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As Vatileaks trial nears conclusion, defendant gives birth

June 15, 2016

The "Vatileaks II" trial took another unusual turn on June 14 when Francesca Chaoqui, one of the defendants in the case, gave birth to a son.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, welcomed the birth of the 8-pound baby, and sent best wishes to the family. The child has been named Peter.

The birth came on a day when a Vatican tribunal heard two witnesses in the inquiry into the theft of confidential documents related to Vatican financial affairs. The next court date in July 4. On July 5 and 6, the tribunal is expected to hear closing arguments from both prosecution and defense. 

The Vatican announced on June 15 that another defendant, Msgr. Angel Vallejo Balda, who has admitted giving journalists access to secret documents, "is no longer in custody, but is intead in semi-freedom." Msgr. Vallejo Balda had been detained in a Vatican holding cell after he was charged with violating the terms of his house arrest. The reference to "semi-freedom" presumably means a return to house arrest. 

While Msgr. Vallejo Balda is restricted to the territory of the Vatican city-state, the other defendants are Italian citizens. It is questionable whether Italy would agree to extradite them if they are found guilty by the Vatican tribunal. 

 
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