Brazil’s Supreme Court crimps crusading Judge Sergio Moro’s pursuit of ex-leader

Reed Johnson and Luciana Magalhaes – Wall Street Journal, 04/01/2016

SÃO PAULO—Many Brazilians regard Judge Sergio Moro as a folk hero for his aggressive investigation of a giant corruption scandal implicating dozens of politicians and businessmen. But this week, Brazil’s Supreme Court dealt Mr. Moro a symbolic if incremental setback, telling him to hold off in his pursuit of his highest-profile target, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The cat-and-mouse contest between Mr. Moro and Mr. da Silva has riveted Brazilians since March 4, when the judge issued a warrant allowing federal police to detain the former president for questioning about his alleged role in the multiyear bid-rigging-and-bribery scheme surrounding state oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras.

Tensions escalated days later when President Dilma Rousseff offered Mr. da Silva, her political mentor, a cabinet post as chief of staff. The appointment, which is still in limbo due to another judge’s ruling, would effectively shield Mr. da Silva from prosecution, under a legal provision that ministers and sitting legislators can be investigated and indicted only by the Supreme Court.

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