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
The brigade commander of the 23 Armoured Brigade in Yola, Adamawa State, Victor Ebhaleme, has been acquitted by a general court martial holding at the ... Full story
The man pictured was arrested by security people in Yobe state of northeast Nigeria. The Boko Haram terrorist cowardly man was disguised as a woman ... Full story
For allegedly helping their father plunder Nigeria of an estimated $5 billion in the 1990s, Mohammed and Abba Abacha, and other relatives of the late ... Full story
Rate this article
- Billboard In India Mistakes Morgan Freeman For Nelson Mandela
- 7 And 10-Year-Old Michigan Boys Honored For Turning In A $100 Bill They Found In The Park
- Shaunie O’Neal Refutes Shaq’s Claim That He Didn’t Want Kids In Reality Show
Gist flying in the air has it that Nollywood actress, Ruby Orikajor, has just put to bed a baby girl on May 20th, 2015. The actress ...
Nollywood actress cum producer, Halima Abubakar, has decided to top her expensive assets. The curvy diva who is well known to be a staunch Muslim, now ...
Ghanaian actor, Prince David Osei, has joined the league of entertainers who are now delving into one form of business to the other. Recently, the actor ...
Who would know that this Nigerian actress has a son old enough to graduate from the university as she is rarely seen in the company ...
A mob set two buildings ablaze after a motorcycle passenger reportedly slapped the rider to death with an object suspected to be charms at Iyana ...
No doubt, Nigerian music is enjoying a re-emergence in the global music scene. Though the artistes have done their part in ensuring this, producers sometimes ...
The Minister of Information, Mrs Patricia Akwashiki, has charged the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) to see to the projection of a positive ...
The project manager of the USAID Fistula care plus project, Dr. Habibu Sadauki, has disclosed that Kano State records over 12,000 cases of fistula every ...
Emmanuel Adebayor Released On Compassionate Leave By Spurs Following Series Of Worrying Facebook Posts
Emmanuel Adebayor has been granted compassionate leave by Tottenham Hotspur for a second time this season to return to Togo to sort out his personal ... Full story
Nigerian media personalities -Ebuka Obi-Uchendu and Toke Makinwa are among a few select celebrities flown to Paris on an all-expense-paid trip to attend Martell’s 300 ... Full story