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United States v. Valle

Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York
301 F.R.D. 53 (2014)


Facts

The United States government (plaintiff) charged Gilberto Valle (defendant) with conspiracy to kidnap multiple women based on internet conversations Valle had with Michael Van Hise, Aly Khan, and Dale Bolinger on a fantasy sexual fetish website. The men lived in New York, New Jersey, India or Pakistan, and England, respectively, and all conversations among them took place over the internet. The men never attempted to meet or make contact via telephone. Valle had similar communications about kidnapping, torturing, raping, and cannibalizing women with approximately 24 different individuals, 21 of whom the government conceded did not rise above the level of fantasy role-play. Nevertheless, the government argued that Valle’s communications with Van Hise, Khan, and Bolinger constituted a genuine kidnapping conspiracy. During the conversations, the men discussed dates on which kidnappings would occur, as well as locations, including Manhattan, India, and Ohio. During the communications, Valle often lied about important details, including whether he possessed some of the resources that could be used in the kidnapping. Valle also lied about details concerning the targeted women and refused to provide the others with names and addresses that would have allowed them to locate or identify the women. Ultimately, no women were kidnapped, nor were any attempts made. Valle moved for judgment of acquittal, contending that the government failed to prove that the interactions were more than fantasy role-play.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gardephe, J.)

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