This morning it was announced that judge Sergio Moro, the man who has been in charge of the Operation Car Wash corruption investigation since 2014, has been appointed minister of justice and public security for president-elect Bolsonaro’s new government.
Moro accepted Bolsonaro’s invitation this morning, November 1, after a meeting at his house in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro.
Throughout his years overseeing the Operation Car Wash investigation, Moro is famed for the key role he played in the impeachment of ex-President Dilma Rousseff and condemning ex-President Lula da Silva to a 12-year prison sentence for corruption, preventing him from running as a candidate in this year’s general election.
Leaving his 22-year career as a federal judge was seemingly not an easy decision for Moro to make, however. In a statement he gave shortly after the appointment, he commented that it would be “with some regret,” that he would abandon his long-term career as a lawyer.
In an interview Moro gave with Estado de S. Paulo columnist Fausto Macedo back in 2016, the judge stated that he would “never get involved with politics.”
“I am a man of justice and…not of politics,” he told the newspaper two years ago. “I think politics is an important activity, I don’t want to detract any value from it, quite the opposite. I have a lot of respect for politicians, but I am a judge, I’m part of another reality, another type of work, another profile.”
Speaking of his decision, however, Moro himself stated that the real reason he was convinced to change his mind was “the potential to implement a strong anti-corruption and anti-organized crime agenda,” claiming he felt “honoured” to accept the right-wing president-elect’s invitation to join his cabinet.
In conversation with reporters shortly after Moro’s acceptance of his invitation, Bolsonaro told reporters that the judge is “a person who has proven to Brazilian people that…fighting corruption is possible.”
The president-elect later tweeted, “his anti-corruption, anti-organized crime agenda as well as respect for the law and the Constitution will guide us!”
O juiz federal Sérgio Moro aceitou nosso convite para o Ministério da Justiça e Segurança Pública. Sua agenda anti-corrupção, anti-crime organizado, bem como respeito à Constituição e às leis será o nosso norte!
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) 1 November 2018
Judge Moro is due to give press interviews about his new position next week.