Vatican butler innocent, betrayed pope

2012-10-02 20:36
Pope Benedict XVI's butler Paolo Gabriele, right, carries the pontiff's bags as they arrive at Ciampino military airport in Rome. (File, AP)

Pope Benedict XVI's butler Paolo Gabriele, right, carries the pontiff's bags as they arrive at Ciampino military airport in Rome. (File, AP)

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Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI's butler has said he is innocent of stealing the pope's private correspondence but guilty of betraying the trust of the pontiff, whom he said he loved like a son would love his father.

Paolo Gabriele took the stand on Tuesday in a Vatican courtroom to defend himself against a charge of aggravated theft.

Prosecutors say Gabriele stole papal letters and documents alleging power struggles and corruption and passed them off to a journalist in one of the most damaging scandals of Benedict's pontificate.

In other testimony on Tuesday, the pope's private secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, testified that he began having suspicions about Gabriele after he realized three documents that appeared in the journalist's book could only have come from the office he shared with Gabriele.

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