VatiLeaks trial postponed, main suspects exchange low blows

Wichita Eagle


A key hearing in the VatiLeaks 2 trial over leaks related to alleged financial scandals in the Vatican was Monday postponed by a week to give a new defense lawyer time to study the case.

Main suspects Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda and Francesca Chaouqui were to be questioned, but presiding judge Giuseppe Dalla Torre at the Vatican court rescheduled the hearing for Dec. 7 after Chaouqui showed up with a new counsel.

Laura Sgro replaced Agnese Camilli, who was a court-appointed lawyer, the Vatican said in a statement.

Vallejo Balda, a Spanish member of the conservative Catholic movement Opus Dei, and Chaouqui, an Italian public relations consultant, were members of a now-disbanded committee that advised Pope Francis on financial and administrative reforms.

They are accused, along with an aide of the monsignor, of passing on information to journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi.

Former friends Vallejo Balda and Chaouqui are now in the midst of a fierce spat.

In a written statement to the court, leaked to Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Monday, Vallejo Balda confesses to having had sex with Chaouqui.

He describes her as a dangerous social climber with friends in high places, including former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Several Italian newspapers last week quoted confidential prosecution papers containing lewd and foul text messages between the two. Chaouqui claims they were edited to tarnish her reputation.

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