Pope's butler admits document leaks

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ROME -- Pope Benedict XVI's former butler admitted leaking confidential papal documents to a journalist, saying he was venting his frustrations about Vatican officials who manipulated the Holy Father.

Paolo Gabriele, 46, told a Vatican court Tuesday that he was innocent of the charges of aggravated theft, while saying he had betrayed the Pope's trust. He said he acted alone.

"I developed the conviction that it's very easy to manipulate a person who has decision making powers in his hands," he told a three-judge panel. "Sometimes the Pope asked questions about things he should have already known about."

Gabriele allegedly leaked the documents to Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who used some of them in his book "His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI." It detailed power struggles and alleged corruption inside the Vatican.

"My intention was to find a trusted person to vent to, given my feelings and the discomfort about the situation that had become unbearable all around in the Vatican," Gabriele said. He never accepted money or benefits in exchange for information, Gabriele said.

-- Bloomberg News

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