According to a court document, the chairman of Brazil's electoral court, Alexandre de Moraes, has denied a challenge to the presidential election result by associates of President Jair Bolsonaro.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva narrowly defeated Bolsonaro in the run-off election on October 30, marking a dramatic comeback for the former leftist president and the end of the country's most right-wing government in decades. The victory margin for Lula was fewer than two percentage points.
The document revealed that Moraes, a Supreme Court justice, punished the parties in Bolsonaro's alliance with a total of 22.9 million reais ($6.3 million) for engaging in litigation in bad faith.
Tuesday, Bolsonaro's Liberal Party (PL) filed a complaint challenging the conclusion of the election because some electronic voting machines were faulty and those votes should be voided, an allegation that was treated with skepticism by election officials.
By Wednesday's electoral court ruling, political funds for the coalition parties of the president have been frozen until the fine is paid. The legislation also ordered a probe into whether party leader Valdemar da Costa Neto abused the party's structure and funding.
In his judgment, Moraes characterized the challenge as "offensive" to democratic standards, adding that it aimed to promote criminal and anti-democratic groups.
"The ballot boxes generate files that allow the equipment on which they were developed to be precisely identified. According to the judgment, when one of these systems malfunctions, others replace it without impacting its traceability or the capacity to identify ballot boxes.
Election experts and political observers criticized the election challenge from Bolsonaro's backers as lacking on the merits, even though it could energize his fans who have been protesting his electoral defeat.
Two days ago, some of these "patriot" supporters gathered in the southern city of Porto Alegre for a weird SOS session involving mobile phones and an alleged extraterrestrial link with lights emanating from the sky.