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Claudio Sciarpelletti on trial for connection to Vatileaks scandal

Claudio Sciarpelletti, a computer technician, is accused of being an accomplice to the Pope's former butler.

Vatileaks trials Enlarge
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi reacts during a press conference following an audience of Pope Benedict XVI former butler Paolo Gabriele's trial on October 2, 2012. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

Claudio Sciarpelletti, a computer technician, has begun his trial for allegedly helping the Pope's former butler leak confidential Vatican documents.

The 48-year old was responsible for secret communications in the Vatican's Secretariat of State, BBC News reported.

He is accused of aiding Paolo Gabriele, the butler who was sentenced to 18 months in prison in September, after a search of his desk by Vatican police found photocopies of documents that outlined infighting and corruption within the Church in an envelope labeled "Personal: P. Gabriele," the Catholic News Service reported

The technician's accounts of how the letter got there and what his relationship with Gabriele were deemed "wavering and contradictory": he said at first that only knew the butler from working at the Vatican, then reversed his story, saying they had known each other since childhood, Agence France Presse reported

More from GlobalPost: Pope's ex-butler Paolo Gabriele jailed for theft in Vatileaks scandal

Sciarpelletti's lawyer Gianluca Benedetti denied that his client "a close friendship [and] frequent contact" with Gabriele. Benedetti argued that the butler had not allowed the Vatican's technicians to check his computer for six years. 

"Do you think my client would have risked a record that included 20 years of faithful service in the Vatican to help someone who was not even a great friend," Benedetti asked the court, according to Reuters. The court allowed Sciarpelletti's employment record to be entered as evidence.

He was first charged with giving false testimony, conspiracy to commit aggravated theft, aiding a thief and violating secrecy, but the charges were lessened after the Vatican declared his role in the scandal "marginal," according to AFP. He faces a year in jail, but is expected to be let off with a lighter sentence, Reuters reported. 

His trial has been postponed until Saturday. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/culture-lifestyle/world-religion/121105/claudio-sciarpelletti-trial-vatileaks