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
Team Nigeria on Thursday in Glasgow recorded its first medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games when Nkechi Opara won bronze in the women’s weightlifting 48 ... Full story
Rate this article
A final year student of International Studies & Diplomacy, University of Benin, Faith Eriata is the 2014 Miss Global Nigeria Queen.The new Queen who hails ...
Just as we thought that the rift between Ghanaian actress, Nadia Buhari and Nollywood bad boy Jim Iyke, was gradually getting settled as the duo ...
There is absolutely nothing wrong in buying second hand cars, but for some people, it actually means you are not capable of buying a new ...
Few days ago it was reported that an American based girl named Caro Ikpea called out WizKid's girlfriend Tania Omotayo. If you missed it Read ...
MC Basketmouth and Basketmount BE FOR BE FOR Many may not know that Bright Okpocha, better known as Basketmouth, is not the original owner of the ...
Popular Nigerian OAP, Toke Makinwa is not known to wear braids, but this time, she has decided to give it a try. She is mostly ...
JOSE MOURINHO has confirmed he is trying to bring Didier Drogba back to Chelsea with a deal possible by the end of the weekend.Drogba, whose ...
Stephanie announced few weeks ago that she will be featuring in a Hollywood movie. Check out some of the behind the scene photos she posted ...
Veteran Nollywood actor, Jide Kosoko, has disclosed that he has been living with diabetes since 1996. He made this declaration at the just concluded Nigerian ...
Fuji star, Wasiu Odetola better known as Alabi Pasuma, has disclosed that he is ready to settle down now because he initially sees marriage as ...