NEW YORK — Gilberto Valle's mind is full of sick thoughts — and he wants a jury to know it.
The New York City police officer accused of kidnapping conspiracy admits to thinking about abducting, cooking and devouring young women. His own lawyer has shown prospective jurors a kinky staged photo of a woman trussed up in a roasting pan to test their tolerance for the officer's "weird proclivities."
The baby-faced tabloid sensation known as the "Cannibal Cop" is even expected to take the stand to make the case that it was all fantasy, that his online chats were so offensive, so over-the-top that 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 today with opening statements in one of the city's most bizarre federal court cases in recent memory.
Valle, a 28-year-old college grad and father, was just another NYPD patrol officer until late last year, when he was charged with conspiring to kidnap a woman and unauthorized use of a law enforcement database.
Beyond the tabloid headlines that blared "Finest Young Cannibal" and "Cook 'em Danno," the accusations were startling and serious: The FBI, following a tip from Valle's estranged wife, unearthed an alleged plot to cook and eat dozens of women, all graphically detailed in a trail of emails, computer files and instant messages. A conviction on the kidnapping count carries a possible life sentence.
"I'm planning on getting me some girl meat," he allegedly wrote in one chat room. "It's this November, for Thanksgiving. . . . She's not a volunteer. She has to be abducted."
A criminal complaint claimed that Valle had created a computer file cataloging at least 100 women with their names, addresses and photos. And it accused him of illegally culling some of the information from the restricted law enforcement database, and doing surveillance on some of his potential victims.