Three women faced so-called cannibal cop Gilberto Valle in court Tuesday. All three were noteworthy witnesses for a variety of reasons, including that they were all targets in plots Valle participated in to kidnap, rape, torture, kill and eat them. Two of the women had been friends of his, one a close friend. The third woman had been a teenager Valle had never known when he singled her out for a dark fate.
The centerpiece of Tuesday’s testimony were text messages Valle had exchanged on separate occasions in 2011 and 2012 with two of the women who testified against him. One of the texts left the six-year veteran cop shedding tears. It was a picture of his newborn baby daughter that he’d texted to a 29 year-old friend named Kimberly.
“It’s been difficult for Gilberto,” Valle’s attorney, Julia Gatto, said after the trial’s opening on Monday. “He hasn’t seen his child.”
However, the baby photo text was the least of prosecutors’ concerns. Instead, they focused on texts that they said showed Valle had tracked women, monitoring where they lived and worked.
The first witness, Kimberly, he had texted to get her address in order to send her a Police Benevolent Association courtesy card to use in case she ever had a speeding ticket or other minor infraction.
However, the witness said both in testimony to prosecutors and Valle’s attorneys that she had been friends with him for nearly a decade, and that it was not necessarily unusual for him to know her address.
Such was the case with the second witness as well. Maureen had known Valle and his family since the two were in high school together in Queens. He had, in the months before he was arrested in October, texted her to let her know that he and his NYPD patrol partner were driving in the area around her office near Bryant Park in Manhattan.
The witness, Maureen, agreed to come out of her office building to see her old friend. Prosecutors had attempted to show this as a case of Valle possibly targeting the woman at her office.
The third witness is 18. Until last year, when Valle singled her out to be a victim of a kidnapping, torture, kill and eat plot, she had played softball at his alma mater, Archbishop Malloy High School in Queens. The young woman was on the stand for less than five minutes, and essentially said that she had never known Valle, and that she had never consented to be involved in any sexual activity, real or imagined, with him.
Valle’s attorneys have insisted all along that his evil sex plans were only imaginary. “This is a man who’s accused of a crime he didn’t commit,” his lawyer, Julia Gatto said after the first day of trial on Monday. She pointed out that even though he had plotted some abusive, shocking crimes online, he never carried out any of those plans he’d devised on the web with perfect strangers.
However, one other person testified at trial. FBI Special Agent Cory Walsh testified that his agency imaged, or copied in full, all of the files in two different computers that Valle had used at home, after Valle’s wife brought the police officer’s online alter ego to federal agents’ attention.
“89 file folders of 89 women” is what Agent Walsh said investigators found on one of the computers, along with emails and chats with 24 other people who traded and discussed “images of women being tied up, killed, tortured.”
Agent Walsh said that he’d separated the information he saw into two categories: fantasy and real. The latter category, he testified, was information gleaned from Valle’s computer in conjunction with other users in the disgraced officer’s dark fantasy user groups. “They showed the women, names and photographs,” Agent Walsh said. “The [fellow users] also gave details of past crimes and said they were for real.”
Valle’s lawyers said that it is possible he will testify in his own behalf in the case that’s expected to last through March 8th.