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Vatileaks trial opens; Pope's secretary to testify

October 01, 2012

A Vatican tribunal granted one defense motion and denied another in the opening session of the “Vatileaks” trial of Paolo Gabriele.

Gabriele, the former valet to Pope Benedict XVI, is charged with the theft of confidential Vatican documents which subsequently appeared in the Italian press. The defendant has admitted that he took the documents, saying that he did so in an effort to expose corruption within the Vatican.

At the September 28 session, the court ruled that it would not accept testimony given by Gabriele during interrogation when his lawyers were not present. But the court rejected a defense request for access to a confidential report submitted to Pope Benedict XVI by a commission of cardinals created to investigate the leaks of confidential documents. That commission’s probe was not directly related to Gabriele case.

In a separate ruling the court agreed that Claudio Sciarpelletti, a Vatican computer specialist who is charged as an accessory to the theft of papal documents, should be tried separately.

During the initial session the court indicated that Msgr. Georg Ganswein, the private secretary to Pope Benedict, will be called as a witness in the case. The testimony by Msgr. Ganswein, who reportedly confronted Gabriele just before his arrest, is likely to be a dramatic highlight of the trial.

The Gabriele trial is open to the public, but space in the small hearing room is severely limited. The Vatican has allowed pool coverage by 8 reporters who share their impressions with other journalists. No cameras or recording devices are allowed.

The next session in Gabriele’s trial will be held October 2. Justice Giuseppe Dalla Torre, who is presiding, estimated that four more sessions would be enough to complete the trial.


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