Flordelis grew up in a Rio favela, but rose to fame after adopting more than 50 children, becoming a hugely successful gospel singer and winning a seat in congress. And now she is on trial for murderWhen Flordelis dos Santos de Souza boarded an air force jet from Rio de Janeiro to Brasília on the morning of 1 January 2019, she felt she was witnessing the beginning of a new dawn. Brazil was about to install a far-right religious nationalist, Jair Bolsonaro, as president, and she, a black gospel singer from one of Rio’s most violent and impoverished favelas, had won a seat in parliament, asserting her place among her country’s powerful evangelical elite. At 57, she was a church leader and a social crusader, celebrated for standing up to some of Rio’s most dangerous gangsters and for taking in dozens of children rescued from lives of deprivation and crime. She had devoted her life to building a multimillion-dollar evangelical empire, which had grown to include nine churches. Now she was a politician, too.At her side was her husband, Anderson do Carmo de Souza, also a preacher, 16 years her junior, who managed her political career. “I want to thank all of you who had faith and gave Flor a place in this movement to change Brazil, isn’t that right love?” Anderson said into a camera as the pair stood on the airport runway, waiting to fly to the capital at the invitation of one of the country’s most powerful politicians, Rodrigo Maia, then speaker of the lower house.