Torture video should be included in trial, prosecutors say

Jan. 21, 2014 at 6:12 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Prosecutors said they want portions of a video seized from a New York City man's residence shown in his upcoming trial for allegedly planning rapes and murders.

Authorities found a video entitled "Pain 35" in a cache of material owned by Christopher Asch, 62, who, with co-defendant Richard Meltz allegedly offered to help Michael Van Hise when he allegedly said she wanted his wife, sister-in-law and sister-in-law's children raped and murdered, the New York Post said Tuesday.

Meltz pleaded guilty on Thursday.

The video, prosecutors say, depicts two men torturing two women with an assortment of tools and restraints.

"The FBI believes that the women in 'Pain 35' are not actors and are actually being tortured," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a letter to federal judge Paul Gardephe.

Prosecutors may present jurors still photographs taken from the video, and intend to have an FBI agent describe the video in detail to show Asch intended to carry out his plan and was not merely fantasizing, as he alleges, the newspaper said.

Bharara said the video's content "will undoubtedly be shocking," but the jury must be aware of it because Asch allegedly used it as a "practical how-to guide to kidnapping, restraining and inflicting pain on his intended targets."

Brian Waller, Asch's attorney, asked Friday in legal filings to withhold the tape during the trial because it could "deeply prejudice a jury against" Asch.

Authorities discovered the Asch case while investigating New York Police Department "Cannibal Cop" Gilberto Valle, a former police officer convicted in 2013 in a plot to kidnap, cook and eat victims.

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