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Vatileaks suspect could get 8 years

June 5, 2012 at 8:28 PM

VATICAN CITY, June 5 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI's butler could get eight years in prison if found guilty of aggravated theft in the release of the pope's private letters, a judge said.

Authorities are investigating papal assistant Paolo Gabriele for his alleged involvement in releasing hundreds of private letters and notes to and from the pope and top Vatican officials, the Catholic News Service reported Tuesday.

Journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi used the letters to write his book, "Your Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI."

Vatican judge Paolo Papanti-Pelletier told the Catholic News Service Gabriele is in detention in a 12-foot-by-12-foot room in the Vatican police station, but if convicted of aggravated theft, could serve one to six years in an Italian prison.

An investigating judge -- other than Papanti-Pelletier -- is serving as the chief investigator, and after questioning Gabriele, he must determine if there is enough evidence to bring the case to trial, the news service said.

If the investigating judge finds two or more aggravating factors present in the case, Gabriele could receive a high sentence of two to eight years in prison.

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