Yesterday, a federal judge handed down an acquittal on the highest charge against Gilberto Valle, the NYPD officer who was convicted last year for a plot to kidnap, rape, kill, and chow down on several women.
Judge Paul G. Gardephe of Manhattan's U.S. District Court ruled — as Valle's lawyer's argued last year — that the evidence was not sufficient enough to convict the cannibal cop on charges beyond having really dark ideas about what's sexy. From the New York Times:
"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," Judge Gardephe said in a 118-page opinion issued late Monday night.
Mr. Valle, who was convicted in March 2013, had not yet been sentenced, and his federal public defenders had asked Judge Gardephe to grant him a new trial, arguing that the Constitution granted people — including police officers — "the right to fantasize about whatever and whomever they like, free from government interference."
A lesser charge against Valle — illegally using a police database to research the totally safe objects of his fantasy, who have no reason at all to fear being cooked over low heat and kept alive as long as possible before their gruesome deaths, because it was all just an innocent fetish, remember? — was upheld.
It's not immediately clear what this means for Valle, who has been in prison since 2012. The kidnapping charge for which he was acquitted could have landed him in jail for life, and the database snooping has a maximum sentence of one year. The judge will hold a hearing on his case today.