Vatican police testifying on Wednesday at the trial of Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler said they had found documents in code, research on spying and papers the pope had marked “Destroy” in his apartment.
More than 1,000 documents including copies and originals out of 82 boxes of material seized from Paolo Gabriele’s flat were considered relevant to the investigation into what has been dubbed the “Vatileaks” scandal.
The documents were many more than have been leaked and included some signed by the pope himself, along with letters from cardinals and politicians, officers said.
Gabriele, 46, is being tried for aggravated theft and faces up to four years in prison for allegedly leaking confidential documents that revealed claims of fraud and intrigue at the heart of the Catholic Church.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said a verdict in the trial “could be expected on Saturday” after prosecution and defence make their closing arguments and Gabriele is given a chance to make a final statement.
“There are more than 1,000 documents of interest including both photocopies and originals and some documents with the signature of the Holy Father,” said inspector Silvano Carli, one of four Vatican gendarmes to testify on Wednesday.
Carli said he had taken part in the examination of all the written material seized in Gabriele’s apartment behind the Vatican walls, where memory cards, hard disks, laptops and an iPad were also found and are still being analysed.