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Pope's ex-butler won't appeal conviction

Paolo Gabriele likely to be pardoned

11 October, 19:22
Pope's ex-butler won't appeal conviction (ANSA) - Vatican City, October 11 - The pope's former butler will not appeal his 18-month sentence for stealing confidential Catholic Church documents, his lawyer told ANSA Thursday.

Paolo Gabriele is in any case likely to be pardoned by Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican watchers say.

Gabriele's lawyer, Cristiana Arru, told ANSA she had not filed an appeal by Wednesday's deadline.

Gabriele was found guilty on Saturday of stealing and copying the pope's papers and leaking them to an Italian journalist, sparking the so-called VatiLeaks furore.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said earlier this week the pope had the power to pardon Gabriele and was "very likely" to use it.

Prosecutors had called for a three-year sentence but the Vatican court opted to give Gabriele half that term because he had no criminal record and there were "mitigating circumstances".

Gabriele had pleaded innocent to stealing documents but admitted to leaking information to the press and said he was not the only one to do so in recent years.

He said that he acted out of love for the Catholic Church and thought the pontiff was being manipulated by some people around him.

Some Vatican watchers have suggested that Gabriele is a scapegoat and the victim of a power struggle among cardinals.

Gabriele, however, told the court last week that he had no accomplices.

The leaked documents included letters to the pope and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone from the Holy See's ambassador in Washington, Carlo Maria Vigano', who was deputy governor of Vatican City at the time they were written.

The letters contained allegations of corruption in the management of Vatican City.