Brazil: In This Crime Show the Host Killed Criminals to Boost Ratings

Wallace Souza He is the Amazonas state's assemblyman with most votes in the latest elections in Brazil. He is also a TV host with a program about crime, Canal Livre (Free Channel), at Amazonense TV. Now, Wallace Souza, a former police agent, is being charged with ordering murders to eliminate some rivals and in the process also boost his TV show ratings.

Known to very few just a few years ago, Souza has become a television celebrity in the Brazilian Midwest thanks to his television program dedicated to fight crime. The accusation that the is behind several assassinations shown on his show was made by one of his private bodyguards. who was recently arrested and charged with murders.

The accuser is former Military Police sergeant, Moacir Jorge da Costa, better known as "Moa". He is charged with nine murders.

The case opened against Souza by the Public Attorney office accuses him of leading a criminal organization. He is being charged with gang formation, corruption of witnesses and drug trafficking, He protests complete innocence and says he didn't commit any of the crimes he is accused of. Souza argues that people want to silence him because of his anti-crime cruzade. 

Authorities say that police searches at the assemblyman's home found an impressive amount of weapons and ammunition as well as bullets that match those gathered at the scene of the crimes. Investigators concluded that those bullets had killed drug traffickers.

Souza was ousted from the Amazonas's civilian police after he was caught in a pension fraud scheme and also diverting public fuel, according to the state's Public Security Secretary, Francisco Sá Cavalcante.

A military police colonel, several military police officers, the politician's own son, Raphael, in a total of 15 people have been detained, all of them accused with complicity with Souza. Judges dealing with the case have been receiving a barrage of death threats and for that they count on a 24-hour security detail.

The police believe that at leat six deaths shown in the now defunct TV show were ordered by Souza. According to Moacir Costa's account, the program's crew many times arrived to the crime scene before the murder was committed.  

Talking to journalists, Amazonas's State Security Secretary, Francisco Cavalcanti, declared that the case "has all the characteristics of  organized crime" with ramifications in the Public Prosecutor's Office, in political offices and in the civilian and military police.

The Public Prosecutor's Office believes that Souza through his criminal actions planned to create instability in the population and discredit the the state's Public Security Secretariat. The final plan, they say, was for Souza to take over the post of security secretary.

Assemblyman Souza, from the PP (Partido Progressista – Progressive Party), however, has not been arrested because his position as a politician guarantees him immunity. He says that he is a victim of a conspiracy and that he doesn't know who is behind all the false allegations. 

The politician, who went to São Paulo in recent days for health treatment, informed that he will not take a leave of absence to fight the charges against him. He also stated that he will be able to prove his innocence.

Wallace Souza's programs were riveting. Full of details of people being killed and busted. Many wondered how the show's producers were able to apparently anticipate where crimes were going to happen to capture them all with their ever present cameras.

Says Amazonas's Intelligence Secretary: "The investigations show that they went as far as to create facts. The program producers would decide to commit a crime to generate news for the group, for the program."

A lawyer, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retalliation told reporters that the assemblyman had beaten some of her clients. "He would arrive, invade my client's home, he would beat up, slap my clients on the face, pulling hairs and calling them scoundrels. Several people have witnessed that. He would then record the whole scene and put it on TV."

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