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'Cannibal cop' Gilberto Valle seeks a new trial

Gilberto Valle, a six-year veteran of the New

Gilberto Valle, a six-year veteran of the New York City Police Department, was arrested on charges that he kept files on women on his computer, discussed with a co-conspirator abducting a woman for $5,000 and mused about putting other women in his oven and cooking them. (2012) Credit: Handout

Convicted "cannibal cop" Gilberto Valle is asking for a new trial in court papers that accuse prosecutors of using junk science and improper appeals to create fear during their closing arguments in March.

Former NYPD officer Valle, 29, of Queens, was convicted in federal court in Manhattan of plotting to kidnap and eat women in chats on a kinky-sex website. He claimed that all the chats were role-playing fantasies that weren't serious.

In an unusually vivid summation, prosecutor Randall Jackson told jurors that Valle's fantasies were "not OK," and asked if they would dine with a chef who fantasized about poisoning food, or be comfortable on a plane where passengers fantasized about a hijacking.

In their motion for a new trial filed late Monday, Valle's lawyers said those arguments were designed to encourage the jury to convict Valle based on speculative fear of what he might do instead of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Jackson also told jurors that "common sense" dictates that people intend to carry out their fantasies, and that sadistic fantasies were not "normal." But a psychiatrist, in an affidavit, said Jackson completely misstated the known science on the role and prevalence of sadistic fantasies.

The arguments, the motion said, played on jurors' "very human fear that, if they didn't convict Valle now, someone with such a deviant imagination could potentially harm someone in the future."

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office had no comment. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe has not set a date for Valle's sentencing, or for a hearing on the new trial motion.

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