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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Butler Off the Hook

Aired November 1, 2002 - 07:05   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go live to London and get the latest now from the trial there that has just ended -- let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is happy and relieved to have been acquitted on all charges after the terrible ordeal of the last 21 months. He has always maintained his total innocence.

The prosecution was based on numerous errors. For example, it was never accepted that Mr. Burrell was the princess' most loyal and close confidant, as well as her servant. The evidence in the trial had shown up many mistakes on the part of the police.

It's a matter of regret that no proper investigation was carried out into the accuracy of the 39-page statement given to the police on the 16th of August, 2001. Indeed, after little time for reflection, they charged him on that day.

In that statement, Mr. Burrell referred to a private audience granted to him by the queen. It's surprising that no inquiries were made of the queen in relation to that meeting.

Mr. Burrell remains deeply loyal to the late Diana Princess of Wales and to the queen, who he served in a personal capacity for 10 years.

It is to his utmost credit, and typical of the man, that it was only this week that he instructed his lawyers as to the full terms of the conversation. Those terms were confirmed by the queen this morning.

Mr. Burrell has had not only the steadfast support of his wife, Maria, who has not attended court purely because she was a witness in this case and was not allowed to do so, but also of the very close family and all of his friends.

Many of the princess' personal friends, who rallied behind him and were prepared to give evidence for him and break their silence, are also people that he will permanently and enduringly be grateful to.

We also thank the general public for their support throughout the trial who have been inundated with letters and messages of support from around the world, and we thank those people as well who have kept faith with him. Finally, he has thanked us, his defense team, for our help. And I'd add my own thanks to Lord Carlisle (ph) and Ray Hermann (ph), who shared the load and fought this case with me, and to Lesley (ph), my secretary, and my family for their support.

It's been an immense victory, and it's a proud moment for us. Thank you very much.

HARRIS: Well, we were hoping to hear some words from Paul Burrell himself directly. He's the man you see there waving to the camera. He is the former -- he was the butler for Princess Diana, who had been accused of theft from her estate after a number of her personal effects had been found in his possession.

And we're just now getting word from the judge that had been hearing this case has decided that he is not guilty of the three charges that had been filed against him.

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