NYT Journalist Convicted in Brazil of Offending Brazilians, Ordered to Pay Compensation

Joe Sharkey American journalist Joe Sharkey, one of the occupants of the Legacy executive jet that collided with the Boeing 737 from Gol airline in 2006 killing the 154 people aboard, was sentenced to recant publicly before the Brazilian people and to pay compensation amounting to 50,000 reais (US$ 26,882) to the wife of a man who died in the accident.

The ruling was made by Judge José Augusto Gomes Aniceto, from the 9th Civil Chamber of Paraná state’s Justice Court. He considered that lawsuit as unfounded, but since the magistrates Sergio Luiz  Patitucci and Rosana Fachin had already voted for conviction, there was no change in the penalty.

According to the decision, Sharkey offended Brazilians with texts published on his blog, criticizing the media and the courts of the country. The lawsuit was brought by Rosane Gutjahr, president of the Association of Relatives and Friends of Victims of Flight 1907, with the intention of making the American recant.

She stressed that the compensation money will be donated to the Association of Friends of the Hospital de Clínicas in Curitiba. Gutjahr, from the state of Paraná, is the widow of a man killed in the accident.

“It’s an absurd for him [Sharkey] to try to blame the authorities and the Brazilian media for errors that the US pilots committed and that led to the deaths of 154 people,” Gutjahr stated.

Sharkey has 15 days to appeal the Brazilian justice’s decision. Writing in his blog on November 17, the American journalist stated:

“In what is clearly a brazen challenge to American law that protects U.S. citizens from foreign defamation judgments in foreign verdicts that are a clear affront to the First Amendment and U.S. free speech protections, a Brazilian court today found me guilty in a defamation case brought by a Brazilian woman I had never heard of, nor written a single word about.

“Today’s court decision overturned an earlier one that had dismissed the case against me, saying the plaintiff had no ground to sue because I had never written or said a single word about her. Two of the three-judge panel decided against me. The third judge said he’s still studying the papers, and will make his decision known by Dec. 1, but even if he sided with me that would still make the verdict stand at 2-1.

“The lawsuit makes preposterous allegations, including an astonishing one that actually suggests that I was on board the Legacy business jet, which collided at 37,000 feet over the Amazon with a Brazilian airliner, as a participant in a nebulous plot to claim the Amazon rain forest for unspecified imperial interests.

“In the collision, on Sept. 29, 2006, 154 people on the Brazilian 737 died in a horrifying plunge to the jungle, while seven men on the business jet that collided with it, including me, survived after a harrowing 25-minute flight in a severely damaged airplane that, at the last minute before crashing itself into the jungle, managed an emergency landing at a jungle airstrip.

“The other allegations in the suit are also outright fabrications, cooked up in an attempt to cover up official malfeasance in crash aftermath, to discredit me for accurate reporting and commentary on the disgraceful official Brazilian handling of the accident, and to inhibit me from doing further reporting and commentary in the United States.

“As I reported here soon after the crash, the Brazilian authorities – cheered on by a xenophobic media that was aflame with anti-Americanism – had rushed recklessly to criminalize the accident and scapegoat the American pilots, long before the facts were known.

“Severe problems in the military-run Brazilian air traffic control system, widely known before the crash, were covered over by authorities. However, an investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board concluded that, as I also had been reporting, systemic and operational faults by Brazilian air traffic control were likely the primary cause of the disaster. (The N.T.S.B. was involved in the investigation in Brazil because one of the planes, the Boeing 737, was American-made. The Legacy was made by the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer.)

“The lawsuit – which accuses me of causing “dishonor” to the entire nation of Brazil – was based on the remarkable legal assertion that the plaintiff, as a Brazilian citizen, suffered an insult to her honor because of my reporting – even though she was never mentioned in any way. Among the odd things that I am falsely accused of writing – as an insult to the honor of all Brazilians, according to the suit – is that “Brazil is most idiot of idiots.”

“That and other fabricated comments attributed to me in the suit were mostly culled, in fact, from comments appended to, or linked from, various Web sites in Brazilian media in which anonymous Brazilians ranted about me and even, in some cases, about Brazilian authorities for the disgraceful way they handled the aftermath of the crash. Ultimately such online mayhem melds into a rat’s-nest of bewildering hyperlinks, with lots of side trips down links that can lead to Crazy Lane.

“But even if I forgotten basic grammatical elements of my native tongue and had written that Brazil is “most idiot of idiots,” that would not be remotely actionable in any country with any respect for free speech – and certainly not under U.S. law.”

