Brazil's federal police plan to investigate the "financial activities" of American journalist Glenn Greenwald, whose website The Intercept published leaks showing collusion between prosecutors and the graft-busting judge who became the country's justice minister.

"This seems to me like an attempt to intimidate the journalist," said Brazilian political commentator Kennedy Alencar.

"If there is an investigation for doing journalism it is illegal and it is an attempt at intimidation,” said law professor Pierpaolo Bottini of the University of Sao Paulo, who also heads the press freedom unit at the Brazilian Bar Association.

Last month, The Intercept's Brazilian edition began a series of articles detailing prosecutors in the vast Operation Car Wash corruption probe colluding with judge Sergio Moro, who became a folk hero for jailing powerful bankers, politicians, and middlemen.  The revelations have dominated political news since then.

Moro refused comment directly on the federal police investigation, but attacked The Intercept's series as an "empty balloon" that failed to prove any wrongdoing:  "There is a criminal attempt to invalidate convictions (from Operation Car Wash)," said Moro.

Greenwald and his husband David Miranda, a lawmaker for the leftist Socialism and Freedom party, live in Rio De Janeiro.  Since the reports on Moro, they've been bombarded with threats, slander, and homophobic abuse.