RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s attorney general on Friday charged Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right presidential candidate who has been running in second place in the polls, with inciting hatred and discrimination against blacks, indigenous communities, women and gays.
The charge came less than a week after the front-runner in the race, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, began serving a 12-year sentence for corruption.
The charging document, which was signed by Attorney General Raquel Dodge, includes a long list of incendiary remarks by Bolsonaro, who has developed a strong and loyal following by using harsh language and vowing to adopt severe tactics to address Brazil’s epidemic of violence.
If convicted, Bolsonaro, 63, could face up to three years in prison and a $117,000 fine.
Dodge outlined several passages from a speech Bolsonaro gave a year ago in Rio de Janeiro, alleging that they constituted “hate speech.” Bolsonaro lamented the state of quilombolas, traditional communities of Afro-Brazilians that enjoy legal protections.
Residents of one quilombola he had visited recently “did nothing,” Bolsonaro said. He added: “I think they don’t even manage to procreate anymore.” He also spoke dismissively about indigenous territories.
In another part of the speech, Bolsonaro said he had four sons — and one daughter, who he said had been the result of a “moment of weakness.”
Dodge also noted several homophobic remarks, including an instance in which Bolsonaro said he would “prefer that my son die in an accident than show up with some dude with a mustache.”
Bolsonaro on Friday night posted a television interview on his social media accounts in which he called allegations of racism baseless.
“For the love of God, you can’t say anything in this country,” he said in the interview.
Dodge also charged one of Bolsonaro’s sons, Eduardo, a fellow federal lawmaker and one of his father’s most prominent surrogates, with threatening a journalist.
The charging document against the younger Bolsonaro, 33, included a transcript of an exchange on a messaging application in which he called the journalist, Patrícia de Oliveira Souza Lélis, a “whore” and a “vagabond.”
In the exchange, according to the transcript, Eduardo Bolsonaro said that he would “ruin her life” and “make her regret having been born.” The news site G1 quoted a representative of Eduardo Bolsonaro as saying that he had not threatened anyone.
Because they are members of Congress, Jair and Eduardo Bolsonaro enjoy a privileged legal standing under which they may only be tried before the Supreme Court. The court has a large backlog of cases involving elected officials, which makes it unlikely that the matters will be resolved before the election.
The elder Bolsonaro faces a separate case before the court for having told a female lawmaker in 2014 that she was too ugly to rape.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.