A Vatican trial into the theft of confidential Holy See documents was postponed on Monday until Dec. 7, dashing Church hopes of wrapping up the case before the start of the Roman Catholic Holy Year.
The trial of five defendants, including a senior Spanish priest and two Italian reporters, was due to hear the first testimony on Monday, with the court looking to reach verdicts before Dec. 8, when the Holy Year starts.
However, the panel of three judges agreed to adjourn the hearing because one of the accused, lay consultant Francesca Chaouqui, had changed her lawyer, who requested more time to prepare the defense.
Two defendants, journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, had books based on leaked documents published this month that depict a Vatican plagued by greed and graft and where Pope Francis faces stiff resistance to his reform agenda.
Vatican officials say the documents were handed to them by Chaouqui, Spanish Monsignor Angel Lucio Vallejo Balda and his assistant, Nicola Maio.