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)

Latest Headlines

1 hour ago in Viral Videos

Elton John carpool karaoke

Fresh
19-overlay

James Corden asks Elton John to help him navigate Los Angeles on a rainy day.

4 hours ago in Music

No surprise, Adele named world’s top selling artist of 2015

adele

The British superstar saw off competition from fellow singers Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift to be honored as the global artist of the year.

4 hours ago in Entertainment

‘Star Wars’ breaks new record

24-overlay-2

The sci-fi epic, directed by J.J. Abrams, previously became the highest-grossing release in North American film history, after recently passing the $760.5 million "Avatar" hauled in in 2009.

5 hours ago in Entertainment

PewDiePie, others set to star in YouTube’s first original shows

youtube

YouTube's viral video stars, many of whom have a fan following in the millions, are set to appear in original movies and a show, as the video site attempts to attract users to its paid service.

5 hours ago in Viral Videos

WATCH: Bern Your Enthusiasm

22-overlay-4

Despite his friends' best efforts, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Larry David) keeps finding ways to upset voters in Iowa.