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Brazil's Bolsonaro says Greenwald could 'do jail time'

US journalist Glenn Greenwald lives in Rio de Janeiro with his Brazilian husband and two adopted children
US journalist Glenn Greenwald lives in Rio de Janeiro with his Brazilian husband and two adopted children AFP/File
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Rio de Janeiro (AFP)

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said Saturday that American journalist Glenn Greenwald may "do jail time in Brazil," but he would not be deported from the Latin American country.

Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro with his Brazilian husband and two adopted children, is co-founder of The Intercept investigative website which has published leaked chats showing Justice Minister Sergio Moro conspired to keep leftist icon Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva out of the 2018 presidential election that Bolsonaro ultimately won.

Describing Greenwald as a "trickster", Bolsonaro said the journalist would not be expelled from Brazil under a decree issued by Moro on Friday that allows for the deportation of foreigners considered dangerous.

The decree has "nothing to do with" Greenwald, Bolsonaro was quoted by Brazilian media as saying. He cited the fact Greenwald is married to "another man and has adopted children in Brazil."

"Trickster, trickster, to avoid such a problem, he marries another trickster and adopts a child in Brazil," Bolsonaro said.

"That is the problem we have. He will not leave. Maybe he will do jail time in Brazil, but he won't be kicked out."

Greenwald reacted swiftly on Twitter, describing Bolsonaro as a "wanna-be dictator" and saying the government "does not have the power to deport me."

"They don't have anything on me," he said, reiterating he would not leave Brazil.

Greenwald has faced calls for his deportation over the publication of leaked Telegram messages Moro exchanged with prosecutors when he was a judge spearheading a massive corruption investigation known as Car Wash.

Moro, who was appointed to Bolsonaro's cabinet in January, has been accused of improperly trying to influence the probe that has claimed the scalps of scores of high-profile figures, including Lula, since it began in 2014.

He has denied any wrongdoing and says criminals hacked the cell phones with the aim of overturning convictions resulting from the investigation.

Moro says four people arrested Tuesday for allegedly hacking phones were the source of the chats leaked to The Intercept.

The Intercept has refused to identify its source or how the information was accessed.

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