Channel News Asia
VATICAN CITY: The Vatican’s controversial trial of journalists and whistleblowers was put on hold on Monday (Nov 30) as new claims about sex, lies and spies gave the scandal an intriguing twist.
The trial, in which three Vatican insiders and two Italian reporters face potential prison terms of up to eight years, was adjourned until next week after one of the accused asked for more time to prepare her defence.
Francesca Chaouqui, a PR expert accused of leaking classified documents to journalists, asked for five days to study the prosecution case against her and possibly introduce new evidence after replacing her court-appointed lawyer with her own defence counsel.
The prosecution did not object and the presiding judge said proceedings would resume on Dec 7, dashing the hopes of Vatican officials that the high-profile case might be wrapped up before the official start of a Catholic Jubilee year the following day.
It emerged Monday that Chaouqui’s co-accused, Spanish Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda, 54, wrote a statement six days after his arrest in which he admitted to having been sorely tempted to have an affair with Chaouqui, 33, and that he believed she was working for Italy’s secret services.
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