The accident

The flight 1907 from Gol airline, which was going from Manaus to Rio de Janeiro, with a stop in Brazilian capital Brasília, crashed in northern Mato Grosso state, September 29, 2006, killing all 148 passengers and six crew members.

The accident occurred after a collision with a Legacy executive jet manufactured by Brazilian company Embraer, which landed safely at an airbase in southern Pará state.

The pilots of the Legacy, Joseph Lepore and Jan Paul Paladino, both from the United States, are accused of not having turned on the Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), equipment necessary for contact between the aircraft and the air traffic towers.

The complaint presented by Brazil’s Federal Public Ministry, in May 2007, reports that the Boeing’s transponder remained on throughout the flight, while the Legacy equipment was turned off during the flight.

The transponder is a device that interacts with the secondary air control radars and other transponders, providing information about the position and movement of the aircraft.

In the sequence of errors that caused the accident there was also a miscommunication between controllers and pilots of the Brazilian jet, who, not understanding the instructions, would have flown the aircraft at the same altitude of the Gol’s plane, 37 000 feet.

In May 2007, pilots and four flight controllers has been charged by federal prosecutors for the crime of endangering the security of Brazil’s air transportation. In December 2008, the Americans were acquitted of the negligence charges, but in 2010 the court overturned the acquittal and ordered the resumption of the trial.

In May 2011, they were sentenced by the justice of Mato Grosso to four years and four months in semi-open prison for exposing an aircraft to danger with the aggravating factor that such act resulted in death. The penalty, however, was converted to community service to be done in the United States and the pilots were forbidden from practicing their profession.

In 2008, flight controllers Leandro José Santos de Barros and Felipe Santos dos Reis were summarily acquitted of all charges by the Federal Court. Jomarcelo Fernandes dos Santos was also acquitted of the crime in May 2011. In the same decision, the court of Mato Grosso sentenced Lucivando Tibúrcio de Alencar to community service for endangering the safety of air transportation.


  • Show Comments (18)

  • Gringodingo

    Once again Brazil`s thin skin is exposed. No freedom of press, a country where the President tries to expel you if you write something he doesn`t like. You see the class of people this nation has in every post constinha writes.

  • Brazilian Blamer

    Não fui Eu!!!;-)

  • costinha

    us striker … The result of a horrible abortion gone wrong!
    The best part of it was when you ran down the crack of your mother’s a.s.s. and ended up as a brown stain on the mattress.

    You are a disgrace to the bloated rectum you were spawned from.

    Hehehe… 😉

    God Mess Amerika, Land of the Fee and Home of the Slave.


  • home loans

    answer this topic
    Following my monitoring, millions of people all over the world receive the loans at good banks. Thus, there is good chances to get a secured loan in every country.

  • us striker

    The Middle Finger with american style and class
    brasssilll,,,,, will get this from the americans for this whole sordid affair of brazilian air traffick control incompetence …..FU ARSEHOLES !!!..YOU AIN,T GETTING ONE STINKIN WORTHLESS “REAL”….NOW GO FUCK YOURSELFS BANANA CHUCKERS AND GO EAT A PIGS ARSEHOLE…

  • us striker

    deutchland arshloch !!..
    the german douchebag with the smelly slimy foreskin stinks like cabbage soup …f**k you douchebag…. your lucky we saved your arses from the soviets you pimple puke …go f**k a donkey .

  • isabelle da silva de mello de andrade goncalves

    mi fini nao mas stupido brasiliero …
    costina ,,,how can you do that to our little doggie spiffy you are mean you hurt the little spiffey ….you go to the goat next time she no care she like little weenie boy …this is it i,ve had it with these perverts in brazil i,m going to orlando for a disneyland tourist visa and then i go my brasilian fren for clean hotel for cash money in america and peroxide my hair blonde like look american only with black roots .. ..me divorcio costinha me no like little short peasant look me like tall slim sexy blue eye americanos drivey nice new mercedes benz .me love brad pitt george clooney richard gere ..

  • costinha

    usa superpower….usa superpower….usa superpower

    [i]you f-ing little inconsequential third world turd …us armed forces are coming back from iraq and afghanistan and need something to do[/i]

    Ouch…. Was it something I said? Hehehe….

    I bet you get perfect hemorrhoids because you’re the perfect asshole.

    God Mess Amerika, Land of the Fee and Home of the Slave

    Kissies & Huggies…. Biggest Manure in the Pile!


  • costinha

    2 Peas in the Pot
    Dumb and Dumber

    [u]Dumb[/u] ([b]usa superpower[/b]), contorts himself to smell his own butthole funk while [u]Dumber[/u] ([b]us striker[/b]), eats his own boogies and says that taste wet, salty and yummy!

