LOWER MANHATTAN (PIX11) – The man dubbed the Cannibal Cop admits to plotting to kidnap, sexually torture, cook and eat women, and he plotted with other internet users worldwide. The internet searches that Officer Gilberto Valle, 29, made in pursuit of those plans — which he insists were strictly fantasy — were the core of testimony in court on Monday.
FBI Special Agent Stephen Flatley testified that Valle’s Internet searches revealed much about the six-year veteran cop’s dark, criminal intentions. Flatley also showed images and video that were in the hard drive of Valle’s federally-seized computer as a result of the disgraced officer’s online searches.
One remarkable image, shown on flatscreens dispersed throughout the jury box and the rest of the courtroom, was a video of a woman hanging over an open flame screaming for her life. Agent Flatley admitted that the video was staged, but noted that it was part of a history of accessing images of unspeakable acts in which Valle engaged.
Among that history were specific online searches, including:
“Recipes human meat”
“Eat her for dinner”
“How to tie up a girl”
“Does she look good enough to eat”
Many of the searches, and chats with other online users, were done through the website darkfetishnet.com. Valle’s attorneys say that it’s the centerpiece of their case.
Ron Kuby, the lawyer who came to prominence for defending accused terror plotter Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, Bernhard Goetz subway shooting victim Darrell Cabey, and associates of the Gambino Crime Family, among many others, weighed in on the so-called Cannibal Cop case.
Kuby told PIX11 News that no matter how revolting, surprising or absurd the images associated with Valle are, they may not help prosecutors prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Valle has done the most serious crime of which he’s accused of: conspiracy to kidnap.
“The Defense began their case during jury selection,” Kuby told PIX11 News. “Defense lawyers made absolutely sure jurors had been exposed to this type of porn, fetish porn, and that they could judge him fairly, even though this defendant was into some odd and bizarre stuff.”
Action taken by Valle’s attorneys late Monday supported that assessment. After the jury was dismissed for the day and prosecutors rested their case, Valle’s lawyers filed a motion for acquittal, a request that the judge dismiss the case against Valle due to insufficient evidence.
The judge said that he is reserving judgment on the motion. So for now, the trial proceeds.
The internet searches by Valle that were presented in court yielded remarkably tame results when PIX11 News did them. A variety of mainstream box office or made-for-TV movies came up, as did humor sites and how-to sites.
However, not all of the results are innocuous, which is why the defense will be challenged when it presents its case on Tuesday. It’s expected to begin by showing a video deposition of the founder of the darkfetishnet.com website, Sergey Merenkov.