The jury spent its first full day in deliberations in the Gilberto Valle “cannibal cop” trial. Their questions for the judge today gave only a slight hint of their focus, but shed no light on when they would reach a verdict.
After an abbreviated start late Thursday afternoon, the jury in the so-called “cannibal cop” trial requested testimony transcription for six witnesses and also posed a relatively complex question regarding jurisdiction.
They wanted to know whether acts committed by the former NYPD cop, or any of his alleged co-conspirators, needed to be committed within the court’s Southern District territory in order to find Valle guilty of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
The Southern District is comprised of the Bronx, Rockland, Westchester, and several other counties.
That question – and the request for so many testimony read-backs — is perhaps an indication that the jury is having a difficult time reaching a consensus on the “conspiracy to commit kidnapping” charge.
Defense attorney Robert Baum told reporters, “I think what the judge is telling the jury is, that in order to prove the charge, one of the things that must be proven, is there must be an overt committed in the furtherance of the conspiracy, and that act has to committed within the jurisdiction of the southern district, that includes, Manhattan, Bronx, and Westchester. And we’ve always argued, that never happened.”
If you recall, Valle is not accused of actually kidnapping any of the women he allegedly tracked and researched, toward his alleged ultimate goal of cooking and eating them.
But prosecutors say he was well on his way to committing those crimes, and was arrested before he could carry them out.
Valle’s defense team told jurors his taste for quote “disturbing porn” was nothing more than a fetish that unfolded in an online fantasy — one for which he should not go to prison.
“We’ve always said that Mr. Valle participated in a vibrant subculture that exists on the internet, of fantasy role play. And that’s all it is. And there was no evidence supporting what the government was charging, which was very serious crimes…conspiracy to commit a kidnap”, said defense attorney Julia Gatto.
The jury adjourned at 4 o’clock Friday afternoon, and is scheduled to resume deliberations Monday at 9am.