Pope Benedict XVI's butler is likely to be charged with leaking confidential papers, his lawyer said Monday, days before a Vatican judge is expected to rule on whether Paolo Gabriele will stand trial.
"We expect a formal charge," lawyer Carlo Fusco told Italian news agency ANSA. The Vatican has said the decision over whether Gabriele will be charged with "aggravated theft" is expected some time between Thursday and Saturday.
The 46-year-old was arrested in May during an investigation into the leak of private papal documents to the media. He was held for 53 days in a Vatican cell before being put under house arrest in July to await the judge's decision.
The Vatican said after his arrest it had found documents and copying equipment in Gabriele's home, revelations which shocked the close-knit community of the Holy See and saddened the aged pontiff.
Fusco said his client had acted alone, denying reports that Gabriele is part of a wider whistleblowing operation aimed at shaking up the Vatican hierarchy.
Gabriele, known as Paoletto, has worked for the pope since 2006 and was one of a select few with access to Benedict's private chambers. He risks up to six years in prison but could also be pardoned by the pope.
If the trial goes ahead, it would not take place until October at the earliest, the Vatican has said.