The federal police have begun an investigation that will be closely watched across Brazil, given Justice Zavascki’s influence in Brazil’s legal system.Justice Zavascki, who had kept a low public profile since being named to the 11-member court in 2012, was responsible for some of the boldest moves in Brazil’s judiciary in recent years, earning him a reputation as a judge prepared to curb abuses by influential lawmakers and business leaders.In 2015, Justice Zavascki ordered the arrest and imprisonment of Delcídio do Amaral, a sitting senator from the leftist Workers’ Party, which was in power at the time. And in 2016, he ousted the speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, who had orchestrated the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.Large portions of Brazil’s political establishment are on edge over revelations of bribery by Odebrecht, the construction giant that was one of the largest contractors for Petrobras, the government-controlled oil company. Justice Zavascki was overseeing the ratification of Odebrecht’s plea deal, in which dozens of Brazilian politicians are accused of receiving funds from the company, and some prominent figures suggested that the plane crash could have been a result of foul play.
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