A judge in Brazil announced Thursday that Glenn Greenwald, the co-founder of The Intercept, will “for now” not face cybercrime charges over his reporting on corruption in the South American country.
The Intercept reported on the news, as did Greenwald in a video on Twitter. In his statement, Judge Ricardo Augusto Soares Leite said he would not proceed with Greenwald’s case because of a previous decision by the Brazilian Supreme Court that any investigation into him would be unjust.
“I decline, for now, to receive the complaint against GLENN GREENWALD, due to the controversy over the extent of the injunction granted by [Supreme Court] Minister Gilmar Mendes” last August, Leite wrote.
Brazil’s increasingly authoritarian government charged Greenwald with cybercrimes last month, accusing him of participating in a “criminal organization” that hacked the phones of several Brazilian authorities while he reported on rampant corruption in a Brazilian anti-corruption task force known as “Operation Car Wash.”
Greenwald and The Intercept say that was an obvious attempt by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s government to stifle reporting critical of his administration.
“The judge today said obviously that if the Supreme Court prohibited me from being investigated, it necessarily prohibited me from being prosecuted and charged for the reporting that I was doing, and he was waiting for further clarification from the Supreme Court,” Greenwald said of the developments.
But Leite’s ruling doesn’t mean Greenwald is home free.
“It’s obviously good news, but not good enough for us,” Greenwald said in his video. “Our lawyers are now going to go to the Brazilian Supreme Court and seek a much broader ruling. We don’t just want a win on procedural grounds. We want a clear ruling from the Supreme Court that any attempt to criminalize my journalism or my relationship with my sources is a grave assault on core press freedoms guaranteed by the Brazilian constitution.”
Leite also said Thursday that he is open to charging Greenwald in the future if the Supreme Court injunction is overturned.