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Vatican megatrial stalls as choose considers request to begin afresh

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Considerations over the shortage of a good trial overshadowed the second date of the Vatican’s megatrial on Tuesday (Oct. 5) in opposition to 10 workers and clergy members, together with Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who’re charged with embezzling Vatican funds tied to the 2018 buy of high-end actual property in London.

Vatican prosecutor Alessandro Diddi made a “shock” request to withdraw all the fabric collected throughout the investigation and to begin afresh with new interrogations for every of the defendants. Vatican choose Giuseppe Pignatone adjourned the court docket and mentioned he would announce his choice Wednesday.

On the coronary heart of the matter was the interrogation of Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, Becciu’s former secretary, who after chatting with Vatican prosecutors as a suspect in April 2020 returned as a witness within the proceedings the next six instances.

The interrogations with Perlasca have been video recorded, the prosecution mentioned, however the materials was not shared with the protection out of concern that a number of the delicate materials it accommodates could also be leaked. A transcript of Perlasca’s testimony has already been handed to the protection, however some attorneys declare sections of the interrogation are lacking.

The subpoena, seen by Faith Information Service, suggests Perlasca’s witness was a watershed second within the investigations and was instrumental in untangling the complicated net of economic and private relationships that led the Vatican to squander properly over $200 million utilizing funds destined for the pope’s charitable works.

Protection attorneys balked at Diddi’s proposal. The difficulty, they declare, is that with out Perlasca’s interrogation and the opposite materials that has but to be shared by the prosecution, they lack the chance for a good trial. The protection lawyer of Enrico Crasso, who previously managed a good portion of the Vatican’s funding portfolio, referred to as the prosecution’s request “incoherent and illegitimate.”

“Any request is void if the protection is just not within the situation to evaluate the proof,” mentioned Becciu’s lawyer, dismissing what he referred to as the “choice” of knowledge shared by the prosecutors.

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Diddi objected to the criticism by the protection and a few media retailers alleging the judges “have already determined the sentence.” He dismissed accusations that the prosecution withheld proof, at one level asking the protection attorneys within the room immediately: “Inform us, which false proof did we current?”

As an alternative, the prosecutors claimed the sheer measurement of the fabric that was confiscated and picked up throughout the investigations — together with 300 DVDs and different digital materials — has created a logistical headache for the Vatican attorneys.

Vatican prosecutors insisted they’re prepared to share the video recording of Perlasca’s interrogation however mentioned he requested the tribunal to permit him to withhold a number of the materials to be able to “defend the privateness” of the officers within the recording and “regulate the viewing of the paperwork to keep away from its distribution.”

Referring to the errors made within the strategy of sharing and buying info throughout the investigation, Diddi admitted “we made a mistake!” as attorneys within the room chuckled and scoffed, dispelling the rising pressure within the room and seemingly with it, the credibility of all the trial.

Because the first pretrial hearing in July, Vatican prosecutors have struggled to face as much as the huge workforce of attorneys and attorneys offered by the ten defendants, and questions on whether or not the Vatican court docket is supplied to deal with such an formidable monetary trial have loomed over the proceedings.

With a lifetime of expertise combating organized crime in courts, Pignatone held a agency hand on the debates happening on the Vatican trial on Tuesday. The protection attorneys, he mentioned, “have a proper to acquire a replica” of all of the proof.

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