VATICAN CITY (AFP) – A Vatican computer technician accused of helping the pope’s former butler leak secret memos went on trial on Monday, in a case which could expose other whistleblowers within the Holy See.
Claudio Sciarpelletti was being tried in the tiny state’s 19th-century courtroom in what is expected to be a lightning trial as the Vatican rushes to wind up the embarrassing and damaging months-long scandal.
The 48-year-old is accused of aiding and abetting ex-butler Paolo Gabriele, who was sentenced to 18 months in jail last month after he admitted leaking papers alleging corruption and Machiavellian politics in the Vatican.
Cameramen and photographers have not been allowed into the courtroom for the trial and only a small group of journalists have been authorised to attend.
Vatican spokesman Ciro Benedettini told AFP the hearing had begun.
The technician was arrested on May 25 as the investigation into the leaks unfolded but only spent one night in a Vatican cell before being released.
A search by Vatican police unearthed a suspicious envelope addressed to Gabriele in Sciarpelletti’s desk.
In it, they found photocopies of memos published by Italian investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi in his book “His Holiness”, which collected letters depicting intrigue and infighting inside the Vatican.
The book touched on everything from fraud allegations to sex abuse scandals.
Called to account, Sciarpelletti’s testimony was confused and contradictory.
He said Gabriele had given him the envelope because he wanted his opinion on the contents, but that he had never opened it and had forgotten it was there.
He later said it was someone else entirely that had given him the envelope — a person identified in court documents only by the letter “W”.
He also talked about a second envelope, given to him by a certain “X”.
The trial will likely delve into the relationship between the butler and the technician. Gabriele — now serving time in a holding cell within the Vatican — is expected to take the stand to testify to their close friendship.
He was initially accused of giving false testimony, conspiracy to commit aggravated theft, aiding a thief and violating office secrets.
But the Vatican later reduced the charges, saying his alleged role in the leaks is “marginal” and that he faces only a light sentence if convicted after a trial likely to be shorter than Gabriele’s, which lasted a week.
Other witnesses expected to be called include William Kloter, deputy commander of the Swiss Guard and Sciarpelletti’s superior, Carlo Maria Polvani.
Monsignor Polvani is the nephew of Carlo Maria Vigano, formerly the Vatican’s top administrator, who had written letters to the pope which were later leaked alleging corruption in the Holy See.
Comments are moderated. Please keep them clean and brief.
Headlines Newsview all
No fewer than 47 people have been killed in fresh violence in Taraba and Benue states. Many other people were also injured in the attack. In Taraba ... Full story
But for the appearance of a man of God, Pastor Darlington Ajitemsan, s senior police officer, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP, would have been ... Full story
Joseph Yobo's wife took to instagram to reveal her pregnant bod in a dance workout video. First time she'll share her growing baby bump on instagram... ... Full story
Rate this article
- Transfer deals - January 2015
- German Ex-President 'Richard von Weizsaecker' Dies at 94
- 'Adaeze Yobo' Finally Reveals Her Pregnancy In Style
Medically, it is advisable for a pregnant woman to do some form of exercise so that it will enable ease some stress during child delivery ...
For the timely intervention of God, the wife of Nollywood actor, Jide kosoko, Henrietta Kosoko, would have died after being involved in an accident along ...
The popular Okoye twins, Paul and Peter of the P Square fame and music video creator, Jude Okoye 'Engees' are taking the Anambra State of ...
Christian Amoah had been the 2nd runner-up at MTN Project Fame music competition winning Two million Naira after Ruky the first runner-up, with 4th place ...
At the All Progressive Congress presidential rally at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, the cultural values of the land still prevailed to the surprise of ...
The All Progressive Congress (APC), have made a mockery of themselves by allowing the DJ invited for their Presidential campaign to play the song of ...
In honour of #EggplantFriday we feature the son of former military Governor of Ondo State & former PDP Vice Chairman Bode George, stripped down to ... Full story
Spanish club, Rayo Vallecano, have again demonstrated their love towards late Nigeria goalkeeper, Wilfred Agbonavbare, who died in Spain after a battle with cancer, by ... Full story