Experts say JBS tape incriminating Michel Temer was manipulated

Experts say JBS tape incriminating President Michel Temer was manipulated

Expert analysis of the key tape in the JBS plea deal, responsible for this week's political shocks in Brazil, says the audio file may have been manipulated up to 50 times
Brazil Politics

Experts believe that the JBS tape that left Brazil’s president Michel Temer in hot water may have been manipulated. Speaking to Brazilian publication Folha de S. Paulo, analysts say there are ‘cuts’ in the tape’s audio.

The tape shows the conversation between Temer and JBS owner Joesley Batista. Its contents were the trigger for the latest political crisis in the country, which has been unfolding since Wednesday evening.

Brazil’s Attorney General’s Office released the audio to the public. But according to judicial expert Ricardo Caires dos Santos, it is possible that someone manipulated the tape as many as 50 times. Santos says that the manipulations could invalidate the tape’s standing as evidence.

Following the JBS tape’s journey

Last night, the Prosecutor’s Office released a note following a technical evaluation of the tape. In the note, prosecutors said the tape was valid as evidence. According to the note, “the audio reveals a logical and coherent conversation”.

Batista recorded the audio on March 7, 2017, and delivered it directly to the Prosecutor’s Office. The audio released to the public is believed to be the same as the audio delivered directly by Batista to the Prosecutor’s Office.

It did not pass through the Federal Police, who only gained access to the case on April 10. But further doubts cast a shadow over the audio recording. In a statement after submitting the tape, Batista said that at the time Temer still had influence over STF ministers.

Evidence of manipulation

According to Santos, there are several moments in the tape that appear to be evidence of tampering. When asked by Batista about his relationship to Eduardo Cunha, some of the responses given by Michel Temer are unintelligible in the recordings.

Santos speculates that certain words in Temer’s responses were deliberately obscured or cut. However, he says that the key moments in the tape which incriminate Temer remain clear, and do not have signs of manipulation.