Pope's butler pleads innocent to theft charge

By Nicole Winfield

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 2 2012 8:55 a.m. MDT

The trial resumes Wednesday with the testimony of four members of the Vatican police force who conducted the search of Gabriele's Vatican City apartment on May 23. In testimony Tuesday, two police officers said they discovered thousands of papers in Gabriele's studio, some of them originals.

During the testimony, the lawyer Arru complained about the conditions under which Gabriele spent his first 20 days in detention, saying the cell was so small he couldn't stretch out his arms and that lights were kept on 24 hours a day.

Gabriele said those conditions contributed to his "psychological depression."

Dalla Torre invited the prosecutor to launch an investigation, which he did. Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the size of the cell conformed to international standards and that, anyway, Gabriele was moved to a bigger cell.

The Vatican police responded quickly with a lengthy statement insisting that Gabriele's rights had been respected, citing the food, free time, socializing, spiritual assistance and health care that Gabriele enjoyed during his nearly two months of detention. They said the lights were kept on for security reasons and to ensure Gabriele didn't harm himself, and that he had a mask he could use to block out the light.

The police warned that they may file a counter complaint against Arru if the investigation shows no wrongdoing on their part.

The trial is being conducted according to the Vatican's criminal code, which is adapted from the 19th-century Italian code. The court reporter doesn't take down verbatim quotes, but rather records reconstructed summaries dictated to her by the court president, Dalla Torre.

On several occasions, Dalla Torre truncated the responses or, with the help of the notary and the prosecutor, reconstrued them, occasionally attributing to Gabriele and other witnesses words they didn't necessarily utter, or leaving out parts of their testimony altogether. For example, the recorded summary of Gabriele's plea didn't include that he loved the pope as a son would.

The recorded testimony was read aloud to each witness for any corrections at the end. Gabriele was able to make corrections as each summary was recorded, but his full testimony was not read back to him at the end.

Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/nwinfield

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