One reporter who met frequently with Gabriele said that the butler often waited for the pope’s secretary to leave the room so that he could slip public appeals into the pope’s personal inbox. That reputation as an accessible back channel of information both into and out of the pope’s office, combined with his initial statement, later recanted in court, that others “suggested” the leaking plot to him, created wide suspicion within the Vatican that a sophisticated conspiracy of cardinals exploited the butler’s loose lips.
Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, dismissed that theory and depicted “Paolo” as a lone and troubled leaker.
“It’s very strange that a person had so much trust for so long in this office has done such a clamorous act,” he said, suggesting that a court-appointed psychological analysis of Gabriele revealed he was not a rational person. “His personal interest in the world of intelligence and freemasonry help you understand a little a mentality that searches for classified documents and relationships in the institutions.”
After his arrest, the Vatican effectively silenced Gabriele. During his trial, the judge cut him off as he began to expound upon his conversations with cardinals. Fusco, his old friend, signed on as his attorney but was fired after talking to the press. His other lawyer, Christiana Arru, laughed when asked about the prospect of seeing her client in jail.
“I exclude that he would want to talk to any journalist,” she said, suggesting that his being burned once would suffice.
Asked again a few days later, she grew angry. “For starters you all know nothing about Catholicism, which is a single body, but we absolutely do not want to make any statements that are different from those made by the Holy See,” she said. “This is not a case against the Holy See. The Holy See has been sufficiently damaged in this period. So I wish you good luck but you won’t get anything from me or from the family.”