Vatican City

Trial of computer expert in Vatileaks opens, then postponed

Case of Claudio Sciarpelletti to continue on Saturday

Trial of computer expert in Vatileaks opens, then postponed

Vatican City, November 5 - A second trial in the so-called Vatileaks scandal, this one involving a Vatican computer expert, opened briefly Monday only to be postponed until Saturday. Vatican computer expert Claudio Sciarpelletti, 48, stands accused in a Vatican court of helping to remove and circulate confidential Vatican papers, as well as obstructing justice. His trial comes after a guilty verdict in the case of the Pope's former butler, who was convicted of stealing and leaking confidential Vatican papers. Sciarpelletti, who appeared Monday wearing a gray suit, a polka-dot tie and accompanied by his wife, faced the same judges who sentenced butler Paolo Gabriele to one-and-a-half years in prison on October 6 for "aggravated theft". Gabriele was also present Monday as a witness. The three-judge panel, led by Giuseppe Dalla Torre, includes Paolo Papanti-Pelletier and Venerando Marano. Sciarpelletti's defense lawyer Gianluca Benedetti told the court Monday that his client denies any guilt and was not a friend of Gabriele, despite allegations that the pair had "frequent contact". The court heard that Sciarpelletti had been arrested after an anonymous call, apparently made by an officer of the Secretary of State of the Holy See, who suggested the computer expert had a close friendship with Gabriele. Benedetti said that the suggestions did not make sense as the pair were barely acquainted and therefore Sciarpelletti wouldn't jeopardize his career for a virtual stranger. "Would my client jeopardize 20 years of honourable service to the Holy See to help a so-called friend," who he barely knew? asked Benedetti. "What would have been the motive for the crime?"

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