Greenwald, who has lived in Brazil for years and is married to a Brazilian congressman, published the articles which included leaked text messages suggesting collusion between a judge and prosecutors in the conviction and jailing of a former president. The allegations were published in the online publication The Intercept, which Greenwald co-founded, and The Intercept Brasil. The journalist said the allegations were an "obvious attempt to attack a free press in retaliation for the revelations we reported."
"We're going to defend a free press like we always have, we're not going to be intimidated by the Bolsonaro government," Greenwald stated, referring to Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro.
It is now up to a judge to decide whether the case against Greenwald can move forward, NPR reported.
Prosecutors from the Federal Public Ministry accused Greenwald and six others in a criminal complaint, saying in a statement that Greenwald provided a hacker with advice about deleting messages that they downloaded and sent to him in order to make it more difficult for authorities to link them to the journalist. Greenwald dismissed the accusations as "frivolous."
The case was investigated by Brazil’s federal police back in December, reaching a different conclusion than the federal prosecutor about Greenwald's role in the hacking. The police said "it is not possible to identify moral or material participation by the journalist," cited by the Guardian.
The Intercept said Greenwald and his colleagues reported the stories based on "private chats, audio recordings, videos, photos, court proceedings, and other documentation" provided by an anonymous source.
The accusation against Greenwald garnered swift criticism from press freedom advocates.
"The United States must immediately condemn this outrageous assault on the freedom of the press, and recognize that its attacks on press freedoms at home have consequences for American journalists doing their jobs abroad," Ben Winzer, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a statement.