Defense to argue 'cannibal cop' meant no harm

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Gilberto Valle's mind is full of sick thoughts -- and he wants a jury to know it.

The NYPD officer accused of kidnapping conspiracy admits to thinking about abducting, cooking and devouring young women.

The baby-faced tabloid sensation known as the "cannibal cop" is even expected to testify, but say that it was all fantasy, that his online chats were so offensive, so over the top, they couldn't possibly be taken seriously.

If jurors were to believe that the countless people who visit fetish chat rooms were real cannibals, then where's the horrific feeding frenzy? It's a gambit that will begin to play out Monday with opening statements in a bizarre federal court case.

Valle, 28, a college graduate and father, was just another patrolman until late last year, when he was charged with conspiring to kidnap a woman and the unauthorized use of a law enforcement database.

The FBI, following a tip from Valle's estranged wife, unearthed an alleged plot to cook and eat dozens of women, all detailed in emails, computer files and instant messages. A conviction could carry a life sentence.

One purported target was an 18-year-old high school student who Valle wrote was small enough to fit in his oven.

A criminal complaint claimed Valle created a computer file cataloging at least 100 women. And it accused him of illegally culling some information from the restricted law-enforcement database.

A New Jersey man also was charged with scheming with Valle to kidnap, rape and murder a Manhattan woman and is awaiting trial.

At a bail hearing, prosecutors insisted Valle was a would-be killer who should be jailed without bail. A judge agreed, calling the charges "profoundly disturbing."

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Rather than deny the depravity, defense attorney Julia Gatto will try to show Valle's only appetite was for fantasies.

"The government's case is nothing more than a hard drive full of disturbing, sexually deviant talk between my client and other men who share his, albeit weird, proclivities," she said.

A clinical sexologist, psychiatrist and criminologist will testify in his defense.

-- AP

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