A federal judge overturned the conviction of New York City's so-called "cannibal cop" Monday on grounds there was no sufficient evidence to support it.
In 2013, former NYPD Officer Gilberto Valle was found guilty of conspiracy to kidnap, cook and eat women, including his wife, after writing about his desires to roast them in an oven on a fetish website. (Via CNN)
But according to New York Magazine, the defense argued the chats were nothing more than Valle's right to fantasize about whatever he wanted. A federal judge agreed.
"The judge says Valle's interests were deviant and depraved but chats and emails alone were not enough for a conspiracy to kidnap charge." (Via WNYW)
According to The New York Times, federal prosecutors argued Valle had crossed the line after he had taken "concrete steps" to carry out his fantasies — such as unlawfully looking up names of potential victims in law enforcement databases. A conviction on that charge still stands.
Valle had yet to be sentenced pending his request for a new trial. For the kidnapping conspiracy charge alone, he could have faced up to life in prison.
New York Daily News has a statement from Valle's defense lawyer saying the decision upholds the "fundamental legal principles at stake ... including our core freedom to be able to think what we want free of government intrusion."
A hearing about the status of the case is set for Tuesday. Valle has been in custody since his arrest in 2012.