, into how a possible coup could play out, police said.


That planning document was first reported by news magazine Veja, prompting Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes to unseal the police report and supporting documents.

Moraes is leading various investigations into Bolsonaro and his supporters’ conduct before, during and after the election narrowly won by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

It is unclear whether the material found on Cid’s phone reached Bolsonaro.

The former president’s lawyer Fabio Wajngarten posted a statement to social media saying the Veja story “proved, once again, that President Bolsonaro never participated in any conversation about a possible coup d’etat.”

The material found on Cid’s phone adds to evidence that members of Bolsonaro’s inner circle were looking at ways to block Lula from taking office and strip the powers of Brazil’s top federal courts.

In January, police found a draft presidential decree designed to meddle with the results of the election in the house of former Justice Minister Anderson Torres.

Among the material found on Cid’s phone was a possible road map for blocking Lula’s Jan. 1 inauguration, first reported by Veja. To justify such an institutional rupture, the document accused the judiciary and media of unconstitutional actions to favor Lula in the election.

The document called for the nomination of an “intervener” with power over the armed forces and all of Brazil’s federal public security agencies. Offending justices in the Supreme Court and the federal electoral court would be investigated, removed and replaced, it said.

The revamped electoral court would then oversee new elections to take place once the military had decided the constitutional order had been reestablished.

Brazil’s army said any “opinions and personal comments do not represent the thinking of the … chain of command, nor the official positioning of the Force.”

“Any individual conduct judged to be irregular will be dealt with in court,” it added.


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