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Pope's computer expert goes on trial

Aiding and abetting the butler

The Pope's computer expert is appearing before a court today charged with helping Pope Benedict's former butler leaking sensitive documents.

The butler, Paolo Gabriele was sentenced to 18 months in jail for aggravated theft, but there were some indications that he might have been a pawn in a larger political games.Gabriele claimed he was trying to help disclose corruption and "evil" in the headquarters of the 1.2-billion-member faith.

Now the Claudio Sciarpelletti is accused of aiding and abetting the butler.  Coppers found  copies of papal documents, some alleging infighting in the papal court and corruption at the highest levels of the Roman Catholic church. Sciarpelletti's desk in the secretariat of state they found a closed envelope addressed to Gabriele and marked "personal". It contained documentation relating to a chapter in a book about Vatican corruption and intrigue written by the Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who received confidential documents from Gabriele.

Sciarpelletti provided "wavering and contradictory" answers, according to a court indictment and said he had just a "working relationship" with Gabriele. He later admitted that the two were friends and their families had gone on outings together.
Prosecutors had thought of charging Sciarpelletti with being a direct accomplice to aggravated theft, violation of state secrecy and obstruction of justice but later lessened their accusations to aiding and abetting.

Sciarpelletti faces up to one year in jail but is expected to get off with a light sentence or a fine. Few people know what Sciarpelletti looks like, he worked in an office in one of the Holy See's most secretive departments.

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