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
US president Barack Obama has praised outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan, for conceding defeat in the recently concluded presidential elections. USA Today reports that Obama gave the ... Full story
The winner of Nigeria's presidential poll, Muhammadu Buhari, has hailed his victory as a vote for change and proof the nation has embraced democracy. Mr Buhari ... Full story
Rate this article
- Nigerian fraud mastermind Rilwan Oshodi to pay back £1million he stole
- Goodluck Jonathan Lost The Presidential Elections Because Of Five Reasons
- Goodluck Jonathan Concedes Defeat, Congratulates Buhari
Prof Yemi OsinbajoBefore now, Pastor Tunde Bakare of Latter Rain Assembly raised an alarm that the position of Vice President brought up by Asiwaju Bola ...
A prominent producer in Nollywood, Alex Eyengho, has slammed some of his colleagues, who he said turned themselves into servants of President Goodluck Jonathan prior ...
“I only date younger men! I'm not interested in older men. One of the reasons is that they are all married, and secondly they all ...
Who says entertainment is not a tonic for the soul? At least, sometimes, it helps to ease tension. Even politicians know the importance of the industry ...
Former Tottenham Hotspur player and wales man has been name as the fastest player on earth, beating Rinaldo, Theo Walcott and others …. See full list ... Full story
Since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the presidential election held last Saturday, more entertainers have continued to send ...
Two judges on the on-going Nigerian Idol Season 5 reality show; Dede Mabiaku, an Afrobeat maestro and Darey Art Alade, an RnB star in Nigeria, ...
Something big seems to be cooking in the life of Nigerian rap star, Ice Prince. The Chocolate City artiste recently uploaded a photo of himself ...
Reekado Banks is one young and budding music act that is fast winning the hearts of music lovers, home and abroad. The Mavin Records singer, who ...