The FBI agent who arrested accused "cannibal cop" Gilberto Valle testified Friday that Valle said his sadistic obsessions had sent his life into a downward spiral and offered to help investigate the sex-fetish network he frequented.
Agent Anthony Foto also said that Valle insisted throughout a four-hour interrogation that the fantasies that he discussed in Internet chats about kidnapping, torturing and eating women he knew were not real plots.
"He claimed that he would not have gone through with it," Foto testified in federal court in Manhattan. "He said he did not enjoy it and he did not know why he was doing it."
Valle, 28, a six-year NYPD veteran, was charged last year with conspiring online with three other men to abduct and kill women, and misusing a police database. He is not accused of hurting anyone. His lawyers say role-playing turned him on.
Foto said Valle was "very calm" after his Oct. 24 arrest, revealing personal details -- his parents divorced when he was 5, and he got intrigued by cannibalism in college -- and describing the Russia-based "dark fetish" website where he met his chat partners.
He told Foto the site attracted a "small group" of users, the agent testified, and said he found it in 2010 while searching the word "bondage" on the Internet. "He said he would be willing to help the FBI in distinguishing which users were real and which were fantasy, and that it was hard to make that distinction," Foto said.
Valle also told the agent that two of the men he joined last year in chats the government alleges involved real plots -- a Pakistani called "Ali Khan" and a Brit screen-named "Moody Blues" -- were more "serious" than other users, Foto said, drawing him into late-night marathons.
"When he began to talk to them the activities began to build into his personal life," the agent said. "He was becoming exhausted, he began to pull away from his wife, and ultimately stopped having sex with her."
The interrogation was not video or audio taped, Valle was not asked for a written statement, and Foto did not take notes, the agent testified. After prosecutors spent 16 minutes having Foto describe the four-hour interview, they repeatedly objected to defense efforts to have Foto describe additional statements from Valle.
In one instance, defense lawyer Robert Baum began to ask Foto, "Did he tell you he wasn't himself . . . " before being cut off by an objection.
U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe recessed the trial until Monday to research whether to allow that questioning, and to decide whether jurors can see grotesque pictures from Valle's computer. He said the trial will wrap up next week.