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Pope butler to court: "I don't feel like a thief"

Associated Press
FILE -- In this photo taken Wednesday, May, 23, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI, flanked by his private secretary Georg Gaenswein, top left, and his butler Paolo Gabiele arrives at St. Peter's square at the Vatican for a general audience. A verdict in the case of the pope's butler accused of leaking papal documents may help close one of the most damaging scandals of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy. But even after Paolo Gabriele's fate is decided by a Vatican tribunal Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 a core question will remain open: Did he really act alone in exposing the secrets of one of the most secretive institutions in the world?  (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)
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FILE -- In this photo taken Wednesday, May, 23, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI, flanked by his private secretary Georg Gaenswein, top left, and his butler Paolo Gabiele arrives at St. Peter's square at the Vatican for a general audience. A verdict in the case of the pope's butler accused of leaking papal documents may help close one of the most damaging scandals of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy. But even after Paolo Gabriele's fate is decided by a Vatican tribunal Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 a core question will remain open: Did he really act alone in exposing the secrets of one of the most secretive institutions in the world? (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The pope's butler has insisted that he's no thief and that he leaked the pope's private correspondence to a journalist out of a "visceral love" for the Catholic Church and its pope.

Paolo Gabriele delivered a final statement to a Vatican tribunal on Saturday before its three judges began deliberating whether he is guilty of aggravated theft in the gravest Vatican security breach in memory.

Defense attorney Cristiana Arru insisted in closing arguments that only photocopies, not original documents, were taken from the Apostolic Palace, disputing testimony from the pope's secretary that original letters were in the evidence seized from Gabriele's home.

She admitted Gabriele's gesture was "condemnable" but said it was a misappropriation, not a theft, and that Gabriele should serve no time.

A verdict is expected later Saturday.

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