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Federal Defender Julia Gatto (R) speaks to the court as former New York City police officer Gilberto Valle (C), dubbed by local media as the "Cannibal Cop", listens in this courtroom sketch on the first day of his trial in New York February 25, 2013. Valle and New Jersey mechanic Michael Van Hise are accused of plotting last year to kidnap, cook and eat a Manhattan woman. REUTERS/Jane Rosenburg (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

NEW YORK (AP) -- A lawyer for a New York City police officer accused of plotting to kidnap, torture and devour women says it was all pure fantasy.

Defense attorney Julia Gatto told a Manhattan jury on Monday that it "can't convict people for their thoughts, even if they're sick."

Her remarks came during opening statements at the federal trial of Gilberto Valle (VAL'-ee).

Prosecutors plan to use e-mails and other evidence to show that the 28-year-old was a would-be killer. They say he even drew up a list of targets using a law enforcement database.

Defense witnesses are expected to describe how he lived in a secret, online fantasy world. The defense says participants role-play as cannibals, but never act on it.




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