-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Decision Regarding Pope's Former Assistant to Be Made in August
Commission Investigating Document Theft Will Refer Case to the Holy Father by Next Week
VATICAN CITY, JULY 13, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Cardinals' Commission investigating the theft of private documents by the Pope's personal assistant hopes to conclude their investigation this week. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press office, announced in a press conference that the commission will also refer the case to the Holy Father by next week.
The conclusion of the preliminary investigative phase, whether it be in an extended or reduced form, must be made public even if, at present, some phases are still under investigation.
The investigative phase will remain open for another 10 days due to testimonies that are still being gathered. However, the inquiry will not be able to exceed those days. Father Lombardi added that other people are being questioned to cast some light on the case.
The lawyer for Paolo Gabriele, the Pontiff's former personal assistant, denied rumors by several newspapers that his client's health was deteriorating. "I would like to say that he is in good health and that he finds comfort in prayer," his lawyer stated.
The court will take a couple of weeks before concluding the formal interrogations and the preliminary custody. The judge will then have to prepare the sentence which will decide if Gabriele will be released or sentenced. The presiding judge will have the sentence prepared sometime in early August and an eventual trial will most likely take place after the summer.
Once sentence has passed, it is possible that Gabriele's lawyer will deliver a written or verbal statement for the defense. When asked of the possibility if Pope Benedict XVI decides to speak on the case, the Vatican spokesman said that "the Pope is very free and he will assess if it is a case to express some spiritual sign or orientation."
Several newspapers have given unconfirmed reports of three accomplices, including a journalist. Regarding those reports, Father Lombardi replied: "I have had no information on complicity, but I don't think it corresponds to an exact description of the situation. The testimonies don't imply automatically the revelation of accomplices."
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