NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jurors in the New York ‘cannibal cop‘ trial – exposed for a week to graphic images and vivid testimony of sexual brutality against women – got a brief dose of comic relief in the form of a colorful Russian Web entrepreneur.
Lawyers for New York Police Officer Gilberto Valle began their defense on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with testimony from the creator of DarkFetishNet.com, who repeatedly compared his violent, sexual, fantasy role-play website to Facebook.
“It’s a social media network very similar to Facebook,” Sergay Merenkov, 34, said in describing how the site works.
“It does everything that Facebook does,” he said during a deposition videotaped in Moscow and played for the federal court jury on Tuesday.
Valle is on trial for conspiring to kidnap, cook and eat women. Authorities say many of Valle’s alleged online kidnapping plots were hatched on DarkFetishNet.
Merenkov testified his site is “just like but…oriented to people with fetishes that are not considered to be standard.”
Asked later whether he knows all of the 37,000 members of his website, Merenkov – wearing a black t-shirt and sipping from an ‘I Love Tea’ mug – scoffed at a prosecutor.
“No,” he said, drawing muted smiles from