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Toucan in a Toga — CartaCapital

Screenshot from 2014-12-07 09:59:38

We Yankees have Antonin Scalia. … The Brazilians have Gilmar Mendes.

Minister Gilmar Mendes of the federal Supreme Court (STF) has been selected at random as the rapporteur of a criminal charge brought by the PT against Aécio Neves (PSDB), charging Neves with slander.

In an interview on a TV program on Saturday, the defeated presidential candidate Aécio Neves stated that he had been defeated by “a criminal organization.”

Coincidentally, Mendes, as a minister of the federal elections tribunal (TSE) is also the rapporteur of the campaign finances of Dilma Rousseff and her campaign.

Some alt.media observers see in this an effort to recreate the conditions of a “Paraguyan coup d’etat” in Brazil.

Illustrating his “iron fist in a velvet glove” approach to the bench, Mendes recently prevailed in a slander case against Carta Capital magazine, which has frequently questioned his ethics, e.g., calling for him to recuse himself in the «payola of the PT case» because his name appears on a spreadsheet as a recipient of the illegal distribution of funds to PSDB candidates, of which the magazine has published excerpts (the Furnas List.) Aécio Neves also appears on the Furnas list as a congressional candidate, which is believed to date back to the race for the governship of Minas Gerais in 1998, if not farther.

Also dubious to the gringo eye is his ownership of a school of constitutional law located in the Federal District. Imagine William Rehnquist plastering subway cars and telephone poles with little tear-off slips advertising her after hours gig: Marketing LSAT preparation courses.

Edited by Mino Carta and Leandro Fontes, Carta Capital, which has been ordered to pay R$ 180,000 for five articles that make public a spreadsheet supposed to keep the books of the «payola of Minas Gerais», known as the Furnas List, in which Gilmar Mendes appears as a beneficiary of the black-market funding scheme that helped reelect Eduardo Azeredo in 1998.

As to Carta Capital, on December 4, the TJ-DF (appeals court) doubled the sum to R$ 360,000. On appeal, the articles were found deficient in not obtaining and publishing the other side of the issue or presenting concrete pieces of evidence and their provenance.

Carta Capital continues:

Mendes and the PT have a long history together. Not merely due to the judge’s constant, controversial, and vehement statements against party members, but also for his systematically handing down of decisions damaging to the PT.

In a session of the elections tribunal, Mendes went so far as to insinuate, during a case heard in October, that ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was drunk during a campaign rally in Belo Horizonte (MG), during the campaign. On the same day, he mocked the history of President Dilma’s opposition to the military dictatorship.


Dilma Rousseff confronts a military tribunal in 1970


His Honor has pulled an agitprop exercise worthy of the late Larry Rohter out of his hat — it was Rohter who touched off the Lula is the drunken Communist scandal. It failed.

As an elections magistrate, Gilmar was also responsible for denying the PT, on appeal, the right of response previously conceded to the party against Veja magazine during the campaign. In a monocratic finding, Mendes ruled against the majority of his colleagues, who had found that the magazine did not commit abuses of this nature.

Even now that elections are over, Mendes makes an effort to demonstrate his power over the PT.

Responsible for an analysis of the president’s campaign books, Mendes created a commotion in the news media with the news that he had summoned the federal tax authority to study in sharp detail the companies that donated to the campaign. He also said he would request an investigation into the documents by the Federal Accounting Council (Conselho Federal de Contabilidade | CFJ).

Justice – In the case against Aécio, the PT want it clarified whether Neves was referring directly to the PT in the statement he made during the interview. If found guilty of defamation, he can also be charged with criminal libel. According to the court filngs of PT lawyers, the Toucan damaged the honor not only of the party, but “the entire system of representative democracy and democracy itself.”

An excerpt of the article in question, in which CC appears to merely repeat what Neves said.

In an interview with Globo News, former PSDB presidential candidate Aécio Neves stated that he lost the elections “to a criminal organization.” “I didn’t lose to a political party, I lost it to a criminal organization that has wormed its way into the hearts of certain Brazilian companies, patronized by this political operation they have going,” Aécio accused.

Roberto D’Avila, who was interviewing Aécio, asked how he prepared himself for the “the most difficult elections since 1989.” “This campaign will go down in history for two diametrically opposed reasons. First, protagonized by our opponents, was characterized by sordid libel, defamation, insults and the use of civil servants, including blackmailing the poor by saying we would do away with all the social programs. (…) The sordid depths to which these people will go to maintain themselves in power is one reason this election will be remembered,” he said.

The second quality of this election, Neves said, was represented by his campaign,  which was carried out by “those who have never had a party membership or protested, but who believed in a better Brazil, and so they picked up the banners and hit the streets.”

This seems hysterical to me, but it is a fact that the PT defeated the PSDB in the fundraising area, and PSDB has listened to too many political consultants about the Web as a campaign tool, an echo of that first great migration to the Web under Howard Dean. Of course, Dean lost the nomination. Distributing campaign literature by offering it for download did not seem to produce the explosion