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First hearing in trial for leak of confidential documents

· ​All five accused appear in the Vatican ·

All five of the accused appeared in the Vatican courtroom on Tuesday, 24 November, for the start of proceedings on the charges of the illegal publication of confidential information and documents of the Holy See. The acts in question took place between March 2013 and 5 November 2015.

The first hearing concluded with the denial of a motion to dismiss the charges for vagueness, and of a motion regarding the terms of defence. Thus the trial is moving forward according to the schedule previously announced: defendants must submit evidence by 12:30 on Saturday, 28 November; questioning, which will begin at 9:30 am on Monday the 30th, will continue six days a week, including afternoons if necessary. First to be heard will be Angel Lucio Vallejo Balda and Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, followed by Nicola Maio, Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi.

The president of the Tribunal indicated that requests by Nuzzi and Vallejo Balda for the approval of two additional private lawyers has been forwarded to the competent authority.

Two preliminary exceptions were heard: one by counsel for Vallejo Balda regarding the timing for the presentation of defence evidence and one by that of Emiliano Fittipali for dismissal of the indictment on the grounds of lack of specificity of the alleged acts.

The office of the Promotor of Justice stated that the latter motion was unfounded, emphasizing that the issue is not the publishing or leaking of documents, because it is not a trial for defamation; nor does it infringe upon the freedom of the press, which is a fundamental right in Vatican City State. Indeed, he stated, the illegal conduct involves the manner in which the published documents were obtained, alleging solicitation or pressure. At the close of the day’s proceedings both motions were denied.




St. Peter’s Square

Dec. 13, 2019