News

Judge overturns conviction of ‘cannibal cop’

Judge overturns conviction of ‘cannibal cop’

'CANNIBAL COP:'This undated file photo submitted into evidence by defense attorney Julia L. Gatto shows New York City police Officer Gilberto Valle. A federal judge, late Monday, overturned Valle's kidnapping conspiracy conviction. Photo: Associated Press

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former New York City police officer found guilty in March 2013 of plotting to kidnap, cook and eat women has had his conviction overturned by a federal judge, according to court documents.

A federal judge granted the acquittal of Gilberto Valle, dubbed the “cannibal cop” by the tabloid media, on the charge of conspiracy to kidnap, in a decision reached on Monday and scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday. He was awaiting sentencing.

“The evidentiary record is such that it is more likely than not the case that all of Valle’s Internet communications about kidnapping are fantasy role-play,” U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan wrote in the 118-page opinion.

The trial brought to light a macabre cyberspace community where millions of people discuss and exchange images and video of extraordinary brutality, much of it staged.

Federal public defenders had asked Gardephe to grant Valle a new trial, arguing the U.S. Constitution grants people the right to fantasize, free from government interference.

Gardephe upheld Valle’s conviction on a lesser charge of improperly accessing a law enforcement database, which prosecutors said he used to help find his intended victim. That charge carries a sentence up to one year in prison.

Prosecutors said Valle crossed the line from fantasy to reality by taking specific action in conspiring to kidnap women. Valle’s attorney had argued that he was merely engaged in online fantasy role playing.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson and Jon Stempel; Editing by Bill Trott)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

MLB: Buyers and sellers spar for deadline deals

Fresh
boston

Teams are scrambling to finish acquiring difference-making players for this season or possible future stars ahead of Thursday's trade deadline.

in Sports

Redskins hire PR firm amid fight over name

Fresh
redskins

The Washington Redskins have hired a public relations firm to help battle criticism that its name is a racial slur.

in Sports

Bosh officially re-signs with Heat

Fresh
bosh

The Miami Heat officially re-signed of nine-time All-Star forward Chris Bosh.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Girl doesn’t want brother to grow up

Fresh
Sister Grows Up

Five-year-old Sadie doesn't want her little brother to grow up because he's too cute now as a baby.

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: July 31

WENN

A look at the Hollywood headlines that went down in history.

Bellingham Traffic