Brazilian Federal Police raided the home of the nephew of former President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday in connection with the January 8 storming of government buildings in the capital by far-right protesters.
Police said Leonardo Rodriguez de Jesus, known to Bolsonaro supporters as Leo Andeo, was one of the targets in a series of raids that led to 11 arrests in various states. This is the first time that Bolsonaro’s relative has been included in the investigation into the Brasilia riots.
Police indicated that those under investigation could be prosecuted for crimes against democracy and criminal association.
Rodriguez de Jesus posted on social media a photo of himself near the entrance to Congress on the day of the riots. Later, Bolsonaro’s nephew accused leftists of infiltrating the protest to attack government buildings. Police investigations found no evidence to support this claim.
Rodríguez de Jesus is close to one of Bolsonaro’s sons, Carlos Bolsonaro, a member of the Municipal Council of Rio de Janeiro. The two often appeared together at the presidential palace in Brasilia when the right-wing president was in power. After criticism from the opposition, his visits were kept secret.
Carlos Bolsonaro is the former president’s Chief Digital Officer and a key member of Bolsonaro’s failed re-election bid.
Rodríguez de Jesus was an aide to Carlos Bolsonaro in Rio, and moved to Brasilia in 2019. He joined the Senate cabinet team and later joined Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party caucus as a Senate advisor. He was fired after the local press revealed that he had been paid without a job.
In 2022, he ran as a Federal District Councilor, but did not gather enough votes.
Rodriguez de Jesus has been under investigation by the judicial authorities in Rio de Janeiro since 2021, when he allegedly received money transfers from the cabinet of one of Bolsonaro’s sons, Flavio, when he was part of the municipal council. It is assumed that Rodrigues de Jesus’ rent was also paid from public funds.
The Supreme Court had already ordered Rodriguez de Jesus’ preventive arrest in connection with the January 8 attacks, but police said he had not yet been arrested. Rodrigues de Jesus could appeal this, but declared that he lacked the funds to pay his lawyer’s expenses.
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva assured in a meeting with state governors that what happened on January 8 would not happen again and called it an attempted coup d’état.
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