New York: A New York City police officer told investigators after his arrest that his online chats about cannibalism set him on a downward spiral that was wrecking his personal life, an FBI agent testified.
Gilberto Valle "claimed he did not enjoy it and he did not know why he was doing it," agent Anthony Foto told jurors yesterday at Valle`s federal trial in Manhattan.
Foto testified that after his October arrest, Valle acknowledged talking to people about a fetish of kidnapping, killing and eating women wasn`t satisfying.
However, he "claimed he would not have gone through with it," the agent added.
The testimony came as the government winds down its case against the 28-year-old officer. Valle contends that it was all fantasy and that he intended no harm.
The trial`s first week concluded on yesterday afternoon. Jurors were due back on Monday.
The government called agent Foto on yesterday to recount the arrest and initial interview of Valle late last year on kidnapping conspiracy charges.
When agents arrived to pick up Valle at his Queens home and told him to stay calm and everything would be fine, Valle responded: "I don`t think so," the agent said.
Under interrogation at FBI headquarters, Valle lamented that his chats and emails with others on the Internet about cannibalism were leaving him exhausted and uninterested in sex with his wife.
He never said he harmed anyone, and he offered to help the FBI distinguish between which people on the Internet were real threats and which were not, Foto said.
The agent said that when he asked Valle why he thought he was being arrested, the officer said he believed it was for conspiracy to commit murder or attempted murder. But Foto later conceded that Valle made the remark an hour into an interview that lasted several hours.
On cross-examination, defence attorney Robert Baum drew the jury`s attention to moments when the FBI tricked his client, including when the FBI told him he been under investigation for more than a year.
"That was a lie, right? Baum asked.
"Of course," Foto responded, acknowledging that Valle had been under investigation for only a few weeks. He said the ruse was investigative technique aimed at getting the defendant to speak.
After the testimony, US District Judge Paul Gardephe sent the jury home for the day. He spent the afternoon hearing proposed testimony from an FBI expert who studied Valle`s computer history, finding numerous gruesome images and some videos.