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Car Wash | Moro and The Modesty Topos

Modesty as a tactic of an ethos-based argument. Modestia como tática de um argumento por ethos

Modesty as a tactic of an ethos-based argument. Modestia como tática de um argumento por «ethos»

A follow-up to

Named Personality of the Year by the O Globo daily — even if the fruits of his efforts remain to be seen —  Judge Sérgio Moro receives a profile by  the Rio daily O Dia, which uses a modesty topos in a low-key personal profile of  federal judge Sérgio Moro that  contrasts dramatically to the lumbering eulogy published recent by the rival O Globo. I translate an excerpt

In command of the operation, along with the federal police and federal prosecutor, is a 42 year-old judge from Ponta Grossa, Paraná, with simple habits, a strong accent, a hoarse voice and an aversion to seeing himself in the media. Having entered the judiciary at 24, he regards his job as a personal mission. Leary of possible attempts at political co-option, he rejects the possibility of being named to a higher court.

Son of a professor, up until last March, when the plea bargains began with a currency trader and an ex-director of Petrobras, Moro rode a bicycle to work at the Curitiba federal courthouse. At the request of his family, he now travels by car, a Fiat Idea 2005.

Product placement!

Sérgio Fernando Moro — the federal judge in charge of Operation Car Wash — has all of Brasilia in suspense. President Rousseff (PT) even tried to learn from the prosecutor if any of the candidates for her cabinet were on the list of suspects, and the Congress is waiting to define its own future in February. “It is possible that a hundred or so lawmakers will be tied to the scheme,” a federal deputy told O DIA.

The trial might affect not only Petrobras but other public works nationwide, such as those for the Olympics of 2016. Queiroz Galvão, one of the contractors with executives under arrest, has cash problems, and a multimillion dollar fine would create an obstacle for ongoing projects, such as the Deodoro Olympics project.

Car Wash: Magistrate Sérgio Moro is obssessed with combating corruption

In a note, Queiroz Galvão said that it had “not encountered cash flow problems. The company is continuing to honor its contracts, with suppliers and with those responsible for execution of current projects.”

“Everything will be taken into account”, explains one of Moro’s colleagues, whNãoo says that “the companies are too big to fail,” and denying that “finding them guilty of wrongdoing would bring Brazil to a halt.”

“[Moro] specializes in money laundering. The pressure will not affect him,” a colleague, federal judge Eduardo André Brandão, told O DIA. Is he a hero? “No”, Moro told reporters. “He is a judge,”  Brandão said.

Mani Puliti Is Inspiration

Consequences for contractors and politics were not on Moro’s mind at the outset of Car Wash in March of last year. The focus was on a gas station — hence the name of the operation — in Brasília that was being used to launder money.

But his real target has always been “the machine that sustains corruption in the public administration” — as he wrote in an article on the Clean Hands (Mani Puliti) case in Italy. A friend of Moro says the Italian case is his inspiration, almost an “obsession.”

The article, ‘Considerations on Operation Clean Hands,” supplies hints about how Moro thinks. “It is naive to think that effective criminal trials against powerful figures, such as public officials and business leader, can be carried normally, without repercussions”, Moro wrote.

He adds: “Public opinion, as the Italian case showed, is essential.” The leaking to the press of investigations and confessions is constant in the Car Wash case. A specialist from Harvard Law School, Moro clerked for STF justice Rosa Weber in the «Mensalão» case, AP 470.

Averse to speaking of his private life

“Discrete”. This is how Moro is described his friend of two decades, the federal judge Anderson Furlan, 39. Despite the close friendship, Furlan said he never knows how his fellow judge is leaning.

“He will not say who he voted for in October, even […]”

Furlan says that Moro, bothered by journalistic profiles like this, has asked close friends not to speak to the press.

“This is so the focus does not shift away from what is in the public interest: the corruption inside Petrobras. “Not to him,” Furlan says, adding, however: “Personal friend or not, Moro sets a proud example for all judges.”