By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY | Sat Sep 29, 2012
(Reuters) – Pope Benedict’s butler, accused of using his access to the pope to steal papers that he thought would expose Vatican corruption, suffered a blow on Saturday’s first day of his trial when judges refused to admit evidence from the Church’s own investigation.
Gabriele’s arrest in May, after police found confidential documents in his apartment inside the Vatican, not only threw a spotlight on allegations of malpractice but also pointed to a power struggle at the highest levels of the Church.
The 46-year-old Paolo Gabriele, an unassuming man who served the pope his meals and helped him dress, looked pale at his first public appearance since May. He smiled as he chatted with his lawyer but often staring into space during a hearing that lasted just under two and a half hours.
His lawyer, Cristiana Arru, had asked the court to allow as evidence the results of an inquiry by a commission of three cardinals who questioned Vatican employees, including prelates, about the leaks of the documents to Italian media.
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