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Vatican police testify in trial of pope's butler

By Nicole Winfield

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 2 2012 11:15 p.m. MDT

They said they found documentation about the secret services, the Freemason secret society and the case of a prominent Catholic editor who was forced to resign after a smear campaign in the Italian press accusing him, based on forged documents, of having pursued a homosexual liaison. Some of that documentation appeared in Nuzzi's book "His Holiness: Pope Benedict XVI's secret papers."

The book became an immediate blockbuster when it was published May 20, detailing intrigue and scandals inside the Apostolic Palace. The leaked documents seemed primarily aimed at discrediting Benedict's No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, often criticized for perceived shortcomings in running the Vatican administration.

During the testimony, the lawyer Arru complained about the conditions under which Gabriele spent his first 20 days in detention — conditions which Gabriele said contributed to his "psychological pressures." He complained that he had been denied a pillow the first night.

Dalla Torre asked the prosecutor to open 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 after it was renovated.

The Vatican police responded quickly to Arru's accusation with a lengthy statement insisting that Gabriele's rights had been respected, citing the meals, 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.

Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/nwinfield

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