    I didn’t think it was physically possible but you both suck and blow at the same time. Hehehe…

    God Mess Amerika… Land of the Fee and Home of the Slave


  • Hans de Vroos

    Hierdie klein stuk kak wat homself “u.s.superpower”, “u.s.observer”, ens, is ‘n arschloch.:sad:

  • us striker

    FU Brazil
    and when the united states once again gives brazil the “middle finger” !!!…what will brazil then do send their military forces to new york? ha ha ha !!!!!!!… brazil is a non-country of mutts..

  • usa superpower

    go blow your donkey costinha…you f-ing little inconsequential third world turd …us armed forces are coming back from iraq and afghanistan and need something to do .

  • Costinha da Silva

    Ms. isabelle da silva de mello de andrade goncalves spiffy
    Hello there … LIMP DICK!

    Can you scratch your arse and lick my balls at the same time? Now she-beast, go find a wire hanger and f.u.c.k. yourself into oblivion before you have another epileptic seizure on the keyboard.

    Costinha da Silca


  • isabelle da silva de mello de andrade goncalves spiffy

    americans could care less
    jack sharkey the american won,t have to give these fucking arseholes a stinkin lousy worthless real not one .!!!!…brazil is a bluffing nobody ..and they can go fuck themselves ..they are liars and are pathetic liars ..fuck these little monkees .

  • isabelle da silva de mello de andrade goncalves spiffy

    costinha what the fuck kind o f name is that ? little monkee .
    hey douchebag , your the pecker head you marxist fag.you douchebags are weak little men with the values and culture of a a pig pen .. fuck you punk get on your donkey cart ..your a joke to the real world ..

  • Costinha

    American Classic…
    John Wayne style american cowboys…. BIG mouth bit when it comes down to it… F.U.C.K.ING COWARDS!

    This peckerwood prick Joe Sharkey should not be allowed to enter Brasil ever!

    Burn in hell mother.f.u.c.k.e.r.!


  • us observer

    anywhere but brazil !! especially if your an american
    why any sane american would even think of going to brazil is baffling …the us state dept. has a full page of warnings to americans thinking of travelling there.

  • Roger Frost

    Strictly symbolic
    It’s strictly symbolic because they have 0% chance of ever collecting this money. U.S. law now shields Americans from these kinds of judgements. These families would be better off going after the ATC system in Brasil which is mainly to blame for the GOL tragedy. The evidence is abundant that many of the controllers were and still are overworked, inexperienced and with poor English language skills. Yes, English is the international language of aviation. I trust the verdict of the NTSB much more than that of any Brasilian body. Sharkey criticized the Brasilian judicial system which nobody can deny is a cesspool of corruption. Brasilians are funny in that way. They know that all the branches of government are rife with payoffs, nepotism and inefficiency. I’ve been waiting 15 years to have a land dispute case settled in which all the facts are on my side and in which 3 different courts have already ruled in my favour. It’s fine and worthy if Brasilians lampoon the authorities but woe to any foreigner who does the same.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


You May Also Like

A Country Is Born

By Brazzil Magazine Only four countries in the world—Canada, Russia, the People’s Republic of ...


Slam-bang Guga Gustavo Kuerten, who every Brazilian is calling Guga these days, is tennis’ ...

In Brazil Investment in R&D Is Still Rare

Brazil's state-controlled oil multinational Petrobras is one of the companies that most invest in ...

New Brazilian President Offers Allied Party Five Posts in Her Cabinet

Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president-elect, has nominated five cabinet members from the Party of Brazilian ...

A Silver Lining for Brazil’s Agriculture: the Stronger Dollar

Agribusiness in Brazil has already been affected by the economic crisis, but at a ...

Brazil Is Energy-Ready Through 2009

Energy production in Brazil is sufficient to meet demand until 2009, the executive secretary ...

By Contract Bolivia Can Only Raise Gas Prices Every 5 Years, Says Brazil’s Lula

Speaking to the Brazilian people on his weekly radio program, Breakfast with the President, ...

Brazil Agribusiness Exports Explode: 27% Growth, US$ 74 Billion in Revenues

Brazilian agribusiness exports should end the year with revenues of US$ 74.4 billion with ...

Low Inflation and Low Unemployment Spur Brazilian Consumers Confidence

Brazilian consumers' confidence in the third quarter of this year has reached the second ...

Brazil Is Sending Technicians to Help Chavez Deal with Energy Crisis

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, faced with serious electricity and water problems,  has asked ...