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Pope butler put under house arrest

Vatican City, July 21 (Reuters): Paolo Gabriele, the papal butler who has been detained for nearly two months on suspicion of leaking documents alleging corruption in the Vatican, acted alone and was not part of any wider plot, his lawyer said today.

Carlo Fusco told a news conference that he expected a Vatican magistrate to order a trial for Gabriele, who was given permission today to move from a police “safe room” to house arrest.

“The motivations that prompted him to do certain things are all of an interior nature. There were no external motives,” Fusco said.

Gabriele was arrested on May 23 when police found confidential documents in his apartment inside the Vatican.

He had been held since then in a small “safe room” in the Vatican police station and will now return to the apartment and live with his family while he awaits the magistrate’s decision on an eventual trial. “The motivations that prompted him to do certain things are all of an internal nature. There were no external motives,” Fusco said after assisting Gabriele in an interrogation that lasted seven hours.

Many commentators have said Gabriele, who served the pope his meals and rode in the front seat of the popemobile at Pope Benedict’s general audiences, could not have acted alone. But the lawyer denied this.

“We can say with absolute certainty that there was no network, there were no plots, either in the Vatican or outside the Vatican, that Paolo was part of,” Fusco said.

Fusco said Gabriele, who is being investigated for aggravated theft and faces up to six years in jail if found guilty, was “moved by the desire to do something that could be an act of help towards the pope”. Documents leaked to the Italian media alleged corruption in the awarding of contracts to Italian companies.

 
 
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