A woman walks past a banner featuring the Brazilian national...

A woman walks past a banner featuring the Brazilian national flag and an image of former President Jair Bolsonaro with a message that reads in Portuguese: "Ex, most beloved of Brazil", in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, March 16, 2024. Credit: AP/Silvia Izquierdo

RIO DE JANEIRO — Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Saturday he was “not afraid of any trial,” a day after documents released by the Supreme Court revealed that two top military leaders said the populist plotted to remain in power after losing the 2022 election.

Bolsonaro avoided commenting on the content of any of several investigations targeting him, but claimed he was a victim of “persecution” for causing trouble for the country's political left. Authorities in February confiscated Bolsonaro's passport.

“I could very well be in another country, but I decided to come back here at all costs. I’m not afraid of any trial, as long as the judges are impartial,” Bolsonaro said in Rio de Janeiro, speaking at a campaign event in the city's mayoral race.

The court documents released Saturday included testimony from Bolsonaro’s former Army and Air Force commanders to police, who said they refused the former leader's demands and would arrest him if he tried to stay in power.

The testimonies include the first direct mentions of the right-wing leader as actively participating in a conspiracy to ignore the results of the October 2022 election won by his rival, current President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

At the same time the new information was revealed, Bolsonaro appeared to be traveling to different cities in Rio de Janeiro state, posting videos to X, formerly Twitter. The embattled politician was featured surrounded by throngs of supporters cheering and wearing Brazil's yellow soccer jersey, which has turned into an emblem of his feverish right-wing movement.

The statements only added to a growing pile of legal woes for Bolsonaro as prosecutors seek to find links between the far-right leader and the Jan. 8, 2023 riots that trashed government buildings in the capital Brasilia one week after Lula’s inauguration.

Former Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks at the launch of...

Former Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks at the launch of the pre-candidacy of Alexandre Ramagem for the Rio de Janeiro's mayoral elections in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, March 16, 2024. Credit: AP/Silvia Izquierdo

The right-wing populist has denied allegations that he and his supporters attempted a coup during the 2023 attacks.

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