Pope's Butler Granted House Arrest

By: VATICAN CITY (AP)
By: VATICAN CITY (AP)

Pope Benedict XVI's jailed butler was released from custody Saturday and placed under house arrest as a decision on whether to indict him neared.

Paolo Gabriele was arrested May 23 on suspicion of stealing and leaking documents in a case that embarrassed the pope while exposing corruption, infighting and power struggles at the Vatican's highest levels.

Gabriele has been allowed to return to his family home within the Vatican pending a decision on whether he will stand trial, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

Gabriele's lawyers told reporters that Gabriele had fully cooperated with the investigation, and that they would be ready to face a trial in case of an indictment.

They denied that he was part of any conspiracy.

"There are no networks or plots inside or out of the Vatican relating to Paolo Gabriele," lawyers Carlo Fusco and Cristiana Arru were quoted by the news agency ANSA as saying.

The lawyers said that Fusco would like the chance to ask the pope's forgiveness.

"Now, clearly, we need to assess the opportunity for such a gesture," they said.

A special panel of cardinals, meanwhile, has briefed the pope about its own, separate investigation of Holy See internal affairs.


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