'Cannibal' Cop's Conviction Overturned

Sick emails don't constitute conspiracy, judge decides

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 1, 2014 3:46 AM CDT

(Newser) – The former New York City cop who fantasized about kidnapping, torturing, and eating women is definitely a disturbing individual, but he's not guilty of conspiracy to kidnap, a judge has decided. In a ruling issued late last night, a federal judge overturned the conviction of Gilberto Valle, saying the evidence did not support it, the New York Times reports. Galle was convicted last year but hasn't been sentenced yet, and his lawyers argued that he should get a new trial because people have "the right to fantasize about whatever and whomever they like, free from government interference."

At the trial—where Valle's wife testified against him—prosecutors argued that his extensive research, including illegally looking up potential victims in a law enforcement database, brought his fantasies too close to reality. But "once the lies and the fantastical elements are stripped away, what is left are deeply disturbing misogynistic chats and emails written by an individual obsessed with imagining women he knows suffering horrific sex-related pain, terror and degradation," the judge that overturned the verdict wrote. "Despite the highly disturbing nature of Valle’s deviant and depraved sexual interests, his chats and emails about these interests are not sufficient—standing alone—to make out the elements of conspiracy to commit kidnapping." Valle's conviction for illegally accessing the law enforcement database was upheld. That charge carries a maximum sentence of one year, and Valle has been behind bars since his arrest in 2012.

This photo submitted into evidence by defense attorney Julia L. Gatto shows New York City police officer Gilberto Valle with his daughter.   (AP Photo/Provided by Attorney Julia L. Gatto, File)
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