Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler and an alleged accomplice are to stand trial in the so-called ‘Vatileaks’ scandal.
Paolo Gabriele faces charges of aggravated theft for leaking confidential documents claiming corruption in the Vatican. If convicted Gabriele, who worked in the pope’s apartments serving him meals and helping him dress, could be jailed.
“Mr. Gabriele has a clean record, so in any case he should have the mitigated circumstances and so the final punishment should be lower than the maximum of six years,” said Maurizio Bellacosa, a professor of law at LUISS University in Rome.
“According to the rules of the Vatican state, in any phase of the criminal proceedings, the Pope has the supreme power to grant the grazia, the favour, a sort of judicial forgiveness.”
Gabriele is said to have told investigators that he wanted to help root out evil and corruption from the Church. A Vatican-based computer expert faces lesser charges of aiding and abetting a crime.
It is also claimed that a cheque made out to the Pope for 100,000 euros, a gold nugget and a 16th century book were found in Gabriele’s house. The butler had said he intended to give them all back.