Vatican confirms the butler was part of VatiLeaks

VATICAN CITY — Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi today confirmed what had already been splashed across the press yesterday: that Paolo Gabriele, the pope’s private assistant, has been arrested after private documents were found in his possession.

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The pope’s personal assistant, Paolo Gabriele, can be seen in the front seat next to the driver in the popemobile during an April 25 general audience in St. Peter’s Square. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).

The dark-haired assistant can often be seen with the pope sitting in the front seat of the popemobile, next to the driver during the general audiences.

In today’s statement, Father Lombardi said Gabriele was arrested Wednesday evening by Vatican police after they found the illegally obtained documents in his home, which is on Vatican territory. He was still under arrest as of this morning.

The spokesman said Vatican judge Nicola Picardi has completed “the first phase” of a preliminary investigation and Vatican judge Piero Antonio Bonnet has begun the next step of the inquiry.

Gabriele has named two lawyers to represent him during the Vatican investigation and he has already had a chance to meet with them, Father Lombardi said.

The investigation will continue until enough evidence has been collected and then Judge Bonnet will either call Gabriele to stand trial or be acquitted.

To get more background on the story, see more CNS coverage here and here.

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