The case against a police officer accused of conspiring to kidnap, kill, and eat several women is now in the hands of a jury after lawyers presented their closing arguments Thursday. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Gilberto Valle broke down in tears when his defense lawyer showed a picture of him and his young daughter to illustrate he's a family man and not a criminal.
The officer hugged the attorney and cried on her shoulder after she told the jury the defense team was proud to represent the police officer and his freedom of speech.
"It is emotional," said Defense Attorney Julie Gatto. "This is why we do this, is to put the government to their burden, and we hope the jury sees that the government has completely failed to meet their burden."
"We thought there was a greater principle involved," said Defense Attorney Robert Baum.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hadassa Waxman, however, said the case is not about freedom of speech, but rather, a police officer who conspired with others over the internet to kidnap, torture, rape, cook and eat at least six women, including his wife.
"He left the world of fantasy," Waxman said. "He entered the world of reality, and thankfully, he was stopped before he could act."
The defense calls that fiction, just as Valle's internet chats and emails about kidnapping and chopping up women were all fantasy role play.
"It's not storytelling in the form you would buy at Barnes and Noble, but it is storytelling," Gallo said.
Prosecutor Randall Jackson fired back.
"We don't have Stephen King on trial," Jackson said. "Mr. Valle is not an author."
Valle is also accused of unlawfully using NYPD computers to look up information on the alleged targets. Prosecutors said he gave the women police union or PBA cards to gain their trust. He's been suspended from the force and could face other discipline.
"I don't want to comment on that because the trial is ongoing, and any discipline that may or may not emanate from it ultimately comes from the police commissioner," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
If convicted of the kidnap conspiracy, the officer could spend the rest of his life behind bars. It's now up to the jury to decide if Valle had extreme sexual fantasies or real criminal intents.