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Oct 6, 2012 12:25 PM by Associated Press

Pope's butler convicted in leaks, given 18 months

VATICAN CITY (AP) - It's a conviction and an 18-month sentence today for the pope's butler at his trial on charges of stealing private documents and leaking them to a journalist.

Judge Giuseppe Dalla Torre read the verdict aloud two hours after the three-judge panel began deliberating Paolo Gabriele's fate. He said the sentence was reduced to 18 months from three years because of a series of mitigating circumstances, including that Gabriele had no previous record.

In his final appeal to the court, Gabriele insisted he didn't feel like a thief and said he leaked the pope's private correspondence to a journalist out of a "visceral love" for the church and the pope.

The journalist's book revealed the intrigue, petty infighting and allegations of corruption and homosexual liaisons that plague the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.

A papal pardon is widely expected.

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